Cutting, Literally, to The Chase

While any move is stressful, our move from Panama back to the US was off the chart!  Our international mover was horrible, loosing stuff and damaging most everything else and has been totally unresponsive.  Needing to buy a home at the peak of house prices in Washington state and with little inventory was a nightmare.  And moving three rescue dogs from a farm in Panama to a tiny backyard in Anacortes was challenging to say the least.  And all of this while the world reeled from Covid!  Needless to say, it was stressful.  But with the help of our daughters, both of whom live in Western Washington we made it … barely.

We were settling in while I was racing around preparing for a five-month commitment to work on PEARL MIST cruising the Great Lakes, Canada and New England.  I was looking forward to the respite of working!  The day I was rushing to catch the airporter bus I collapsed.  Thanks to the emergency response of the local fire and rescue department I made it to the emergency room.  I am told they needed to restart my heart twice in the ambulance and another three times in ER.  I had a pacemaker put in, was spending a few nights in the hospital, and we almost made it.  (Had this happened in Boquete with no 911 emergency response with trained paramedics, I would have been dead.)  So, I’m in the hospital and my dear wife comes to visit, slips and falls in the hospital hallway in front of my room, and breaks her leg.  More drama!  Folks you can’t make this stuff up!

During my brief hospital stay several blood tests raised concern and a bunch of tests, cat scans, and totally invasive (use your imagination!) procedures, it was determined that I also had kidney cancer.  If there was any good coming out of the heart drama, ii is that accidentally they discovered the kidney cancer and apparently much kidney cancer is discovered by accident.

More tests … by now I’m beyond any embarrassment and thinking of getting rich starting my own “Only Fans” channel, but who would watch?  So, I’m in the good hands of the University of Washington Seattle Fred Hutch Cancer Center.  The cancer appears not to have metastasized and is confined to my left kidney and ureter which they are scheduled to remove November 3rd using a computer robot assisted laparoscopy.

Hopefully, I’ll be “out” when they wheel me in to face this contraption!

Fortunately, I’ll be “out” while they poke, prod, examine, take a look around and then remove the left kidney and ureter (the tube to the bladder).  If all goes well, afterward I’ll have some treatments to be sure no kidney cancer cells escaped and then, after recovery, I’m hoping to return to a somewhat “normal” (at least for me) life, albeit with regular checkups.

By Spring I sure won’t have miraculously become a “spring chicken,” but hope to get back to work, hopefully back on the Great Lakes, picking up where I left off before Covid hit and with all my medical drama behind me.

Sorry for the long-winded post, but I wanted you all to know.  I would ask for, and deeply appreciate, your thoughts and prayers.  

19 thoughts on “Cutting, Literally, to The Chase

  1. I have been keeping up with you Dick but did not know about the cancer. You certainly are in our prayers and thoughts. Hi to Nicki for me.

    the Isham family

  2. As we wish people in Hebrew, רפואה שלמה/refuah shlaima – May you & your wife have a full recovery! Wishing you much happiness & tranquility in the future.

  3. You’ll be in our prayers for a quick and healthy recovery Richard. We’ve been fans of your posts for over 20 years , ever since we were on a cruise through the Panama Canal . And thanks for sharing all your knowledge and experiences you’ve had in your life. Even though I haven’t met you it seems that I’m one of your dearest friends. And thanks for that and stay strong. And here’s hoping I see you on another cruise !

  4. Dear Richard and Nikki, I am SO sorry you two have had and are still having to go through some really tough stuff. My thoughts and prayers are most definitely with you both!!


  5. My thoughts and prayers will be with you. I’ve read your posts for years and greatly enjoy them. I hope to be reading them again come spring. Hope your wife has healed up. We met a couple from Anacortes on a cruise years ago and we keep in contact weekly and try to cruise together (on Princess) when we can. Take care. Rosanne

    Sent from my iPad


  6. I am so sorry to hear this news and you will be in my thoughts. Only positive vibes sent your way.
    Also your moving disaster. I thought everyone knew about this horrid company. I used what was then AMJ Moving from Canada to Panama. Not one problem. They partner with Panama Moving and Packing who were terrific. My only problem was that in sharing a container, “they” did not have their paper work in order and the container sat in a bonded warehouse until they did have their things in order. Panama Packers never charged me an extra penny.
    I have recommended Panama Packers and Movers to 9 people and NOT one had a problem. I will certainly be using them for my move back to Canada.
    I wish you and your wife well……..

  7. Thanks Allison! We certainly made a big mistake using Mexico Moving Company. Suspect these guys will just come up with a new name and keep on making promises which they can’t or won’t deliver on.

  8. Thanks Squirt! I have many happy memories of your “Postcards From Paradise” play and keep reminding myself to “Be Here Now”! Hope you are doing well! Richardd

  9. Great to hear from you, Richard! I have many happy memories of our Boquete friends and our musicals too! “Be Here Now” was one of my favorites of our songs in the musicals. I try to live by this to the best of my ability, but it’s not always easy.  I’m still writing songs and always will, I suppose. Some of the latest are on my site at:

    Take care!


  10. Have been following your blog for several years after a month long visit to Panama and falling in love with your area. Am so sorry to hear of all your moving nightmares and now your physical ailments and hospital stay. Thoughts and prayers for you and your wife in this trying time. I had a trifecta of events recently also. I live in Venice, FL and day my son arrived from CA for a 3/ week visit, I tested positive for COVID. Two days later we endured hurricane Ian, and then I fell and have a non displaced pelvic fracture. Nothing like what you are going thru, but at age 81, healing takes more time. Also love cruises and hope , like you, to resume sometime soon. Best to you.
    Nancy Bowman;, Venice, FL

  11. Nancy, I know this isn’t a very “approved” or “theological” way of putting it, but shit happens … to all of us. As one 80-something to another, hang in there. In spite of the crap we are blessed and with God’s help and the love and support of friends, we’ll get through whatever life throws at us. I’ve always believed that God has a wonderful plan for each of us, and it’s a plan for our good. So in all these years we get bruised a bit, but with courage and faith we get through it. Hope to meet you someday on the high seas! Best always, Richard

  12. Richard—’
    I’ve enjoyed reading your blog over the years and have followed your more recent journey back to the US— I made a similar one back nearer kids in 2015, for similar reasons. I will most definitely include you in my prayers for help and healing.
    Warm regards,

  13. Dick Detrick
    I have Stage 4 cancer on my kidney & getting treatment via a port above my chest. Hang in there Dick We are NOT over the hill yeT.
    Would love to see you when your cruising

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