I don’t like hats and will probably “lose” the one I wore on this hike. But the real point of the photos is to show that there is life after Chemo! Right now, I probably know almost 20 people (a huge number for anyone), who are fighting cancer. Most people when they first call or write their story are trembling with fear over having to face Chemo. For some reason radiation doesn’t bother them as much. I never dreaded Chemo except for the fact that it made me tired. God immediately gave me the peace and needed grace to go through it.

I won’t labor here telling you about all my friends and Chemo nurses that provided the help and support I needed. (They were fantastic!) That’s for another platform (a book). But I will say that you do recover from Chemo and from other treatments. There is always hope! Always.

My scans are clear and my numbers are perfect. So, to quote my doctor, “Go out take your life back!” Worry is wasted energy. It doesn’t change anything! Difficulties and disappointments come but you can face each one on your own terms with God’s strength.

A year ago today, I was planning for an operation that would change the direction of my life forever. But on this day (July 3, 2018), I decided to climb my “highest mountain”!

It began with having to traverse a few tree roots and rocks. Pretty normal!

Soon the pathway stretched out into a meadow—very pleasant!

Then the trail turned and became steeper and rocky. I’m good with that. Plus, I had my trekking pole!

Pat went on ahead and I decided to go to the top of this rise only to find there was another and another.

More rock but this was truly beautiful.

Then we began to reach Black Balsam Bald. Later, I read about these areas. They were actually formed years ago when loggers removed most of the timber on these mountain peaks. (What were they thinking!) Then sparks from locomotives that carried they logs from this area burned what was left of the forest. The fires were so intense that they could not be contained. It destroyed the forest down to the rock shell! Truly, this is Beauty from Ashes!

Well, and here I am—almost at the top. Honestly, I decided to stop here and walk back down. I knew that I needed to save some of my energy for friends that would arrive on July 4. It was enough for now. The top is behind me and only about a half a mile away. I did decide that I would return at the end of the summer and go completely to the top.