We haven't been on anything like a vacation since last fall. Since then we had the winter of bones breaking and chemo roulette as we waited to find something that would slow the cancer.
Finally this past week strength is up enough and we've been able to travel. At least a short trip (for us) to Block Island; a small island in Long Island Sound. A nice funky vacation destination that we've been visiting for a number of years so we can spend some quality time with our friends Eileen and Andy who have loaded their family into a van and ferried out there forever. Several other couple we know from Ithaca are also here for a few days of vacation so it's a bit of an annual tradition I'm glad we can still do.
This past Monday we also packed the van. Ours is filled with all the items we need for mobility; wheelchair, walker and cane as well as oxygen generator, regulators and oxygen tanks of various volume. Hats to protect sensitive bald scalps, enough sunblock for the entire island and a pharmacy to make even Hunter S. Thompson blink.
So what does cancer on vacation look like? Yesterday was typical. Karen lounged in the morning with our friends while I went for a bike ride. Karen decided that a hot fudge sundae would be a fine lunch and I don't argue. It was meant to be; there was an empty handicap parking spot on the main drag near the ice cream shop. After lunch we drive to the parking lot near the North Lighthouse point ourselves out to the Sound and take in the waves for a while and people watch as the cars, bikes and mopeds come and go. some decide the additional quarter mile walk to the lighthouse is not worth it and turn around.
It's been a long time since Karen has driven a car. She misses it because it represents the freedoms that the healthy enjoy without a second thought. She blames me and I suppose she's right because I discourage her. With all her meds I worry about reaction time. I ask her if she want to drive. Everything on the island is slow paced including the traffic. We change seats; raising the driver's seat as high as it will go. We cruise along at a stately 20mph, taking the backroads and little dirt roads. We end a dead end road with only a few hundred feet to a sand beach. I break out some folding chairs and we sit and watch the waves from a different direction as we contemplate Cancer on the beach,
Later that evening everyone comes to Eileen and Andy's rental house for supper.
Lovely summer days that should last forever.
William and Karen - Karen and I have been married for 41 years. Karen's breast cancer has reached stage 4. This is what happens next.