f the M.R.I. scan that the neurosurgeon was pointing to was, as it appeared to me, a map of South America, the tumor in the brain of my wife, Denise, was the size of Brazil. Enormous, imposing, bulging all its borders, not to be denied.
It was early October. Denise had not been herself for months. A cheerful and enthusiastic woman, dedicated to her family, her friends, her work, she had become distant, lethargic. Often fatigued, her interests and activities had diminished. Her co-workers had called asking if she was all right, her sisters had taken note, her friends could not understand the changes in her. I thought that she was tired, possibly depressed. I thought that maybe she was in a rut, that patience and empathy was needed.
What was needed was surgery. After a fall at home from which she couldn’t rise we went to the emergency room where the questions, the examinations and an M.R.I. turned up what was wrong: Denise had a meningioma growing in the membrane between her brain and her skull. It had probably been growing for years and was now seven centimeters, of a size and weight that was affecting her vision, her functions, her balance, her personality.
Denise was in the hospital for six weeks. She remained valiant and determined through three brain surgeries and intense physical and occupational therapy. She never faltered. She started therapy as soon as she could, from light bedside therapy, to participation from a wheelchair, through working with a walker, to walking with a cane. I observed one afternoon and was mightily impressed with Denise’s determination to get up and down the training steps, to swing in and out of the car door simulation, to work at it until she was too tired to continue. She wanted to give her all, as she has done since I’ve known her. Denise wanted to return to the people, the interests, the very life that she enjoyed and was missing.
Full story of Denise at The New York Times
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