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Dublin: 10°C Thursday 21 October 2021

'My brain tumour has returned for a fifth time, but I won't let that define me'

“I am wracked with guilt at the thought of not being around for my daughter.”

dave David with his daughter Amy (9)

DAVID DORAN HAD his first seizure in 2002, at the age of 28.

His wife brought him to Beaumont Hospital, where he was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

“Prior to this I was in perfect health, I had been on a soccer scholarship in a US university, I was also a relatively successful businessman,” David tells us.

I have undergone seven operations since 2002 as well as six months chemotherapy and six weeks radiotherapy. I’m currently in the middle of another six weeks radiotherapy. Once that is finished I commence another six months chemotherapy.

He goes to Beaumont five days a week for treatment.

The tumour recurred in 2006, 2007, 2011 and 2013 as a Grade 2 tumour. A few months ago, he found out it had progressed to a Grade 3 tumour.

“The tumour has recurred five times. In May this year we got the devastating news the tumour has progressed to a high-grade tumour.”

Still working

David (41) co-founded Eden Recruitment in 1999 and founded Recruit Options in 2013.

He says seizures and headaches are “common” but he still works from home when he can.

Despite the severity of my illness I don’t want the tumour to be the thing that defines me, I’d rather be remembered in the chorus of a U2 song or the groan of a bad pun, but most of all I want to be remembered as someone who fought until the end.
“The foremost pillars of support to me are my amazing family, my wife, mam, dad, brothers, sister and my beautiful little daughter. They have kept me going every moment of every day. I get so much strength through their courage, thanks to them I am never found wanting for inspiration.”

Dave describes his wife Ann as “an angel… an absolute rock”.

Our only child, Amy, is 9. While she knows daddy has a brain tumour, she is not fully aware of what that means. Having a brain tumour is the fickle finger of fate as opposed to any fault on my part, though at times I am wracked with guilt at the thought of not being around for my daughter as she becomes a bride and indeed a mother one day.

“Deep down I know it is unlikely that I shall be alive for either … I have written my father-of-the-bride speech for her wedding.”

Gallows humour

David says Gallows humour is “a great way to add to the collective camaraderie” on a hospital ward.

“Once a chap was being brought down for his operation and the patient in the bed beside him began singing the opening line to My Way at the top of his voice: ‘And now, the end is near and so I draw the final curtain.’”

When I began radiotherapy I quipped to my parents “I always knew I had brains to burn.”

David tells us the care and compassion he has received from the doctors and nurses at Beaumont Hopsital has been “outstanding”.

“In the most trying of circumstances they are not just great support to me but always generous with their time for my family too which is very comforting.”

David says he knows the “endgame” will happen but it could be years down the road.

“Until that day comes I will continue to enjoy each day and not take life too seriously.”

Read: ‘Sure you’re grand now, your hair has grown back’, the PTSD of surviving cancer

Read: ‘My family and I have had many conversations about my impending death’

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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