Posted on: November 7th, 2014 by

Last Sunday, high wire artist Nikolas (Nik) Wallenda made history by walking a high wire with no net from one of Chicago’s Marina City skyscrapers to another skyscraper and then to another skyscraper — this time blindfolded.

One of the Marina City towers

One of the Marina City towers

Chicago and the world at large held their breath, as the wind gusts had picked up, making this venture even more risky.

Thankfully he made it. And made it look easy.

That night, right before his high wire feat, Chicago residents and visitors used many words to describe Mr. Wallenda — from crazy to daredevil to courageous.

I admit, I first dismissed his high wire act as sensationalist and the act of someone who had a death wish. But as he tamed the high wire relatively quickly, I realized I had a lot in common with Wallenda. (Though even the thought of climbing a ladder nauseates me.)

It is a cliche but it is true: since my cancer diagnosis and treatment, my life has been a high wire act. I often unwillingly find myself on the tightrope, always balancing between courage and fear.

Chicago with River

This is, by far, the most difficult task for me. I define courage as acting in spite of one’s fears. And I do. I never give into my fears, but I’ve come close. In fact, where cancer survivorship is concerned, I always come close to losing my balance and falling into the dark abyss of fear and inaction. Fear of recurrence, fear of oncology followups, blood tests, and all things medical plague me.

But I refuse to become engulfed by fear. This is my act of defiance. Like a high wire artist, cancer survivors and patients more often than not show perseverance in spite of adversity.

Do you often find yourself on a “tightrope”?

If so, how do you handle it?

To see Wallenda’s feat, click here.

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6 Responses to Tightrope

  1. Nancy's Point had this to say about that:

    Hi Beth,
    That’s an interesting analogy. After a cancer diagnosis, sometimes it does feel as if we are walking a tightrope. It can be tricky and we never do know when or if we’ll lose our balance, catch ourselves, or even ‘fall’. I admire you for admitting you have trouble balancing fear and courage sometimes. I think probably most of us do. This is yet another reason to love this online community of support that we have. I am so glad you’re part of it. I guess all of our online friends are like one big safety net. It’s wonderful knowing our ‘net’ is out there, especially during those times when we feel we are losing our balance a bit or when we can be there to help ‘catch’ someone else. xxx

    • Beth L. Gainer had this to say about that:

      Hi Nancy,

      I agree that our online community is such a wonderful safety net. I’m glad you are a part of it, as well. It helps to know that we are not alone, even if we feel we are. I’ve been doing a lot of “catching myself” these days, for I feel I slip into fear far too easily. But knowing that a support system is in place with our virtual-real community comforts my heart.

  2. Eileen@womaninthehat had this to say about that:

    I definitely relate to this, although personally I think of my life as a long marathon. I’m pretty exhausted but the challenges don’t seem to end. Either way, it’s all about perseverance. Thank you for a thoughtful post.

    • Beth L. Gainer had this to say about that:


      Your marathon analogy works well. Perseverance is the key, for sure. It’s so difficult, isn’t it? Thank you for reading my post and commenting.

  3. Pingback: Weekly Round Up | Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

  4. Beth L. Gainer had this to say about that:

    Thank you Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer for including this post in your Weekly Round-Up. I so appreciate it!

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