Why I Walk | Kelly

GBM: These three letters have taken a lot from me. My beloved occupation, hints of independence, occasional confidence, a sense of security,  beautiful bike rides, a hobby of crafting, the ability to lift a glass (Solo or otherwise) or feel my sweet husband holding my left hand. GBM does not let me wear earrings, clasp a necklace, put in contacts, style my hair, type with two hands, tie a shoe or open a ziplock.

Over time, I’ve become a master at allowing myself a simple word with profound meaning: Grace. I am mindful as I patiently learn to navigate life differently than before. I pump the breaks when I sense myself growing irritated at the basket of laundry before me that now takes 3x longer to fold than days gone by. Instead I’ll find joy and accomplishment tucking away each imperfectly folded (or unfolded) piece.

October marks (24) months post diagnosis. To say ‘it feels like we’ve lived a lifetime’ since being diagnosed is putting it mildly. There’s rolling coaster of life at Cavallo Pass, the intrusion of COVID and a world that seems to be crumbling. Through it all, I’ve managed to place another feather in my cap: that of living on borrowed time. Remaining on close watch MRIs (every eight weeks), you’ll never hear a sigh of relief or catch me getting overly comfortable. Do I live with mindfulness and caution? Of course. In fear? I refuse. I have been blessed with a saint of a husband, but most importantly, that saint is patient.

What these three small letters have given me are far more than what they have taken. They have given me strength, courage, optimism, hope and fight. Oh, they most definitely have given me fight. These letters have taught me persistence and ways to tirelessly work to find a way around many day to day annoyances:  twisting a door knob, flipping a switch (literally, not figuratively), removing a twist tie from a fresh loaf of bread, learning to sweep the floor one handed (with angular use of a right side) and remembering why it’s always good not to carry too many things at once or the screen on my iPhone will most certainly crack. These three letters have taught me to be innovative. Yes, even a blonde can be innovative.

These letters have renewed my belief in miracles (huge, medium and small), the power of connections, the goodness of mankind and made me grateful every day for the fact I am right handed. They remind me not to be quick to judge a book by its cover. Not only are just a handful of illnesses/disabilities physical in nature, they are a cross the beholder seldom knows how to bear. These letters have taught me determination. It’s okay to be cautious and hesitant in my steps. I have experienced falls, and really would rather not display another one. Its okay to take the time to search high and low for a one handed craft. Turns out I am addicted to it! Crank up the 80s/country tunes and I can (and do) sit in one spot for hours just dotting away. I was able to thank friend Debbie for introducing me to my new favorite hobby: Diamond Dotz. I am blessed to have a very crafty 9-year old niece who explains things far better than any YouTube video could, have a husband who creates beautiful frames and have an opportunity to surprise friends/family with one of the best gifts of all: a ‘just because’ gift.

It’s okay that my treadmill speed is at a slightly slower pace than pre-brain tumor and my duration is not what it once was. I’m getting there. It’s also okay that my walking stride is not as graceful as before and that handrail use is preferred. I’m just thrilled to be back in a COVID free basement gym, on the treadmill and proudly earning a smiley sticker for every day that steps are logged.  Life is good. Didn’t ever really imagine getting to this mind space, but there’s no doubt these three letters have given me far more than they have taken. 💕