The next day my wife and I were talking awkwardly and I wasn’t quite sure how to proceed with her. I’d spent all week only sleeping 45 minutes to an hour at a time. I had to pee when I was awake every 20 minutes or so. I was coming off steroids and pain medication and felt very off balanced. My wife seemed very distant and it was all very confusing. I went to a hat tournament that was benefitting one of my friends Splat and got to see a lot of the ultimnd get thate crowd. They were glad to see me but several of them noticed that I was off and while polite and cordial would not tell me so for a while. Something that several of them noticed was the fact that unlike usual I was not cracking jokes not understanding them. This would continue for a while and when people would say something funny I had to process it more and then finally would either realize they were kidding or if I couldn’t see the humor (more often than not), I would ask them to explain themselves and after a short explanation I would understand that it was a joke.
My wife and I went to a musical concert to support our friend Alexa that afternoon with our daughter and it was the first and only time I’d ever left a concert early from lack of energy. Kiana was also fidgety which was also taking a lot of energy out of me. I’d been told to keep the weight that I picked up to under 10 lbs and tried to pick her up and could literally feel muscles in my jaw pulling and it was less than pleasant.
We would talk again that evening and the conversation was again awkward and painful. We had gone on a walk and I had to stop and pee on trees several times and she appeared remarkably mean or indifferent about it and told me, have you talked to your doctor about this? I had spent the week at Duke trying to get my brother or my friend Alex to change my plane ticket so I could get back to her quickly but she didn’t seem to care. It would be the beginning of would become fairly obvious that brain cancer for me had led me to realize that my family needed better connection, to address some issues, work on some problems some years old. My wife had apparently also arrived at that conclusion but appeared to be leaning away as I was trying to fix things. I was in enough of a hazy faze that I thought maybe it was just exhaustion talking from her point of view and that this was going to be one of those rough patches of marriage that supposedly the good marriages go through arough but in my world where so much had just been threatened in life, including life itself, how was I supposed to just accept that the woman who was most significant in getting me through it was trying to check out? In my natural tendency to try to put some order into the universe, I set my mind in trying to make things work and that perhaps like all the other jokes I wasn’t getting that she was just kidding.