Today is Day +95. A few days after discharge from the transplant unit on Day +75, unfortunately Ned was readmitted with a few ongoing, puzzling issues, including an infection. This has been difficult on all of us, since we’d been on an upwards trajectory. It’s one thing to have a short-lived acute insult or a harrowing few months; it’s quite another to have cumulative acute traumas (emotional and physical) evolving into chronicity over a much longer period, adding more battering with no reprieve or recovery between. All away from the safety and comfort of home. Though I continue to thank God daily for allowing Ned to access life-saving treatment in a world-class facility at the hands of experts, I can honestly say too that every single day of these last 18 months has involved many personal sacrifices, grief and an overwhelming desire to just stop - it is by His strength and grace that we are still standing. And for fear of sounding ungracious and pessimistic today, reflecting the current state of my mental health and exhaustion levels, I’m going to re-post an apt analogy I’ve read - sometimes a rather comical metaphor really is the best way to convey an other-world traumatic experience when it’s just too hard to articulate.
(I have taken the liberty of replacing a few profanities, indicated by *)
With thanks to the author, Caitlin Feeley.
“What’s it like to go through cancer treatment?
It’s something like this: one day, you’re minding your own business, you open the fridge to get some breakfast, and OH MY GOSH THERE’S A MOUNTAIN LION IN YOUR FRIDGE.
Wait, what? How? Why is there a mountain lion in your fridge? NO TIME TO EXPLAIN. RUN! THE MOUNTAIN LION WILL KILL YOU! UNLESS YOU FIND SOMETHING EVEN MORE FEROCIOUS TO KILL IT FIRST!
So you take off running, and the mountain lion is right behind you. You know the only thing that can kill a mountain lion is a bear, and the only bear is on top of the mountain, so you better find that bear. You start running up the mountain in hopes of finding the bear. Your friends desperately want to help, but they are powerless against mountain lions, as mountain lions are godless killing machines. But they really want to help, so they’re cheering you on and bringing you paper cups of water and orange slices as you run up the mountain and yelling at the mountain lion - “GET LOST, MOUNTAIN LION, NO ONE LIKES YOU” - and you really appreciate the support, but the mountain lion is still coming.
Also, for some reason, there’s someone in the crowd who’s yelling “that’s not really a mountain lion, it’s a puma” and another person yelling “I read that mountain lions are allergic to kale, have you tried rubbing kale on it?”
As you’re running up the mountain, you see other people fleeing their own mountain lions. Some of the mountain lions seem comparatively wimpy - they’re half grown and only have three legs or whatever, and you think to yourself - why couldn’t I have gotten one of those mountain lions? But then you look over at the people who are fleeing mountain lions the size of a monster truck with huge prehistoric saber fangs, and you feel like a *fool for even thinking that - and besides, who in their right mind would want to fight a mountain lion, even a three-legged one?
Finally, the person closest to you, whose job it is to take care of you - maybe a parent or sibling or best friend or, in my case, my husband - comes barging out of the woods and jumps on the mountain lion, whaling on it and screaming “*DAMMIT MOUNTAIN LION, STOP TRYING TO EAT MY WIFE,” and the mountain lion punches your husband right in the face. Now your husband (or whatever) is rolling around on the ground clutching his nose, and he’s bought you some time, but you still need to get to the top of the mountain.
Eventually you reach the top, finally, and the bear is there. Waiting. For both of you. You rush right up to the bear, and the bear rushes the mountain lion, but the bear has to go through you to get to the mountain lion, and in doing so, the bear TOTALLY KICKS YOUR *BUTT, but not before it also punches your husband in the face. And your husband is now staggering around with a black eye and bloody nose, and saying “can I get some help, I’ve been punched in the face by two apex predators and I think my nose is broken,” and all you can say is “I’M KIND OF BUSY IN CASE YOU HADN’T NOTICED I’M FIGHTING A MOUNTAIN LION.”
Then, IF YOU ARE LUCKY, the bear leaps on the mountain lion and they are locked in epic battle until finally the two of them roll off a cliff edge together, and the mountain lion is dead.
Maybe. You’re not sure - it fell off the cliff, but mountain lions are crafty. It could come back at any moment.
And all your friends come running up to you and say “that was amazing! You’re so brave, we’re so proud of you! You didn’t die! That must be a huge relief!”
Meanwhile, you blew out both your knees, you’re having an asthma attack, you twisted your ankle, and you have been mauled by a bear. And everyone says “boy, you must be excited to walk down the mountain!” And all you can think as you stagger to your feet is “*curse this mountain, I never wanted to climb it in the first place.”
Credit to writer, Caitlin Feeley @ https://somehedgehog.tumblr.com
“Yes, my soul finds rest in God; my hope comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.” - Psalm 62:5-6