A to Z of Cancer E is for Escalator of Emotions

I've heard people liken the emotions they feel during a cancer journey to a rollercoaster. For me it's not a rollercoaster. It's an escalator. Not one of those tiny escalators you find in shopping centres that are the equivalent of a few steps. No not that sort. The sort of escalator I mean is the sort you find when stepping off at a station on the northern line on the tube, deep, deep, down under the ground. The escalators so long, so scary, so vertigo inducing that you cling on for dear life for fear of falling off the thing. Escalators so big that when you bravely step on them at the bottom you can't actually see the end of them, you can just see that they reach a long, long, long way into the distance somewhere where a spot of daylight can be seen. I stepped onto one of these kind of escalators the morning I walked into my GP surgery to see about the lump I had found. The trouble with escalators is that once you get onto them you can't get off them again. Not until you reach the end. They just mechanically move you onwards and forwards. The last few months I have been on the escalator journey of cancer treatment. I stepped on. I have since then been carried through the tests, the scans, the results, the clinics, the surgery, the tests, the results, the scans, the daily radiotherapy, at no point have I stepped off or had the chance to stop. Escalators are not like stairs where you can pause, wait a second, catch your breath and continue at your own pace. No escalators once you're on them keep moving onwards and towards the point where you exit them. Yesterday was my last day of active treatment. This was my escalator end point. Time to step off and walk onwards away from the escalator of cancer treatment. The way to exit an escalator is to judge its speed, get your foot ready and take a confident step off it and then take another step and another step and off you go step after step happily away to wherever you are going next. But you see the thing is I misjudged the speed of the escalator, I was still clinging on tight to the handrail, I missed my footing and I collapsed like a heap in a mess at the top of the escalator rather than walking confidently away. Then behind me on the escalator was a big pile of baggage I was hoping to leave behind me but it fell on top of me. So now I'm in a mess on the floor at the top of the seemingly never ending escalator, with my baggage piled on top of me and I'm getting sucked back down into the mechanisms of the escalator, which is not a fun place to be. A place where you get mangled and squashed and stuck. I reached out and pressed the emergency stop button to stop the escalator from turning round and round anymore. And with relief I see it's stopped. Its time to pick myself up, sort out my baggage and then when I'm good and ready I’ll go on my way. Not a smooth flawless transition off the escalator, a bumpy messy one but I made it to the top of the escalator and for now that will do.
Keeping all possible fingers crossed for you!!!! And sending all possible well wishes!
posted November 29th, 2017  
My escalator ended October 2nd. I’ve read stacks of personal journies with this but nothing as emotionally raw and exact as what you describe here. Every word so poignant and so absolutely true. My heart and prayers are with you each day on this new journey ❤️
posted November 29th, 2017  
A very moving piece of writing and I always feel it is good to put pen (or pencil in my case just in my daily diary) to paper. I feel for you and hope you will gradually gather more strength and peace. I note the title of your album ('ain't all pink and fluffy') and I'm not sure why pink was chosen for those ribbons. Congratulations on getting to where you are now and all good vibes and wishes for your life from now on.
posted November 29th, 2017  
To be able to write all this down must be a big help to you... take care ... 🌹
posted November 29th, 2017  
Great writing and expression of your feelings - hope you get some time to recoup and gather your thoughts
posted November 29th, 2017  
might be bumpy. might be messy. but you made it. you're at the top. for now that will certainly do. and when you're ready, good and ready as you say, you'll take those steps towards life after the escalator. and we're all cheering you on :)
posted November 29th, 2017  
You are an incredibly strong woman. All the best as.
posted November 29th, 2017  
Fantastic words. You had the strength to get to the top of the escalator so I have no doubt whatsoever that the rest of your journey will be a doddle...besides which, if you can make it through the Northern Line in rush hour you can bloody well do anything. (Also, great shot, excellent focus and DOF and, for reasons that I shall keep to myself for the time being, a fav...it has nothing to do with the other featured word, escalope, although it has to be said that if they're on offer, yes please).
posted November 29th, 2017  
An amazing visual to the uncontrollable conveyer of cancer. It keeps propelling us forward whether or not we want to take a break. I was grateful for the medical workers who knew what they were doing and just what to say. It has been 3 years 2 months since my last treatment but could feel every emotion as I read your words!
posted November 29th, 2017  
@graemestevens I'll serve you up a slice young man!
posted November 29th, 2017  
Your words here are wonderful, Ruth.. alone worth a fav. You have picked yourself up... and you will walk on.
posted November 29th, 2017  
A wonderful wording of a terrifying journey Ruth. Worst part is it's not something you have any choice about. You have shown me every rise & dip of this roller coaster journey like I've never heard it before, well done for sharing these words & your experience. Now it's onwards & upwards. ❤️
posted November 29th, 2017  
An evocative narrative Ruth, my thoughts are with you . Take care Xx
posted November 29th, 2017  
Your words spoke of such a feeling and visual. My friend went through it so I can understand a small bit of what your have been through. You don't have a choice...you cannot get off...you can't go back. It changes you. Take time and take good care. I hope this ordeal is over and when you can, walk your way to wellness.
posted November 29th, 2017  
amazing narrative, glad you got to the end.
posted November 29th, 2017  
I can understand what its all about from your words! You can't just say, No, I'm not taking any more! It takes courage not to say that! I'm sure that a lot of friends will sympathise with your experience and others will feel so lucky!
posted November 29th, 2017  
So eloquently put of your journey Ruth. I hope the next part of your journey is less bumpy and you will be able to stop and smell the roses occasionally.
Everyone on 365 has been along the journey with you and well done for recording your journey so well.
posted November 30th, 2017  
Oh my...I imagine finding a lump took you over the top. I wish there were a way you could hit pause, catch your breath, and find your ground again. Doesn’t seem fair just when you thought you were done
posted November 30th, 2017  
I just reread this and see that the lump,you speak of isn’t a new one but the one that started you on this journey.phew
posted November 30th, 2017  
Great processing. Thanks for sharing your journey!
posted December 10th, 2017  
I fly home tomorrow Ruth. I’m holding you in my prayers. I’ll get my sister to put you on her churches prayer chain. Lots of prayers, hugs and love heading your way 💕
posted December 14th, 2017  
All the best to you Ruth. I hope good news will be coming your way. You sound like you're very strong... a case of having to be I guess.
A very close friend of mine has had the fight of his life all year and it's not over yet. It's hard to watch and not really be able to help much at all.
posted December 27th, 2017  
Crumbs you’ve been through the mill. Glad there’s a new year and spring on the way. I’m sure there’ll still be ups and downs though - it’s such a big thing.
posted January 1st, 2018  
Powerful words and image! So sorry you have to go through it! Good luck with your treatment!!
posted January 2nd, 2018  
A very nice macro photo. But I particularly appreciated your story. That's what got my fav. Quite an apt metaphor and description. I wish the best in your journey/battle/challenge/quest.
posted January 4th, 2018  
How moving. I am glad your escalator has stopped. Take your time in your recovery, then you can attempt to take the stairs x
posted January 6th, 2018  
So powerful words- sending you positive vibes and prayers- wishing you the best💕💕💕
posted January 9th, 2018  
Beautifully written and bravely shared. I just started following you and will go back and find out more about your story. Sending hugs and prayers your way for the future!
posted January 10th, 2018  
Sorry to hear you've been through the mill a bit (or stuck on that escalator for far too long), best wishes to you and a better journey this year.
posted January 11th, 2018  
Ruth, your writing is superb and very powerful. You must feel really shaken up, uncertain and vulnerable. Praying that each step now become surer and that you can regain your balance and peace. X
posted January 19th, 2018  
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