Stephen Norwood - Cancer - Balance 1

Stephen Norwood banner


Not getting the balance right!

The anniversary of my surgery passed and I was enjoying my new role as a specialist teacher visiting schools and giving advice on behaviour management. My knee was now completely healed and with the improving weather I thought that it was time to get out on my bike.

So one Saturday morning my son, James, and I decided to go for a bike ride. We wheeled the bikes round to the front of the house and set off. After a few metres I stopped. I seemed to have a problem with the steering. I checked the handlebars and the alignment with the front wheel. Seemed OK. I tried again and cycled about fifty metres to the end of road where as I slowed I lost my balance and had to put my foot down to save myself from falling. Again I checked the bike over to make sure it was OK. We set off again and turned into a road going uphill. I travelled another fifty metres when suddenly I over corrected my steering and found myself face down on the tarmac. I got up and tried to work out what was wrong with the bike. James was more concerned with what was wrong with me. Blood was running down my neck from a nasty cut in my chin. A helpful lady from a nearby house came rushing over with some towels for me to stem the flow of blood. James rang Catherine and again we were off to A&E, this time to get my chin cleaned up and glued.

Following this incident I became increasingly aware of subtle differences whilst I was doing everyday things. For example, bumping in to walls when I turned a corner on the stairs and not following the curved path in the garden. When I squatted down to load the washing machine I sometimes lost my balance and fell backwards. I also became aware that the world I saw moved up and down like camera shake as I walked. It seems silly now but I started asking myself whether this was how I had always seen things but had just not noticed before. Was this the way everybody saw things? Of course the answer was no and I observed a proof of this in my side to side head movements. When I moved my head slowly the world stays still and where I am looking in this world moved to the right or left depending on the way the direction the head was turned. This is the way normal vision works. However, when I turned my head quickly to the right there was a brief moment when the world moved to the left. It didn't happen when I turned my head to the left quickly. There was clearly a problem.