Not Your Average Rock Climbing Experience

When Mere asked me to write a post about my rock climbing experience, I’m sure she envisioned a post explaining why there was a turkey hat attached to my helmet with leopard print duct tape or about how I lived up to my camp nickname of Splat. And maybe I will, but there are more important things to write about today.

The weekend before my trip, all hell broke loose and I was going to cancel so I could stay home to mop up the mess. But TT, our paparazzo, and my dearest friend spent the days talking me back into going. I don’t think I’ve ever been so reluctant, and even as I stood in the TSA screening line, I was still looking behind me, evaluating if I was making the right decision. By the time I landed, I had convinced myself I was making the biggest mistake of my life and repeatedly started to call someone to come get me.

After I unpacked at the retreat house, I nearly Snoopy danced when I saw a familiar face – our camp mom was a woman I’d met exactly a year ago when I paddled the Colorado River. It seems to be fate that any major physical challenge I put myself through, this woman is part of that journey. And even though her presence made things easier, I still needed virtual hand holding from Team Thyroid the first few nights.

I learned a lot about myself on this trip, especially the day when I emotionally and mentally broke. There are changes I need to make in my life, and the first step is to rid myself of certain people. The second is to work on my trust issues. That first climb taught me really quickly that I don’t trust myself, my body, or the person holding the rope promising my safety. And as the days passed, and the physical challenges kept coming, I realized that distrust is the prime motivator in my life.

The third thing that I learned is that I need to take the time to start advocating for myself as hard as I advocate for others. And even though Team Thyroid tells me this until their faces are blue, it didn’t sink in until my camp mom said it to me as we hugged goodbye on the final day.

As my plane touched down back in my hometown, all I wanted was time with Team Thyroid and a Diet Coke. I cried when I turned on my phone to see a text from Mere. I missed you girls so much more than you’ll ever know.

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About Cancer Girl

Living with microscopic metastatic disease since diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer, follicular variant thyroid cancer, and papillary microcarcinoma in the fall 2008; Chris has written for Dear Thyroid, Everyday Health, Lifescript, and Team Thyroid on what living the new normal means.

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