Mountains seem so far away as you are driving across a valley. Every mile reveals a new perspective and then a thousand more, with each bend in the road. The clouds are never the same, trees obscure your full view, and colors come to life as you travel nearer to the mountain that stood still while you moved.
From a distance, the mountains beyond are visible. Your final destination a mere plot on a map. Signs indicate how far you must journey until you reach the named spot. The closer you get, the terrain’s secrets appear. From afar, the colors blend into lush reflections of light from an endless sky. With the earth’s interior pushed up against gravity, rising, allowing the inevitable gawking and use of destination. There, where surfaces will change daily and where light will present a different scene and depending on the behavior of humanity, it can exist in perfect harmony with all that meets its boundaries.
So is the journey with cancer. The destination set for cure. Each bend, every possible obstacle vying to obscure your view along the way. Your course set, bags packed with commitment and strength you aren’t sure where you found. Timelines will reveal where you’ve been. Notes will remind you what was cause for fear. Photographs will detail the you, before cancer. If you are a repeat traveler, you have pocketed a journal full of medical terms,unproven myths, and known effects….tools you unknowingly packed, just in case.
Today we came close to the mountain, stared at the craggy sides of the rocks. Watched the sun laze over and reveal open spaces where once were dense, heavy hills. It’s been a long haul this past year since the diagnosis. Much of what is difficult to process is still quite fresh, evident in the pain that occurs in my stomach when I find myself in a hallway on the ICU floor. The days I stood in between the very real fear of losing life and by mere inches, finding a warrior inside to face a very long journey to a cure.
Today we learned the difference between the care and treatment of cancer with insurance and the alternative. The details stand to only offer a reality check. We peeked around the mountain, to the other side, just to see what might lie ahead…..just in case we are sent to travel that way, instead of this. We found the rocky, unimproved road of care with Medicaid. We heard the disappointing clunk and graveled roadside stop.
It will be our job to pack up dignity and sandwiches. There will not be time to stop and search the skies for explanations, that time is now. We have garments of iron, strong as the will to live.
We will always have far off skies.
And you will always know where to find us….at the bottom of that mountain.