The View from Below


“One sees great things from the valley, only small things from the peak.”

― G.K. Chesterton

Pent house suites, mountaintop lodges, castles atop grand cliffs . . . the allure of high places is something we all crave to experience at one point or another.   Top level retreats seem to indeed be sought out destinations of choice—the very essence of luxury.

When traveling to Santorini, Greece—John and I chose the breathtaking town of Oia to call home for the duration of our stay.  The idea of staying in a traditional cave house carved inside volcanic earth was in and of itself—thrilling to the core.  Add the fact that it’s panoramically set 1000 feet above the Aegean Sea—well, let’s say the feeling was nothing short of Utopia on steroids.  The views coupled with the meandering narrow paths along the steep cliffs proved that though Oia is certainly not for the faint of heart, it is most definitely the choice destination for anyone seeking ultimate beauty . . . on high.

Recently, I’ve hit a low point on this pilgrimage called cancer, a point where time seems skewed, warped in fact.  One moment everything appears to be moving in slow motion, then BOOM—time seems to be running full speed ahead.  As if by magical “clockwork,” my emotions follow suit, stuck in vacillation-mode.  One minute, I’m eager to have chemo in the rear view mirror, while a split second later I become crippled with anxiety about moving beyond chemo onto the next phase of treatment—desperate to stop time in its tracks.

Just hours from now, I’ll be infused with my final dose of Taxol, followed by 4 rounds of dose-dense A/C every other week— that lovely chemo cocktail better known as the “Red Devil.”  How pleasant.  Not exactly a happy hour beverage of choice.  It would seem anything with the word devil tied into its nickname . . .  can’t be good.  As appealing as a free Brazilian wax may seem, if it means having someone gown up to stick a syringe of bright red poison into your vein . . . well, I guess I would have to say hair isn’t such a hardship.  All joking aside, as eager as I am to be done with chemo, the thought of what awaits me on the other side is almost too unbearable to embrace just yet.  Don’t get me wrong, I yearn for the fatigue, pain, neuropathy, malaise, and hairless head to be in my rearview mirror, but it’s hard to fathom the idea of surgery . . . that which will permanently change me.  Forever.

I recall the goose bumps I got over those surreal cliffs in Santorini.  Truthfully, those goose bumps never came while looking down at the “tiny” wonders more than thee football field lengths away at the bottom.  Instead, they came when we were at the bottom—looking up.

The view from below always took my breath away.

Right now I stand somewhere at the base of my cliff in this cancer journey, longing for that destination on high.  Why aren’t I looking up?  Only here can I really see the hope and future blessing stretched out before me, the surreal beauty that might even take my breath away . . . if I let it.

Who hopes for what they already have?  But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.  (Romans 8:25)




15 thoughts on “The View from Below

  1. Hi Nicole, I am sending you love and I am happy you are halfway through your Chemo Regiman……Your writing is inspiring and Ithank you for it…..Best Wishes, Always, Tara

  2. Wow! I want to go to Greece and go to Santorini. Beautiful. Just like you Nicole! Keep fighting. And know that 3rd grade prays for you every day. Happy Easter and enjoy your time with your boys this weekend.

    1. You would LOVE it! I can’t thank you enough for your prayers . . . we’re so blessed to have you raising up those little 3rd grade prayer warriors to be mighty men and women for His name sake. ~Nicole

  3. Hi Nicole! So glad to have found your blog through Twitter. We share a love for the ocean…I LOVE how your posts are tied to the sea! I had my bilateral mastectomy first, then AC-T. I’d love to offer support as you approach your surgery the other half of your chemo. In some ways, chemo was harder than my surgery. I wanted the cancer out of my body, so it was easier for me to accept my new body than anticipated (I also went up a cup size so my girls are bigger and perkier…always looking for the rainbows in this storm of breast cancer). You can read all about my experiences on my blog:
    So glad to meet a fellow warrior with similar interests! You are officially invited to my 40 year survivor party on the beach: 10/17/52.

    1. Beverly … I’m so excited to meet you! I WILL BE AT THE SURVIVOR PARTY on the beach, celebrating together! :)) I am definitely struggling with the idea of surgery, but I couldn’t agree with you more — I need this OUT to feel any level of “peace.”

      I so look forward to getting to know you better, my fellow warrior . . . another beautiful gem has washed up on my shore.


  4. Nicole,
    You are truly an inspiration, not only how you have approached your diagnosis, but in the way you look at life with such insight. Your words make me take pause to really think about them, and to see things just a little bit different…and a whole lot better! You and your family continue to be in my prayers.

    Big hug,

    1. Lisa,

      Thank you so much for your prayers and support! It is through the encouragement of you and others taking this journey with me that allows me to write from the heart. Sharing in this way really helps to bring sanity to an otherwise insane reality! 😉

      I can’t begin to tell you how much it blesses me to hear when people are moved or inspired by my thoughts.

      Love and ((hugs))

      ~ Nicole

  5. Nicole- keep writing as it will help you work out your fears and you are such a beautiful writer. I think of you all the time and I include you in my prays each night. Believe you can do this…you are stronger than the chemo, radiation, surgeries, and heartache. Soon you will be looking through the rear view mirror with a huge smile on your face and relief in your mind. Xxoo Lauren

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