By Andru McCracken

McBride Mayor Gene Runtz has been out of commission since the first week of August due to vestibular neuronitis, a condition affecting his inner ear and his balance, but he’s recovering, and if his doctors advise it, he’ll be back serving in his role as mayor by the end of the month.

Runtz said the dizziness and his inability to walk unassisted kept him mostly confined to bed.

“It just levelled me,” he said.

But the time he has taken to recover has been good for him, his diet and health have improved, and he’s lost 70 pounds.

“My heart is better than the average person my age,” he said.

While testing Runtz for a stroke, doctors found a small tumor on the lining of his skull that cushions the brain.

“They called it small, but not tiny,” he said.

His medical team will continue to monitor the tumor to see if it is growing. The tumor isn’t brain cancer, but it poses a risk to the surrounding tissue that no longer has the benefit of the cushion.

His ear condition affected his ability to read for any length of time; that’s improving and a new monitor for his computer has helped him read more.

“I am going to need some special assistance for sure because I have problems with the reading part,” said Runtz.

Runtz said that he’s appreciated the support he has received from his fellow councilors and village residents.

“People have been really nice,” he said. “I am in really good spirits. I look at myself being very fortunate.”