The lengths a dad will go to for his son

Wishaw Press - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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