Imagine two climbers, a man, and a woman roped together on an ice-covered mountain face thousands of feet up from the safety of the ground. It’s cold, and the wind howls. Rocks and ice pellets rain down from higher up the mountain. How will they partner to manage these conditions to continue their battle to gain the summit?
you are on a shared cancer journey, if you are the spouse, partner, or family member caring and supporting your loved one’S CANCER FIGHT. SOMETIMES THE SHARED JOURENY can feel like trying to climb the eiger northface, a windswept, ice covered, storm-prone rockface soaring 6000-vertical feet above the SAFETY OF SOLID GROUND.
because i was the spouse of a mountain climber, a life-long athlete, and alpine race coach, i often WRITE ABOUT our SHARED journey throughOUT his cancer fight USING mountaineering terms. However I thought of it, i CAME TO realize i was a by-stander. I could not change the course of his cancer nor save his life. but i COULD choose FIND THE COURAGE THROUGH MY FAITH FOR how I cared for him, supported him, and respected how he chose to fight.
Facing the cancer journey with a loved one comes with the challenges of multiple tasks none of which we as spouses, partners or family mebers receievd any training.
when cancer entered our home it became the third party in our relationship and forced us to embark on unexplored territory where joy and agony collided.
his courage and faith was steadfast from the get-go. shock, fear and a terrifying emotional roller coaster ride ate away my courage until this his one request of me so stunned me, “You Must Be Brave,” became the turning point for me to commit to honor his request.
Next, the chapter titled, “You Must Be Brave,” was in published 2006 in Guideposts Books. The story was the first journal entry of help, hope, and guidance when walking with my husband through cancer tested courage and strength.
HhOPEe was a mountain climber. I hiked with him, but I did not climb. When Cancer sent him on the climb for his life I, his wife, shared his climb. With fears mounting, I was roped to him. Knowing he faced overwhelming odds on his bid to gain the summit and life, his extraordinary courage overcame fear as he took the lead on our shared rope. He pushed back against the cold stiffening his fingers, tightening his grip on the rope he proceeded to move up, but slackness in the rope stopped him. He looked down to see me scared as I let the rope slip from my fingers. He carefully descended to me, warmed my fingers, placed the rope back in my hands, and said, “You must be brave. If you let go of the rope, I cannot fight, and we both fall.” He turned and slowly retraced his steps leaving me to choose discouragement or find the courage to partner with him, face my fears. My choice to seek courage on the climb of his life, meant when he looked down, he saw me right behind looking up with a secure grip on our shared rope.