A Milton-born flight medic is looking forward to the culmination next month of a five-year sporting journey of recovery from a brain tumour.
On an otherwise typical morning in 2018, Royal New Zealand Air Force medic Flight Sergeant Stacey Adam woke up to find she was unable to speak coherently.
Doctors discovered a large brain tumour and, three weeks later, she underwent surgery to remove it.
Flt Sgt Adam said the youngest of her two sons was just four and a-half months old when she was diagnosed, and everything happened ‘‘very quickly’’.
‘‘It actually felt like a relief to have a diagnosis, even though it was all within 12 hours of presenting to the emergency department,’’ she said.
‘‘Knowing that I was going to have surgery within three weeks meant there was no time to think.
‘‘I guess you could say I went into survival mode.
‘‘I focused on what I needed to get done.
‘‘Probably the scariest part after I was diagnosed was having chest and abdominal scans later that day.
‘‘I knew they were looking for secondary tumours and cancer.’’
Thankfully it was not cancer, but it had been a long and hard road to recovery since.
The culmination of that journey will be next month, at the 2023 Invictus Games in Dusseldorf, Germany.
The games offer a recovery pathway for international wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women.
The former Tokomairiro High School pupil will compete in rowing, table tennis, swimming and athletics.
‘‘Sport has always been a big part of my life and I enjoy being part of a team, but I lost my confidence to participate and compete.
‘‘I applied for Invictus as a way to help me regain some of my confidence and find a path to acceptance of both my illness and the new me.’’
She was selected for the 2020 Invictus Games in the Netherlands, but they were cancelled due to Covid.
She said indoor rowing was her strongest event, whereas table tennis might be more about ‘‘taking part’’.
‘‘Everywhere you go in the military there’s a table tennis table for recreation.
‘‘So if you’re in the forces, you can usually hold a bat.’’
Flt Sgt Adam, who is based at Woodbourne, near Blenheim, said she was looking forward to exploring Germany and to meeting ‘‘inspiring’’ fellow athletes who had similar challenges in common.