Trip & Health Updates

Jen and I spent three weeks at our cabin in Ronald, Washington in late May and early June. We did a lot of clean-up and yard work, met up with family on several occasions, and took several hikes. Brian continues to make improvements to the house and grounds.

Jen and Brian

Jen and Brian

Mountains

How about this scenery?

We met with surgeons at UC Health the day after we got back, following-up on the bowel blockage incident in South Carolina. We were informed that a foot of bowel has worked its way into my chest cavity, and that needs to be surgically corrected sooner rather than later. A number of tests are scheduled for this Wednesday, including a PET scan, which is better than a CT scan at showing if there is cancer in major organs (I am at high risk for that). Surgery is currently planned for July 2nd, with 5-7 days in the hospital expected.

Jen and I are planning to spent a few days of pre-surgery R&R at Torch Lake in Michigan next week. We’re going deluxe – we’re booked a cabin!

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South Carolina Trip Report

The first four nights we stayed at Edisto Beach State Park, along with about a dozen of our club friends. The plan was to day-paddle in the area, led by Dave and Jim, two of our club’s ACA-certified instructors. Day One was a wash-out due to sustained heavy rain. The other days were warm and breezy; we paddled a lot, and all had a good time.

P1 Car

Us with our tow vehicle

P2 Trailer

Us with our camper

The next three nights we planned to stay on Seabrook Island at an Episcopalian retreat center, which had condo-type accommodations. We had hired three instructors to give us lessons customized to our needs. On the first day, there was more paddling than I expected. I had to be “directionally” towed back by my friend Martha.

P3 Doug

Me paddling

P4 Lunch

Us lunching on the beach

Unfortunately, shortly after I got back I started puking my guts out. By morning, the only thing coming up was bile. Clearly, I had a bowel blockage that required hospitalization. We headed-out to the ER at Medical University of South Carolina. The primary treatment was giving me IV fluid and draining the swollen bowel while hoping that the blockage would resolve on its own. That did happen, and I was released on the 4th day. Emergency surgery was avoided, thank God. However, I had had no solid food for four days, and was put on a “liquid diet” for two weeks!

We couldn’t manage carting the trailer and boats around Charleston. Jen arranged to have Don haul our trailer and Jim haul our boats to Jen’s house in northern Kentucky. It’s great to have friends that are willing to help! We’re planning to go fetch those tomorrow.

The day after I got back, I had an EGD diagnostic test performed. This had been scheduled weeks before. The test showed no sign of cancer, and further showed no signs of bowel kinking. The GI doctor does not believe that surgery is required, and recommended moving fairly quickly to a more normal diet. That was welcome news, since I had dropped 3-4 pounds already.

I still need to meet with a surgical team at UC Health to see if they believe surgery is warranted to solve the root cause of the problem.

My main takeaways: I need to be extra-careful with my diet, and wilderness camping is out for the foreseeable future.

Health Update

I recently got a CT scan; it showed No Evidence of Disease in the major organs! That’s great, but I’m still at “high risk” for a couple more years of the cancer coming back somewhere. I’m planning to get CT scans every four months for a while. Note: These scans are not very sensitive; growths can be pretty-far along before they’re detected.

I also have an EGD exam scheduled for May 3rd; that will look for evidence of cancer in the throat area and in my new esophagus (formerly my stomach).

Meanwhile, the winter of my discontent is over, so it’s time to have some fun! Jen and I will soon be doing some sea kayaking with our Hoosier buddies in South Carolina, followed by some small-group sea kayaking instruction. In May, we plan to visit our son Brian in Seattle, and spend some time at our cabin near Snoqualmie Pass.

Florida!

Jen and I recently spent almost 2 weeks in our Casita camper on a trip to Florida. We spent eight nights at Anastasia State Park just outside St. Augustine, and three nights at Little Talbot Island, just south of Amelia Island. We had good weather, and were able to do a good amount of beaching, biking and hiking.

I had some bowel irregularity on the trip; that’s continued since we’ve been back home. I’m taking steps to get that under control. Beyond that, I am back to my stretching and exercising routine and doing pretty well.

Cross-Country Skiing!

Jen and I went cross-country skiing with some of my Sierra Club friends last week near Traverse City, Michigan! We shared this great cabin:

The Cabin

Here’s Jen by the fireplace:

Jen by the Fire

We were worried that we wouldn’t have enough snow, but we got plenty! Here are some pictures from our three days of skiing:

Barry Jen Kathy

Kathy and Jen

The Group

Here we are getting my rear-drive 4-Runner up the hill to the highway:

The Sandbaggers

I got winded and had to stop several times, but overall did great. I’ve put on 19 pounds from my low of 124! Life is good!

 

A Surprise Wedding!

Jen and I had a wonderful trip to the Seattle area over the holidays visiting our son Brian and his girlfriend Angela. We spent a few days at their apartment in Ballard before heading out to their mountain cabin in the Cascades (near Snoqualmie Pass):

The house in Ronald.JPG

We spent several days hiking, snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing in the area:

Our niece and her husband came from Seattle for Christmas dinner. Another “friend” dropped in on the 27th; after some chit-chat, Brian announced that she was here to marry them! What a surprise! They took their vows in front of the Christmas tree:

Brian and Angela wed

Natalie had to work, so stayed at home to watch Alfie, who she loves dearly:

Natalie with Alfie

Birthdays!

We had three birthdays here in the last seven days: mine, Jen’s sister’s and Natalie‘s. We went out to a nice contemporary Mexican restaurant on my and Cathie’s birthday, and we hosted Jen’s side of the family last night for Natalie‘s birthday. Rick flew in from Florida for the celebration!

I weighed in at 139.6 this morning, the highest since the operation! I’m feeling strong and well as we prepare to fly out to Seattle tomorrow to visit Brian and Angela over the Christmas holidays. I’ll finally get to see that cabin we bought in the Cascade Mountains!