The other night, after all the kids were in bed, I stood at the kitchen sink doing dishes, and cried.
It’s hard to explain why. Anguish? Self pity? Relief? Probably a little bit of each of those and a few more I haven’t put a name to yet. I keep telling myself the main thing is I’m not crying with grief, so go for it.
What I find is I well up more now than at the beginning of this ordeal. Not that historically I haven’t been known to leak around the eyes when the moment’s called for it. I still can’t think for too long about Michael Landon’s Highway To Heaven (a television touchstone of the eighties) without getting emotional.
But it’s like when the emotional tap was finally fully turned on the seal was damaged and can’t be properly turned off now. And I’m running with it.
Like the other day when I pulled into our local service station down the road and filled up.
“Just on card,” I told the bloke, reaching into my pocket.
He waved the suggestion off.
“No, don’t worry about that,” he said. “You’ve got a lot of expenses heading down to Brisbane and back, and the staff here want to help you out with this.”
I shook his hand, said thank you, and drove away gobsmacked yet again at the support Tracey and I and the kids have been receiving from people.
Before I’d made it to the set of lights 800 meters up the road I’d welled up again.
And it felt good. They were happy tears in appreciation of the community I’m a part of.
The funny thing is, for all I’m even more likely to dehydrate than ever I feel more in touch with the world around me and within me and, contradictorily, more in control. I wouldn’t change how I’m feeling emotionally for anything.
Thank you again to everyone for the messages and prayers and positive vibes and offers of support. Thank you for lighting candles. Thank you for sending bears and toys and books and Tracey pillows for the kids. Thank you for putting Keep Fighting Tracey stickers on your cars. Thank you for collecting images of bird poo. Thank you for fundraising or participating in the fundraising. Thank you for carrying me through this journey. Thank you for caring.
Now it has been a recurring question both on my blog and when I’m walking around town as to how Tracey is going because I haven’t posted anything on her for a while. I have, only I’ve been throwing the updates at the bottom of the more usual things I tend to post about on this blog, such as me wearing my wife’s shorts around Brisbane and loving it.
So what I’ve done here is to correlate all those little updates together so people can get up to speed.
13 November 2015
Post: Like Father, Like Son. Almost
And because I can’t wait another day to give you this FANTASTIC news, here it is – Tracey stood up today!! On her feet and everything! Look at that expression (photo at top of this post)
She’s so determined to get home to her kids it’s just about all she talks about. I mean I’ve tried to bring sex into our conversations but that topic isn’t gaining any traction at all ? Sadly, I was home when she made these small steps for mankind but big steps for the woman involved, but that doesn’t stop me from being over the moon. You are amazing, Tracey! I love you xxx
18 November 2015
Post: Clothes Maketh The Man
Speaking of new clothes, I bought Tracey a shirt on eBay and it arrived earlier this week so I got to present her with it today. It’s very her.
In other news, when I arrived back at the ward this afternoon Tracey was being helped up onto a walking frame.
“Awesome,” I said, reaching for my phone and trying to remember how to film video.
She was most the way towards me before I managed to tap the right app.
“You might want to put that away,” said Tracey.
“Are you kidding? This is fantastic. I want to show everyone back in Gympie!”
At which point Tracey manoeuvred the frame through the bathroom doors towards the loo.
So maybe next time?
22 November 2015
Post: Bad Genes or Jeans
The lastest on my lovely wife is she’s now been moved to her own room, which is nice. Less snoring. Less traffic. More sleep.
Tracey also phoned me up this morning a bit chuffed with herself because she’d managed to stand up, unaided, at the sink and wash her hands, which is yet another step forward. They’re looking at putting some sort of ink through her this week to give them an idea of how things are progressing in terms of leaks and blockages, which again is fantastic news.
But the best news is a message I received from Tracey yesterday.
There’s nothing like a bit of boredom in your day to let you know things are progressing beyond the threat of imminent death.
23 November 2015
Post: Why Little Kids Prefer Shopping With Dad
Most fantastic news from the Royal Brisbane Womens Hospital today – Tracey is now able to get out of bed by herself and go to the bathroom unassisted, so essentially she’s now on par with our three year old.
Tracey also put up the following message on her Facebook wall today:
Thank you everyone for all your support and well wishes. The last few months have been a huge surprise journey for me and not one I would recommend. I’m so grateful that I got my second chance, I feel very lucky. Don’t take anything for granted as things can change suddenly. I never thought I would be sitting in a hospital for months. You have all been so generous and kind to our family and I just wanted to say that I really appreciate it. I don’t even think that my words cover how thankful we are. So many of you have done wonders for us. I look forward to catching up with everyone once I’m home. xxx
26 November 2015
And finally, today’s update.
Yesterday they put an ink or dye through Tracey to see how things were standing up on her insides. Nerve-racking stuff.
We’re still waiting to hear the final results, but the one very positive and amazing and wonderful thing we’ve managed to take away from it so far is she has a path all the way from her mouth to her chocolate starfish. That should hopefully mean she can eat. It’ll just be whether or not her body has enough small intestine left to withdraw the nutrients it needs to sustain her, or if she’ll still have to remain on TPN to survive.
Time, and the most excellent Dr Brown, will tell.
BREAKING NEWS: Just got word Dr Brown has been in and he’s happy with how things are progressing: there’s a little fluid in her lungs and a little blood pooled in her belly, but he’s confident they’ll both sort themselves out. I could tell from the excitement in Tracey’s voice she had even bigger news for me and she didn’t disappoint. Dr Brown wants Tracey to start drinking water to test things out – a litre a day. Tracey is so thirsty she can’t wait to get started!
~ ~ ~
Thank you again to everyone involved in keeping our Tracey alive and in with a chance. If you would like to do something wonderful please consider donating to one of the heroes of this ordeal – Care Flight who got Tracey where she needed to be quickly and safely. I gave them $100 as a thank you. This is a service we need to ensure continues because it saves live, keeping mummies around for their kids and hapless husbands.
Really?!? Tracey’s doctor, the doctor specialising in the track to her “chocolate starfish”, is called… Dr Brown?!?
Please, please, PLEASE tell me this is not your usual pun and this is a real doctor!! 😀
PS> Still smiling with your good news.
lol 100% genuine doctor name 🙂 Hadn’t actually made the connection myself. Probably because I get flustered when I see him. He’s a bit of a legend to me.
Bazinga!!??? You missed another one. That may be why Dr. Brown is the doctor…it’s his job to make the connections.
Being fully paralyzed sucks and all, but the worst part of being on a respirator was my self-enforced five week separation from my three young kids. I just couldn’t justify letting them see me like that. I know a bit about how Tracey is feeling, there. The complete motivation to get home.
My favorite memories from when they finally came include my one-year old shouting out “Mummy! Mummy!” though she wouldn’t come any closer than the door. I was just happy to be recognized. My son, inquiring what number needed to occur on the monitor for me to come home, suggesting 100, 58, and zero, to which my husband replied, somewhat matter-of-fact “No, that means she’s dead.” Some will call that callous, but his humor helped me through just like I know yours does Tracey. My middle child sang. And danced. And was kind enough to love her hospital room birthday party.
I’m really enjoying your blog. Welling happy tears, and all.
Awesome!! Was that west, with the fuel? They’re great like that!!
Glad to hear Traceys doing so well!!
Awesome, keeping my fingers crossed that your results are good.
Absolutely thrilled for you Bruce. I’m so not surprised you get teary. I think it’s natural for your body to go through this process. Crying is a way your body processes and let’s go of stress and anguish. You are a wonderful couple…I pray for Tracey to continually improve and come home quickly. Xo
Fantastic news to hear. All the best with Tracey and your family from us down here under the country. Look forward to seeing pictures of her back in her home environment, she’ll recover must better back home (trust me, I’ve had major surgery too, and its so much easier once you’re home)
Really great read these updates and know that Tracey is doing so well.
I feel teary just reading your joy. I’m so happy for you, and your lovely family. And just speechless at what a fighter your wife is! Go her!
So happy for you and Tracey Bruce! You are a legend too by the way. All those “Happy Tears” are very good for you Bruce. (And proves you are human too – Hehehe) It’s really great you are loving where you are emotionally. Keep up the great job. Stay with this positivity!
As for Tracey, I sure hope all those tests come back as positive as the one you have talked about. So so happy The pathway for food is completely open. Our miracle is continuing to evolve. Yay Tracey! Keep up your end of making it happen. Will continue our prayers until you are home safe and sound to your babies. xxxx
So happy to be a Gympieite! So proud of my home town.
Cry all you need it is great for the soul
And as you said how wonderful is it that they are not tears of grief!!! So glad Tracey is doing so well! And I bet she is stocked food might be in her future!
So happy to hear the tears make sense.
Way to go guys
Great news and lovely to catch up. Keep that smile on your dial Tracey and cry all you want, both of you. 🙂
Seems you have your very own episode of Highway To Heaven going on here. I’m SO DELIGHTED with the news. I’ve been wondering how Tracey was doing. Tell her she’s famous here in Ireland too. X
Ah Bruce, you’re just becoming more like a woman! Your emotions are all right below the surface so the slightest thing can set off the water works. My husband and I have discussed this at length, particularly why I am more prone to crying after having kids, and we have concluded that women in general are just more receptive to their environment and respond accordingly. I hope your transition stops at man boobs and you don’t start menstruating!
I love the positive tone of these updates. Go Tracey!
Wonderful to hear of Tracey’s amazing progress. Was thinking that you need a t shirt too Bruce, how about Almighty Bruce?
Wow……..she’s doing so well. Thanks for the update Bruce. I’ve posted a link so the SS forum community can see the news.
Thanks Mary L 🙂
I am so amazed and happy about Tracey’s progress. What a legend!
I think there’s something really emotional about feeling support you never even dreamed you could receive. While it’s been nothing on the scale of what you guys have been going through, I recently opened up about some stuff and it was hard being vulnerable and having to ask for emotional support and understanding – I was emotional (read: cry baby) for weeks afterwards. I couldn’t believe how amazing people can be. How loved you can feel when you let people reach out. So keep on blubbering away – it truly feels good in the weirdest way!
The new haircut is gorgeous and Tracey looks amazing. Made me a bit teary to think of the progress she has made, so I can totally understand your waterworks Bruce.
I was speaking with Carmel at Woollies the other day and so pleased to hear things are progressing well for you Tracey. So wonderful to see you up and about beaming your signature smile. Thanks for adding to the blog Bruce, so wonderful to note the progression in Tracey’s recovery. All the very best wishes to you both, the children and extended families. Regards Barb
You guys are such an amazing family and I am so inspired by your courage. Thank you for the update on my old high school buddy, Tracey 🙂 Words can not express how heartbroken I am to hear of your circumstances. I am so proud of Tracey after reading your article. Please pass on our love to Tracey and your beautiful family. All the blessings in the world, The Sizer Family (Troy, Meryn and Felicity).
What a terrific pair Tracey and you are. I think that’s what they mean by real “Aussie Battlers”. It doesn’t have to be monetary, it can also mean “Strong of Spirit”. Never giving up.Your children will be so proud of you both, if they don’t realize it yet, they will as they mature. Maggie
So happy to hear!! Go Girl!! 🙂
Thinking of you all <3
I’m so happy things are looking good 🙂 My 20 mth old son was diagnosed with cancer in April, he is responding well to treatment but I know what it’s like to have your world turn on it’s end. Have been following and is so great Tracey is doing so well. Bruce your writing style is pure joy to read x
that hair cut is stunning.
so glad to hear Tracey is making progress.
I saw Tracey in the hairdressers the other day. Best wishes from one big family to another xx
Bruce. My brother went through a very similar journey in Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital about 12 years ago and although they said he would have to be fed intravenously for the rest of his life he has managed on frequent small snacks every few hours and is still able to mow lawns , chop firewood and tend his vege garden . Plays golf every week , goes fishing. No problem . Just little steps and keep on living and loving .
“How beautiful is she”
Made me tear up. Sending love from a stranger.
Hi Tracy well you have been through so much. They say God only send us what we can handle. Well I think all the angels in heaven were with you and watching from above. You have a amazing husband and children. I do not know you but am so proud of your fight and courage. One day when I come to convention in Queensland I will come and buy you louche or what ever you can have my dear. I lost my beautiful mother to bowl cancer. So I know a little of your fight and what your family have been through. I will be reading your wonderful husbands posts online to meet up with what is happening. I send love and prayers and hugs. To you on your journey of recovery and to your dear family and friends. Love and prayers nola s.a.
Just awesome news…. Just awesome Bruce and Family. I’m so pleased everything is going on the right direction. Emotions are great it reminds us we are alive. It reminds us we are lucky to feel. I’m so pleased you feel so well supported xx
Great to see all the updates in one place, and wonderful that she’s doing so well. The crying is a bit of… well I’m going to say PTSD, but it probably doesn’t quite fit that definition. Basically you have enough time and space to process stuff now, and you are. You might have thought you were processing stuff while you were on the rollercoaster, but mostly you were reacting, coping and putting as much as possible into the “deal with it later” basket. It’s now later. 🙂 It’ll take a while, and come in dribs and drabs (based on my experience at least – I still find myself tearing up, and my son came home nearly 3 years ago.)
Best wishes to Tracey for eating, drinking and coming home soon. So awesome to be able to say that.
So happily following every update on Tracey, what a fighter! Thank god for the doctor that wanted to keep her on the meds and give her body a chance to heal itself when there was talk of palliative care. Did they ever work out why this happened to a young healthy women in the first place?