Lorry driver diagnosed with brain tumour after he forgot how to drive

Brain tumour: Cancer Research UK on 'different types' in 2017

A lorry driver was diagnosed with a brain tumour after he “forgot” how to drive while on the M27. Mark O’Meara, 47, was driving along the motorway when he suddenly lost sensation in the right side of his body. He immediately pulled over and called 999 and was blue-lighted to Southampton General Hospital.

An MRI scan revealed a “broad bean-sized” lesion on his brain and Mark was forced to hand in his driving licence.

The keen runner, from Andover in Hampshire, said: “I thought I was having a stroke or had a trapped nerve as I suddenly lost sensation on the right side of my body and had a funny turn.

“I forgot how to do everything, including how to drive.”

Doctors diagnosed the lesion in his brain as a glioma – a brain tumour which starts in glial cells, which are the supporting cells of the brain and the spinal cord.

At a follow-up scan in December last year, doctors saw no change.

Mark has since regained mobility in his right arm and leg, and was set to undergo surgery on April 3.

He was due to take on a planned 200-mile running feat in South Wales to raise money for Brain Tumour Research, which he has postponed for after his operation.

Mark has so far raised £1,000 for the charity.

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“My diagnosis has meant I am not able to drive and I’ve been signed off long-term sick but I have still been able to run,” he said.

“I’ve been an ultra-runner for some time now and thankfully the amazing neuro team in Southampton were happy for me to keep running.

“I used to run 50 miles a week and went to the gym every day and I’ve carried that on as best I can since I was told about my brain tumour.”

The ordeal has given Mark a fresh outlook on life.

He added: “My diagnosis has made me stop and realise there is more to life than work. I found myself working long days, starting early in the morning and finishing late.

“In a way, it’s been the best thing to happen to me to make me realise what is important.”

Mel Tiley, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research, commented: “We’re so grateful to Mark for sharing his story so far, and for taking on this incredible running challenge whilst waiting for surgery.

“He is an inspiration to brain tumour patients everywhere.

“His story reminds us that brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age and they kill more men under 70 than prostate cancer.

“We have to raise the awareness and funds to research this disease if we are to find a cure to stop this from ruining the lives of families.”

More than 11,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with brain tumours every year – with around half of these being cancerous.

The most common symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Seizures (fits)
  • Persistently feeling sick (nausea), being sick (vomiting) and drowsiness
  • Mental or behavioural changes, such as memory problems or changes in personality
  • progressive weakness or paralysis on one side of the body
  • Vision or speech problems.

If you experience these symptoms and are concerned you could have a brain tumour you should speak with your GP.

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