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  • Writer's pictureCarla

Bracing for Impact

A few weeks ago I traveled to Orlando for a quick work trip. In fact, I think I spent more time in the Magic Kingdom than I did in a conference room. As the plane prepared to take off so I could return home, the pilot announced that he expected a lot of turbulence and to remain seated throughout the flight. He asked us to make sure our seat belts were fastened tightly, our bags were securely placed under our seats, and instructed parents to keep a firm grasp on their children.

As soon as the pilot announced that there was going to be turbulence - before we even took off - I became nervous. I waited for the little oxygen bags to drop from the ceiling. I was feeling guilty for not making more pleasantries to the gentleman sitting next to me (who, by the way, complimented my pearls.) I was anxious and assumed the worst.

The flight was pretty bumpy and it did becoming increasingly worse as we got closer to our destination. I closed my eyes, held on to my arm rest and leaned into the window.

I was worried for the entire two hour flight. I was anxious for the entire two hour flight. I held on to my arm rest without releasing for nearly the whole flight. And it was only two hours. For 20 months now - 20 months since Clare was diagnosed with brain cancer - I have been worried, anxious, and holding on. Since that terrible Monday many, many months ago when we first heard of DIPG, I have been bracing for impact. I am waiting for turbulence and, ultimately, a crash.

I had absolutely no control of the rain or the wind or the clouds that night. And I have absolutely no control of DIPG.


Ten minutes before landing, the flight became perfectly smooth. It was probably the best landing I had ever experienced. People were kind when collecting their carry-on bags from the overhead compartments. No one even sighed loudly in annoyance. My bag was already waiting for me on the jet bridge when I departed the plane. The ladies bathroom was within eyeshot of the gate. The terminal walkways that are usually so busy were nearly empty. And, as if things couldn't get any better, Cinnabon was still open (without a line) as I made my way to the baggage claim exit. Was I in Ohio or Heaven?

I know that I don't have control over many things. I know that I don't know what each day will bring with this terrible diagnosis. But I did need a reminder that even when things seem really, really bad, they can still turn out OK.

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