HELENI BAGIARTAKIS

My husband was diagnosed with a brain tumour. That came right out of left field. He woke up one morning and
he had no feeling on the right side of his face. We dropped everything, took him straight to the doctors and within
days we were consulting neurosurgeons.

The tumour that they removed was thankfully benign but it had grown to the size of a small orange.
The numbness was because his brain became constricted to half its space to allow room for this growing tumour.

It took a while for his brain to naturally expand back into its natural space. He had big problems with balance and
motion.

When something like that happens, it really does force you to reassess the priorities in your life. You have to balance;
balance being there for your husband, balancing work, balancing a young family.

I learned putting certain other things to the side for a period of time doesn’t mean that you care about them
less or that you’re turning your back on them. It quite simply means it’s not a priority at that point.

Watching my husband go through his recovery had quite a significant impact.

There were times were I wasn’t coping. What helped was exercise. I picked up running for the first time in my life, I
rode my bike more, I swam more. I’ve even done triathlons.

I found the physicality of letting go of the nerves and focusing on a goal really helped me a lot.

My husband was able to go back to work some years later, but on a part time basis. There’s been a much bigger
balance in our lives – we share the home duties now.

We’ve become stronger for each other. There are some long term effects, but thankfully they are not serious.

Little things like he doesn’t have a sense of smell or taste anymore, he has chronic sinus problems, and physically
he isn’t quite the same. But we are grateful for the opportunity to grow as human beings through this.

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