In the early days of Chris’ diagnosis I was very black and white.
The leg had to go.
It was easy for me to say, it wasn’t my leg, my life.
But for me it was simple.
If the leg as it was stayed, infested with a tumour taking over, damaging bones, nerves, muscles, trying to kill, it would be unlikely he would be around to walk Lily down the aisle.
If it went, if the tumours went, then he would get to be father of the bride, he would give himself a much better chance of seeing the kids grow up.
He would be able to walk again.
It’s only been 4 months since the amputation.
It’s seems to have gone so fast, yet it feels like a lifetime ago.
Unconscious changes, amendments have happened and life has shifted, evolved ever so slightly.
He worried before the operation that he would become completely dependent on people, on me.
That he would rely on somebody else for everything.
That the kids would be scared of him, that they wouldn’t want to or he wouldn’t be able to play with them.
He quickly realised that he was much more able, more independent than he ever could have imagined.
He’s been able to adapt many tasks to make it work for him. Now he has an automatic car he has gained independence and is able to get himself about a bit more.
Things are not easy for him.
Simple tasks, like carrying a cup of tea, going to the toilet, getting upstairs, tasks many of us take for granted require thought and effort.
Everything is awkward, tiring, energy sappy.
Even without the added side effects of chemo.
A constant reminder of cancer.
Going out now needs planning and thought. Will the surface be steady enough for a wheelchair, is the distance close enough for crutches, is the place we are going accessible to make the day a little less stressful.
I have been frustrated, not at him, ‘cause that would be ridiculous, but at the situation.
Where once certain activities with the kids and household tasks were shared, it is now down to me.
I can’t get on top of the things, which then makes me get frustrated with myself, I should at least get jobs done in the house.
I hadn’t realised how much I relied on him to help with the juggle.
I try to keep in mind that this isn’t forever.
Last week his new leg came home.
He was so excited, he said he hadn’t felt that way since he was a kid on Christmas morning.
It spent 2 days ‘sat’ on the sofa next to him.
The kids reaction was amazing and really gave him a big boost of confidence.
Sam hugged and kissed Chris’ stump and then hugged the new leg. As soon as Chris put it on he wanted him to run and play football, something he usually asks me to do.
We often say that Sam doesn’t understand or realise what’s gone on, he will always remember his daddy as having one leg, but his reaction made us realise that even at 2 he had some comprehension of the enormity of this new leg and what it means.
Lily was beyond excited, she hadn’t realised it would be home! Exclaiming ‘Daddy, it’s sooooo cooool, you look like a robot!’
It does look cool, when you look at the engineering that’s gone into it and knowing what it will do for Chris.
It won’t be easy, he has already undergone several physio appointments to practise walking on a prosthetic and will need more to be able to walk naturally with no aides like sticks or crutches.
It will take time.
Before this happened to Chris, I didn’t comprehend the effort, concentration and guts needed to trust yourself to take a step, put a foot you can’t feel down in a way so you don’t fall over, when for 34 years his brain did that without even really thinking.
I need to keep reminding him to slow down, to give his body time to recover from chemo, to not be so hard on himself.
To try to walk before he can run.
He is amazing.
I am so proud of him.
He will walk again.
And when he does he will have a list of jobs I’ve been unable to do without him.