Dancing in the Rain: Lessons Learned on my Personal Journey with PD (more at www.PDPlan4Life.com) Copyright 2013-16 Sheryl Jedlinski
By Sheryl Jedlinski
Every cloud has a silver lining, or so I’ve heard. Often it isn’t readily apparent, but If we are patient and dig deep enough, we will find it. Even my journey with cancer has yielded an unexpected benefit: I am slowly but surely overcoming a lifelong fear of riding elevators. This is driven not by choice, but by necessity, as my oncologist’s office is on the ninth floor, and I have 18 weekly chemo treatments to look forward to.
In my younger days,this would not have impacted me. I walked as many as 22 flights of stairs to a friend’s dorm room to avoid riding an elevator. Even now, if the choice is mine, I opt to take the stairs if possible. In the last 37 years, I’ve ridden an elevator only when I gave birth to our two sons, had two total knee replacements, and had my cancer surgery. I always said that my elevator phobia wasn’t a problem because it didn’t keep me from doing things I wanted to do; but that wasn’t true. In reality, nothing was worth enduring the intense anxiety and panic attacks triggered by just standing in front of an open elevator and thinking about getting in.
My son, Steve, tried to reach me with logic: “The doors open, you get in, the doors close, you get to your floor, the doors open, and you get off,” he would tell me. The problem with this approach is that deep-seated phobias are irrational. Repeated exposure is the one thing that is gradually desensitizing me, though I have a considerable ways to go.
When Steve and his wife, Megan, asked if my husband, Tony, and I would like to come to one of Megan’s ultrasound exams, I jumped at the chance. He cautioned me that it was on the 14th floor of the hospital. No problem, I told him; if I could take an elevator to get chemo every week, I could certainly do it to see our grandson move about in utero. How is that for a silver lining?