Today marks 3 weeks since surgery!!! 21 days out and I think I’m doing pretty darn good. I feel stronger and more back to normal with each day that passes. I got my staples removed on Monday, my CT scans look good, the brain swelling is down and returning to normal function (and the tumor is still not there anymore, which is a great thing). The doctors have me taking it pretty easy, I still am not able to drive, lift much, return to work, or do many other functions. There’s a lot to recover from when they cut open your brain and remove a tumor, and one of the hardest lessons to learn in this whole process has been slowing down. It’s also been one of the best lessons I’ve learned.
It was one month ago today, on January 17th that I learned I had a tumor. Today, I am reminded of how time stood still that day. How in a single sentence, all of the sudden everything was different, and there was no going back to the way things were before. The pace of life changed in an instant. Everything stopped, the 4 hours we were in the ER now seem like seconds, the next three days in the ICU seemed like minutes and the 10 days spent preparing for surgery now seem like they passed in the blink of an eye. Since that moment the speed of our life has been so different than it was before. I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss the fast paced world which I had grown accustomed to; the world where we were always going, always doing something, always working on something.
I have gained, from being forced to slow down, a true spirit of thankfulness and respect for life and for the moments that make it. Slowing down to stop and take a look around to truly appreciate what life is all about. I think that’s normal for someone going through any difficult medical situation, but I think it’s not a mindset reserved for an exclusive club of health-afflicted people.
Here’s what I mean…just one of many great moments I have been able to savor while recovering, but our most recent gem of a family moment. Our three year old Avery has learned to write her name, so she did on her magnetic board last night. Sure the E is a little goofy, but I am so proud of her to be able to do this at 3 years old. More than this accomplishment, the excitement she had with her own ability was truly remarkable and something that was so special to be a part of. As a parent we always look for these great moments, and it’s not that pre-tumor Ryan would have missed this moment, but pre-tumor Ryan would not have had the appreciation for what this moment is, something to cherish and something to celebrate. And then, in true sisterly fashion, Hadley refuses to be upstaged. She too wants to show off her work. She made sure to show us that she can write and wanted a picture taken of her efforts as well. This is life in slow motion, life paid attention to. There’s a unique mix of a lot going on for me these days and at the same time there’s not much going on these days. There’s all kinds of information, questions and plans running through my head, but at the same time recovery is a slow process, and allowing recovery to take place takes effort to slow yourself down. I am so thankful for my daughters for showing me how important it is to allow myself to slow down and rather than be frustrated with the pace of life, to instead enjoy the perks of life in the slow lane. I will be back to fast paced life soon enough, that is a fact I am confident in, and something I look forward to; but I am also confident that life is not the same as it was before, that now the appreciation I have for each day as the gift it is will shape how I see the world, to slow down just enough to really take in the view and love what we have been given.