Friday, April 12, 2013

Landslides and the little pebbles that follow.




Whidbey Island let go a couple of weeks ago.  In the middle of the night for no apparent reason.  Bits and pieces of it continue to slide.  I looked a the before pictures and it is clear this was not the first slide and won't be the last. 

The land below the cliff was covered in trees and well vegetated.  It had been 100 years since the last slide and everyone had forgotten.  Our memory can fade and we don't remember who put the big stone ups at Stonehenge or what happens if one group of people declare another should be wiped out of existence. (I am an old history major.)

But the important thing is memory fades.  On a conscious level at least. We as a group no longer see a saber tooth cat and have a flight or fight reaction.  We see it as novelty and empathize with our fore fathers and mothers.  Simple. But somewhere deep in our souls we carry the fear of the next cat attack.  We have transferred the fear to other things both big and small.  Cars, disease, asteroids hitting earth, choking on Cheerios, germs. 

Cancer Parents have another list of fears.  Scans, blood draws, MRD results.  It has one big word attached to it,  RELAPSE.  It haunts us and with good reason.  As a parent when the first diagnosis happens, we focus on Remission, then cure.  We work on getting our child out of intense treatment and into maintenance.  We hate being in maintenance because the visits and blood test that reassure us of continued remission are few and far between but it is a sign we are headed to cure.

But as parents living in Cancer World there is this niggling fear RELAPSE is living around the corner still.  It is alive and real and very present.  It is that small pebble letting loose from the slide signaling the big slide. 

It is not possible to live any sort of life in fear of horrible things happening all the time.  You have to let your life move forward. It is important to keep making plans for the future.  It is not mentally or emotionally possible to keep watch all the time.  It is necessary to keep the RELAPSE monster at bay.

We are not even close to the edge.  Things are beginning to firm up and it seems we are going to be on solid ground.  I am going to look away from the once crumbling cliff and hope for the best.  When I encounter a mom or dad with a hopeful story about how long it has been since the last dose of treatment, I am not sharing our story.  We never know if the cliff is going to present itself.

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