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.
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.