We did it! Sixteen months later and we finally completed a goal that was years in the making. And it surpassed all expectations!
We made it to Disney World!
I know, in the wake of beating cancer, small potatoes, right? But not for me. And not for my family.
We originally had our trip planned for May of 2018. After the diagnosis in March, we knew there was no way we’d be able to pull that off, so we postponed. Finding a time to reschedule was tricky. It was like a big puzzle, piecing together everyone’s schedules and commitments. Between my older son’s school schedule, my younger son’s gymnastics competition schedule, my husband’s work, and my health, it seemed an impossible task. But we landed on a date in December- a few weeks after my last chemo treatment, but before the holidays.
Then the choir recital popped up. And another gymnastics competition. And did I really want to take this trip so close to finishing chemo? Intuitively, I knew it was not the best time, but I also knew that broaching this with my husband would send him into a tailspin. Sure, he wanted to take the trip at an optimal time, but in his mind postponing translated to canceling.
I shared my rationale behind pushing the dates of the trip with my husband and he begrudgingly agreed. I tried to lighten the blow by reassuring him that I’d already locked down an alternate date. We’d leave the day after my older son’s last day of school in June, which was also when my younger son was clear of competition season, and I would be strong and healthy. But that seemed like and eternity away and I saw the doubt in my husband’s face. He was defeated. His doubt just made me more determined to make this trip happen.
Fast forward to a few weeks before our trip. My husband’s work had slowed to a snail’s pace. Discretionary income was limited, at best. We had many late night discussions about the feasibility of taking such an exorbitant, indulgent trip at this time. I was scared, but I didn’t budge. I held our vision, strong and clear. I set intentions, I lived in the belief that the trip will unfold with grace and ease, and as I asked for assistance, it appeared.
The day had finally arrived. For such a long time I’d had visions of the moment I would finally let go. I pictured us seated on the plane, seat belts fastened, ready for takeoff! I saw myself taking a deep breath and as I exhaled all the trials and tribulations of making the trip a success would be released and I could sit back and enjoy the ride.
Spirit has a funny way of reminding us about being clear with our visions.
We all sat on the plane, seat belts buckled, ready to take off. I was just about to let out that big breath when the captain announced that when we were pushed back from the gate, the plane’s front tire had been damaged. We were all asked to exit the plane so that the pilot and mechanics could determine next steps. OK, not the optimal way to start a trip, and I must admit, I was feeling a little uneasy. But I kept telling myself it was just a small little hitch in the plans. So we grabbed some pizza and enjoyed a nice meal in the terminal…until my husband bit into something and a big ‘ole honking piece of his tooth came right off. Yeh.
I felt a moment of overwhelm and sadness as I was being pulled down with the fear that our long-awaited trip was now in jeopardy. But lately I’ve been doing a lot of energy work and I was immediately aware of a choice available to me. I could succumb to the negative energy of the situation and follow in an old pattern, or I could tune in to that heightened energy of hope and trust, knowing that not matter what unfolded, it was all going to be just fine. I centered myself, acknowledged the old programing, (sent a couple texts to family members for support) and promptly re-programed myself to the positive. I used some of the tools I’ve been learning about raising our energy and tapping into the unknown future and I allowed myself to be pulled right back up. Not to be deterred, I held on to my vision. Only this time, I included the vision of us enjoying ourselves in the theme parks!
Eventually, we were all told to re-board the plane. My husband’s tooth was jagged, but not painful. We could do this! Our seat belts were buckled, we took off, and I had a long, joyful sigh of relief.
On our first day in the Magic Kingdom, I stopped to get a celebratory pin. Disney World offers pins for people celebrating birthdays and anniversaries, but they also have blank pins to fill in other things you may be celebrating. I wrote one for myself: I’m Celebrating Beating Cancer. I wore that pin with such pride through our entire experience. It became a symbol, marking the end of what was a very tough year, reminding me how very much we have to celebrate, every. single. day.
We’ve been home from the trip for about a week now and it kind of feels like it was all a dream. Our vacation was perfect in every single way. Sure, it was ninety degrees, sticky and hot every day. Sure there were meltdowns. But through it all, I felt myself lifting and experienced things differently than I had in the past. My positive visions continued to pull us forward through any perceived challenge. If I felt the tug pulling me down, I reset myself. I chose not to indulge in conflict. I chose joy. I chose happiness. It’s almost like I could physically see the different choices I had to make in each situation and with the power of strong intention and some of the new skills I’m learning, I chose my experience. It was amazing.
It occurred to me that I may be experiencing some of the whole ‘new lease on life’ thing that people talk about when they’ve survived something that threatened their life. I’d imagined survivors singing along with the birds and walking with a spring in their step; that they experienced unending joy and delight every moment of the day.
Maybe some survivors do have that experience, but it’s different for me. I don’t feel an elated appreciation for life every moment of the day. But I am experiencing feelings in a much more heightened, vivid manner. I had more moments of intense happiness and joy in those few days at the theme parks than I’ve had in a long while. And on more than one occasion, I found myself weeping, the kind of weeping I just can’t control, as a result. Watching my boys play in the rain storm, seeing a child sleep in their parent’s arms, eating a soft serve ice cream cone, watching the fireworks as they sync up with music and a message that encourages us to believe. I mean, what could be better than that?
We’re back to reality now. No more Mickey to remind me to believe. And as I feel the heat of summer slowly descending, I also feel myself being pulled downward. But that’s ok. I’ve got my own internal song playing every day, reminding me that anything is possible.
My job is to simply listen closely, hold a clear vision, be kind and compassionate, remind myself that I have the gift of choice and trust that it’s all unfolding perfectly. And love, love, love that I get to be here to experience it all!
“When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires will come to you
If your heart is in your dream
No request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star
As dreamers do
Fate is kind
She brings to those who love
The sweet fulfillment of their secret longing
Like a bolt out of the blue
Fate steps in and sees you through
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true.”
Songwriters: Leigh Harline / Ned Washington