When you learn to ski at 45 the fear factor is high. I would watch three year old Swiss children barrelling down the mountain while I stood frozen to the spot. My natural reaction when I got scared was to pull back and what happened, as all skiers know, my speed would increase and I would lose control and crash. Learning to lean into the mountain and staying over my boots slowed me down and gave me a modicum of control. And so I learned by falling down and getting up again and by the end of the season I was even able to make perfect eights with my instructor.
When I received a different “winter shock” in January of this year my first reaction was to pull back. The fear factor was high and my entire life was spinning out of control. All of a sudden there was a steep learning curve rather than a steep slope and this time the vocabulary consisted of words and terms like “grade of tumour” not to be confused with “stage,” mastectomy, risk of recurrence, bone scans, MRI, ultra-sounds, Her2, ER and PR and yes, the dreaded chemo. All of a sudden, I went from rarely seeing a Doctor to having several and armed with copies of reports and tons of literature, it occurred to me that since I clearly was setting out on a new, unexpected, and even dangerous journey that my best bet (for me) was to “lean into it.”