Sorry for taking so long to provide an update, but for those of you who haven’t talked to me, I am actually still here in America. This unexpected turn of events, began to unfold Sunday, September 8th. I was visiting a good friend of mine in London, making some last minute purchases in preparation for my flight to Nepal, which was slated to take off late that night. Shortly before I was planning to leave to the airport, I received a call from my sister who asked me “did I hear the news” to which I responded No. Over the next few minutes, I learned that after returning from Europe doctors found an egg sized tumor in my father’s lung and they were exploring treatment options. After pushing back my flight back one week in London, I decided to go into a “holding pattern” as I learned more news about my father’s situation. Unfortunately, the initial information was quite negative and the more I learned the more pessimistic I became. It was on Tuesday night, after talking to my father and breaking down in my friends London apartment that I decided the the only course of action was to return home, and support my Dad while we learned more about what was going on. As many people who read this blog know, my mother passed away from cancer 3 years ago and it was almost impossible for me not to instantly return to that nightmare and consider the worst case scenario. The combination of anger, sadness, and confusion engulfed me for two weeks, as I tried to reconcile the loss of my mother with the increasing reality of having to fight the same awful fight once again. My focus evaporated, and I spent the majority of my days going through hypotheticals trying to figure out what I would do given the worst case. I could not help but feel overwhelmed, as this news hit me like a pile of bricks literally on the eve of the biggest move in my life…and the anger, sadness, and confusion were replaced with a resigned “you’ve got to be kidding me”.
It was about this time, when all of my mental gymnastics and hypotheticals had played out where in contrast with my mother’s story…we began to hear good rather than bad news. The first trickle of optimism came when my dad went in for his MRI, to which the doctor mentioned that things look clear in his brain and spine. After spending countless hours on WEBMD, I knew that this was a huge piece of news, as lung cancer spreads quick and those are two of the area’s that are most susceptible to metastasis. This good news calmed our nerves and led us to Thursday. September 24 and the appointment that I knew was going to change everything. Either life would proceed as planned, or the foundation on which my family stands would be shaken to the core. The feeling in the pit of my stomach while we sat in the waiting room is something I will not soon forget, and while I did my best to maintain a sense of calm, the weight of the moment was crushing. Then, with just a few words, the weight was lifted when the doctor said the tumor was benign and the first few doctors were mistaken in their prognosis. The relief that swept through the room was palpable, and while we’re not totally out of the woods the road ahead looks far more manageable than what we were facing just one week ago.
So now, here I sit and I come back to the Title of this blog post which was “Perspective”…and as I read my last blog post, I can’t help but feel like this experience put everything in to perspective. The fear of failure has dissipated, other peoples vocal negativity has faded to a white noise, and I’m simply excited to get going. I’m excited to be back in Nepal, I’m excited to see the staff, I’m excited to meet the new volunteers, and most of all I’m excited to see the kids. Having lived through this past few weeks I know that anything that I will face initially pales in comparison to what we faced with my Mom and what for a scary moment we thought we would have to face again with my Dad.
At this point I would equate my nerves to the sensation of standing on the top of the 10 meter diving board. We all know that feeling of looking down, knowing we’ll be ok, and knowing that it’s just water below, but for many the nerves of simply looking down can be enough to shy away from the jump…there is an entire celebrity TV show about this!!! To that end, I feel like I’ve just been waiting at the top of the diving board psyching myself out for the past month, and while I’m glad I came home…I feel now that I know my Dad’s outlook is optimistic, that I’m ready to make the jump.
I’ll be sure to send along one more update before I leave on October 6th. Thank you so much for everyone who has supported me over the past few weeks. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful group of family and friends to lean on, and it is during these challenging times where I am reminded about how lucky I really am.