Emotional Roller Coaster


It doesn’t matter if it is a heart attack, stroke or cancer, family members and the patient experiencing the traumatic medical event will almost always describe their emotions as if they are on a roller coaster. Whether its the inflection in the voice of the doctor during morning rounds or positive test results, we are sometimes flooded with euphoria at the mere hint of improvement.  But then, just as quickly, because of a hesitation in the voice of that same doctor or a bad test result, the climbing roller coaster takes a sudden turn downhill, pulling everyone down as the ride continues.

Libby and I had several of those ups and downs during her five year battle with breast cancer, even more in the final sixteen months, but I learned a few things over the course of time and I recorded one of those lessons in Libby’s Caring Bridge site:

By Jan 11, 2013 5:04pm

When I was a boy my brothers and I had a go-cart powered by an old Briggs and Stratton engine that we always seemed to be working on.  The motor had a mechanical governor which controlled the throttle and it fascinated me to watch as the engine was revved up the governor reduced the fuel flow to keep the engine from getting too fast and when the motor slowed too quickly, the governor increased the fuel to keep the engine from stalling

I was thinking about that old go cart the other day and how important that governor was to the health of that engine.  Now, this may come as a shock to some of you but Libby can be somewhat excitable, I, on the other hand have very few spontaneous outburst of excitement (okay none so far).   I tend to act like that Briggs and Stratton governor in our relationship because when medical tests come back with really good results (i.e. tumor markers at 893 down from 1300 earlier) I will talk to Libby about it being one test of many that we will need to monitor for the rest of her life.  Then when we have bad news (i.e. stage four peritoneal carcinomatosis) I will talk to Libby about treatment options and our many blessings.  If there is one thing I have learned in my life it is that the bad news we get is usually not as bad as we initially think, and the good news will probably be tempered later with other news that is not nearly as good.  I am certainly not a pessimist but I am a governor. 

Libby said to tell everyone that she is clinging to the Psalms 91 especially versus 14, 15 and 16.

Thanks again for your cares and concerns.


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