One has to come down again.
So why bother in the first place? Just this.
What is above knows what is below –
But what is below does not know what is above.
One descends and sees no longer
But one has seen!
The lower regions by the memory of
What one saw higher up.
One does at least still know.
Yesterday at yoga class, the instructor read this poem during the resting phase of our workout. Instantly, it struck a chord with me and my recent experiences with relapse and treatment and it somewhat changed the direction I was planning to travel in this new post. It even changed the title which I had tentatively decided would be Unpredictable.
The past seven months have been, at best, unpredictable. There have been so many trips to the summit and descents to the valley and most with no predictability. I never really know when I will be feeling well and enjoying the view from the summit or when I will be too tired to do much of anything but nap. Over these months, I have had some very good days and if I didn’t know better, I would think I was back in remission and feeling well or maybe I could even imagine that I had never been sick in the first place. Along with these wonderful days, there have been a fair number of days of illness (shingles, colds, coughs) and then there were the low blood counts that caused me to miss treatments. These missed treatments and my trip to Washington DC, which caused a gap in the cycles, allowed the lambda light chain to reverse its downward trend and go back up. Fortunately, it has only gone up about 20 points.
In all this unpredictability, there is one positive constant: Velcade doesn’t make me feel nauseous or sick at all. However, it often makes me incredibly tired and head-achy. I do know and understand that being tired is a lot easier to cope with than being nauseated and I am grateful for that. Another positive note is I won’t lose my hair.
Now how does this all tie in with the poem with which I began this post? As I listened to our instructor read the poem, I realized that when I am at the summit, I am collecting knowledge and memories for those times when I have descended back down the mountain. No matter how tired I may be or worried or frightened about my future, I can “have the memory of what I saw higher up” and I still know that I can climb there again and I will. . . many times. I can see that with clarity now.