Impatiently Recovering

Walking the Beach-Helps in Healing

It has been a week since I had the other half of my thyroid removed. I am recovering well. I tend to overdo it a bit, then I have to rest up for a day and try again. Sitting still or lounging around has never been me. I like to hike. I like to bike. I like to walk on the beaches. I like to be busy.

Today I went over to my storage unit, yes I do have one of those, and by the time I got there, I did not feel so well. I sat inside my storage unit and pondered why I felt so awful. Oh right, I had major surgery a week ago. Oh right, I have not been drinking enough liquids. Catching a ride with Lyft, I found my way back to the RV park I am staying in and have been lounging the afternoon away and drinking lots of fluids.

The really, really, really good news is that I am cancer-free. The biopsy came in at the end of the week with no trace of cancer. Yes!!! I immediately felt a bit lighter on all levels of my being. The decisions are not done as I have to decide whether I will do the radioactive iodine treatment. I will see both doctors over the next few weeks and will listen to their advice, yet this is a decision I will need to make for myself.

One of the phrases that has been a part of my life since I was diagnosed with breast cancer is “Get all the input you can, make your decisions and then don’t look back”. With that in mind, I am researching radioactive iodine.

Elsie and I moved back into our home on wheels on Tuesday. I am hidden at the back of the campground at Santee Lakes. Although the water is a distance away, I am enjoying the low visitor impact in the back. Each night I hear the coyotes, so you know that Miss Elsie is in before dark.

I am feeling very grateful for my friends, Cynthia, and Ward (who took care of me) and Nancy (who took care of El). Because of their caring and support, I believe that everything went much smoother. My recovery would be flawless if I had remained at my friend’s home. I may not have found myself pushing too far too quickly. That is a lesson that I continue to need to learn.

My friends have been calling and reaching out. I am glad to be remembered. It reminds me, that even at my lowest moments, I am loved and supported by many. I am remaining grateful and thankful for such good friends.

I am so thankful for a No Cancer Moment.

 

Surgery Complete-Recovery Mode in Full Swing

The New Kaiser Hospital

Surgery is done. I am in recovery mode at the moment and feeling very thankful and grateful to my friends who are helping me and Miss Elsie the Cat.

Here are a few things I have learned. Because I had a similar surgery done last April, no two surgeries are alike. Removing half a thyroid is different than removing the other half. When one has half a thyroid left there are certain things that one doesn’t have to be as concerned about.

A few logistics are needed here. I won’t detail it too much as I prefer none of you to get funny or pass out.  There are these little glands, four of them that sit on or next to the thyroid, known as the parathyroids. They control calcium in our bodies. Most of us know that calcium is important to our bone growth. Did you know that calcium is important to muscles as well? Those little parathyroids sometimes like to go into shock when they are manipulated or handled. It can cause a dip, sometimes a big dip in the calcium and our heart may not work so well if that happens.

Why is this important? I ended up spending the night in the hospital post-surgery so that my calcium level could be monitored, just in case. Everything went well and I was discharged the following morning. I was surprised to find out I would be staying. Cynthia, my major support person was surprised as well.

An example of the rooms in the new hospital.

In view of the larger picture, this was just a small blip. If I had to stay in a hospital for the night I could not have been in a better place. The Kaiser hospital in San Diego is brand new. On the floor where I stayed, every room was private. Cool. When they wheeled me in I discovered a beautiful view of Mission Trails Regional Park and Miramar- the Marine base. There was the hugest TV I have ever seen hanging on the wall in front of the bed. I could watch TV, I could watch movies, I could surf the internet, I could watch videos about my health. I could even order my meals, all on that screen.

Remember that I live in about a 200 square foot space so this room and all the amenities were amazing. Drawn behind the TV screen was a picture of the Santa Rosa Mountains in the Anza Borrego State Park. I love the desert, so it was nice to see a view I know well and love.

Beyond all the amenities was the staff. The nurses, aides, and student nurses were amazing and kind and generous with their time. They let me sleep through the night. Yes!!!! Everyone cared for me well and lovingly. I was in good hands with people who appeared to love their job and cared about me.

Now I am back at Cynthia’s and Ward’s, recovering, being fed and loved. Today I am achy and sore, tomorrow I am sure I will be better. It is hard to be patient and allow myself the downtime to recover. Usually, the body wins out and off I go to take a nap.

Miss Elsie, meanwhile is hanging out with Nancy a long and good time friend, who Elise has always liked. I am sure she is getting loved and cared for. I hope Nancy is enjoying her company as well. Elsie can be Miss Personality when she chooses.

So, there is an update. I am still alive and working on thriving again. I will know the biopsy results in about ten working days. My main job currently is to rest and recover and enjoy the attention.

Thank you, all of you for your support and caring and loving thoughts as I worried my way into and out of surgery. Today I am thankful for every single one of you, known and unknown who encourage me and support me through my life.

Yes, I am still breathing.

 

Sisters

Traveling solo in my RV can, at times, be a lonely existence. There are days that I grow weary of my own company. I miss companionship. I have discovered over the past few years how fun it is to travel with others. There is more laughter and definitely more talking. I have enjoyed the times when I have traveled with others.

I am on my way to northern New Jersey, to my sister’s home. Miss Elsie the Cat and the rig are going to spend the summer there, while I travel to South Africa. Miss El and I know how fortunate we are to have a place that is safe and secure and loving to go to. 

A week ago I texted my New Jersey sister, Ginny, and suggested that she fly to Ohio, where my other sister, Ruth and my niece and her family live. She could then ride back to New Jersey with me. I totally expected her to say no. And, I would have understood. It was a last minute kind of thing. 

You know what she said? “I am already packed!” Woo Hoo! I was immediately surprised, excited and happy. We are going on a road trip. Ginny and I have done road trips together before. There was that time in Maine when we got so mad at each other, we had to pull off the road so we could yell at each other. By dinner we were friends again. 

We have explored the West Coast, the Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce together. One of our last trips was to western Massachusetts and New York State. I was doing a “Fam” trip (familiarization trip). I was exploring the area before I took a tour group into the area. We have discovered interesting places together. Near St Johnsbury, VT we were guided by a local retailer to seek out the Dog Chapel at Dog Mountain.

Dog Mountain is set on 150 acres on a private mountaintop spot. The grounds are always open to people and their dogs. Stephen Huneck and his wife, Gwen, bought the property in 1995. They turned the barn into studio space. Stephen was a hand wood carver. During a serious illness Stephen had a vision to create a space for dogs including The Dog Chapel. What an interesting find. the whole area on the top of a mountain is dedicated to dogs. Inside the chapel the walls were covered with photos of dogs who have passed over, others that were sick. We added a picture of one of our favorite kitties, Wally. It is important to encourage diversity. Stephen and his wife, Gwen, have both died. A foundation continues to run and manage Dog Mountain.  There are hiking trails and a dog agility park. All dogs and their humans are welcome. Yes I would encourage you to explore this unique find when you are in the are

Tomorrow, all three of us sisters will be reunited, however briefly near Columbus Ohio. I look forward to seeing both of my sisters and my great nephew, Ward. My niece and her husband are out of town. After a good visit, Ginny and I will get in EmmyLou the RV with Miss Elsie the Cat and we will venture the backroads to northern NJ. I am looking forward to the company. I am looking forward to what we might discover.

Hopefully this will be the beginning of others, and you know who you are, joining me for long or short trips in my RV. I will treasure the company. My world appears to be expanding.

 

 

 

 

Once again I have successfully traversed the lower 48. I arrived in Boise Idaho about a week ago. There were a few mishaps on the way but Elsie the Cat, my rig and I have all made it in one piece.

Field of Dreams

I loved the Field of Dreams Movie site. Have you ever had a movie touch something inside of you? This movie was one of those movies for me. I thought I would spend about an hour there. Instead I signed up for a tour and spent close to three hours there, before I headed west. Truly, it wasn’t hokey. Our tour guide was excellent and he had so much trivia about the filming of the movie. It was a great tour. The only thing missing was the corn. It was barely beginning to grow.

I had always promised myself that if and when I drove cross country again I would head back to northern Nebraska and ride the roads just south of South Dakota. I rode the Bridges to Buttes Highway, the Outlaw Highway and the Lewis & Clark Highway. It was lush and green and so spring. I stayed in state park campgrounds. I have discovered that Nebraska excels in their State Park system. Both parks were beautiful. I rode my bike through one of them, ending with an amazing overlook of the Upper Missouri River. I took some time to ponder the Lewis & Clark expedition and what it must have been like to see this country without roads or bridges. They had no idea what lay ahead. Whew-a powerful moment.

Driving across the middle of this nation.

The Missouri River, Moi with a giant jackalope, Camping at Chadron State Park, NE

After a bit of a traumatic drive across Wyoming I made it to this lovely mid-size town in Idaho and my friends. I have had a wonderful week catching up.

Currently I am sitting in the Seattle airport and am on my way to Sitka, Alaska. My friend Leslie, offered me an opportunity I could not refuse so I am off on another adventure that begins today. The cruise begins on Sunday. Leslie and I will meet up later this afternoon. I have not see Leslie is a few years, at least. Yet we maintain a good friendship and I am so looking forward to catching up.

Boise Sunset

Friendships have been on my mind and close to my heart this morning. Ah a repeat theme. Here is what I know today. I feel so fortunate to have such good friends that want me in their life and want to take adventures with me. I love to travel alone. However, just as I am getting tired of my own company I am close to where a friend lives and I am invited in.

I appreciate the many ways my friends love and care for me.

  • Linda, her husband, Steve and son, Andrew are taking Miss Elsie in so I can travel north in comfort knowing she will be loved and all her cat needs will be met. Linda is also taking my rig in for appointments while I am gone. Now that is friendship.

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    Steve & Linda I Poncho the pooch

  • Leslie has gone above and beyond the call of duty arranging places for us to stay in Sitka and managing the upcoming cruise.
  • Helen and Norb, lovingly took me and El in for four days. We laughed and shared our way through this time together.
  • My sisters are always glad to see me when I show up at their door step.
  • Joy and her sister Diane invited me to be a part of a real family Easter.
  • New friends open their driveways and homes to me.
  • My San Diego community call, email and remembers me. I am very grateful for this.
  • Then there is the larger community in the Universe. I belong to the Roadtrek Facebook Page. These people support me along my solo journey. I know I can always reach out to them, if I have questions or need help.

These are just a few examples of my experiences with people within my immediate friend environment and those beyond who I have not met yet.  It gives me faith in humankind. I believe there is a lot of good out there in the world. Sometimes I need to put my inner critic aside and see people for just who they are. On the whole I think most people in this world are pretty darn amazing.

I want to take time here, to thank everyone, those I remember and those who silently cheer me on, for all of your ongoing love, caring and support. It makes me flow through my day and adventures a bit easier, knowing that so many are silently or verbally cheering me on. Even if I am alone, the truth of it is, is that I am not truly alone. People wait for my photos. People wait for my blogs. People wait for me.

Today I am grateful for humankind.

Big Bend National Park is a People Experience

I have been in Texas for a few weeks. I kept thinking I was going to Big Bend National Park but I kept getting diverted. There is so much to see and do. I now have the time to explore. It is fun to pull into little towns, wildlife refuges and more. I like casually exploring.

Since my last post I have explored a very small section, of a very large state. Texas is 1.26 times as big as France. It is a huge state. Big Bend is a large National Park and it takes up a wee tiny spot in Texas. See the spot of green on the Texas map. It is above the Texas decal on the map. That is Big Bend.

The Indians said that after making the Earth, the Great Spirit simply dumped all the leftover rocks on the Big Bend. This park is a very rugged mountainous area and recieved it’s name from the big bend in the Rio Grand River, which follows it’s southern border. It is certainly a land of dichotomy. As part if the Chihuahuan Desert, it is arid and dry. Everything either pokes, sticks or scrapes. It is an environment that is always defending itself, for food and mostly water. Yet right along the southern border is this marvelous river and a delicious, green riparian zone. It attracts birds and other wildlife that might not be seen in the desert. Like I said a land of dichotomy.

Big Bend National Park

click on the pic to see it full size

When I first arrived here it was hot. I am not a fan of heat. On the third day a front went through and  the temperature changed over 40 degrees from the 90’s to the 40’s. It was hot and then it was cold. What the heck is with that?

I met another solo RV’er while I was on the east side of the park. Peggy is full timing in her small rig. She was fun and willing to give most things a try. We hiked and toured and most of all laughed together. It was fun to be with someone else. We even took the ferry (a rowboat) across the Rio Grand to Mexico for a few hours. Don’t even get me started on the burro episode.

Today we parted ways but are planning on meeting up again before I head west to San Diego.

I met John and Carol on the west side of the park. They invited me for dinner. I miss having company for my meals so this certainly was a delight. Their excitement was when I told them that I had ice cubes. Margaritas taste just that bit nicer when chilled with ice. 🍹

I enjoy the company of others. It gets a bit lonely sometimes out here on-the-road. Most times I do not mind being alone yet it is certainly nice to have the company of others. I find that after being on my own for a time, I have to make sure I give other people a chance to talk. Maybe i should carry a talking stick.

It is fun to share experiences. It is interesting to share our experiences of living in our small homes on wheels.

Now I am on my way north and west. I am not sure exactly where I am going yet. There are more things to see and do out there, and hopefully more fun and interesting people to meet.

Stay Tuned.