Climbing to the Peak

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Recently I began to perceive “climbing to the peak” differently than I had in the past.

Since 2000 I’ve climbed to the peak of Mt Shasta and Mt Whitney to celebrate surviving the GBM brain tumor. Over the last 17 years I’ve climbed to numerous peaks, like Half Dome at Yosemite, and just about any hill I had the time to ascent. I liked the challenge that came with it, and the determination to finish it.   At a peak I’ve always felt strong,    able to do anything,  reach any goal.

However, this summer things have changed and I was not able to make any climbs. However I’ve had to scramble up things that have been more challenging; often making me feel devastated.

Back in 2000 I began battling a GBM brain tumor located in my left temporal lobe.        This year I’ve been hit by an aPXA brain tumor which has been more struggling for me.

It’s located in my pituitary gland, extending up through the adenohypophysis, infundibular stalk, hypothalamus, and into the floor of the 3rd ventricle. I’ve been            hit hard by many new challenges.

After 4 weeks of radiation this summer my pituitary has been destroyed; consequently it no longer produces the many needed hormones. Unfortunately I’m now taking many new prescriptions. One to keep my thyroid working, another to control my ability to retain liquid in my body, another to keep the swelling down in my brain and body, another to maintain the strength in my bones so they will not break, and last but not least another prescription to preserve my muscles (which is needed to keep my heart beating).

It’s been a serious challenge living with the deficits that come along with both                   the aPXA and the GBM. It’s been completely overwhelming.

Recently, feeling locked in my home; I cried in sadness that I may never climb to a        peak again. It seems like 75% of my muscles have disappeared. I don’t have the strength anymore.

Sitting and looking out a window feeling sorry for myself I thought; “How can I feel alive   if I don’t even have strength to climb to a peak anymore.”

I always try to see the “cup half full”. So I struggled to see my new unwanted life as “half full”. I searched for a new peak I could climb that would make me feel happy and satisfied.

Thankfully I began to see my life from a new perspective, observing “It’s possible to reach a peak even without a mountain, I can just accomplish it in a new way.”  However, I knew this new type of peak would be way harder and take more determination to reach the top of it.

The peak I’m now determined to reach is a feeling of contentment, along with accepting the deficits I now live with, and the reality that I may never climb another mountain.

While climbing to the peak of Mt Shasta and Mt Whitney I learned to never look back because it could take away my determination. Now I know I can’t look back in time, it would lead me to feel that it’s impossible to reach the peak of contentment.

Each step may feel harder and harder, especially while going through treatments like surgery, radiation or chemo; or when a MRI shows bad news. I began struggling with     the thought, “How can I feel content in situations like that!”

I realized that I’d also loose determination if I looked forward anticipating new hard times that will most likely come. My mind cries out, “I don’t want to look back or forward taking away my ability to reach the peak of contentment.” I also realized I can’t continue to think about my deficits if I want to reach the peak of contentment.

Over the years I’ve felt I reached the peak of contentment at times, but that blessing seems to come and go. I want to reach the peak for good, hold tight and never let go regardless of the circumstances.

I’m not completely there yet, but I keep getting closer and closer. I’ve become more determined to reach peace 100% of the time even with the deficits I have. I’ll search and find things that will help me feel joy and content. I know there are things out there for me; I just need to keep my eyes open for them.

I know that holding tight to my Lord Jesus Christ will give me more strength to reach     the peak of contentment and not letting go.

Philippians 4:11 – 13 “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstance. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret        of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living     in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”

Preview  “Why climbing a mountain is like fighting brain cancer”

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