Newly diagnosed questions about driving

Concerns specific to those in Canada

Newly diagnosed questions about driving

Postby Silvercloud » Fri Aug 22, 2014 12:17 am

Hi everyone, I am newly diagnosed and just had my first visit with the neurologist. I should give a bit of history. Jan. 2013, I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer and went through treatment. At my last visit to my oncologist in June, I asked her when the chemo brain would lift. She didn't like that and ordered an MRI which confirmed a cavernous angioma. I have never had a seizure but have noticed as speech deficit in searching for words and occasionally using the wrong word-but close. Balloon for ball or ground for road. The neurosurgeon gave me an assessment and I scored a little low. He is referring me to a neurosurgeon but felt I had a small bleed and also wants me to attend their memory clinic. He stated by law he has to inform the ministry and I will probably loose my licence. I am a bus driver which means I will loose my job. I was under the impression that doctors only have to report it if there are seizures involved? Does anyone know if there is any financial help in Ontario? Can I get medical leave employment insurance? I'm very stressed out about this, I've been through so much in the last 11/2 years. Thank you!
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Re: Newly diagnosed questions about driving

Postby dana » Sat Aug 23, 2014 11:38 pm

Hello there,
I am in BC and was diagnosed with a cavernous angioma (after a large hemorrhage) in September 2013. My understanding is that a doctor can report regardless of seizures. The issue with a cavernous angioma is that you will not know when it may cause a seizure, or a bleed, especially with an immune system which may already be compromised by cheomotherapy, and, since you are experiencing some neurological difficulties, it is possible that you may have had micro-bleeds, which may, or may not reveal themselves on an MRI.
I am wondering if you are in a unionized position? If so, you should be able to get short-term medical leave, and possibly long-term. If not, you could also apply for disability through EI. It is a long process and, often, one's application will be rejected the first time around, but appeal! You can also apply for CPP disability and the same process as with EI will ensue. Definitely seek out information from a Canada Revenue Service agency.
Do you have someone you can take with you when asking questions? It is good to have that person help with asking questions and writing information down for you. Also, don't be alarmed by the lack of understanding and empathy by people out there. Insurance agencies and government really don't want to pay out the money and they have little understanding of cavernous angiomas; try not to take their attitude or tone personally.
This forum has been very, very helpful to me. Keep posting questions and concerns and read through old posts. I really hope you have support and I hope you get some more questions answered by a neurosurgeon soon. Take care!
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Re: Newly diagnosed questions about driving

Postby Silvercloud » Sun Aug 24, 2014 12:52 pm

Thank you for your response Dana. Am I to understand that I may never get my license back because of possible bleeds? Unfortunately we are non unionized but my husband works in a union, I guess as soon as I find out from the neurosurgeon what lies ahead he will have to find out if I am covered but I doubt it. I will ask the Dr. About this and see if he can write me a letter for at least short term medical.
This is pretty overwhelming but I'm reading as much as I can about my condition. I appreciate all the information on this forum and can see this is a very supportive group! One day at a time.
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Re: Newly diagnosed questions about driving

Postby Elizabeth » Sun Aug 24, 2014 3:40 pm

I don't know about the laws, rules, and regulations in Canada..even in the US its different in every state. My situation was that I didn't drive for about 2 years. I never actually got my licence taken away, I just felt like I was unsafe to drive so I didn't. When the time came to return to driving, I took a class for people with brain injuries. They passed me, and I brought the certificate to my doctor along with the form for the department of motor vehicals here. In California, the law is that if nobody reports you, then you need to report yourself if you have had a neurological condition that could impact your ability to drive. I didn't want to hassel with my insurance company later...god forbid I should have an accident later and I didn't report myself. So , my doctor filled out the paper, and I sent it in with the driving school certificate. They responded saying I was OK to drive again, and its been slow getting back to it, but I feel pretty good about driving now..just short durations because its exhausting. Point is check the laws and cover your bases, you probably will be allowed to drive again if you are safe enough. If that's a major goal for you, check, ask, and check again....what steps do you need to take to drive and are you safe enough? Driving is very dangerous, so you want to be sure you are able to drive safely before taking to the road.
Best wishes!
Diagnosed September '09 with one CM centered in the right insular cortex/basal ganglia. Saw many, many doctors and had surgery 12/10/10 with Dr. Spetzler. I am thrilled to have this bleeding thing out of my head even though I suffered a stroke during surgery. Have had/ continue to make an amazing recovery. http://www.thankfulforeveryday.blogspot.com
Elizabeth
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Re: Newly diagnosed questions about driving

Postby dana » Sun Aug 24, 2014 4:13 pm

Hello Silvercloud,
I'm sorry...I did not mean to imply that you could never drive again! As you stated, you will know more after seeing the neurosurgeon. My daughter has epilepsy and has had periods in her life where her license was revoked. In her case, a seizure free year and a letter stating so got her license back on track. Elizabeth is right and as we know in Canada, our laws vary from province to province. My situation was somewhat like Elizabeth's; my license was not taken away, but the neurosurgeon asked me not to drive for a few months. Have you checked out the Angioma Alliance Canada website? As well, "vandy" on this forum is from Ontario and he is very involved in Angioma Alliance Canada (which is also based in Ontario). Cheers :D
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Re: Newly diagnosed questions about driving

Postby vandy » Sun Aug 24, 2014 8:51 pm

Hi and Welcome Silvercloud,

I read your post and will try to give a reply tomorrow (Monday Aug 25). I am very tired right now and my headache is pretty severe. Thanks for your patience.

Best Wishes,

Henk :ugeek:
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Re: Newly diagnosed questions about driving

Postby Silvercloud » Mon Aug 25, 2014 11:43 pm

Thank you everyone! It makes me feel better to know the job I love so much may still be there. At this point my neurologist has notified the MTO. I imagine I will be notified of their decision one way or another. I feel absolutely fine with the exception of being forgetful and sometimes using a close but not optimum word. hopefully the neurosurgeon will be able to answer more questions. I am thinking of sending my MRI to get get a second opinion as this seems suggested quite often.
I'm sorry about your headache Henk, take care of yourself!
One day at a time
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Re: Newly diagnosed questions about driving

Postby vandy » Wed Aug 27, 2014 1:00 pm

Hi Silvercloud,

Sorry for the delay. Headaches have been keeping me a bit more on the couch.

Welcome to the forum, I am glad you found us.

So sorry to hear that you had to battle cancer. Have they declared you cancer free? Are you still having health issues from the cancer and/or the treatments? Hope you have fully recovered from that.

On our web site we have posted some information as to what to look into when it comes to disability and insurances to help you to continue a living. http://www.angioma.ca/node/13

Anyway. To go back to your specific issues regarding the cavernous angioma. If you do not have any seizures, there should be no need to report this to the MTO. I would ask your neurologist why he/she thinks it needs to be reported. Inform him that you are a bus driver and require your job. I have multiples and have had several bleeds, yet I still have my licence and am allowed to drive. I do have difficulties driving in busy areas and so my wife does most of the driving.

Have you looked into what insurances your employer is offering? Many employers have LTD benefits and you may have to apply for them especially if they are taking your licence away. I may sure hope the Dr. is willing to support any medical claims you file if he/she is taking your licence away. CPP offers a disability pension if you are disabled and can no longer work. There are some requirements you must meet. The web site I mentioned earlier has the link to the CPP page and you may look into that. It takes at least 4 months for them(CPP) to decide. If you need assistance perhaps a lawyer may assist you in obtaining proper coverage.

Hope this helps to get started. Please try to relax and read up on this disease by visiting the http://www.angioma.ca or http://www.angioma.org web sites. Knowledge is power, and unfortunately many Dr.'s are still too unfamiliar with this rare disease. You have to become your own advocate. With more knowledge and, like you are planning, additional opinions from top medical specialists you will feel more comfortable and more in control.

Best Wishes,

Henk :ugeek:
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