View Full Version : Class 1 medical bye-bye...
7th Dec 2005, 14:26
I've been thinking about posting this here for some time as there's a lot of you folks who I communicate regularly with.
It's been the best and the worst of years for me. Firstly my intention to go to the US to do an ab-initio CPL(H) course in September were scuppered by my house not selling, so I had to give that up and instead embarked on doing my PPL(H) for starters in the UK. I got halfway through that, and then recently after a couple of visits to the GP complaining of lumps and swellings "down below" followed by a battery of tests was told that I have contracted testicular cancer. What luck...
Anyway, that was a month ago. Since then I've had an operation to remove the offending article, (thank god we have two eh?) But I found out yesterday via CT scan that it's already spread to my lymph nodes and from there to my lungs. So, I'm about to embark on approximately 3 months of intensive BEP chemotherapy next Monday. Obviously I'm not going to be flying for a long time to come, and whether I'm ever able to again will depend on the CAA and their views on chemo, particularly Bleomycin (the B in BEP), which has a tendency, (but not certainty) to scar the lungs. (they give scuba divers courses of EP, without the B for this reason, but I have no choice as I need it.)
Despite the spread of the disease, my prognosis is good. I've got statistically about 92% chance of complete and full recovery and cure, but only time will tell. (Unfortunately they can't tell me what differentiates the 92 from the 8% that don't make it..) But I'm more positive now than I have been for weeks. There's no more anxiety about how bad it is, no stress about waiting for appointments. I know now it can only get better from this point, and am eager to get the show on the road and start the treatment!!
This has all happened really suddenly, and it's not like I hesitated about seeing the doc when I first detected a problem. It's just that it was likely spreading before the primary tumour presented physical symptoms. I know medical fitness is paramount to any pilot, so I would urge all the guys out there to be vigilent, and never hesitate to put embarrassment out of your mind and seek a medical opinion. A delay of a few weeks could be critical to your health and your career.
That's all I wanted to say really. I hope no-one minds me dumping this in the group. It was intended as a heads-up to all the folks I often chat to, rather than an appeal for medical advice. (I'm overloaded with that, but if anyone's got any first hand experience of BEP and the CAA they're welcome to PM me.)
I guess in hindsight not selling my house was the best thing that could have happened. At least I still have my full-time job, with 24 weeks full sick pay to tide me over. Imagine the situation I'd be in if I were in the States on a J1 right now!?
7th Dec 2005, 14:34
My boss has been battling cancer for the best part of ten years - he goes in and out with his medical, but still flies as much as possible.
Take your energy, beat the cancer (think Lance Armstrong), then take some more energy and beat the medical.
Sometimes you don't KNOW the reason until much later, but everything happens for a reason - go with that and your journey will be much easier!
From across the pond, fair winds!
7th Dec 2005, 14:38
My thoughts are with you as you know and don't give up.
Advances in medical science are staggering these days and the CAA Medical Division are becoming more enlightened especially if you keep them fully informed. Also consider whether there are Authorities elsewhere in the world who may give you a medical?
I think the difference between the 92% and the 8% is the attitude and "fighting spirit" - and you have both those!
....and at the risk of jokes, quips, innuendos etc, I'd like to urge all you blokes out there to get themselves checked and check themselves! Us girlies have it done so you should to.
Up & Away
7th Dec 2005, 14:51
I can only reassure you that (from my experience) the Medical dept of CAA will do their best to get you back airborne as soon as they can. YOU just stay focused and get well. regards
7th Dec 2005, 14:54
Well done Si - you'll only get support from the good people on our online community. Keep us all updated. We've all got our fingers crossed for you.
Best of luck mate.
7th Dec 2005, 14:55
I was reading about an Army pilot who also got testicular cancer. Thier rules are you've got to be clear for two years before being allowed to fly again- but he got back in the saddle after less than 6 months! This was done to the Iraq however, but at least it gives you some hope of getting back flying!
7th Dec 2005, 15:26
Take your motto from the CAA - Never give up!
7th Dec 2005, 15:28
Simon, a real "annus horribilis"(not sure about the spelling, but it's what the Queen had a couple of years back)! Anyway, a friend of mine contracted cancer a few years back, and he got his medical back, so it can be done. :ok:
Thank you Simon,
For posting something quite personal on pprune so that it may help others, I wish you all the best for a speedy recovery…
Good luck with the fight. Get well and then begin the fight with the CAA-----you will prevail ! !
7th Dec 2005, 16:28
I went to the vets 2 weeks back with a pain in the bolly. A young female locum drew the short straw and did the Prostate test (I will never forget her long red fingernails!).
Looks like it might be Prostitis (an infection of the Prostate) and not bolly cancer.
Blood in urine and painful Prostate seemed to confirm her diagnosis.
I though I had what you've got.
For the benefit of others, are you in the high risk group of - I think - pre-30's? I'm an old git at 52.
Did you notice a swelling and ignore it or did you seek immediate treatment?
I am sure you'll make a complete recovery but it sure is a bugger on the medical.
Still, you've got your whole life ahead of you and more time to save up!
Thanks for such frank information. Keep us posted.
7th Dec 2005, 16:31
Si: PMA..you've got bags of it. I wish you all the very best for the months to come.
Sorry, did you say, Whirly that you girls had checked the lads..... :ooh:
As someone who has had this problem and lived, I can pass on my experience. I was initially treated, as you, by the removal of the offending lump. A CT scan at the time did show I was clear, but I was given regular monthly checks. After 12 months a CT scan picked up a recurrence. I was also immediately put on a 3-month course of chemo. I, like you, had a good survival chance.
When I informed the CAA that I was going to be on chemo, they initially told me that I would not be able to fly for 12 months. After the chemo, I was again put on monthly checks. After 6 months (9 months after the start of the chemo), I was given an "As or With Co-pilot" restriction and allowed back to flying. As I was flying a multi-crew helicopter, this wasn't a problem for me. I had that restriction on my licence for three years. As I was still all-clear, the restriction was removed but the CAA required copies of the regular tests I had to have. This stopped this year (7 years after the chemo) and I have just renewed my Class 1 today.
I am not totally sure of the make-up of the drugs I had, other than I did have Cisplatin. This has a side affect of tinnitis. However, I appear to have passed all my hearing tests with flying colours since the chemo.
If you have a friendly AME, discuss the treatment with him, or ask to speak to a CAA doctor at Gatwick (I have found them very approachable). You could also make a post on the Medical & Health forum of Pprune as there are some experts on there.
would just like to wish you the best of luck,and as others have said,beat the illness first,then worry about the CAA.
i think you,ll find them supportive and understanding as long as you keep them fully informed.
all the best
7th Dec 2005, 16:47
Couple of websites for you. All of the PPruners are in your corner on this. Be strong and fight.
7th Dec 2005, 17:42
Well, Simon, it looks as though you should change the title of this thread. It seems like you might get that Class 1 after all. :ok:
As for what differentiates the 92% from the 8%? Who knows, really? What decides who gets cancer and who doesn't, or who falls under a bus tomorrow and who doesn't? We none of us know how long we've got, or what decides it. You're no different from others in that respect.
As to fighting, a friend of mine had cancer, and kept being told she was a fighter and would therefore beat it. She said that scared the hell out of her. When told she'd need a second dose of chemo, she found herself wondering if she wasn't fighting hard enough. She felt the attitude that it was down to her, implied that it was her fault she was so sick!!! For the record, that's nine years ago, and she's just fine. But I don't know that a fighting spirit will help you beat cancer; it might, but I don't know and neither does anyone else. But it WILL help you deal with whatever life throws at you. So chin up, walk tall, and know that we're all routing for you. And when you can't do that, and need a shoulder to cry on....we'll be there for you then too. :ok:
Thanks for your post and your openness.
I don't know what the CAA's stance is, but it might be worth investigating whether you can still fly P/UT if you feel up to it of course, (as I read it you are part way through your ppl(h)?).
My Brother-In Law had a very similar condition, and asked if he could ride his motorbike between Chemo sessions. He was told that if he felt up to it there was no reason why not. (for the record his chemo went well and he has been clear for 5 years now.)
Best of luck.
Thank you for your advice Simon, everybody fears to have to face this condition....
Your philisophy "everything has a reason to happen" can be of a great help to others.
All the best with your fight !
7th Dec 2005, 19:49
Just wanted to wish you all the best.
Hi Simon, you have my very, very best wishes for you future. I wish you every luck available.
There is a strong, honest, intelligent and likeable individual lurking behind you post and I reckon one also with a great sense of humour.
With these qualities not only will you beat this thing you will fly commercially .. do you hear me? You will fly commercially.
It also appears Whirly's offering a free check up .. grab it with both hands I say ..
7th Dec 2005, 22:49
Keep yer chin up....you got lots of people pulling for you! We will keep you close in our thoughts. As someone mentioned...Lance Armstrong shows what attitude and modern medicine can accomplish.
7th Dec 2005, 22:53
It also appears Whirly's offering a free check up .. grab it with both hands I say
A-hem, cough,cough!! Do you means Whirls (i.e. Yours Truly)? or Whirly (...er... the other, original one)?
:O :O :O :O :O
Anyway, whichever of us you meant...... er..... you could have phrased that better? Using the singular might be considered insensitive.
Luckily, I know Simon hasn't had a "sense of humour-ectomy" as well!
7th Dec 2005, 23:03
Thank you all for your kind comments and messages of support. It means a lot.
I guess I'm going to have a lot of time on my hands over the next few months, perhaps I ought to crack on and do some deeper study towards the eventual CPL!! Whether or not I can medically get there is of no importance right now. Working towards a suitable goal is. And if I can't fly, well then I'm damn well going to go and find something equally as inspirational to me to do! I watched "Long Way Round" recently, that's a great inspirational boost, and I'm taking the book into hospital with me, along with Chickenhawk (which I've already read once) - providing I can prize it away from my dad!
At least I've got my studies and my PC simulator to keep me busy and entertained.
Thanks again for your words. I shall endeavour to keep you all updated (not in too much graphic detail!!) as the treatment progresses, and no doubt continue to take part in the regular discussions.
I'm the same as everyone else - fingers crossed for you.
No-one deserves it -- No-one!
Good luck from the Aussie side of the fence. :ok:
8th Dec 2005, 09:00
It's been said many times already, but the very best of luck to you Simon. I look forward to reading of your success in gaining your Class 1 medical.
As someone who will also be spending a bit of time sick in the New Year after surgery - albeit for nothing like as serious as you - I will raise my crutch in salute to you. And I should add it is a metal crutch, the type that will be helping me walk, I'm not quite that weird...
Thanks for posting and stay positive.
A friend suffered the malady around 5 years ago. He also had the lymph progression.
He was out of flying for 15 months and it was hard going at times, but he recently got left seat on the MD11...
You can do it guy!
All the very best to you....Paul
8th Dec 2005, 11:00
From all rotorheads I am sure
:ok: :ok: :ok:
8th Dec 2005, 12:06
Most have wished you good luck; but, I will tell you instead that I'm praying for you. I know it is a lot more effective and urge you to pray for yourself as well.
9th Dec 2005, 22:23
This was done a while ago on Jet Blast but for those who haven't seen it, please take heed!
Here we are boys! (http://www.rachelgetsfruity.com/flash.html)
10th Dec 2005, 09:12
Thanks Whirls! I'd not seen that link.
I remember a few years ago now a nurse at my doctors surgery routinely giving me a leaflet about self-checking just as a precaution as I was in the statistcally most-likely age group and they were obviously having some kind of awareness drive on.
I just looked at her and said "I'm a guy. Like any other, I watch tv with my hand tucked into my pants. If there's anything wrong, I'll soon know."