This morning I was doing some research on the internet for an entry about being a lung cancer survivor. I was searching for long-term survival statistics. Initially, I was looking at overall survival and then I began to break it down by stages. The survival statistics associated with a lung cancer diagnosis are definitely not reassuring, and I am well acquainted with them. I am someone who is comfortable with a lot of information. I am also pragmatic and reality-based when it comes to tough issues. This approach does not embrace denial but does require a certain emotional detachment.
As I narrowed my search to stage IV survival statistics, I began to get a feeling almost like vertigo.
You see, in many ways, life with terminal cancer is like walking on a tight rope–and in order to maintain balance, it is important to focus only on the goal. I had just looked down, and suddenly I was paralyzed by fear.
I turned off the computer. I took a nap. I went on a walk. I cleaned the attic. By returning to these tasks of daily living, I was able to feel as if my feet were on solid ground again.
The photo is of me and my friend Sadie. We were hiking in the woods behind our house this past weekend. I have my arms wrapped around an old beech and Sadie’s hugging me and the tree. With big trees such as this one, I swear I can feel the life in them; almost a faint throb or hum. I like to think that Sadie is listening for that pulse in me as well, and that we are both hanging on for dear life.