My Mount Everest

I like the analogy comparing climbing Mount Everest to cancer.


Some people make it to the top of the mountain and unfortunately, some do not.  Most expeditions on Everest take around two months, and those who choose to take this challenge on have support from professional sherpas.  When they start their ascent, some climbers have little idea of what they are getting themselves into.


Some days on the mountain are better than others. As climbers reach new heights and freezing temperatures their fear of death is always looming near. Some climbers beat the odds and make it to the top, and head back to their families a different person. Many have life-long side effects, both physically and emotionally, from their experience. All that aside they still survived the experience and may choose to go through it all again.


Think of the preparation one must go through in preparing for this life-changing ordeal. Does this sound at all like your experience with cancer?


The sherpas are my medical team. The weather on Everest is unpredictable — so is each day with the disease. The side effects of treatment are both emotional and physical. Some people move forward from their experience on the mountain, and some go into remission only to have the experience of needing to climb the mountain again and again.


The preparation for the ascent is different for each of us. How we deal with the ongoing journey and fear can be exhausting.


Learning to live in the moment and not worrying about the things we cannot control is the key to how I keep moving forward.


I keep working as a distraction from my day-to-day treatments and side effects.


We plan to get away every three to six months, so we have something to look forward to instead of living from scan to scan. It is fun looking forward to experiences and new adventures. Often scans are intentionally scheduled before I get on a plane for a new adventure or for right when we get home. I have noticed that this does help settle my anxiety for a less stressful experience.


I could look at it as the calm before the storm. But I feel emotionally much stronger simply letting the fear disappear. Why worry before there is something to worry about.  


My next scheduled MRI scan is at the end of this month, and it is time for yet another adventure! We will be enjoying some time in Saint Lucia, and the morning after our return I will have my MRI.

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