I first dabbled in writing a number of years ago. There was a story in me aching to be told. It was the story of how I survived a brain tumor. Not mine. My son’s.
Matthew, our older of two boys, was 11 at the time he was diagnosed. No one knows exactly when or how the tumor began. What I know is that in 1994, at the age of eight, Matthew started to become, well, not Matthew.
It took three years to arrive at the correct diagnosis of brain tumor. Myriad misleading diagnoses, clueless doctors, and baffling behavior changes in my son nearly caused me to self-destruct in those years.
The tumor is medically benign, as if anything capable of such devastation merits that description. The tumor is also inoperable. Clinging to Matthew’s brain stem, it hides so deeply within fragile tissue that any attempt to reach it would have cause irreparable harm. It’s still there, which is why I refer to it in the present tense; so far it’s been 20 years.
Matthew will live with his tumor forever. I hope that’s a long, long time.
And I’m hoping my memoir won’t take forever to finish, although, some days, it seems like it will. When I’m not working on my memoir manuscript, I’m usually writing an essay or other piece of creative nonfiction. In nice weather, I like to garden. On gloomy days, I like to nap. It’s a simple life, just the way I like it.
Even simple lives have obligations, so if you’ll excuse me, I have work to do.