On The Way Up

If I am completely honest with you all I’d have to admit that the last month or so, I felt like I’d fallen in a pit and I couldn’t quite hoist myself out.

I tried.  I really tried.  I’d wake up in the morning and think, “I’m just going to have a great day today and these are all the things I’m going to get done…..”

And then I’d do the things I absolutely had to, like go to treatment and work for a couple of hours and then I’d come home a sit on the couch and stare out the window.  I didn’t want to talk much.  I didn’t want to answer e-mail or texts.  I didn’t want to engage in much of anything.  I was pretty okay with just sitting.

I also thought about dying.  A lot.  Like planning my funeral and imagining all kinds of death bed scenes.  Crazy stuff that had never been in my head before.  I was having a really hard time figuring out where this was coming from.  I couldn’t really be in a better place as far as cancer activity in my body.  There isn’t any that we can detect at this point and so why was I obsessed with death when all things pointed to the fact that I wasn’t going anywhere soon?

Then several things happened over the last week or two that have helped me climb out of that pit.

The first was when my new radiology oncologist looked at me at my last visit and said, “You know.  I know you have the reputation of being the cheerful cancer patient and all, but you don’t always have to be.  You’ve been through a lot.  It’s okay to feel that sometimes.”

The second is that we’ve been blessed with some really beautiful, warm sunny days.  Like the kind of days that you can get away with just a jacket.  The sky has been unbelievably blue.  We don’t get days like that in February.  Usually the first three months of the year are a slog through gray dreary days punctuated with a snow fall here and there.  These past few days have been a gift.

My sister came and stayed with me.  She feeds my soul and I love her so much.  JD was out of town so we even slept in the same bed again like we did when we were kids.  Except this time she didn’t wake me up every morning wanting me to braid her hair.  But I totally would have if she’d asked.

I have a wonderful lady that does some energy work with me and helps me just sort through my thoughts and points me in the right direction.  She let me know that at about this time in a journey like this, it is very common to hit a sort of wall and have to work a bit to get through it.  And also that the radiation affects the neurotransmitters and can make you a feel a bit out of sorts.

Then this morning, we went to our church where the music was so beautiful that it brought tears to my eyes.  Our pastor also gave the best sermon on not making wrongful use of the name of the Lord that I’ve ever heard.

And then we went to Bob’s class where he was teaching Allen Ginsberg’s poem “Howl”.  Now, don’t be feeling like the only one who has no idea what this poem is about.  It’s out there.  But the lesson for me was that you have to sometimes get to the very bottom of the pit before you can begin to climb out.

I feel like that is what has happened.  And to be honest, it is hard for me to even admit I was struggling.  But I need to voice it in order to move on.  Perhaps it will even help someone who finds themselves in a similar situation.  Once a few people told me it was a normal place to be, I was able to accept that and start feel better.  I’m beginning to reconcile my faith with the very human emotions of walking through something really scary.

I don’t think it is any coincidence that all of these things happened one right after the other.  God has shown His faithfulness through so many people and places and things during this whole journey.  This time He chose to use a doctor, music, an alternative practitioner, a college professor, family, friends and a beat poet to move me out of a hard place.  I love His creativity.

I think my problem revealed itself in the first couple of sentences of this post.  I was trying to get out of this place by myself.  That’s not how it is meant to be.  I’m still learning that very important lesson.  I’m grateful for His patience with me.

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10 Responses to On The Way Up

  1. Carrie Johnson says:

    I love you….love your honesty…..you are such a strong lady….its ok to feel down, gloomy whatever…..thats how we learn to TRUST GOD MORE…..praying,,,

  2. Connie Land Green says:

    You amaze me with your insight! Bro. Brian’s sermon today touched on patience and like you I am so THANKFUL that our GOD shows us GRACE and PATIENCE!!! I love you sweet lady……I hope this week will be filled with sunshine, blue skies and joy for you and yours….

  3. Marilyn says:

    Sara, Everyone at some point in life has felt this way. You are a inspriation to all of us . Hang in there it will get better. Love the old hymn Leaning on the everlasting arms. Big hugs to you .

  4. AnnieO says:

    Oh Sara….. hugs and kisses and love from afar!

    This post at (in)courage ties in beautifully with your post:

    Ann, you should totally go back to Dayton and get your hair braided. :>) Sara is so blessed to have you!!!

  5. Reba Rector Sanders says:

    Jane, thank you so much for this post.

  6. Paula says:

    I think I have a bit of writer’s block…I’ll just say that I miss you and love you lots xoxo.

  7. Janece says:

    I totally LOVE this post !!! I thought about myself…who has no reason what so ever to have a ‘tall wall day’…week …or month……and you dear one have a reason, all the junk in your body..yes, what God allowed in there and what the drs are putting in your system…it was good to hear, us normal humans Get the blubs..I weep as I smile at your honesty…love it!!! Was sooo good to talk to you today!!! j

  8. Ann says:

    AnnieO, I would so stay and get my hair braided EVERY day if it were up to me! We had a great time…God’s good timing for both of us. We are so blessed to have eachother.

    Janie, I love you more than I have words to express.

  9. Kathy, Mom-in-law says:

    OK, now we need to explain to the rest of the world that Janie is what Sara’s family calls her! Sara Jane is known to her family and all those who knew her pre-Navy nurse days as Jane. Then when Jim met her, her name tag said Sara, so that’s how she’s been known to the rest of us since then.

    And to make things more confusing, her husband (our son) was Jim to us (still is) until he shared an apartment with another Navyman who was also named Jim. So Jim said, “Just call me JD”.

    And on top of that, Sara and JD’s (or Jane and Jim’s) daughters have two Aunt Ann(e)s and two cousin Bens, one on each side of the family!

    How about that for a confusing family tree!

    Love you, Sara – by any name.

  10. Jill McWilliams says:


    I picked the wrong time to “step away” from checking your blog (and facebook…and every other “fun” connection I have). I’m sorry that I haven’t been checking…which doesn’t mean I haven’t been lifting you up in prayer every day. It’s part of my routine everyday and it makes me feel like you still live a few houses down from mine. In fact every night when Hanna and I pray together (she still wants me to pray with her every night and kiss her good night) we pray for you, Katie, Elena “Mr JD”.

    It sounds like you’ve been in the pit and it makes me sad but God won’t let you stay there long…He’ll lift you up and out as it sounds like he’s doing now! I’m just sad that I wasn’t sending you encouragement while you were sittin’ in the pit. I know you have lots and lots of folks that love you to pieces and did that for you…..but I want you to know that I’m one of them.

    Hugs and more hugs…

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