Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Chinese Proverb

You can only go halfway
into the darkest forest;
then you're coming out
the other side.
                               Chinese Proverb

When I read this proverb for the first time, I thought it was such a simple idea and it is.  However, the metaphor can be profound for a cancer patient/survivor.  

As I was beginning my multiple myeloma journey, it felt exactly like I was in a dark forest that was spread out around me in all directions with no pathway into the light.  I remember feeling that for the rest of my life I would be moving through the darkness of an incurable illness.  I soon found out that I wasn't traveling alone and there were shafts of light filtering through the darkness of the forest.  My family and friends and medical community surrounded me with love and support and gave me hope that I  had life beyond the darkness ahead of me.  I wish I had the benefit of the wisdom of this proverb at the beginning of my odyssey.

Reaching the halfway point in the dark forest happened for me several months ago and this summer I have reached the edge and stepped into a light filled  meadowI have regained so much strength and stamina and my recent trips to Denver and Boston have given me a sense of normalcy that has been completely absent for the last two and a half years.  I know that my new normal is a life re-invented, not the way I would have imagined, but it is the life I have.  

In this new re-invented life, I have found myself to be a stronger person who is less troubled by the small things that used to cause  me to worry and fret.  I do think I am enjoying and savoring the small things much more than I did in the past, realizing they are the "frosting on the cake" in so many instances.  I have always cherished my family and friends, but even those relationships have been greatly enriched by this journey through darkness into the light.  

On top of all this, I feel well.

Photos to share . . .

 The view of Boston from our 15th floor room.

Boston at night with a crescent moon - again, from our room.

Historic Faneuil Hall in Boston

Make Way for Ducklings
Boston Commons 

 John F. Kennedy Presidential Library
Update . . .

Sadly, I have to report that Romola Robin left her nest in our wisteria and didn't return.  My hope is that she realized that the eggs would not hatch and she is safe.  My son, Tyler, reached up into the wisteria and took this beautiful but sad picture.


  1. Carole Leigh - what an exciting post to read today.

    Ah - the beauty of the light when one has made a long journey and all seemed most dim. I am so grateful you are experiencing the awe of feeling well again. I rejoice with you!

    Interestingly, I posted on my blog today. I had not intended to but it happened and it is a perspective much as yours about how it is to be "set apart" only my focus is a desert, not a forest. Either way, it is a challenge to be where we never wanted to be. The lessons learned often come only during such times - then the light and new perspectives emerge.

    Hugs - Lynn

    1. Lynn,
      Thank you for the kind words and thank you for the inspiring message you posted today on your blog.
      Carole Leigh

  2. Hi Carole, what an interesting but simple proverb, I feel as if I have reached the half way point too in my journey with myeloma too. I am glad that you were able to enjoy your trips away and feel so well

    1. Hi Wendy,
      Congratulations on reaching the half way point! Your recent 10K achievement certainly underscores that. I hope you keep feeling better and better.

      Will you get to any of the Olympic events?
      Carole Leigh