Home » Chemotherapy » The Road to Hell

The Road to Hell

Its raining really hard.

It’s a beautiful sound. I’m thinking of all the things I’ve done in my life. Thinking of decisions I’ve made and roads I’ve taken that have led me here. Sitting in a recliner getting chemotherapy. They say its not my fault. There are no symptoms for ovarian cancer. Not at first. It’s when you get the symptoms that you realize something’s wrong. Very wrong. Wrong as a three headed dog. Cerberus? Why did I say 3 headed dog? Doesn’t he guard the path to hell? Hades. Hmmm…strange. Hell. Cerberus. In most works, the three heads each represent the past, the present, and the future, other sources suggest the heads represent birth, youth, and old age. I wonder. For me, right now, he would represent the past, present and future. Here I am. But what side of the river am I on?

My Cerberus

I can’t remember my mythology. What it was about Cerberus? Didn’t he guard hell to prevent the souls from crossing the River Styx? To prevent them from leaving, not entering? Isn’t that why Hercules didn’t kill him. Cerberus let him in, but he couldn’t let him leave. Hercules knew that dog was just doing what he was told. Just doing his job. Isn’t that how we create our own hell? Just doing our job? Not thinking of consequences? We stumble along, not blindly, no. Just distracted and busy. I knew there were things that should be different in my life. I knew there were choices I made that had nothing to do with what was good for me and only about what was easier and most convenient. What was best for other people. Not me. Isn’t that what were supposed to do? Isn’t it?

I believe I created my own hell. What was I guilty of? Everything? Nothing? Lying, cheating, indifference, bad diet, bad men, bad habits…so many roads to hell. Was it the hotdogs? I loved them. Maybe cigarettes? I should have quit sooner. Working in a smoky bar? That didn’t help. Hair dye, deodorant, red dye 4, sodium benzoate…? I wish my Cerberus had been guarding the entrances and not the exits. I wish I’d had a big mean 3 headed dog to say ‘Hey, Dummy! What are you doing? Can’t you see this road leads down down down…you’re heading for a fall. Turn and RUN!’ I had a fluffy kitty when I needed a Cerberus. Cerberus would be more along the lines of the girl who told everyone to f-off and she faded away long ago, it seems. But when does this happen? Have any of you looked at your path and noticed the fork in the road? I look back and I just don’t see it. It seems I made so many decisions that were so important, and I did it casually and without due caution. Someone should have told me. Cerberus…you’re on the wrong side of the river. Aren’t you?


Huh. Someone should have told me. Nuts. I knew. I just couldn’t let go of my crazy concerns for everything and everyone else in my life. Everything but me. I just thought my life would sort itself out. That once I got everything else straightened out that my life would just fall into order. I would have time to go to school, get a degree, get married, have a kid, I’d meet someone who wanted a kid, right? I’d be able to stop worrying about everyone and everything. Just accept. Move on. Live. My. Life. Instead, I just stumbled along, looking backwards and sideways, distracted and amused and worried.

What fork was it that led me here? What small change would have given me my choice of dreams instead of this narrowing path I’m on. Narrowing at an alarming rate and I don’t want to see the end of it. I want to turn around NOW. This isn’t the end for me. It’s not what I deserve. I did everything right. Didn’t I? Because when I look back, I just don’t see what I did that set me down here. What inside me changed so violently and when? I was always happy. I always thought my choices were good and correct. Now I look back and, is this a sign of age?, I look back and I see that something should have been different but what? What did I do that I should be punished like this? Is it punishment? Or another lesson?

Once I turned 40 it became apparent that I wasn’t going to be getting the life I dreamed of. Because I never let it be anything but a dream. Stupid girl. I loved easily, but not well. Love is grand. Love destroyed me. Love of my friends and family. Love of the men in my life. Love of ease, love of simplicity. Love of peace. It will destroy you, love. Because you need to fight. Fight for what you want. Fight for an education, fight for a good job and promotions, fight for your children and the men and women you love. It’s all a long battle it seems. And I just wanted peace and quiet. I wanted to read and draw and kiss someone and cook them a good meal. Fights and fighting…trying so hard to make sure that there was a chance at peace and quiet. At some point. Now look…I have no peace. Only quiet. Silence. The rain has stopped for now.

Constable cloud studies


13 thoughts on “The Road to Hell

  1. Don’t beat yourself up. I’ve found there’s often someone willing to do that for me. If cancer is a punishment, then who is punished when children get it? Bad things happen to good people. Look at how many blogs on the subject of cancer are written by young women and men in their twenties and thirties. No offense to them, but they are babies in the scheme of life. Some are having babies or raising them. How can they have earned a trip to this place in Hades? Some are runners, physically fit, doing many things right that I did not. This blasted disease catches them, too. Cell growth is fundamental but something we may influence but not control. As I read your post I was not thinking, ahh, there’s the culprit. I was thinking of the line: “And I just wanted peace and quiet.” Who is to say that this is other than noble and wise? Yes, there are things you wish you had now that you don’t have. I would say the same of my life, but that cannot be why you are in the chemo chair. Please don’t believe that. Not when you are also a dog person. Who doesn’t root for a person who loves dogs instead of doing battle with them? Go on dreaming. Love your way (and yourself) to your dreams and my guess is that you will find yourself fighting for them, too.


    • I love your comments. They are so thoughtful-in the true sense of the word. Thought provoking. Peace and quiet can be noble and wise, usefully applied. I’ve never felt the need for fame or fortune or skydiving or NASCAR racing or any type A personality traits. Still, I’ve always felt as if I were missing something. Missing some fun. I hate that feeling.

      I believe that thoughts can directly affect health-mental or physical. Certainly not always. Not in every case. Mental health issues are so complex and that whole “Snap out of it!” attitude, is patently wrong. Wouldn’t it be great if you could convince people to just stop being mentally/physically ill? Stop growing rotten cells, stop hurting themselves with food and drugs. Stop shooting each other, stop abusing each other… God, what a world we would have. Full of happy animals. Full of happy, well fed people. Full of peace and quiet. I’m lying here listening to a rooster crowing, birds chirping, my dog scratching, and I have to say, it feels pretty good.


  2. Oh Laura, I don’t think life ever gets easier, rather, we get better at it because we make better choices. It’s normal to look back and reflect, but regrets don’t serve any purpose other than to make you feel bad and you don’t need that. All you can do is practice self care and focus your thoughts and energies on the things that matter most to you……because nothing else really means anything. People and circumstances from your past taught you lessons and you’ve moved on. You are in the beginning of your wisdom years. Sending you peace for soul and rest and healing for your body……


    • Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
      And sorry I could not travel both
      And be one traveler, long I stood
      And looked down one as far as I could
      To where it bent in the undergrowth;

      Then took the other, as just as fair,
      And having perhaps the better claim,
      Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
      Though as for that the passing there
      Had worn them really about the same,

      And both that morning equally lay
      In leaves no step had trodden black.
      Oh, I kept the first for another day!
      Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
      I doubted if I should ever come back.

      I shall be telling this with a sigh
      Somewhere ages and ages hence:
      Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
      I took the one less traveled by,
      And that has made all the difference.

      What a beautiful poem, Kate. Thanks for reminding me to read it again.


  3. Hey Laura. I’m anonymous, but it was unintentional. I read your blog every time you post and mostly just want you to know I’m here and I can listen. My father has esophageal cancer which has spread and he spends a lot of time reflecting and talking about regrets. That’s why I said what I did about focusing on self care and the people and things you care most about. You write beautifully and maybe there’s a book in you waiting to come out. Just know that you are loved and I think of you every day.


    • Thank you Karen. I’m so sorry to hear that your Dad is sick. I wish there was some comfort I could offer you. It is so hard, I know. Especially the regrets. It was, in fact, you who inspired me to write this post. You and another lady who writes under downbutnotout. I am listening to your cd every night. It helps me sleep. It’s wonderful and powerful stuff. Thank you for sending it. It means a lot to me. I’m glad you are reading this. I hope you find something here that helps you the way you’ve helped me.


  4. I think regret because he didn’t take that road. ‘Oh I kept the first for another day. Yet knowing how way leads onto way, I doubted I should ever come back’ I’ve often wondered myself…the back up dancer thing, the Danika Patrick/Shirley Muldowny race car thing…sigh. That road…


  5. Less high brow…but indulge in Sliding Doors for a popcorn fest..I love Gywnies Hair cut short in it – in fact, I copied it for many years…and love the shots of London..pure escapism xx


    • I haven’t seen it. Seems to be movie weather here so I need to get it. Tonight I am going to a cocktail thing, and I would rather stay at home and watch Sliding Doors. Cocktail party is great actually. I just don’t know anyone there well, so that’s a challenge. But it’s a chance to get dressed up and who doesn’t like that!


There is no sin except stupidity.

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