This week I have reached another milestone – a set of blood test results that should allow me to re-apply for my medical certificate to allow me to fly again.
CASA (The Civil Aviation Authority) have very strict guidelines for anyone who has been diagnosed with any sort of cancer. They basically assume you will drop dead in the sky no matter how well you have recovered.
In my case with AML, CASA require a detailed letter from my Haematologist, Amit Khot, describing my condition, my treatment and current situation. One of the key things they stipulate is a minimum haemoglobin level of 120.
And for the first time since my Stem Cell Transplant in January my haemoglobin has reached 120! This was my trigger to start my application process with CASA to regain my medical licence.
To that end today I had a visit with my DAME (Designated Aviation Medical Examiner) – who practices in Launceston (and also happens to be a pilot himself – specialising in aerobatics). The meeting was encouraging but at this stage it looks like the application will be made in February after my next bone marrow biopsy in January.
He has also suggested that the easiest way to regain my medical licence will be to inform CASA that I would be happy to initially fly with a ‘safety pilot’ – basically a co-pilot. In the DAME’s experience pilots returning to flying after a malignancy will find CASA look favourably on this method of regaining their licence. Whilst not ideal I am sure I can make this work.
The rest of my results were encouraging – WBC – 7.6, Platelets – 97, Neutrophils 5.4 and Creatinine 106. Hopefully these results have now stabilised but only time will tell.
In the meantime I have slowly been weaning off the steroids and this week have reduced the Prednisolone down to just 5mg/day. It will take another few weeks to come off this drug altogether and with it a myriad of other drugs.
We travelled back to Melbourne on Sunday afternoon to attend a memorial service in Benalla for Dick Tallis’s dad, Peter. He was a fantastic man and his service included some lovely eulogies from his family and friends.
We returned to Tassie on Wednesday having attended a function for Jan’s Aunts and Uncles and their friends on Tuesday night.