Me: "Who has the best seat in the house, me or daddy?"

Adam: "Well, Daddy's is nice, but yours is best. Your's is squishier."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Reflections on Mountain Climbing

I had a visit with the endocrinologist today, and it was good. But before I tell you about it, I have to tell you about mountain climbing.

When I was in college a group of us decided to hike to the peak of Mt. Timpanogos in Utah. I am not out-doorsy. I went because a cute guy asked me. I have some vague recollection that it was 12,000 feet high and that I should have packed more food. We left at midnight and hiked all night to reach the summit by dawn to see the sunrise. It was hard. It was cold. The air was dry and burned my throat. I was exhausted by 4 AM, but had little choice but to continue with my friends. By 6AM we were scrambling like billy-goats up steep, loose rocks to finally reach the summit just as the sun began to burst out over the horizon, ushering in a new day.

It was beautiful.

I hated it.

I was a wimp. All I wanted was my bed. I wanted to be done with this. I wanted it to be over, and for me to be on the other side of this ridiculous day (I deeply apologize to my dear friend, Andrea, who loves the outdoors so much she only keeps a house so that there is someplace to pick up her mail). It was indeed beautiful, but it was just not fun for me. It had been hard getting up there, and now after a night of no sleep and on wobbly legs and throbbing feet, I had to begin my stagger back down the mountain.

A strange thing had happened that year. The glacier had melted for the first time in anyone’s memory. We had planned to slide down the ice on trash bags and thus shave an hour off the hike back down, but instead we stumbled, slipped, and fell our way down for two additional hours. The ice had melted far enough to reveal large jagged rocks, but remained frozen between the rocks. With no place for our feet to grip, we slipped constantly, landing on the sharp rocks. By the time we reached the end of the glacier I had two bloody, frozen hands, a giant hole in the seat of my jeans, and several more hours to go.

It was then that our fearless leader got a little confused and took us down the mountain the wrong way, adding another two hours to the decent. We reached our cars at 4PM, 16 hours after we had set out. Then I was home, showered, sitting on my couch, and it was all over. I was literally on the other side of that darn mountain. I cannot describe the relief. Bliss, thy name is being on the other side.

I never wanna do that again.

Often when things are hard I say out loud, “I can’t wait till I am on the other side of this.” I know that with every trial that has inevitably come into my life, eventually, if not very slowly, it has gone it’s way. Some trials have felt like they might do me in. I was in such shock when we lost our first baby I couldn’t imagine that I had the capacity to feel any more pain, until 2 weeks later when my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Other trails have been hard in other ways, but usually I can look forward knowing that there will be an end, and just wishing I was there already.

Guy called me this morning to tell me he would meet me at the hospital for my appointment. I was so relieved not to have to do it alone. How I love him, my knight in shining Hyundai. All week as we would talk about the possibilities, treatments, surgeries… that might come, I would always end with a weakly-hopeful, “It’s prob’ly nothin’.”

But the innocence has gone out of us, and we know that sometimes it is something.

After two appointments last week and an ultrasound, I was surprised they had gotten me in so soon. The doctor did more tests and ultrasound, and then came the news. It’s OK. There is no concern of cancer. Yes, my thyroid is very large but working well, and there are no growths, though she described it in such unflattering terms as “boggy”, “puffy” and “moth-eaten” looking (Guy says I should learn to sleep with my mouth closed to keep out the moths). It would seem that my auto-immune system is picking on my thyroid a bit, and my thyroid is irritated and inflamed as a result (can’t blame it, I would be crabby, too). No known causes, but no needed treatments either. No threat to me at this point, just a follow-up every six months for a little look-see. I can do that.

The doctor left the room. Guy smiled, and in his slightly-joking-but –in-all-seriousness tone said, “See? It’s nothin’.”

“Scary nothin’.” I replied.

We watched each other’s eyes fill with tears for a little moment and then breathed in the relief. I thought I should be joyous and celebratory, but there was sort of a feeling, so soon after Lisa’s funeral, of a near miss - a narrow escape. It wasn’t “hurray!” (though it certainly is now)… it was more like “whew”.

So glad to be on the other side of this here mountain.


Jackie said...

It was so sweet of Guy to go with you. I'm so very relieved!

rebekahmott said...

The begining of that made me tired just reading it, I am with you on give me a bed. I was not expecting the ending. I do have to say that I am so greatful that it is a safe ending, and I am glad that you to made it over that moutain, stay on this side for a while okay. love ya!