I forgot to think about the fact that I'm afraid of heights. (Yes, I fly an airplane. No, my fear of heights isn't a problem when I'm flying.) My fear of heights isn't necessarily consistent; however it turns out that driving on narrow, winding roads triggers that fear. I may have had an actual panic attack on the way to the top, and I was uncharacteristically quiet.
The drive was beautiful, and once I adjusted to the view, I relaxed a bit and enjoyed myself. John and I did it together, like we've done most everything since I was 17 years old.
I was reminded of that drive today when we had an appointment with Alex's psychiatrist. The appointment was very timely, because we got the news four days ago that Alex's cancer was back. We're struggling a lot with the prognosis and the knowledge that we are dealing with an almost certainty that cancer is what will one day take his life.
Alex's psychiatrist made the analogy that dealing with a diagnosis like this is a lot like driving on a winding mountain road. You can't see around every curve and at some places there are dangerous drops, but if you keep your eyes right in front of you, you can drive and the view is beautiful.
He also reminded us that we aren't going to be able to process all of these feelings overnight.
But today was a beautiful day. We had a lovely drive and admired autumn in Wisconsin. The leaves were beautiful and the sky kept changing. We had a visit with Alex's doctor, and then we went to Rocky's for lunch - one of Alex's favorites.
We learned today that Alex's treatment starts next week. We enroll him in the clinical trial on Monday, and go back for the first treatment on Wednesday. Froedtert is familiar and we trust his doctor and his care team. We're going to face this as a family and I'm going to do my best to only look at the road right in front of me. I'm not going to try and see beyond that bend, and I'm not going to look over the side. And, just like my trip to the top of Pike's Peak was ultimately worth it, I know that however this journey ends it will have been worth it. My life has been made so full and rich with Alex in it and I'm going to savor every moment.