My cancer saga started when I was diagnosed at 38 with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. I have a twisted sense of humor and have tried to continue that laughter and optimism on my journey...

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Say What? Still can't hear you...

Episode LXXXV - (speak into my ear)



A quick reminder: I began having bilateral hearing loss six months before I was diagnosed with cancer. 

I have pretty much refused to wear my hearing aids during cancer treatment. There were many reason why. First, the cancer cap covered up the hearing aid made the sound crackle. But primarily, it was the general discomfort and not wanting to deal with anything else like hearing aids. Honestly, all of the sounds only amplified my discomfort. It was nice to not wear them... even if it meant I did not always hear what people were saying to me. 




I was supposed to go to the ENT months ago, but had delayed the appointment. It was past time to get a current look at my hearing and adjust my hearing aids. I had been to so many doctors that I really did not want to go back to another. I mean how many issues can a girl get... right?!?! You hear me (I had to say that)!!!

Since I finished with treatment I knew it was time. Also, I was asking my husband and kids to repeat themselves more often than not. I had lost the ability to really understand certain things they said unless I was looks directly at their well-lit faces. No dark conversations allowed or I will ask you "what" more than you like.




The appointment is painless. I mean I go in, I repeat a few words, I listen for some beeps, I meet the doctor. Seriously, it requires very little effort on my part. Hearing tests are EASY, except that I have to close my eyes when I listen for the beeps or I might not hear them. What is up with that? I think I hear with my eyes closed!


Press the button when you hear a beep? If you hear the beep.


The appointment went as expected. The doctor and I discussed my previous neck lymph node swelling. That seems to be under control currently. The ringing in my ears (Tinnitus) was still annoying. Not much I can do for that (light background or white noise is helpful). As for my hearing, I had some minor additional hearing loss - click here to learn what bilateral hearing loss is. 

Thank goodness I only lost a small amount more. Hard to believe but chemotherapy can actually cause hearing loss - however it is usually more common with chemo's Cisplatin or Carboplatin. I did not use those, but I did have some loss since chemotherapy. Let's just assume it was the chemo! 

I am still in the mild/moderate range... I am somewhere near 50... in general I miss words in conversations and usually try to figure it out by context. Often I am wrong and usually I think I heard a curse words instead of what was said. People really need stop saying the word sh++ to me - cause that is really what I hear a lot!

Hearing loss is measured in decibels hearing loss (dB HL). It can be graded as follows:
  • 20-40 dB HL: mild, cannot hear whispers.
  • 41-70 dB HL: moderate, cannot hear conversational speech.
  • 71-95 dB HL: severe, cannot hear shouting.
  • >95 dB HL: profound, cannot hear sounds that would be painful to listen to for a hearing person.

So my hearing aids got adjusted and I was told I need to wear them so that I do not lose the ability to process sounds in the future. I know. I know. I should wear them... but sometimes they only create so much additional sound that I cannot process all of that and my own discomforts. I will begin to wear them when I need them or when I am around people. When I am at home... I will just keep reading the words on my TV and pretend to not hear my family!!! 




In my head...


Another thing that I can check off my To Do List! check. I do not have to go back in another six months. Basically it will be just to make sure I am not losing any additional hearing or having any enlarged lymph nodes in my neck. For now, it seems to be as expected. 

As I go to all these appointment I have one goal - for the doctors to tell me that I am "Unremarkable". In the medical world it means that you are pretty much normal, nothing to remark about. So every doctor I see, I tell them that I am unremarkable! And that is all I want to hear from my doctors. I am unremarkable!


“There is no normal life that is free of pain.
It's the very wrestling with our problems that can be the impetus for our growth.”
- Fred Rogers, The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember



Episode Reference: Two Old Men,  Goya painting
Black Paintings from the Quinta del Sordo (Deaf Man's Villa)

Goya was deafened at age 47 believed from an illness.
This figure (rt) seems to be speaking into the ear of his companion, 
assumed to be about Goya's deafness.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Swollen Adventures

Episode LXXXIV - just when you think that you're in control...


Attitude is everything. Attitude is everything. I will continue to be positive... even when things are difficult... I will...


I am still the half full cup...


It seems that activity, heat, and general living can create havoc with my lymphedema. I live in the south... with hot, humid summers for crying out loud. I like to paint. I like to type. I like to be busy. Ok, I like to do more than I should after cancer treatment (such as ripping up the old flooring to lay down new flooring), but I am an active person. I am a lot less active than I used to be, but I want to do some of the things I used too. Plus, I am right handed and my lymphedema is in my right arm and hand. Cruel irony!


 
I think I might have been a hand model...


So last week I went to the medical supply store to get a compression sleeve. Apparently I have the biggest upper arm in the world. Ok, that is an exaggeration... but they made me feel like I was freakishly disproportionate. My upper arm is more swollen than my hand. I know... my lymphedema is worse in my upper arm and arm pit area. I cannot have such odd dimensions that a general sleeve will not fit me!?!?!

Because of my freakishness they said I would have to have a custom sleeve. I was shocked because online there are companies that carry my dimensions (I know because I looked it up after I got home). Of course I was more annoyed because an off-the-shelf compression sleeve is around $100-$150 and the special ordered custom sleeve will start somewhere in the $200s. That does not include the price for the gauntlet (glove). Nothing with cancer has been cheap!!!

Even though I need a more durable medical sleeve I felt less rushed to buy it since my OT ordered a compression sleeve that I can wear on a general basis. So, I will wait to see if the ordered one fits before I feel bad because I have one of the only lymphedema arms in the city that is so unusually swollen that an off-the-shelf sleeve is impossible to fit and they will have to do a rare custom order.


Wrap this!!!


Today I was back to my OT getting my bi-weekly massage (boobie massage) when we noticed my numbers were increasing. With the swelling now traveling more to my hand it was time to get a compression wrap. No more waiting for the medical supply store or the ordered sleeve. She was going to wrap my arm like a compressed mummy.

While the wrap looks like a typical bandage wrap, it is different. The pressure garments are made of fabric designed to put controlled amounts of pressure on different parts of the arm to help move fluid and keep it from building up. The wrap starts at the hand and works up towards the arm pit. Each layer progressing upwards. And each layer is tight, but not cutting off circulation. Underneath and/or on top a layer of compression material is placed for additional compression.


Wrap that arm!


My officially wrapped arm is snug. I mean it is tight and hard to move. I now realize the reason the wrap might work so well is because it limits your usability of the limb. I know that they encourage and you are suppose to use the wrapped arm, but everything was tougher to do. I mean I was shifting everything to my left hand from driving the car to answering the phone to eating my meals to bathroom care... left hand please.


 
Compression on! My poor swollen giant hand!


However, by the next morning my upper arm swelling had gone down a little. My hands still needed some relief so I gave myself another lymphatic massage and then re-wrapped myself to hopefully keep the swelling away. I was told to keep myself under wraps for the remainder of the week and all weekend. I am going to get tired of my limitations really quickly... someone grant me patience!!!!


Look the compression is working...

In my head...


So, I am learning that the more I use my right arm, especially in the heat, the more I swell. I actually have limitations... argh! The frustrating part is damage to the lymph system cannot be repaired. The best things I can do is continue the treatment given to control the swelling caused by lymphedema. The goal is to keep other problems from developing or getting worse... and hopefully I can learn to actually manage it long term.

Things that can make lymphedema worse: heat/sunburn (weather affects me), lifting too much weight (even small weight), repetitive motions (vacuuming, mopping, raking, etc), small cuts, shaving, warm showers/baths/water, undergarments (aka my stupid bra), and definitely NO blood pressure, IVs, needles in the arm!!! Learn more about preventing flare ups - Click Here.

I think I am going to have to really gain a lot of patience. I have daily health requirements that will last for a long time... I am suppose to give myself multiple lymphatic massages. I am suppose to wear compression garments. I am suppose to take medicine. Dang it... I have to be responsible for my health! I am inherently lazy about self care!!!

Every one who knows me is laughing at that last comment because they know how true it is!


“The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.” 
- Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace


Episode Reference: Here it goes again, OK go song

Just when you think that you're in control,
just when you think that you've got a hold,
just when you get on a roll,
here it goes, here it goes, here it goes again.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Doctors, art, and other things

Episode LXXXIII - It's times like these...



I was back to the Breast Surgeon. It was hard to believe that it had been six months. Wow!!! Really, six months since I had seen him?


Off to the surgeons...


The visit was exactly what I expected... not much other than a breast exam. I had already gotten my mammogram results at the end of May, so we discussed that I looked good any way. My breast tissue looked like it was healing well. In all honesty, the multiple OT massages were helping break up the scar tissue left from the lumpectomy. Not only were the boobie massages helping my lymphedema issues, they were really aiding in my surgery recovery too. Bonus!

Even though I am at OT multiple times a week for lymphedema treatment and still going to a variety of doctor's appointments I have found time to get back to things I love. I began painting again!

During the last year I saw an art exhibit travel through my cancer center. I told myself that I would paint something for the next competition. I happen to look at the Lilly Oncology on Canvas website and noticed that the competition was ending soon. I set out to complete a work in just a few days... I got this!!!

When I paint I like to use bold colors. And it so happens that orange represents emotional strength during difficult times. The orange bald woman was strong and up for the fight. I wanted to capture my fighting spirit. After a few day, I finished the painting and sent it off to New York. Hopefully it will travel to other cancer centers and inspire the fighter in each of us...


The Fighter, 16 x 20 Acrylic on Canvas


I continued my busy creative outlet and actually began writing some articles that are now posted on a variety of cancer websites and healthline. Obviously, I am self promoting... it is my blog... right?!?!

In honor of my fighting painting I have included the beginning of my article on that topic. Cancer has been a continual battle that even after completing treatment, I fight. There is the assumption that once treatment is over the person is healthy and well. I have learned that perspective is not always true... often the survivor is still fighting.

The term fighting is frequently associated with cancer. It is often seen as a fight to survive the illness. Putting on your gloves and beating cancer.

But the fight goes so far beyond that. It goes further than I ever imagined it could. Before cancer, I would see the bumper stickers with “survivor” written within the ribbon. I knew that those people survived. They fought and beat cancer. Now I realize that it is so much more than that. I now have a new, deeper understanding of the fight to being a survivor.
Read More about My Take on Fighting Cancer and Beyond... Click Here.


In my head...


Nothing like more doctors telling you that things look good. I always enjoy those appointments and hope to have more of them in the future.

While I feel weird about promoting myself, I also hope that it will inspire others to do whatever they love. Maybe even try something new. And if it helps someone, even better. Plus it was good to do some productive things... A little bit of painting. A little bit of writing. Being creative is fun!!


“It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, 
and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, 
and what is done in love is well done.” 
- Vincent van Gogh


Episode Reference: Times Like These, Foo Fighters song

It's times like these you learn to live again

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Let's just say, it's a boobie massage

Episode LXXXII - She's lump. She's lump.


I had no idea what I was in for regarding Occupational Therapy for Lymphedema. I quickly found out that the lymphedema treatment was essentially a massage that helps to redirect the lymphatic fluid to flow in the direction of the heart. Basically, the massage would help the fluid get out of my arm and back into circulation. And it was not a typical massage.

The lymph system is located directly under the skins, so the therapist barely does more than to move the skin. Honestly, the small gentle movements barely qualify it as a massage. It was essentially a gentle touch therapy. However, I call it My 1 Hour Boobie Massage!!!


Something I never would think I would say...
Boobie Massage.


When I first got into the room I took off my shirt and bra. Seriously, after everything I have been through I am wondering who hasn't seen my boobs?!?!

Then I laid down on the massage table and place a light cloth to cover my breasts. Not that it would matter if they were covered or not since the massage therapy was centered around my arm pits, chest, and arms. I mean the therapist was going to be touching and seeing all of my chest anyway. Take a number... my boobies have been seen by just about everyone.


Light touch down the neck... 
(The massage pictures are not me.)


The therapy usually starts with small movements (just a slight tightening of the skin) under chin and down my neck. Afterwards she works my collar bone area out towards my shoulders.

Then the focus is on my good arm pit, or left side, toward my heart and down my sides toward my pelvic region. She starts with my good lymphatic side first... gets the system going and hopefully ready to help aid the other side not working correctly.

After she stimulates my left side it's time to get the bad, or right, side moving. She similarly works under my arm pit towards my heart and my pelvic region. And I will then flip on my side so she can work down my back too. Afterwards, I turn back over and then the therapist gets to really know me... intimately!


Rubbin' the Boobie Area...
(Again, not me... but don't they look relaxed)


Time to focus on my chest. The therapist works on the build up of scar tissue around my many scars and radiated breast. I have a large scar down my right breast from the lumpectomy, across my chest for the port, under my arm pit in multiple spots for the axillary lymph node dissection/drain tubes, and some hardening from radiation under my breast. She works hard to break up all those lumps, tissue, and general mess irritating me. See, I told you... a Boobie Massage!!!

Most of the time during treatment my right breast is being worked on. After she gets it good and massaged the therapist starts to work the lymphatic system down my arm. She will massage it until she gets to the tips of my fingers. Each massage movement was so gentle that I often wonder if something so simple could work.

My arm is definitely showing lymphedema swelling, so I get two Boobie Massages a week. Not only that, I am suppose to do the same massage to myself multiple times a day. Really... I was just given a prescription to touch my boobs!


In my head...


A note to all women about to go to their first OT appointment for lymphedema treatment for their chest or arms, if at all possible leave your children at home. My very first appointment I brought my daughter. I was not aware that I was going to get naked and felt up in front of her. Thank goodness she was so wrapped up in the technology I brought that she was completely unaware. One of those classic moments in life - making memories here!!! 

It seems that I have a boob theme going on right now. I cannot seem to get away from clinical touching. However, I am always surprised at how tired I am after treatment. I guess an hour of rubbing an area that feels bad can wear a girl out. I think I should be rejuvenated and all energized. Apparently, all that focus on my chest can be exhausting. The massage really does work and gets the lymphatic system pumping - it seems to be helping the swelling. 

I am lucky that I really enjoy my therapist. She cracks me up! I think I am lucky, as it should be important to enjoy the company of the person who is massaging your boobs!



“Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity.” 
- Hippocrates


Episode Reference: Lump, The Presidents of the United States song

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Seriously... Lymphedema too!!!

Episode LXXXI - Doctor says you're cured but you still feel the pain


After my summer family vacation where I probably partook in too much sun & fun I began to feel like my armpit was swelling more than normal. I mean I was constantly having to adjust my sports bra because of swelling. I wanted to ignore it because I did not notice any swelling in my arm, but eventually the other side effects became to bothersome.

The numbness and tingling sensation in my hand continued. Besides weakness in my right arm I found an inability to reach properly. I mean holding the cell phone to my head became challenging. It was annoying! So even though I tried to avoid calling the doctor, I finally had too.

Of course the oncologist was like, Lymphedema. I figured that, but I was really hoping not to deal with another issue. I mean really - another issue. Come on!!!

Find out more about Lymphedema - Click Here.

Today was my scheduled appointment with a therapist to help manage swelling and side effects caused by Lymphedema. Since it was a late appointment I had enough time to fit in a fun afternoon with my daughter. It's summer and I am busy - I have fun to do. Darn arm... you won't stop me.

We went to the local botanical gardens, which hosted an Alice in Wonderland theme. We made our way through a rabbit hole, door maze, and even got to be Tweedledee & Tweedledum... guess which one I was going to be!!!


Summertime Girls Day...


Afterwards I made my way to the therapy office and began recalling my memories of physical therapy from my childhood. When I was younger I had multiple knee surgeries which required physical therapy. Yuck! I imagine pulling and exercises and painful hard work. I have horrible memories of it. I was young. It hurt. I really was not looking forward to the appointment. Yuck!

As I sat there thinking "Yuck!" I actually read the sign on the door. What a d'oh moment... Apparently that physical therapy appointment I had was actually for occupational therapy. I have so many medical appointments I don't even know what they are for any more!!! On the positive, it was not physical therapy. Plus, I showed up at the right place at the right time (not always the case, just ask the dentist or the imaging center or the... well you get it).


It's OT not PT?!?!


The appointment consisted of discussing all my symptoms which were common signs of Lymphedema. Then I laid down and she marked spots all up my hand and arm with a marker. Then she measured around the marks on both my right and left arms. Those measurements would help determine the amount of swelling I had. While I thought my arms looked the same size she said that swelling was not always noticeable with the eye. Basically, that unless I had tiny arms I may not be able to tell. And unfortunately, I do not have tiny arms!!!

So, I spent an hour getting my arm measured and having a fun conversation. The therapist was hysterical and we really hit it off. I think I am in for some interesting conversations during my treatments!!!


In my head...


I have to laugh... I mean I barely had any lymph nodes removed and I got Lymphedema. I guess I should be thrilled that more were not taken, as it could be worse. It is kind of funny, come on, if you think about it... it's funny!

Once again, I am thankful for my twisted sense of humor!!!

Next week I actually start OT. Who knows what that will be like?!?! From what I gathered it will be nothing like PT and for that I am extremely grateful. I get to undergo something new... It seems my cancer journey keeps giving me new experiences.


“Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted. 
And experience is often the most valuable thing you have to offer.” 
- Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture


Episode Reference: No one is to blame, Howard Jones song


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Relay x2

Episode LXXX - Tonight's the night... let's live it up


My family and I packed up our car and made our way to celebrate in my hometown, Chattanooga, TN, for the Relay for Life event. I knew I was going to have a long, but fun day. By the time we arrived I was already worn out, but found comfort on a sofa at my brother's house... sofa...

My mom was busy organizing and prepping for the event. My brother was off to help her. And my husband and sister-in-law got the privilege of taking all the kids to the pool... which we all know means they would be exceptionally worn out later. Not the kids, the adults!!!

It was our second Relay for Life event and we were going to meet up with the many (and I mean many) people who have been sending me love from home over the past year.


My TaTa Warriors...

I spent the evening talking. There were so many people to hug and thank. I talked so much I didn't get to eat until after everyone had left. I talked so much that I started to lose my voice. I am a talker and I talked so much that I could not believe I talked that much.

I got to see some friends I had not seen in years and amazed that they still look the same... really some people do not age!!! I am also glad that even after extended periods that we can pick back up in conversation and feel as if no time has passed.

My mom has a wonderful support group in her friends and they all were kind enough to make their way down on a Saturday night to show me how much they cared. Even those close to my dad through work were there to support him and me. I was feeling the love!

Of course, my crazy family in Chattanooga all showed up. It was great to visit with my uncle, aunt, cousin, and her husband. My dad is a twin and any time those two are together loud laughter and tall tales are told. My mom, dad, brother, sister-in-law, and kids were all there adding to the fun. We were definitely a happy team and causing all kinds of chaos!


As my cousin said... this family is no way normal!

Twin trouble... my uncle, cousin, me, & my dad


My brother who hung around the longest & the silly hat lap participants 


I have no idea how much I walked, maybe only a few laps, but mostly spent my time enjoying my family and friends. I only hope that I got a chance to properly thank each one of them. If I did not - then thank you (virtual hug)!!!


Walking a lap with a few of my warriors...


While our goal was not primarily fundraising, so many people who came were generous. They had collected money to go the American Cancer Society. They had already supported me last month and now were so willing to do it again. Also, I had created a piece of artwork to be auctioned off at the event at our team booth. I was delighted that it went home with someone I truly believe will cherish it... you know who you are... be prepared my dad might steal it off your wall!!!


Chattanooga on my mind...


The night was full of fun. I even went out and did some Cupid Shuffle dance... which I had never done before. I am not sure I was dancing, but I was moving... and every ounce of me hurt. It was so worth it!

Slowly people had to leave and in the end it was just my brother and husband lingering with me during the candlelight ceremony. The building went dark and silent. A young child began to sing and they began to have people light candles in honor of those who lost their fight, for those still fighting, and those who have survived. We each had an opportunity to light a candle and it was a solemn reminder of how very lucky I am.




In my head....


It was amazing to see everyone. It was great to laugh out loud with my friends. And I was thrilled to be out past my normal bedtime.


Me all fresh and rested... on the way to the event.


I admit that these events wear me out... I could sleep for days afterwards. Who knows if I am even conscious writing the blog post now. However, I would not have missed it for the world!!!


“Home is the place where, when you have to go there, They have to take you in.” 
- Robert Frost


Episode Reference: I've gotta feeling, The Black Eyed Peas song

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Vacation or Foodcation?

Episode LXXIX - In my mind I'm going to Carolina...


My crazy crew was off on a family vacation, minus my husband who had to stay home and work. It was a shame he could not make it as he was going to miss out on some crazy family fun. Before we officially were on vacation I had to drive two hours just to get to my hometown, where my parents and brother' family live. From there we embarked on a day long trek to Charleston, South Carolina.

I feel like I need to explain myself or at least my super nerdiness. When my kids are going to travel to new places on routes we have not taken I make a collection of historical and fun facts about cities we drive through. I know. I know. Super nerdy.

And yes, even the people in my family think I am crazy for trying to educate them while on vacation. Learn while on vacation?!?! My kids find it interesting and the multiple places to check off on a list makes a long trip seem less long. That or they are just used to my nerdiness...


Sample of my trip information and location check off sheet...
I mean we passed were they film the Walking Dead - cool!!!


The trip took longer than expected, but we got there. My back still does not enjoy riding in the car and hours in the car was pretty tough. My mom drove the whole way, which I was extremely grateful for. I would not have been able to manage a road trip like this for a while. Car + Pain = Cranky Me!

I come from a long line of doers, so vacation is about doing things rather than relaxing. Our visit to Isle of Palms & Charleston, SC was essentially going to be about history, some beaching, and a lot of food.


 
Who's willing to take this group on a carriage ride?


On our first day in Charleston we opted to take a historical tour via horse drawn carriage. It was not only informative, but a good way to get a glimpse of the city while saving our feet from walking. Trust me as soon as we got off we were walking.

We walked a lot during our week stay. We went to the Slave Mart, Old Exchange & Provost, Old Slave Mart Museum, King Street shopping, Rainbow Row, various parks and churches. The boys went out on a charter boat and caught sharks... seriously, sharks! We even drove out to Charles Towne Landing where an alligator was lounging openly in a lake only feet away. We were busy!

Surprisingly the trip turned out to be about food. Charleston was full of amazing restaurants serving a variety of foods. We went to a number of good places to eat Jestine's, SNOB, Tommy Condons, and more. I must admit we loved the low country cooking at Jestine's so much that my mom and I went back for a second time. Pecan crusted chicken... yum!


 
We definitely had a food-cation! (SNOB & Jestine's)


Another interesting food stop we made was on Sullivan Island... Poe's Tavern. Apparently, Edgar Allan Poe was stationed at Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island for a little over a year in 1827. It was the inspiration for his story “The Gold Bug”. The restaurant, or should I say bar, was stocked with Poe memorabilia and the food was named after all things Poe. It was awesome!!!


Poe's Tavern... were I enjoyed a Black Cat chicken sandwich!


There was nothing like a family beach trip without a little beach. It was not our normal beach vacation where we spent hours at the beach each day. To be honest, it was windy and cooler than expected so the beach was less appealing then normal. While it was not as pretty as the gulf, it was packed with shells. The kids even found whole sand dollars, not the broken remnants that we normally find.

For me, the bonus was that the beach was flat. Meaning I could walk on it. While it was further away then normal, it was a pretty walk to get there.Either way, I made my way to beach a number of times and so did my kids.


 
Beach bound...


Charleston is full of history. It was also full of cemeteries. I enjoy taking black and white photography of unusual (meaning mostly older) cemeteries. Back in college I wondered through the cemeteries of New Orleans with a passion. So, my interest in taking pictures of graveyards was not a new found weirdness associated with death or post cancer morbid fascination. Honestly, I have always found cemeteries quite beautiful.


Touring the cemeteries and taking picture... see...




In my head...


Tourists... Charleston did not seem fond of them. It was not like some other places where the locals were friendly. They really weren't. There was no smiling at strangers on the street. There was no moving out of the way for small children as you walked by. I think the city tolerated us tourists and probably glad for the money spent by tourists, but not necessarily pleased that we were there. Not that it bothered me - cause I was there to have fun!

It was a busy and fun-filled week. I did not have any specific expectations or plans for the trip, I just wanted to be with my family. So, I went as much as I could go... except on Wednesday when I passed out mid-afternoon and napped - I was exhausted!

Even though I hurt throughout the week. Even though the elevator was out of order and we had to go down six flights of stairs.Even though my mom's sense of direction took on us on a walking excursion towards the projects of the city. Even though my daughter caught some stomach bug and threw up on the bed multiple times during the night. Even though... well, you get the drift... I was not going to miss out on an activity. I pretty much said yes to anywhere anyone was going. I was going to experience the entire vacation even if it felt like it might kill me...




"The thing is, to have a life before we die. It can be a real adventure having a life." 
- John Irving, from The World According to Garp


Episode Reference: Carolina In My Mind, James Taylor song