Halfway through the 8 weeks of hell (the last stretch of chemo), I was pretty discouraged. While everyone was cheering, “You’re already halfway there!”, I was despairing that I was not done. And then what was the next stop in life? Surgery. Stupid surgery. My tendency to escape was in full effect as I looked for flights online. Much to my delight, flights to Nipples, Florida were on the cheap. Hey, this fantasy could be a reality. Reality is good! Visiting Naples is pretty easy because I have family down there. Did I ever tell you that I was born there? No? I was. And so was my sister, Neely. I have myself convinced we are the only ones ever to be born in this retirement vacationland. Don’t ruin it for me.
Back to the story: I summoned Molly, Michele and my sister Neely to join me on a trip. I needed something to look forward to. I needed to look at beauty with some dear friends. And who can really say no to a girl with cancer? If I had my druthers, I would invite all of you and we would caravan to the ocean and we would stay there a good three weeks until we had seen enough sunsets and released all the japanese lanterns and we were weary of fresh seafood. But a small, girls’ retreat is actually more my speed if I’m going to be completely honest.
I planned the trip to be around the halfway point between chemo’s end and the surgery. I did not ask permission from a doctor. I knew this medicine would sustain my soul during the hardest times. And it did. I would randomly text the girls’ “FLORIDA. That is all.” And I would remind myself that the next stop would be a happy place.
And we made it here. I’m writing to you with palm trees framing my view. I have been brought to tears looking at the Gulf of Mexico and an incredible sunset shared with friends. I’ve never seen dolphins so playful and showy-offy. The thick, salty air is a welcome friend.
Here is a peek into the blessing that has been the past few days. One more day, then I come home to the kids and husband I miss. Back to preparing for Christmas, back to getting an infusion on Monday (not the kind that makes me sick), back to trying to squeeze a bunch of love and life into a few more weeks before the big surgery.