The lengths a dad will go to for his son
is a high chance of first-time seizures among teenage boys.”
The strain a seizure of this magnitude puts on the body is the equivalent of running a marathon.
And the likelihood was Ross had been experiencing these fits repeatedly in his sleep without his knowledge – which explains his extreme tiredness.
After Ross was given a CT scan which revealed a lesion on the brain, medics explained that Ross had a suspected meningioma – a tumour that forms on membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord just inside the skull.
Often slow-growing, as many as 90 per cent of these tumours are benign.
But a later MRI scan revealed something more sinister. The tumour was deeper than the surface of the brain and, because of its positioning and how it was presenting itself, there was every chance it could develop into cancer. The only way to know for sure was surgery. Queen Elizabeth University Hospital surgeon Roddy O’Kane gave Ross the option of delaying the operation until he had finished university, or take time out and go ahead with the surgery.
“Ultimately, it was my decision, but I wanted input from family and friends, and I took the option to go for surgery,” explained Ross.
“It was a scary time to go through. But I was confident in the surgeon and the support system around me made me confident in myself. I knew if it were to go badly, I had amazing people around me to help get me through it.”
Scott, 46, admits he was relieved at his son’s decision to opt for surgery, which would finally give the family an answer.
“As a parent, you feel helpless. Cancer and what we were facing always happens to someone else – then, it doesn’t. You are supposed to fix things for your kids and give advice, even when it’s not wanted – and all of a sudden, you can’t. It’s debilitating,” he said.
“You have to trust other people to fix your kid for you and that is not a comfortable place for a parent to be in. We couldn’t help but worry about what the implications might be. There was a possibility of a change in personality and mood swings.
“It was so near to the core of Ross and there was the fear he’d emerge a different person.”
After five hours in theatre on October 13 last year, consultants told Ross they had successfully removed the tumour, which “popped out like a golf ball”, and some of the surrounding brain tissue.
It came as a massive relief when pathology results revealed that the tumour was benign.
Six months on, Ross, who continues as a precaution to take medication to keep seizures at bay, has made a full recovery.
He and girlfriend Abbie enjoyed a dream trip to New York in a belated celebration of his 21st birthday.
Ross, who had to surrender his driving licence in June 2016 due to his epilepsy, is itching to have it replaced and once again get behind the wheel of his own car.
And he is looking forward to resuming his marketing studies at the University of the West of Scotland.
But the most significant of all the milestones he has reached since diagnosis came in August last year when he watched dad, Scott, complete the gruelling 22-mile swim (36km) of Loch Lomond – a mile longer than the English Channel.
Scott swam continuously for 11 hours and 11 minutes alongside a boat carrying his coach, who roared encouragement and dropped food down to him in the water on a string.
Four months of training paid off and the mammoth swim, during which he raised £6,500 for The Brain Tumour Charity.
“I was just so proud,” said Ross. “It was not something he had to do. It was humbling to see. Not a lot of people have swum the length of Loch Lomond and for my dad to do it, really because of me, was touching and amazing.
“There was cheering, there were banners and a lot of tears!
“I have tried to stay positive throughout the whole journey.
“The Brain Tumour Charity is for people who are not as fortunate as me and if I can help raise awareness, that is an even better outcome.”
Even though their ordeal is over, Scott, Sharon, Ross and 19-year-old brother Ryan continue to support the charity.