Thursday, July 23, 2015

Home, Sweeter Home

As much as I enjoyed the comforts of my sister and brother-in-law’s house for nearly the past 2 months (and Holley’s delicious dinners), it felt really good to get behind the wheel of the Winnie and head back out to the local campground yesterday.  The prairie sure has grown taller with all the rains we’ve had in Chicago this summer!

new lounger at Burnidge FP

Holley and Mike didn’t send me away to the same old Winnebago, though.  I’ve been the lucky beneficiary of their considerable carpentry and sewing skills for a few desperately desired upgrades to my rolling home—a new bed and new dinette cushions.  First up, the new bed!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

What a Night in the Spotlight!

A few weeks ago when I heard that the band N.E.D. was coming to the Iowa/Illinois Quad Cities in July, I knew I would move heaven and earth to attend.  This is no ordinary rock band—the 6 musicians have important day jobs that (rightly) consume most of their time.  But a couple weekends a year, these 6 gynecologic oncology surgeons trade their white coats for “RockDoc” attire to perform live together while raising awareness and research funds for GYN cancers. 

Their documentary film, No Evidence of Disease, that I watched on PBS back in April, prompted me to pick up the phone the next day and book an appointment with a gynecologist.  Plain and simple, had I not seen the movie, I never would have imagined my minor symptoms to be life-threatening, and would likely still be walking around today with a ticking time-bomb in my womb!

So this quick trip to the Quad Cities was my chance to see the band and (hopefully) thank them personally.  Little did I know what would be in store for me!

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Saturday, July 11, 2015

I Made it to the Wedding!

If you would have told me on June 2nd (the day after my hysterectomy surgery) that in less than 3 weeks I’d be standing at nearly 9,000 feet elevation, a thousand miles from Chicago watching my brother get married in the mountains of Colorado, I likely would have been hanging myself with my hospital gown! 

Those first couple of days of post-op were pretty intense, and I started realizing I might just be like many of the women on the Hystersisters forum who reported needing the full 6 weeks to recover.

But incredibly, after just 2 more weeks, there I was on a perfect, sunny afternoon of June 21st in Vail, Colorado with a front row seat to witness my brother marrying the love of his life!

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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Little House on the Prairies

Other than the quick trip down to Starved Rock State Park for a few days, I spent the month of May living in my 2 suburban Chicago “homes” – Burnidge Forest Preserve (Paul Wolff CG) in Elgin, and Big Rock Forest Preserve just west of Aurora.

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Burnidge is the closest campground to my old house (and my family’s houses), so it’s always my first choice park.  I love being able to park in one of the big RV sites along the edge of the prairie and watch nature’s show every day.

An early May thunderstorm provided quite a great sunset one night--

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Friday, July 3, 2015

Inspired & Invigorated at Starved Rock

After my hectic first week back in Illinois in early May (which culminated in a insurance fiasco that postponed my cancer surgery until June), I now had 3 extra weeks on my hands.  While I still had plenty of “Pre-Op” errands to-do and lots of local friends to visit, I decided that I first and foremost needed a few days of alone time to be still, fully process my new reality of living with cancer, and to get my internal batteries fully charged and ready for the battles ahead.

Every time I return to the Midwest from a winter spent in the desert southwest, I desperately crave what the desert lacks—water, and the color green!  A few years ago, the Springtime Ozarks of southern Missouri recharged and refreshed me.  But with time so short this year, I had to look for a nearby retreat.  Starved Rock State Park, just 100 miles southwest of Chicago on the Illinois river, would do the trick!

I go to nature

Canyon hikes, waterfalls, lush green forests, and this quote by noted naturalist John Burroughs were sure to inspire:

I go to nature to be soothed and healed,

and to have my senses put in order.

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