A short, but sweet update

This blog post is dedicated to my friend Sheryl, affectionately know as “Toot”.  I met Toot in 2015 during chemotherapy for ovarian cancer. Toot and I shared our cancer journey together, but sadly her journey recently ended.  She was spirited, passionate and wise beyond her years.  Our friendship was short-lived, but meaningful to us both. 

 

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Hello from San Francisco,

We’re sitting in our lovely studio in the Richmond district watching the World Cup. It’s a sunny, but relatively cold day–burr. Summers in San Francisco are chilly willy.   I do not like this cold weather one bit. I long for warmer environs!

Update time…

Andy’s recovery from colon cancer is going great. He’s walking a lot more and says he is now 95% recovered.  I beleive him. Laproscopic surgery is da bomb!  In the next few days he has a call with an oncologist to review his pathology report and he has a call with a nutritionist to talk about healthy eating after cancer.

Andy’s 95% means we can hit the road for new adventures!!!  We’re both very excited about our upcoming plans.

Here’s a sneak peak at our upcoming itinerary. We’ll be gone about four weeks in total.

Visalia, CA- Minor league baseball game

Vegas baby!

Zion Nationa Park

Bryce National Park

Provo Utah

Denver- We’ll be there for 9 days.  We’re stoked about going the Colorado Rockies’ July 4th fireworks game … against the Giants!   We might even see a show at Red Rocks.

In Colorado we may also do a one-day river rafting excursion. I love white water river rafting!

Telluride- We’re going to the Telluride Music Festival!  Sheryl Crow is headlining!

Moab

Park City

Elko

Reno

Bay Area (to drop off our clothes and to pick up new ones)

Morelia

Side note: When we started planning what our next adventure would look like, we made a list of what we wanted, and one of the first things on this list was “to not move around too much”.  Oops!  We’re cracking ourselves up about this.  Our longest stay in this trip will only be 9 days until we get to Morelia!

I will blog from the road to give you an update about our trip.  We anticipate we’ll be doing a bunch of hiking (easy ones for me, harder ones for Andy)  and just general sight seeing. I’ve never been to any of these places before (Utah and Colorado) and I’m pretty excited.

We are both very, very excited to return to Morelia.  We’ll probably be there at least three months, maybe even four months depending on how we are feeling.

That’s about it for now folks!

Stacey

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Scoring update: Ohrs 2, Cancer 0

Dear readers of believeitohrnot,

Wow. Wow. Wow. We are so humbled by our awesome community!  Thank you so much for your offers of housing, your continual check-in notes, prayers, and your kindness and compassion during these past 6 crazy weeks. What a blessing you have been to us during this time. We are appreciative beyond words.

Now for the good stuff.  Mr. Tuffy is now colon cancer-free! After laparoscopic surgery and a two-night hospital stay,  he’s on the mend and no chemo is needed for him. We’ve kicked cancer to the curb again!  We’re both cancer survivors!

Maker:S,Date:2017-8-28,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y

Semicolon Andy recovers from colon cancer surgery

  • Hubby has a new nickname, Semicolon, Andy.  Although, I will always call him Mr. Tuffy.  He’s now named Semicolon because 1) He only has part of his colon 2) Because he’s a writer/journalist. Pretty clever, right?  He deserves the credit for this kick-ass nickname. It was his idea.
  • Even two weeks after surgery, Semicolon Andy is still not allowed to lift more than 10 pounds at at time, but he is feeling fine. He has been taking regular walks, his longest was just yesterday @ 45 minutes!  Although this pales in comparison to his 3 hours hikes, he is firmly on the road to recovery.
  • We are moving to San Francisco for two weeks starting June 9, 2018. We’ll be staying in the Richmond district near 3rd and Balboa.

 

What’s the plan, Stan?

Semicolon Andy gets to pick our next destination because well, he had cancer!

Maker:S,Date:2017-8-28,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y

Semicolon Andy is celebrating because he just found out that he doesn’t need chemo. we were on a day-trip enjoying the Napa Valley when we got the good news.

Semicolon Andy has not come to a decision yet, but we realize we have only two more weeks to figure out our future.  We have no obligations until December 1, 2018 when our rental in Zihuatanejo starts. This means the world is our oyster!

The activity of trying to figure out where to go next is 60% exhilarating and 40% terrifying.  There are so many factors to consider such as 1) lack of availability due to summer vacationers, 2) Lack of affordability 3) Lack of interest by us.

What’s obvious is this:

We cannot afford to stay in the Bay Area.  We’ve been in sticker shock for the past 5 weeks!  The cost of living is just too expensive for our budget.  We gotta hit the road soon.

  1.  We thought about going somewhere cheaper in the U. S for a month-maybe Colorado or Idaho, or even Montana, but because it’s summer a lot of reasonably priced Airbnb’s are already rented out. If we want to spend $2,500 a month we could get something nice, but our budget can’t handle paying this much rent.  We even looked at places I thought would be cheap–like Boise, Colorado Springs or Butte. Alas, no dice. It’s surprisingly expensive in all these places.
  2. We know we don’t want to go anywhere where we have to move around a lot. We want to be in one place for at least a month. We’ve moved around a lot in the last few months and we’d prefer to find a place to hang our hats.

Overall, we have confirmed that Mexico is our cheapest option with the highest quality of living. We most likely will return to Morelia sometime this summer–when is the question. Will it be immediately?  Will it be a month?  There are other places in Mexico calling our names like Chiapas. Do we want to go there first?  We’ve got a few more weeks to decide!

Maker:S,Date:2017-8-28,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-ve

We will return to Mexico soon! 

Lessons learned

  • Cancer version 2.0 was way easier than cancer version 1.0 (when I got diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2015).  In version 2.0, we already understood the Kaiser system, we already knew how things like CT scans work, we already had knowledge about how Kaiser handles hospitalizations and chemo, and we felt like Kaiser would work hard to meet Andy’s medical needs.
  • Our travel lifestyle prepared us to be “shit warriors”.  I’m not saying his diagnosis wasn’t stressful. It was!!! I’m not saying it wasn’t hard. It was!!!  But,  I do think our past life experiences, first being Peace Corps volunteers, then living abroad, set a good foundation for us to “kick shit’s butt”.
  • Even when we were waiting around to hear his surgery date, or to hear if he would need chemo, we tried to do something fun every day. It was tempting to just sit around and let our foul moods overtake us but we felt we had to power on. Again, some days it wasn’t easy, but it was necessary.  We went for hikes, we went for day trips, and we enjoyed Bay Area coffee.
  • When Andy got diagnosed (and before we knew he’d be OK) we both found comfort in knowing we’d been living out our dreams of retiring abroad.  This gave us both a sense of comfort, even though we were still terrified.
  • When your community offers support, take it!  And be prepared to offer it back.  We both hope we will at sometime be in a position to give you what you have given to us.

More adventures will come our way soon.  For this we are blessed.  I look forward to sharing them with you many, many times over.

I sign off in great appreciation, and with so much love in my heart for the support you have provided us.

Stacey and Andy

P.S.  Andy’s cancer was diagnosed by his first ever colonoscopy.  Get tested!!!!