Tuesday, May 14, 2013

what it feels like to learn you have a brain tumour, if you are me

I was going through some writing from last fall and I found this. I wrote it, in response to a prompt - "Write about falling" - for an online writing class I was taking. Reading this brings me right back to how I felt when I heard the news that the cancer had metastasized to my brain. I share it now because I think it might resonate with anyone who's every been blind-sided with unwelcome news.

“Your CT scans were fine.”

You breathe a sigh of relief.

“But the MRI revealed a spot on your brain.”

And with those words you start falling. You feel the floor crumble beneath you and the sounds of talking fade as you slip away. You're vaguely aware of you own voice, sounding oddly calm, as the faces in the room grow blurry.

All that was solid rushes by and your lungs gasp for air and yet you move more slowly than you would have thought possible. The room, your spouse, the spot of egg on your doctor's tie, the clock on the wall with the time you had noted (you'd been annoyed that your appointment was starting twenty minutes late) recede into the tiniest of specks and the darkness engulfs you.

Falling feels scary and good at the same time. You are panicked but somehow you know that to fall away from your present is as good an escape as any.

And then a voice cuts through. One you know and love. A voice that has brought you back to reality so many times in the past.

And you land, far below where you started, with a thud.

You pick yourself up, reach back up towards those fluorescent lights you've always hated. And slowly, deliberately, reluctantly, you haul yourself back and to sit in the chair on which you started. You don't know what was said in your absence. No one seems to have noticed you were gone.

You find out later that your head nodded, your lips moved and words came out while you were falling. An appointment was booked, reassurances were made and a promise that a plan would soon be in place.

You remember nothing after the words, “spot on your brain.”

It doesn't matter. You've been through something like this before. Someone will fill you in on what you missed while you were falling.

1 comment:

Lene Andersen said...

really powerful. Just rings with truth.