Have A Magical Day

I think that I found a nice spot from which to photograph the castle for the millionth time in my life.

Today we opted to do the rounds at the Magic Kingdom. Things happened.

I wanted to share another make new friends moment. We were admiring a young lady’s bright blue sneakers and told her so. Brett remarked that they would be very handy for finding her if she were ever upside down in a snowbank. Thus engaged, we soon discovered that the family was not from a colder climate but that they did visit Maine each year (Southwest Harbor to be exact). We had a nice chat until it was time to go into the park and conquer the attractions. It is important to perfect the art of small talk and to really work on those clever opening gambits.

The Carousel of Progress has been in operation since the 1964 World’s Fair. It must suffer from a few glitches from time to time. We sat down to enjoy the ride and the sound went out. Brett (good doobie that he is) got up to go tell the operator about it. As he was leaving, I thought to myself that perhaps that would be the last I saw of him for the next 20 minutes. The sound came on shortly after that and I assumed that Brett just went into the next compartment to finish up the show. Once I found him again, he told me that he told the operator there was no sound whereupon said young chap said “well it’s working now so it looks like you got up for nothing”. Honestly! Then he didn’t offer to let Brett back in or anything. Guess the fellow was feeling grumpy. Brett sat outside and people watched while he waited for me to reappear.

I like to take photos of people. If they are near me and especially if they are children I ask permission. One mother said okay but reminded that she didn’t want to see any of her son’s photos on the internet. After I finished I texted the photos to her and then deleted them. I’m sure I would have forgotten and somehow she’d see them and then I’d feel bad. Starting tomorrow I have my own grandsons here to photograph! I hope Theresa doesn’t mind.

Early in the day, especially when it isn’t too busy, it is possible to ride your favorites several times in a row. Buzz Lightyear is a ton of fun and we rode three times in a row. It is a kind of shoot ‘em up with lasers and targets and the idea is to get lots of points. The good folks at Disney take your photo while you are playing and then kindly offer to sell it to you as a souvenir. I kindly took a photo of our photo and am posting it here.

This time I am going to get some points if I can just figure out how to aim this shooter thingy!

We spent a nice morning at the park and then took the monorail to the Polynesian Hotel for lunch at the Kona Cafe. I’m not sure if it’s a sign of being older or not being able to drink very much or being thrifty but the sangria sounded good so we ordered one and shared it. After relaxing over a nice lunch we took a boat ride back to our campsite and later we road our bikes to the Wilderness Lodge. That is a very pleasant couple of miles on a nice path. The luxury hotels all have beautiful lobbies and they don’t mind if you come and sit. There is plenty of people watching to be had. An enormous Christmas tree in the lobby is the backdrop for holiday pictures taken by Disney photographers. Plenty of children were refusing to cooperate and I had great fun watching.

I can post his picture because I want to! We are setting sail again.

A cute young man pushed his Granny (who was riding on her wheelchair) into the lobby and then parked her by a post and left to do something or other. While he was gone, another member of their party came by and wheeled her over to a grouping of chairs. I noticed the grandson coming back to where he left her and heard him say “I should have set the brake”.

We continue our camping friendships although possibly not in the ordinary sense. Should we consider ourselves close if we know a couple well enough to exclaim “look, it’s the bike people” when we see them?

I Think Random Thoughts And Generally Celebrate The Day

Courtesy of our Jingle Cruise skipper: Why does Peter Pan fly all the time? Because he can never, never land.

Courtesy of nine year old girl on boat ride back to campground when asked what advice she could give to first time Disney visitor Brian from Atlanta: Don’t poop in the pool.

Courtesy of Brian upon hearing the advice: Is this a life lesson or just for Disney?

One of my goals for a successful trip is to try not to gain a pound a day. This will not be an easy task since everything looks and smells delicious. I really think that eau de doughnut is piped onto the streets in the morning. And then at lunch time the smoked turkey leg scent takes over. Normally these things make me think of food poisoning on a stick but they smell divine when you are trying to behave with the eating. And when it is in between meals the smell of those honey and cinnamon roasted almonds will most assuredly weaken anybody’s resolve. There are even gingerbread displays here and there to remind you of cookies. But snacks were bypassed today in favor of a nice sit down lunch at the San Angel Inn in the Mexican pavilion. I had Enchiladas Verdes de Pollo and Brett had Lomo de Puerco en Pipian (ie, chicken enchiladas and pork tenderloin). Yum.

This is a gingerbread replica of the Disney Magic.

It must be possible to walk a hundred miles and not wear out your shoes. At least it feels like a hundred miles of walking and yet my shoes still have treads. Epcot strolling was easily three miles. And if you count the mile from the car to the gate and the two mile walk from the fast pass kiosk to the Soarin’ ride you’ve got another three! Okay, I may be exaggerating. Then Brett wanted to see how long it would take to walk from the campsite to the Pioneer Hall (10 minutes) and back (another 10 minutes). Then there was walking to find the comfort station in order to do our laundry. Yup, a hundred miles.

My best view of the golf ball happened while I was sitting on a bench waiting for Brett and resting from all the walking.

It doesn’t matter where Brett is, he will bump the top of his head on something. At home I sometimes suggest that he wear his hard hat around the place in order to keep new owies at bay and to let the old ones heal. Thinking there was nothing too dangerous here, I let down my guard. He smashed his head on the side of the door frame while reaching into the back of the truck. So there’s another large, fresh gash decorating his noggin.

All the head injuries have not diminished his sense of fun. Obviously I’ve just said something clever.

Campers like to talk about their rigs and where they’ve been. Failing that they will talk about their dogs (especially if you tell them the dogs are handsome). Some of them will talk about their tandem bicycles and you will discover that they lived in Brunswick, ME for nine years while in the Navy.

Many of the people you stand in line with will engage in conversation. We met the cutest young woman and her friends. She had a Mickey Mouse painted on the end of her nose. I took a photo of her. Her friend showed me a photo he’d taken that morning of a kid who is dressed as Walt Disney. We didn’t run into him so I wasn’t able to get a pic. A nice lady in line with us at Mission Space was taking her first ride on it and she was quite nervous. Her husband wasn’t helping to ease her fears so we joined right in to warn her of possible dangers. She took it all very well and reported after that she really enjoyed herself. A little girl named Elliot was celebrating her third birthday and showed us how old she was by raising four fingers. Close enough!

This adorable young woman was sporting a Mickey Mouse on the end of her nose.

Golf carts can get flat tires. If you are at Disney and your rented golf cart gets a flat it is apparently okay to abandon it by the side of the road.

Even when the parks are not very crowded (like today), it is fun to have a Fast Pass+ in hand (which you got while driving to the park; I like those Magic Bands and My Disney Experience) because you get to go to the head of the line and be all uppity while the standby folks ponder their feet.

Our Check In Lady from yesterday rocks! We went to reception this morning to get some help with the Disney app and linking our passes to it. Then I went to registration to ask about extending our stay through Sunday. It had already happened, been billed to our account and noted that we will stay in the same site for the duration. So I cancelled our weekend reservation at Wekiwa Springs and we will remain where we are.

I think that the Leave A Legacy thing at the Epcot entrance looks like a graveyard and I wonder what they were thinking when they thought it up. Clearly one thing was “how much money can we make getting people to pay to have teeny weeny engraved pictures of themselves placed on these tombstones”. When I see them on the way out of the park they make me think that I want to lie down.

Graveyard, henge? You be the judge.

Disney or Bust

Not that we were in a hurry to get to Walt Disney World or anything of the sort. But checkout for campers is at 11:00am and at 11:04am we were in the line for check-in. I got us up at 7:00am and we commenced departure preparations. Let it be known that the minute you think you are so smart and have really got the whole process down pat you will make a boo-boo. In this case, we forgot to plug the trailer electric into the truck electric. The symptom is that the brakes on the trailer don’t work. This you will discover as you are about to pull onto Highway A1A which fortunately didn’t have too much traffic yet owing to the early hour and the fact that it was Sunday. I would have noticed the problem sooner had I done the check of the rear lights that I am supposed to do but it slipped my mind. I was too interested in watching The Whale cruise to the dump station ahead of schedule.

But no harm done and we set forth to Disney without any alarming incidents. Scheduled arrival time was 10:30am so we found a rest area and wasted some time there. With lots of RVs out on the road today it was inevitable that somebody from New England would be on hand to chat. We encountered a couple from New Hampshire who were coming down to spend the winter. This is when we always have to tell the sad story of how we haven’t worked out how to winterize a house for a winter alone and how we will be returning in time for the snowstorms and cold. Ah well. The dream is to spend a winter away and since I have been declared healthy I think we should still look to fulfilling that dream.

Fort Wilderness beckons.

The Fort Wilderness check-in lady had a heart of gold. She must also have lungs of steel because most of the big rigs didn’t even turn off their engines and there were enough fumes in the air to choke a dinosaur. We have 3 reservations. One from today leaving Friday, one from next Sunday leaving Friday, and one at a state park for Friday and Saturday. What we want is to extend our reservation thru Saturday and to keep the same campsite for the following week. Check-in lady (CIL) made a valiant attempt but there are no vacancies for the weekend as of today. We’ve got the back office phone number and need to keep calling to see if there have been any cancellations. I hope there will be because if Brett has to back into this campsite another time I think he will faint.

I have never seen so many campers leaving the campground at checkout time. There were people directing traffic in order to keep it all unsnarled. Many of the check-ins had to go wait in the overflow lot because the campsites weren’t ready for them yet. CIL said the campground would be full tonight. There are over a thousand campsites here.

We also asked for a site near the boat docks but none were available. We’ve ended up in the 600 loop at site #620 which is very near the Meadows Trading Post and all the evening activities (campfire and movies). #620 is rated as easy to back into. That may be so as long as you think that a 90 degree backwards turn from a road as wide as a driveway with no room to maneuver across the road is easy. We got tied into a bit of a knot trying to avoid Christmas decorations (apparently there are no rules about how close to the road these can go) and the neighbor’s golf cart which was directly at the side of the road across from us. I said if push came to shove we should have taken out the decorations and then aimed for the golf cart but the golf cart owner spared us and showed up to move out of the way. We even tried to push it and/or find a brake release but we could not budge the thing. After about 20 minutes of backing and turning and forwarding and sqwudging over, Brett got us all situated.

This was taken from the truck as we were heading to the campground. But since we visited Magic Kingdom today without a camera, I am including it here.

After lunch we grabbed our Magic Bands and headed to the boat dock (on our tandem bicycle) for a few hours at the Magic Kingdom. Who could be so numb as to go to the Kingdom and leave their camera in the camper? That would be me. So no pictures from our first foray. This is probably okay since I’ve got about a million others sitting around waiting to be organized. I did remember my charge card which is now in a state of shock after being used to purchase two annual passes. Ouch! We had fun with the ticket lady Melissa who asked us if we could stay with her for the rest of the afternoon. She decided that Brett needed the Goofy picture on his pass. I opted for Minnie. I am not quite sure how it will be accomplished but the passes get linked to the Magic Bands for maximum efficiency.

The park was more crowded than we anticipated but we forged ahead. We usually avoid the afternoon parade but we ended up being accidental viewers because we got trapped in the people traffic along the route. I don’t like being in crowds and Brett saved me by finding a little corner to stand in until the floats had gone by. It was dark by the time we got on the boat back to the campground. We met a nice family from New York and swapped stories with them during the wait. The boat ride yielded conversations with a family staying at the Beach Club (she a dentist, all going to the Hoop-de-Doo review) and a young man named Brian from Atlanta who was staying in a cabin at the campground. We managed to pedal the tandem home without getting hit by any cars (we don’t have lights on the bike and hadn’t intended to be out after dark).

I hope somebody remembers to ask us if we are celebrating anything on this visit because “cancer free” sounds like a good reason to me.

Surely a State With South In the Name Will Be Warm

Rain, rain go away. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving was not only wet, it featured way too much traffic and no air temperature that made your hands feel the least bit warm when exposed to it. So it meant another chilly day of preparing lunch in the trailer and trying to rest a bit before finishing the trip to South Carolina.

The view was becoming tiresome. Rain rain go away!

The Yemassee KOA had a few sites available so we spent our Thanksgiving at their quite nice campground. This is the first campground we have been to that featured pizza delivery, nightly wine tasting and a coffee bar. The barista/owner prepared pumpkin pie lattes for us on Thanksgiving morning and we had a nice visit with him.

The campground owner was also our barista.

We had a Wednesday dinner date with our friends Kate & Tim who live in Beaufort. It is always so nice to see them. An extra bonus was getting to meet their friends Barb and Phelps who were visiting from Vermont. We had a great time laughing and talking and eating and being in a warm place. During the evening Kate’s cousin Paul dropped by and invited us to have Thanksgiving dinner with them and 9 other people. I was reluctant but he persuaded us and even offered to smoke the turkey breast I had been planning to crockpot. In the end I crocked the turkey and got no end of teasing about it. Paul prepared a smoked turkey and it was served with squash, snow peas, sausage dressing, oyster dressing and salad. Then there were pies and ice cream for dessert. It was a wonderful treat to be included with such nice people. There was great conversation, great food and lots of laughter.

Did I mention it was cold? Wednesday freeze warnings meant the water hose needed to be unhooked and stowed lest we have a 20 foot icicle on our hands in the morning. Thursday night was the same. Big trailer blunders involved mistakenly setting the hot water bypass after unhooking the hose. This caused the water pump to run continuously and the faucets to yield no hot water. It also caused the female member of the crazy camping duo to become rather grumpy about stuff not working. Once her cohort realized what was wrong and made it right, she calmed down.

Cold enough for a winter coat, hat and mittens.

And So We Begin Again

Oh look! There is a huge storm forming in the middle of the country and it is predicted to cover the entire east coast by the beginning of the week, disrupting holiday travel where ever you may be. Let’s drive to Florida! And so begins yet another episode of “Travels with Sandy” or as I like to call it “Let’s see how far we can get before something else appears to break down”.

Even the days we spent loading our supplies into the whale should have been a clue. Temps below freezing means you cannot put anything that contains liquid out because it will freeze and break. So hold those until the last minute. Will things freeze in the refrigerator when it is this cold? Yup. Surprise snow squalls overnight (thank you for checking The Weather Channel App just before going to bed) meant that all the slides had to be put in so they wouldn’t get snow covered or freeze open. Slides in, cannot put things away. Temps below freezing and snow blowing around in 40mph winds make you NOT want to pack anyway. But T minus one day even as miserable as it was saw us finishing up the putting away.

We decided on an early start to beat the traffic. So up at 5am and out to start the truck at 6am. No can start! It was too cold overnight and the thing should have been plugged in to keep the engine warm. So we dig the extension cord out of the trailer and plug the truck in and wait. Finally with an urge to get moving, Dot the Matrix was called into service and used to jump the truck battery. So a 7am-ish departure was had.

It is a tradition for us to stop at the rest area in Kennebunk for a bite to eat and a latte. We were definitely the early birds.

Day one of driving was sunny and very cold. As odd as it seems, the Mass pike is the least expensive place for us to get diesel along the first leg of the journey. The place where we stopped was busy having new fire extinguishers placed at all the diesel pumps. So there are trucks backed up waiting for the one working pump. Stupid question of the day asked by cashier “What pump are you at?” Stupid sign of the day was the “State Speed Limit 65” which I believe was in New York followed in about 2/10 of a mile by a “Speed Limit 70” sign. The only incident was one that exposed at least one Connecticut driver for the idiot that he surely was. We were toodling along in the driving lane about 5mph under the speed limit but directly behind a truck that was going even slower. Then we heard a horn sound and saw a pickup truck passing us. Sometimes people sound the horn because they are from Maine and they are saying hello or because they see something falling off your trailer and want to alert you. This fellow wanted to be sure that we saw him flip us the bird and say something (probably not for print). No idea what he thought our offense was but glad we didn’t see him again.

iExit called this place “truck friendly” with diesel fuel. It was quite a squeeze and I don’t think my driver was really very happy. The smile was an effort.

And finally I ponder yet again the question of what does the designation “truck friendly” really mean. I like to think that it means if you are driving a big tractor trailer you can still get in, get fuel and get out without scraping or denting anything. That may, in fact, be what the designation “truck stop” is all about. Trying to save a little money on fuel got us into a couple of situations that had the driver’s forehead sweating a bit. We managed though.

Who told you that you could make that turn?

Today was my day to be the designated a$$h0le.

I am seriously wondering if my former lady parts were still bringing something to the party and now that they are gone I am going to turn into a shrieking harpy. Oh I really hope not.

The day started innocently enough at 65 degrees and sunny. Brett suggested that we walk on the beach early just in case that 30% chance of rain decided to develop. It was a good idea and we had a nice walk.

We met a ranger cleaning up the site next to us as we were leaving. She said it was the dirtiest she’d seen anybody leave a campsite and was going to put their names on the “naughty” list. At least they were quiet. We didn’t hear or see a thing.

Next up was an outing to Publix to get a few supplies. It isn’t likely that we will starve but I’d rather get a loaf of bread there than pay Disney prices at the trading post when we suddenly run out. Grocery shopping accomplished we wanted to eat some BBQ. The ranger suggested a restaurant called Woody’s and I did have the address. My job when we travel is to navigate and until today I thought I was very good at it. Just take a right out of the Publix and it will be up here before the interstate. When we’d gone under the interstate I tried to use the map on my phone to find it because GPS now suddenly wanted us to go to Ft. Lauderdale. My GPS orients in the direction we are driving. The stupid phone app just flips around to some unknown plane and never mentions where north is. While I am getting more and more flummoxed, poor innocent Brett decides to take matters into his own hands and make a turn. To which I became a total lunatic. Why are you turning? Who told you to make that turn? These questions look innocent enough but you have to read them with a very loud voice to get the right idea. God bless him. He just went back to the highway and asked what next. I kept pretending I could get us there. We would probably still be driving back and forth on that stretch of highway if Brett hadn’t seen the sign. Praise be! I apologized heartily several thousand (well at least four) times and all is forgiven. I did do better getting us to a gas station that had diesel fuel. I managed to behave myself for the rest of the afternoon and contemplated sending myself to my room.

We really did find the restaurant. And Brett is really smiling. But I don’t know why. He must love me a lot.

And Finally A Temperature I Can Work With

The day started with 44 degrees and as we made our way south we ended with 63. This is “no jacket” weather for us and quite comfortable. We have two nights at Gamble Rogers State Recreation Area, Flagler Beach, FL. The campground is a tiny slice of land between the beach dunes and highway A1A. There are only about 30 campsites and we were lucky to find one this weekend. On our earlier trips we would have been aghast at the narrow roadway and the seemingly impossible maneuvers required in order to turn around after the ranger station check in. Two years of experience and zip, zap The Whale is squarely backed into her space with room to open the slides and not even one word spoken in anger. Our first day here has featured lunch, a nap, a walk and the crocked turkey with all the trimmings. This trip in part was meant to get away from cancer and doctors and recuperating. Now I am at the beach and feel like I did get away. The cancer dust seems brushed away and I am a happy camper.

Safely parked in site #20, The Whale settles down for a few days at the beach.

The tide was coming in and the sea was very rough today. It was a nice walk all the same.

Further Merriment

Wilkes-Barre, PA was our destination. There are very few campgrounds open in New England during the cold months. There is a Mohegan Sun Casino there that doesn’t mind if you park your rig and spend the night in the parking lot. We’ve done it several times before but somehow you forget just how cold 22 degrees really is. We have a furnace which we ran to get things warmed up. But the cold was draining the battery and it wasn’t holding much of a charge so the furnace wouldn’t be able to run all night. We had no water on board because we were still in the “this will all freeze up” zone. So this meant walking to the casino to use the bathroom (did I mention it is up on a mountain and it is cold there). The roaming shuttle bus driver spotted us on our last trip down and gave us a ride to the door so that was nice. Since it was so cold, we thought hot chocolate would be a nice treat. It was! Brett opted for something called Butter Beer which is milk and butter and some other things I can’t remember but which he declared wonderful. Sleeping happened in our bed with flannel sheets, one blanket, one polyfiber filled comforter and one down filled comforter. Sleepers wore flannel jammies (him) and street clothes (her) as well as winter hats. It was cozy enough there and nobody froze to death.

One more cold trudge to the casino and we really needed a hot drink.

Morning featured a quick getting dressed and another trip to the casino for bathroom and coffee. Monday night apparently being the only one when the shops are not open 24 hours, there was no coffee.

Did I mention that big storm? Well there was that. Wake up in Wilkes-Barre also featured snow. 6am featured slowly falling snow so we decided to leave anyway and hoped to get over the rest of the mountain driving before things turned from bad to worse. Observation #1 – it does not get light in PA as early as it does in ME. #2 – when it is snowing and not daylight and there are mostly big trucks around, it is hard to see. #3 – iExit is a great iPhone app and pointed us to a rest area where we sat out the ending of dark and beginning of being able to see where we were going. Once light, we plodded ahead and made much use of The Weather Channel and Weather Radar. We could see that we would drive through the area of mixed precipitation at some point and started early planning for the quickest route back to I95 and the all rain happenings. Luckily for us, the storm moving north and our moving south combined to offer us less than an hour of wintry mix and not much more of snow. Of course when we did get to rain, we stayed in heavy rain for 2 days. It was an exhausting way to travel and I salute my intrepid driver because without him I would still be sitting in the driveway.

Snow and sleet and freezing rain and trailer trucks on I81. But at least we had daylight.

Once we got back to I95 heading south we guessed about how far we could get before dark and called ahead to a campground for a site. I estimated our arrival at 5:30pm. We actually got to the vicinity of their driveway at about 5:15pm. Observation #1 – it is already dark at 5:15pm in Enfield, NC so we’ve broken our prime directive of not parking in a site after dark. #2 – it is best to turn when the navigator tells you to. A small blunder of turning down a road instead of into the driveway took us 8 miles out of our way in order to get The Whale turned around. The GPS thought we could turn earlier but eyes on the ground noted the “road” was a dirt farm path and it had been raining all day which probably meant it was a dirt farm swamp and we would be living there if we ventured down it. Opting for less adventure, we were lucky enough to have paved roads situated in such a manner that a left turn and a couple or rights got us back to the campground. The young man running the desk had waited for us to arrive so we did get a person to greet us. He was, however, more interested in watching The Three Stooges on his large TV than he was in engaging in any sort of civilized conversation. The actual parking was accomplished in the dark and featured the need to move slightly to the right once because there was no room for opening the slide. It also featured the hitherto invisible large and deep puddles that used to be the site which were found when they were stepped into. Long drive followed by cold, wet feet and setting up in the pouring rain make for rather unhappy campers. But the heat worked and we had water and electric so things started looking up pretty quickly.

That which needed doing has been done



On the afternoon of October 2 you may have felt just a whiff of a breeze, a faint stirring of the airs and probably didn’t think too much of it. That breeze was me breathing a sigh of relief. This was the day that the surgeon said the cancer was gone and that there was only a single digit probability that it will return.

The trip to that moment was a speedy one as the cancer diagnosis did tend to get me quickly onto lots of calendars. But that quick trip wasn’t a fun filled one. Maine Medical Center is a big, busy place (I should have known that it wouldn’t be like the shiny surgical suite at Intermed where I’d had my biopsy done). I found it disconcerting to be handed a buzzing, lights flashing pager thingy when we checked in. This was to alert us when the magic doors to the next place to wait for surgery would be opened and we would be transported to a place other than the waiting room with chairs only and folks coughing all over you. Comforting as this may be to some, I felt more like I’d just ordered a pizza and was mourning because you cannot eat prior to surgery. When the thing finally did buzz and whir and flash, it caught me by surprise and I did exactly what I do if I’m holding my phone and it sounds off. I tossed it into the chair beside me. Good start! At least I offered some amusement for the lady sitting near me (and I didn’t hit her with it).

The inner sanctum of waiting involves individual little bedded areas (Brett says he was directed to a similar area while he was trying to locate me later and it reminded him for all the world of some creepy warehouse) where I saw the most medical staff of my entire stay. Several nurses checking and rechecking, several anesthesiologists checking and rechecking (I hope they checked a lot because I just got a bill for $2240 for 4 hours in the operating room), a quick visit from the surgeon and a nice lady who said “I’m just going to give you something to relax your nerves”. That “something” was certainly relaxing. It was administered at about 11am (surgery had been scheduled for 10am) and the next thing I saw was my hospital room at 6pm. Feeling much worse for wear, I can only assume that the surgery did actually happen sometime during those lost hours. Brett was there (I told him if I saw him crying when I woke up I was just going to go back to sleep) and I do remember there were no tears. What I don’t remember is any conversation with anybody about how the surgery turned out. Don’t you think that medical people would know that anesthesia and nerves and pain have a way of wrecking our memory? What I do remember is coming in and out of a recovery fog wondering whether I still had cancer. There was the occasional nurse who professed no knowledge and the troupes of residents who all declared that they hadn’t been there and could offer no insight. These are the same residents who also tried my patience by poking around my incisions and asking me if it was tender. Tender?! Didn’t I just have 4 hours with some robot rooting around in there and you want to know if it’s tender? Luckily I had no energy as my impulse would have been to lash out at the nearest nose and wonder if it was now also tender. And what’s with the person who stands over you in the middle of the night and asks “Is it okay if I take your vitals now?”. Would they really NOT do it if I said “no, I’d just like to get some sleep”? Not until next morning, when I was so frustrated that I was shedding tears (painful after you’ve had abdominal surgery), did a nurse listen and read my chart notes to me (doesn’t look like cancer spread) and go retrieve my surgeon.

For the most part my wounds were the star of my stay and the fact that there was a real person attached to them was of little import. Everything seemed very “assembly line”; get them up and get them out. My wounds were tended adequately, the person not so much, and I couldn’t wait to get out of there. The “nice” nurse suggested I try to eat some breakfast that morning because I wouldn’t be discharged until I had some food. The last time I was a patient in a hospital, breakfast was delivered to everybody at 7am. Now it’s “room service”. You call the kitchen and order from a menu (if you have a menu or if somebody bothered to tell you that’s how food works now). My husband in shining armor arrived shortly after the oatmeal did and managed to get me out of there and back home before I could become much more dispirited over my encounter with the medical machine.

This is as close as I could come to a smile.

While the helipad was moderately interesting, I was happy to get back to my own bed and have my own view of the changing seasons.

I am so thankful that Brett was at my side for this experience. I know that he didn’t sign up to be a nurse or a housekeeper or a personal assistant but he was all those things and more. For every can of soup he heated up, for every pillow that he fluffed, for every phone call that he made, for every appointment that he carted me to, for every walk up and down the hall and then up and down the driveway, for every joke he told, for every smile he smiled I thank him. Couldn’t have done it without you buddy!

I’ve probably walked 30 miles in the driveway during my recovery. Hunting season is upon us so I’ve had to don my “don’t shoot me duds”.

It has been over a month since the surgery and I am feeling so much better. I should get the all clear from the surgeon next week and then we are anxious to hit the road for a little RV time.

So I will keep looking ahead now and planning and living my life. But you will understand if I occasionally glance over my shoulder for that oh so sneaky, less than 10 percent cancer cell that might just be burbling along behind me. Watch out cancer, I am one tough cookie.

Getting stronger


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It has been a few weeks since my last post and that is because I have been recovering from surgery. This is just a quick post to say that the surgery was successful and the cancer has been removed. That’s a big hooray from here. Additionally, no other cancer was found so I will not need to have additional treatment. My job is to heal.

I will post again soon as I have many details of my time in the “surgical machine” that I would like to talk about. But also, as soon as I am cleared by the surgeon, we will be starting on another RV adventure. So try to keep up!


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