"I am so excited about being able to drive again"
2019 marked eleven years since Linda had an operation to remove a brain tumour. Eleven years of dealing with the physical and emotional side effects. Eleven years of no driving licence and the loss of her independence. But she didn't give up and after several unsuccessful applications to the DVLA, Linda finally got her driving licence back. Soon after hearing that she'd be able to drive again she talked to us about her experiences.
“Not being able to drive took away my independence; it took away my confidence and even took away some of my friends,” said Linda. “I am so excited about being able to drive again.”
Linda had just been promoted to General Manager at a busy restaurant when she first noticed she couldn’t process information properly. Then out of the blue, she had a seizure. “I couldn’t get out of bed, my speech was slurred and the scariest thing was that I remember it all,” said Linda.
After several tests and scans, she was diagnosed with a non-malignant brain tumour and had a craniotomy a few months later. “I was scared, but the operation went well,” said Linda. “It took me a while to recover from that and live my life again, albeit without my driving licence and with several side effects such as seizures and fatigue.”
After some volunteering, Linda got a job at another restaurant and was attending six-monthly scans to check on how the tumour was behaving. Unfortunately five years ago she had to endure courses of radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
Throughout her treatment and recovery, Linda attended her local Brain Tumour Support Group. “Going to that first support group, I suddenly realised I was not alone,” said Linda. “And I realised that brain tumours affect people from all walks of life, all ages. I still find it useful to go to the group and now I’ll be able to drive there!”
The process of getting her driving licence back involved lots of form filling and waiting. Linda had to show that she was managing her seizures. She consulted her GP, her oncologist, an epilepsy doctor and a Macmillan nurse to adapt her medication. She also negotiated with her employer to reduce her shifts which in turn reduced her stress and anxiety. Slowly, the seizures stopped and she was able to prove that she had not had one for 12 months.
“I am looking forward to my driving refresher course and have already been doing a bit of practising on empty car parks early in the evening,” said Linda. “My first proper drive will be to see my family. And then when I have my confidence back I want to get a job helping others – I’d love to be a support worker, visiting people and helping them through their challenges.”
Having to give up your driving license due to seizures or following surgery can have a huge impact, with the loss of independence and effect on working and social life. Our Support Team can provide practical support, information and guidance on issues around driving and the DVLA.
Read more about how we help
Brain Tumour Support offers support to brain tumour patients and their families in a variety of ways - support sessions and groups, one-to-one, counselling, telephone and on-line support.