Vacation, All I ever Wanted.

I love the beach.  I love vacationing with my family.  We share a beach house and we lounge, read, play games, cook and eat and drink yummy things and share the responsibility of keeping the children alive.  

Watching your mini me run and jump and scream with delight in the surf and swim out past the breakers like a boss is just bliss.  Ok, a tiny boss who is carried by me through the breakers at the exact right moment based on ten minutes of close observation of wave patterns, and then allowed to swim unhindered for 8 second intervals while I watch less than arm’s length away and silently curse and swear in the direction of imaginary sharks, tsunamis, Portuguese  Man O’ War, giant squids, rip tides and undertows.  Respect the ocean, yo.  

It’s glorious to arrive at a big, clean, airy beach house, throw your stuff in drawers and dash to the beach.  Your senses have a field day – feel the hot sun, the shock of the first wave on your feet, the bracing first dive under, smell the coconuty sunscreen.  Hear the waves crash and the seagulls argue over rogue bits of dropped sandwich crusts.  
Families splash and swim and read and play.  There is so much smiling at the beach.  Even from Kevin.

I even love heading back to the house.  Rinsing the sand off, going for a run on that hot beach town pavement, getting back in time to shower before snack time.  Everyone shuffles in, shares a bite and a drink.  Dinner plans are solidified.
I love eating on vacation.  

To feel the pop as you bite into the first ear of corn, to taste the trip’s first good seafood or barbecue, then, later to sit around a beach house table and play games, while the kids chase each other in their PJs.  Once they head to bed, tan and tired, the adults share drinks and stories and laughs, fighting over music tastes (if I hear that Toes in the Water, Ass in the sand song again…grr!)  

There are trips to neighboring towns for sightseeing, shopping and getting the kids to quit whining.  
And evening walks to see the sunset.
And kid-free adventures courtesy of the grandparents.
There are walks into town.
And lots of ice cream.
Leaving the beach stinks.  The drive home is the worst.  But once everything is unpacked, poking around to see what the garden produced and monkeying around on the swing set just feels like home.  

Milestones on the Cancer Journey

So I had major abdominal surgery six weeks ago. It’s the thing that launched this crazy situation we’re in. We thought the surgery was The Thing to worry about getting through. Little did we know that was a cheerful, sunny walk in the park that led to the scary, poorly lit, ivy covered, rusty gate marked CANCER that we had to walk through. I have this tendency to wave my hand dismissively at that surgery. The surgeon who performed it did an excellent job and while his bedside manner made me want to hide under the covers, he removed not only the mass that caused this mess, by not screwing anything up, he also removed many obstacles for me. The connection could have leaked. I could have ended up with a colostomy bag (eeeeewwwwww.) There could have been a massive infection. All kinds of things could have gone wrong which could have jeopardized my life or delayed treating the cancer for six months.

I have been pain free from my surgery for about three weeks. I had a very fast recovery which I attribute to largely to God answering about one million people’s prayers and a little bit of my sheer, mule-like will. See, the doc not so politely noted that I am not a particularly thin person and lingered on the notion several times that due to that, it would probably take me a very long time to recover. To which I thought “Awww,that’s so cute how you don’t know who you’re dealing with, here.” And I basically said “Hey, you do the surgery right and then get out of my way.” Jagoff.

So, naturally, I was zooming up and down the hallways by the second day post-op, sweating and muttering swear words under my breath like a crazy person, with that stupid IV tower clunking along, just to spite him. I walked three times as far each day as they suggested I try to and they released me from the hospital 3 days earlier than expected. Take that, Doc. Also, I registered for a 5K that will take place a couple of days after my final chemo treatment. I will be there. I will finish. Even if I have to crawl.

Some of this post is about the will to accomplish that which seems difficult, overcoming obstacles and basically telling a guy with 12 years of post-secondary education who would go on to essentially save your life, to shove it. But it’s also about milestones.

Successful surgery. Awesome.

Getting discharged early. Great.

First “solid” food. Yum.

Returning to work to be with my crew.

Mort the Port is installed.

Starting treatment.

But the best thing, by far, happened yesterday. It’s been six weeks since I was allowed to lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk. That is, well, most things. Including a 40 pound preschooler. She’s been patient and understanding that she can’t torpedo down the hallway and launch her adorable self at me. She’s been gentle and careful. Until this moment…