A Love Story
The brain tumour - a love story
I rode my bike for half an hour this morning. Previously, that is, pre surgery, a half hour bike ride would not have registered at all on Katrina’s radar, but today she was ecstatic because my current normal makes thirty minutes of intense exercise monumental. Katrina supervises me every time I get on the bike to make sure that after my rides, my legs don’t give way, meaning I end up on my backside with nowhere to go. When that has happened, it takes the same amount of energy and dexterity (if not more), for me to figure out how to get up again. It can be an uphill battle, but then again, hills are my thing.
It’s not all bad. I remind myself that riding a stationary bike hard for 30 minutes is good by almost any measure. I get daily head massages, which temporarily relieves the constant fog I’m in. And having my wife race upstairs to bring tissues down so that I can blow my perpetually running nose is gratifying if not memorable. I am reminded constantly, of the progress I am making, though it doesn’t feel like it. I am reminded that I am, purportedly, a walking miracle, when what I want is normality, although the definition of what normal is is being continually redrafted. I am still physically unstable, it requires hard work most of the time, to merely stay upright. I can’t just get up from sitting down, it requires thought, some considerable effort, and usually two or three attempts to raise myself.
I have gone from having my left arm being completely unusable to its being somewhat usable, I can move it, which is more that can be said about it a couple of months ago. I can hold a glass but I wouldn’t put money on my being able to prevent it from falling to the floor.
As for walking, it’s improving slowly but a 2 kilometre walk exhausts me, my left leg starts to tire to the point of physical embarrassment (my embarrassment, mind you). It was all I could do, this past weekend, to get home, after running an errand and buying milk. I was knackered.
But I am getting back to some sort of normality, wearing button up shirts (that I can do up myself), rather than the rehabilitation hospital uniform of track suit pants and t-shirt the start of it. I’m striving for independence, but I still need to depend on my wife for so much of the day to day – the things we normally take for granted. My offer to cook dinner the other night after Katrina’s long day at work was thwarted as I almost diced my finger, rather than the onion, my grip just not steady enough yet. I will get there.
But with all that comes perspective and a certainty that for all I have been through, I have changed. Katrina said that, within days of my surgery, she could see that I had the twinkle back in my eye, that I am a gentler, more caring soul. I can attest to it. I see things differently, I am less judgmental, which is important to remember because we are all, to some degree, sitting, judging others. Not as much bothers me, I’m more bothered that Katrina has the workload she has, she has taken on everything.
Our dear friend Fleur called what Katrina and I are going through a love story. That it is. At the moment I have nothing to offer her but such is her love for me that, to her, it doesn’t matter. She watches my back at every turn. She makes sure that I’m well, she worries if I’m in pain. The whole thing is a love story alright.