Sara Whitman

Stopped Dead in My Tracks

Filed By Sara Whitman | May 17, 2010 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: cancer diagnosis, cancer treatment

In a moment, sometimes, you're whole life can change. A friend of mine had her whole life change in an instant last Friday with a call from the doctor- cancer.

It was caught early, it is a fairly curable cancer and I have faith that she will be fine. I also know that she will be going through treatment, probably surgery, and that the toll on her, and her family, will be mind blowing.

It makes you stop dead in your tracks.

It feels trite to say you just never know but... you just never know. I'm approaching 50, and my friends are starting to get sick. We live in such a toxic atmosphere, it is inevitable.

Another woman I know is taking a life long dreamed of hike of the entire Appalachian trail, from Georgia to Maine. It will take close to seven months. She is fortunate to have been given the time off from her job to pursue this dream. She's no youngster and she wanted to be sure to do this before she could no longer could.

It is so easy to get sucked into going through life, day by day, step by step, and not see the bigger picture. Meetings, work, bills... all immediately grab your attention. What "must" be done, the next chore, fills our heads.

How do we hold our dreams in the moment? How do we live thoughtful of the whole picture, not simply the next task?

What are my dreams? What would I do if I let go of all the responsibilities I've gathered over the years? What mountain would I scale? I honestly don't know.

It's been a while since Jeanine and I sat down and thought about what the next ten years will be. Right now, I'm thinking we need to sit down and decide what today should look like. We are fortunate to have so many options- and yet we go through each day, one foot in front of the other.

The term mindfully awake keeps running through my head. Not being so feels disrespectful to those in my life who are struggling. I have been given many gifts- it is time to celebrate them all.

I have faith in the universe my friend will be okay. And that in this moment, there is something for me to learn.


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I would love to have the money to take seven months off to hike the Appalachian Trail. Is she Governor of a southern state or a self-made woman? ;)

Point taken though. It's not enough to daydream. You have to make your dreams a reality if possible.

I'm glad for those who want to scale mountains. At this point in my life, I want to tend my own garden for the time I have left. I like to think of one of my father's favorite poems, Thanatopsis: "go not like the quarry slave at night, scourged to his dungeon, but sustained and soothed by an unalterable trust, wrap the draperies of the couch about you, and lie down to pleasant dreams."

Bob Hargreaves | May 18, 2010 6:40 PM

I have just been through examinations, MRI, and biopsies, and discovered today that I don't have cancer, but the past couple of weeks, with the big C word as a live possibility, have led me to think long and hard about this issue. I don't know what difference this experience will actually make in my life, but it will make one. At age 73, with a new gratitude for a clean bill of health, and a new consciousness of the shortness and uncertainty of human life, I have a chance to be intentional about what I do with this gift. Thanks for this article. It fits exactly where I am today!