August 6, 2011
“Friday, August 29, 2008 8:53 AM
I spent a second night on the fourth floor. I am very glad I am here.
Around 6 p.m. last night, I could feel my body begin to become feverish, by 9 p.m. I spiked to 103.4. I never felt so consumed by fever. My nurse and aide team was excellent in carefully watching me. They suggested an ice pack(s) to help drop the fever. At first, I was afraid ice would only chill me and cause my muscles to ache even more but then I thought maybe on my forehead an ice pack could help. Indeed it did. My fever continuously dropped until I was throwing off the sheets and just too hot. Around 2:30 a.m. it broke.”
Last Sunday afternoon, a promise I made to myself nearly three years ago was fulfilled, I sailed on Flathead Lake with my family.
In August 2008, I experienced my most challenging and darkest days of my cancer. I did so well in every aspect of tolerating my chemotherapy but as each cycle passed, my body was breaking down and weakening. Finally, it gave out and what I feared the most was happening, fevers of unknown origin.
The above paragraph is from my journal at that time. I still haven’t read my journal in its entirety; I don’t know what is keeping me from doing this. But in thinking how to write today’s entry, I referred back to that time of fevers and, indeed, those were my darkest days.
As I have written previously, one night everything in me had to live in a moment of mind over reality – I had to take myself someplace to get away from my fear and pain so I envisioned myself sailing.
I worked hard at keeping my mind focused and in my vision. I would slip in and out of my concentration, coming back to the reality of my situation. Then, with even a greater determination, I put myself back in that vision trying to feel more and hear more and see more. I found my nephew, Will, next to me helping me focus as we sailed across Flathead Lake.
My vision of sailing brought me through that feverish night. I listened to my music and I tried to experience everything that sailing does to me and my senses.
I worked at feeling the wind in my hair and on my face, the heat and burning rays of the sun and the sharp spray of the water on my legs. I tried to hear the water slapping the hull and the wind whistling through the stays and heading into the wind with sails shaking, as she came about. I saw the whoosh of the water as I sailed across the lake and the reflective sparkles of speed; I saw the land on the horizon. I made myself focus and I determined if I get through this, I will sail Flathead Lake – some how, some way, there will come a day I will sail Flathead Lake.
And that day of sailing came and now is past.
Something happened inside of me last Sunday. I feel as if I brought something to a close, something was finished; where there was a hole, it is no more.
Whoever thought my journey would continue in stops and starts and I would need to experience internal healing in order to find my peace?
Why do I continue to journal? I don’t know. I am always hoping that my story may help another who is traveling down a similar road.
I read about those who are in the midst of their cancer journey and I share in their shock and worry and anxiety and fear; I know it and I know it only too well. I read as they express their questions of what will their treatment be like and what will it do to them. I read about their dark days and nights. I read how they are afraid as they march towards the date of their transplants and recovery. I read about their victories and I read about their deaths. How can my story help them? Will it help them?
I am hoping that by writing about my dream to sail, the promise to myself to one day sail and the fulfillment of that promise, they, too, might envision a future day of health and fulfillment. I hope that I might be of encouragement to them as they experience their dark days, that the light will return and life will go on – and surprisingly and most wonderfully, their cancer pilgrimage will become a distancing memory.
Sail on my fellow sojourners, sail on!