Friday, July 3, 2009

Hang on!

We’ve all probably heard various episodes of life described as being like a roller coaster ride, maybe even used the phrase ourselves at one time or another. Whether it be something positive or negative, many situations lend themselves aptly to that metaphor. You have building anticipation as the ride begins, then a sudden, rapid plunge to frightening depths only to be contrasted with the giddiness of soaring heights...there's speed, swift turns and twists, terror and elation all wrapped up into one extreme ride.

I went back and read all my blog posts since finding the lumps in my breast that have turned out to be cancer. This is clearly one of the wildest roller coaster rides I’ve ever been on. From one post to the next I am up, down and twisted inside out. I found posts where I seemed determined, brave, calm -- even humorous…and then in the very next entry I was plumbing the depths of near inconsolable despair – practically all in the same week. Understandable, of course, but nonetheless striking when you see it all laid out in front of you.

I seem to have reached a little plateau now as I wait for my surgery day. This is not to say I'm even keeled emotionally, just that I am bracing for what comes next. I can see there is a huge, sharp turn ahead and I know after that the car will plunge down faster & further than ever before. I also know that if for no other reason than the fact that what goes down must come back up, I will not crash when I hit bottom, at least not this time. Slowly, at a snails pace perhaps, the tracks will again climb the steep upward summit and who knows what will happen after that.

Hmmm, a loop-de-loop, perhaps?

Meanwhile as the anticipation builds I vacillate between moments of prepared resolve and complete panic-fueled doubt. I could second guess my second guesses right now.

I can't help but wonder, out of curiosity, what an outside observer thinks as they read my little but growing collection of posts on this subject...what over all impression they get from the big picture thus far. Even reading all the posts in order of their occurrence I find it hard to follow a common emotional thread, but then again I’m not very objective. I see things I wish I’d done differently, said differently, felt differently – not regret, just the birds eye view of hindsight.

In years ahead when I come back to this chronicle I wonder what will strike me then…what will I wince at, what will make me cry, what will perhaps even make me laugh. I wish I could fast forward right now, to skip the scary part. But I can’t. Instead I have to just hold on tight for dear life, maybe close my eyes sometimes…scream at the top of my lungs when I can't help it, and wait for the ride to end…or at least to get to the fun part again. I just have to hang on the best I can.

I hope all that celebrate it have a happy Fourth of July. Thanks for coming along on this ride with me, it's always so much nicer to have a hand to hold when things get crazy and the readers of this blog have blessed me with many, loving hands.


Jean said...

Well, first of all I don't like rollercoasters. What is the fun in being scared half out of your wits because you think you may plummet to your death? No, not for me.

Your rollercoaster ride is the only one I've stayed with for various reasons. First, I got to know you a little through your posts about fashion and thought you were interesting and fun. Then, you started writing the 1000 words a day blog - and I was gobsmacked (do you use that word?) because not only could you write, but you could *write*. Wow.

Then, dear K, you told us about your cancer and I have been so amazed by your steadfastness, your determination, your strength and your ability to find humour in the darkest of subjects. So, my overall impression of you/your rollercoaster ride is of an amazing woman on an extraordinary journey, and doing it with grace and spirit. X

Jane said...

I love rollercoaster rides. My life is full of control. I have to be in control at home, at work, with my parents, with my family and so I love the freefall of the rollercoaster where i can sit back and let someone else take the controls for a while. I can't experience the highs unless I've experienced the lows. I come out of it with my legs shaking but glad to be alive and the things I worried about before my rollercoaster ride are forgotten.
I am on a rollercoaster at the moment although my ride does not compare with yours.
I wish I could l hold your hand right now. But I just want you to know that your legs may be shaking when you get off the ride but that love of life and survival will be waiting for you at the end.

Sheila said...

For me, I am all about balance - not being too extreme in either direction (I'm a Libra, can you tell?). I'm always striving for the middle calm, but knowing that things will push and pull me in either direction.

The thing that strikes me with your writings about this is that you seem very rational and in control, although still emotional. You're not ranting, you're not incoherent - you seem to be using the blog to work things out in your head.

I can only hope that if I ever have to go through something like this, I can do it with the same style and grace that you do, m'dear.

Now, hold on comes a steep hill!

Mervat said...

I also don't like roller-coaster rides. The image in your post alone freaks me out and I want to look away. I hate the unknown, I am scared of losing the ground beneath me and I am frightened to death when I have that heart-sinking feeling. This is applies to roller-coaster rides both literally and metaphorically.

As for you dear K, through your writing you have expressed your fears and your concerns but you have also bravely analysed your situation and searched for answers. And even though your initial questions resulted in even more questions, you have persevered. And you continue to tell us your story.

I hope and pray that you can look back on this journal and realise what an amazing, strong and inspirational woman you are.

Chuck Dilmore said...

you are beautiful. and
you are beautiful for letting us in.

thank you, friend~

La Belette Rouge said...

I imagine when you look back at this ride you will be amazed by your strength, grace and wisdom in which you handled all of this.

I am not a big fan of roller coasters but I can tell you the mantra I tell myself as I ride them, "this will be over soon". It helps to know that this scary ride is short and soon it will be a memory. Your scary ride will over soon and health will be yours and this will all be a memory.

Anonymous said...

Kayleigh, once when I was in therapy for a fear issue, I learned that what I was really afraid of was being MORE SCARED. I also learned that if I fully examined the fear, made it HUGE, let it get WILD, let myself catastrophize, that I could never be overtaken by it again. It could never catch me off guard or surprise me into terror again. Because I had already GONE there, my fears had no power anymore.

Letting the fear be really huge got me my control back, and gave me peace.

Does this make sense to you?

Each and everyday I think of you and wonder how you're doing.

Kari said...

I thrive on control and hate not knowing what is ahead... but I'm learning more and more to embrace the unknown and that it is okay to cry during the scary or sad parts or laugh too loudly when life is wonderful and exhilarating - and enjoy the calmer times in between.

I like your take of the roller coaster metaphor, particularly that you are recognizing that some things *are* out of your control, but you also have faith that you will be able to ride out the curves and not crash.

I'm so impressed at how centered and courageous you have remained throughout this journey so far, even at your lowest points.

Unknown said...

I think that, years and years from now when you read these entries again, you'll be absolutely floored by the strength, courage and tenacity you had. I think that, when we're in the middle of getting through these kinds of challenges in life, our minds just kind of go into an all-or-nothing, get-through-this-at-any-cost mode that shuts off when everything's done and we've come through the challenges. That's why a record like your blog is so precious, because it allows you to go back and realize and marvel at what you've been through.

I too am soooo glad I get to read what you've written and experience this journey, in whatever small way, with you! It truly makes me see life in a better way. So in many indescribable ways you are giving us a great gift too! :o)