Up to Date: June 12th to July 19th '07
Pool!!! Kathleen is off to the pool but I promised myself that I would get with bringing our adventures & blog up to date so here I sit. Don't feel too bad for me as it is currently 105 degrees here in Rapid City, SD and climbing and of note, it is only 10:30 a.m. ! Rapid City is to be our new Domicile (home). Tomorrow we will begin all the changes to make that happen and all that will be the topic for the next blog, but for now let's go back and get brought up to date with a little time line.
April 5th, Kathleen completed Chemo and although her immune system was extremely low, she was feeling pretty good and anxious to get on with the next phase of treatment. At this point the doctors were having a hard time finding the lump on palpation and were very encouraged by the results of the Chemo. We are missing our Seattle families, especially the little ones.
April 30th, Kathleen has her surgery. Scheduled to be a lumpectomy, with lymph node sampling. A critical time for us to await the results and especially for me who would get the visit from the surgeon following the surgery. Special to me was being surprised by my sister Barb who drove from their home in Cary, Ill. to be by my side. The surgeon's visit to me in the waiting room was one I will never forget. He was extremely upbeat and one could detect in his voice a very positive slant to what he was about to tell me. "The Chemo had indeed done its job. 95% of the tumor had been destroyed. A very minimally invasive lumpectomy was performed and more importantly all of the lymph node samplings taken were negative for any cancer cells." These are the kind of results one hopes and prays for!
May 10th - 17th, Kathleen's immune system finally recovers enough that our medical care givers decide it is safe for us to travel and as long as Kathleen is feeling OK from the surgery, we are allowed to take off for a visit to Seattle. I wrote about "They Didn't Forget", in a previous blog and if you missed it, you might want to click on it on the right of this page. Our boys and their wives always make us feel so special when we visit their homes and this trip was no exception. It was good to just get away from what we had been experiencing and have the opportunity to get hugged and laugh when we wanted to.
May 23rd, Radiation treatments begin. A total of 33 "zaps" are to be given, one each work day, with week-ends and holidays excluded. That would take us to July 10th. During this time we moved our home from Goose Island, to Black hawk Park, and back to Goose Island again. We had a fair amount of free time on our hands now and continued to prepare for our departure and eventual beginning of our adventures. During this time we are anxiously awaiting the arrival and visit of our special full timing Internet friends, Norm and Linda Payne. I have written many times of our relationship with them so won't go in to a lot of detail here, but suffice it to say, Kathleen and Norm established a special bond during her ordeal, as Norm is a cancer survivor, and he offered numerous e-mails with advise and encouragement. Norm and Linda kept us in their prayers as we did them years back when Norm was going through his encounter with the "enemy." Norm and Linda are expected to arrive at Black hawk Park on or about July 7th as they are making the great Mississippi River Journey from where the River empties into the Gulf to it's beginning in Minnesota. See their web-site: www.seeya-downtheroad.com
July 6th, Norm and Linda need to arrive in Black hawk Park a day earlier than expected as the park they were in had no room for them as reservations had the park full for the July 4th week-end. Norm, Linda, and their traveling companions, Don & Gloria Martin, arrived right on cue and the hugs were so welcomed. We were planning to have about 5 days camped together, with fishing for Norm, Don, and I to take center stage and the girls to enjoy R&R, crafting, and conversation, not in any specific order. Prior to their arrival I had been Bass Fishing from my little Sea Eagle boat and just knocking the "snot." (excuse my french),out of the big Bass. I was hoping like heck that the fishing would continue to remain good for their arrival but as is so often the case, the weather changed and so did the fish. Not catching as many fish didn't seem to bother the three of us as we were able to fish together out of one boat and it was a great time for conversation. (Long time friend, Brian Lee, loaned us his "beater boat"). Evenings for the most part were spent going out to dinner and one evening in particular will be memorable for us all. On July 10th, Kathleen had her last Radiation treatment, which signaled the end to the whole ordeal and the true beginnings to the next faze of our adventures. I had gone in to LaCrosse earlier in the day and got a couple of bottles of champagne and the 10 of us having dinner together toasted the end to our 8 months or so of dealing with the "enemy." (There were 10 of us as we were joined by Jerry and Sharon, camp hosts, at Black hawk Park). One evening we all gathered at our coach and had a fish fry, (yes we caught enough). Being together for those 5 days with Norm and Linda and getting to meet Don and Gloria is and will always be very special to us. We thank Norm and Linda for the beautiful "T" shirts, and Don and Gloria for the neck lanyards. We parted company on July 11th as it was time for them to continue their North bound River trip and for us to move to Goose Island and begin the visits and goodbys with friends and family as our departure was drawing near.
Memorial Day Weekend and July 4th Weekend, We are new at this motor home living and soon learned that RV parks quickly fill up on holiday weekends. We had to "get out of town" for these two weekends but chose the best place in the Midwest to stay. Kathleen's brother, Jim, and Alyce his bride as Jim calls her, have a great home between Waukon and Decorah, Iowa. Our coach fit perfectly in thier back yard and looked out over the green fields of Iowa. Jim and Alyce have three strappin' boys who have brides of thier own, plus a couple of the cutest grandbabies you'd ever see. We had two of the best weekends just hanging out with them. Big old bon fires, picnics, just plain visiting. Thanks Jim and Alyce. We'll be back.
July 11 -20, We had very little time to relax at Goose Island as we were in preparation mode for a planned trip to Door County Wisconsin with my mom for a few days. We departed for Door County on the 13th. Spent the first night in a Coast to Coast Park in Gresham Wisconsin. After getting set up in the park it was off to a local casino for some fun and to give their buffet a try. Mom won a small amount at a slot machine and we walked as winners from the black jack tables. Not enough to buy dinner but enough to cover the dessert! The next two nights were spent at a C to C park in Door County. We returned to the LaCrosse area on the 16th having had a very enjoyable trip with my mom to a special part of the country that we always look forward to visiting. The 16th, 17th, and 18th were spent bidding farewell (till spring), to many of our friends, neighbors, and family. Although we will be returning in October for Kathleen's follow up medical appointments, we probably won't have time to touch base with everyone we would like to see, as our trip back will be a short one.
Having a farewell dinner with my mom on the evening of July 18th was especially tough and emotional. Mom had been such a center of focus for us for so many years, especially after her moving to the LaCrosse area, from Iowa. That time of her being so close to us allowed us to always include her in whatever we were doing and unfortunately it allowed for her to become very dependant on our presence. It is with much bitter sweet emotion that we begin this new faze of our lives. Leaving mom to have to contemplate changes in her life, and us to be excited about our upcoming adventures makes for a strange mix. We will miss her a great deal but we will look forward to the phone calls and return visits for many years to come.
Now the Adventure has truly begun!!!! We are in Rapid City, SD. It is Sunday July 22nd 2007. We begin our domicile change in the morning. Kathleen just returned from the pool and you should see the sunburn!