by Dorrie Slutsker
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She was so young when the journey began.
Young not in years, but in experience, in maturity, in fortitude.
She thought she was ready for the pain, the discomfort, the humiliation.
But she was so wrong.
The repeated frustration of phone calls to arrange appointments.
The endless waiting room waits with
nowhere to lie but on tables or floors.
The anonymity of all the different doctors
The daily agony of exposure for treatment.
The exhaustion of being the communicator
among all the doctors.
The burden of supporting the anxiety of well-meaning family and friends.
She discovered she could do it all, but she
hated that she had to learn the lesson.
When I was learning to windsurf in the Caribbean many years ago, I found myself
one day drifting on my board toward a
patch of coral near the shore. I was
terrified that I would fall into the coral and
cut myself badly and still be unable to extricate myself from the dangerous reef
and shallows. I quickly grokked that I had
no choice but to get myself out of that situation.
I had to conquer my panicky weakness and command my trembling limbs to maneuver the windsurfer away from that spot.
The wind was against me.
I had to negotiate those reefs and shallows
I was inexperienced, scared and alone.
But I knew in my guts that I had to do it.
I HAD to cope.
So I did it.
Bio: Dorrie Slutsker lives in Oakland, California with her sister, 3 dogs and 2 cats. She survived cancer twice, but found that living through the sudden death of her husband was the most difficult challenge of her life.