When the Path Is Uphill

posted by Sharon April 4, 2016 15 Comments
Lake Murray Spring Flowers

How is this season looking for you? Yellow cheer blooms along the lake path this time of year. I took in all the beauty on a walk recently and thought about the uphill road I’ve been on for a few months. Maybe you’ll find some encouragement in reading a bit of my story.

What is it like to hear those words you thought were always for someone else? “You have cancer.”

While each of us knows we are not immune, the shock of reality bashing into what was only a vague concept is brutal. My road got pretty rocky within the space of one hour at the doctor.

I’m in the middle of my adventure with cancer. Here’s a bit of what I’ve experienced so far. Of course, everyone’s journey is different. I don’t know the treatment or outcome for me, so I can’t say what “works” or not. But by talking through some of what’s happened, I hope you’ll know a bit more about what it’s like. I hope you’ll find encouragement for a time when you or a friend or family member is suddenly launched on this path.

A year slipped by since my doctor gave me a reminder card for a mammogram. My results had always been normal, so why take time off work to go for this test? With the new year, new calendar, new schedule that came with retirement — OK, I would make the appointment and go. The results came back with the bottom line highlighted in yellow:

Normal mammogram with no evidence of malignancy.

Good news! But the long, involved fine print talked of a “focal asymmetry.” I was to go back for an ultrasound.

Later, more than one doctor expressed dismay that I received a highlighted printed result informing me there was no malignancy.

Partly because I did have more time to spend in a medical office, I made an appointment for an ultrasound. Just to check it out. My reading showed that “focal asymmetry” was usually some kind of shadow and turned out to be nothing of concern.

In the waiting area, clad in a little blue paper vest and my jeans, I thought about my life. For some reason, sitting there all alone with medical people bustling about, I decided to look back at the times my life was spared when I could have so easily not made it.

First, I had polio at age 2. So many polio patients didn’t make it, or ended up affected the rest of their lives. (Think President Franklin Roosevelt in his leg braces and wheelchair.) My leg healed to the point where my parents couldn’t remember which leg was afflicted. Then there was the time at age 9 I rode my bike down a busy street on a hill and somehow veered in front of a car. The driver, a family friend, later told my parents if he hadn’t been “able to stop on a dime” I would have been hit.  More recently, there was the rush-hour accident when my car was smashed between two SUVs. As I ricocheted back and forth with sounds of metal crashing, I really did think this was it. My car looked like a taco, folded front and back, but I was able to stand up and walk away with just a few bruises. (Shout out to Toyota for making a crumple-free driver’s zone.)

So God allowed me to live a healthy life thus far, and I know I’m in his hands past, present, and future.

And then the pleasant nurse called my name.

The ultrasound tech was nice but quiet as she looked at the screen. And there it was, so clear even my untrained eye could tell immediately she had found a tumor. She zoomed in and took “stills,” said she would be back with the doctor, and then left the room.

In no time the doctor came back with the tech.

“You have cancer.”

The room immediately went foggy brown. The two women stood over me as I sat on the exam table and I looked from one to the other. They were in monochrome. I had trouble focusing. I definitely had trouble formulating words.

The doctor volunteered that the next step would be a biopsy to confirm cancer. I was probably looking at a lumpectomy with radiation. I would stay a night or two in the hospital.

Out in my car, I texted my husband and a few others about the “not good news.” I needed time to gather my wits before I drove home. Immediate texts and calls came, which would be the start of an amazing support system that continues to grow and sweeten.

The refrain “I have cancer” rung in my mind as I drove home. I was on an adventure, one I would gladly forego, but one to delve into because my life depends on it.

Meanwhile, I’m focusing on the spring blooms that grow wild for a only a few weeks each year. And they are at their peak right now!

How about you? Are you in a season of welcome — or unwelcome — news? What cheers you through hard seasons?

Linking up with Image-in-ing, Little Things ThursdayWednesday Around the WorldThe Good, the Random, the Fun, Through My Lens Seasons, and Life Thru the Lens.

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15 Comments

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Tamar April 4, 2016 at 9:09 am

Oh Sharon. I will keep you in my thoughts on this uphill journey. I too am finding myself in an uphill journey that I didn’t see coming. It will be short lived and I hope for the outcome I want. Life is rough, but I know there’s always a chance to learn and grow!

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rebecca April 4, 2016 at 12:51 pm

Praying for you.

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Dina @ 4 Lettre Words April 4, 2016 at 2:05 pm

Wow, Sharon…you are definitely in my prayers. XO!

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Margaret Birding For Pleasure April 4, 2016 at 4:23 pm

I am so sorry to hear your bad news and I wil be thinking about you. These bright yellow flowers is the 3 shots are uplifting.

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Jarek April 4, 2016 at 4:28 pm

Great post and beautiful photos!

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Jesh StG April 4, 2016 at 6:39 pm

Am with you, Sharon in avoiding that word. We can’t think about ourselves that way. You came on top of the other things in your life, and you can beat this too with God’s help!
Thank you so much for being part of Seasons and sharing this:):) Meanwhile enjoy life, the flowers, the hills, time with your hubby and enjoying the friends who support you in coming on top of this! You still have a great life ahead of you and many more things to enjoy (hugs)!

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image-in-ing: weekly photo linky April 4, 2016 at 9:18 pm

Sharon, I’m a 2-time cancer survivor… 2 different kinds, most recently diagnosed 2 years ago with breast cancer. There are tons of us out there – folks who you’d never guess had ever been diagnosed with cancer, yet who have gone on to live healthy lives. It is scary, I know, but don’t give in to despair. Feel free to email me if you want to “talk” – I know you don’t publish emails but I assume you can check what mine is through your blog host.

Be well.

Sue
image-in-ing

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Ariadne Skyrianidou April 5, 2016 at 6:22 am

Dear Sharon,
hope you soon get out of all of this really well. Life is never the same after you are diagnosed with cancer. Hubby had it twice but is a survivor against all odds. So just keep faithful and happy and it will go away!AriadnefromGreece!

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Raquel Jimenez Lastras April 6, 2016 at 10:56 am

Deseo de todo corazón que este viaje cuesta arriba que ahora emprendes por tu enfermedad, poco a poco se torne en un paseo feliz entre las flores y toso se convierta en un recuerdo. Mucha fuerza.
Besos

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Ida P. Krause April 6, 2016 at 3:41 pm

Oh Sharon I am so sorry to hear this news. It’s something I’m sure no one wants to hear. I will pray for you as you go through this. I believe you have a good support system in family and friends and also faith in God to see you through. – Your flowers were just so beautiful and that path shot was lovely.

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Sara - My Woodland Garden April 6, 2016 at 6:33 pm

Thinking of your words and seeing your lovely photos, the first image that comes to the mind is that also an uphill road can be very beautiful and that from up there you will have a great view.
We’ve only just met, but I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

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Anne@GritandGiggles April 6, 2016 at 9:57 pm

Good luck with your treatment and I hope you stay positive. I love your photos particularly the path through the flowers.

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Mitzi April 7, 2016 at 2:19 pm

Oh honey, I’m so saddened by this news. I will say however, that you do have a positive attitude about it. Basking in the beauty of the but for a moment wild flowers is a good place to be, no mater the state of life. Wishing you all the best as you travel on this journey…keeping you lifted in prayer.

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Lisa at LTTL April 9, 2016 at 10:18 pm

Sharon- I am so very glad you have the courage to share here. I can only imagine the encouragement you have given to others simply through sharing words.. not “it is going to be all right”, but simply sharing your story true and raw. I wish I could give you a hug, so I am sending you cyber hugs.

I hope the spring days are cheering your soul, and bringing you hope.

Hugs and smiles-

Lisa @ LTTL

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Abrianna April 11, 2016 at 1:32 am

Sorry to hear that. We know we need to hold on to the One who is our rock in our time of despair.

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