When the unexpected happens, raise your expectations
So, before I finish, I wanted to share something deeply personal to me. Six months ago, I was diagnosed with an Acoustic Neuroma (AN) – a benign brain tumour that develops on the 8th cranial nerve (the main nerve leading from the inner ear to the brain) which affects balance and hearing and other vital nerves including the facial and trigeminal nerves. The good news is that the AN won’t kill me. The bad news is that if left untreated, and it gets bigger and continues to press against my brain stem, it just might!
There are 3 treatment options:
- Watch and wait and do nothing for 6 months and if it doesn’t grow thereafter, do absolutely nothing for another 6 months. I went with this approach initially and waited 4 months before arranging a follow-up MRI scan in February.
- Invasive brain surgery – this is an 8+ hour operation with significant life-changing consequences; or a
- Radiosurgery – targeted radiation to the tumour.
So now picture this. I arrived back in Sydney April 2017 with my family. I began growing and rebranding the Lazarus Legal business, settling my kids into new schools, supporting my wife whose entire family are back in the UK and hustling every day – all was going well! Things were looking up… and then, BANG! 18 October 2017, I get the results of an MRI that changed my life forever.
After 5 months of agonising hell, trying to decide what route to take, knowing there was no crystal ball I could look into and no one who would make my decision for me, I had to go with my gut and hope for the best.
On 9 April, I had a form of radiosurgery called Gamma Knife.
Will there be some side effects? Probably.
Will I possibly lose further hearing in my right ear? Probably.
Will I be able to get up on a slalom water ski as easy as I used to? Probably not!
Am I going to let this tumour define me, hell no!
Less than a week later, I was back at work and once again smashing it, hustling every day and making the most of every damn opportunity.