Travel and Health Update

I am currently in the process of getting ready for another trip beginning around April 1st. Two weeks ago, I took my camper in to have the tires rotated and balanced. I have the tires rotated every year before I leave on a new trip.  The tires, brakes, and battery have about 30,000 miles and are three years old. When the tire store took the tires off they found several cracks in one of the wheels. We have no idea how long the cracks were there. I decided since I’m planning on a long journey, which includes driving through steep mountains and passes, that it pays to be safe. So, I had new tires, wheels, brake pads, rotors, the bearings packed, new battery, etc.  Then I had them do a wheel alignment and found out I needed new tie rods, bushings, etc. Since the shock absorbers are also most probably original, I had them replaced as well.  When I took the camper out for a test drive afterward, I realized that I like the way it drives now. It’s a firmer ride, not as much sway to the camper. It also feels like it holds the road better. I’m guessing it will be easier on my body since the camper is not bouncing as much due to all the new parts. It was most probably due for all these repairs. The camper is 14 years old and now has about 77,000 miles. She had 25,000 and was seven years old when I bought her. We sure have covered a lot of territory and had a lot of adventures together, and look forward to having more.

On Wednesday, my friend Gloria contacted me that her husband John was taken off life support and was put into hospice, so I went and spent the day with her at the hospital.  It reminded me of when I went through that with my dad about six years ago.  I also got to see what my mother, family, and friends will probably go through when it’s my time. Gloria said she will be with my mom when my time comes.  When Gloria and I were in John’s room, I looked out the window and on the roof below sat a dove.  It was there all day and even was there when we left in the early evening. We know it was there watching over John and waiting to escort him on his new journey.  I got a call from Gloria early Thursday morning that the hospital called her to come immediately, I drove to meet her at the hospital and we arrived just after he passed.  Gloria, Sondra her niece, Sondra’s son, and I sat with John’s body until the funeral home came. It’s my first time with this experience and I found it to be peaceful.  I’m hoping that when I go it will be the same.

As for a health update on me, I sometimes hesitate to write about it, however, I know many of the people reading this website are my friends and you know what’s happening with my health. So, I am going to provide the latest information that I know.  I went to my doctor on Monday, March 18th. She cleared me for another trip. We both feel that I will have sufficient warning when I am getting worse, and that I will have time to either fly or drive back to south Florida. My abdominal area is more firm, we feel more places that are hard, or possibly the adhesions are growing more. The tumor is growing and getting into some nerves, I can tell by the changes in my pain.  I have almost no appetite and have to make myself eat meals, or snacks. The doctor says this is one of the first signs of things getting worse.  I asked her if she knows about how much time I have left and she said no, it depends on how the adhesions and tumor grow and what they wrap around. We both agreed that I don’t have years left. I said I think it will probably be before the end of this year, and she said yes.  We all know that the timing is up to God, and I don’t have a crystal ball to know God’s plan. I just have to do the best I can every day and enjoy it to the fullest.

I feel so truly blessed. Not only do I have such loving friends and family, but I am at peace with myself, others, and my health condition.  If someone told me I only have months to live and asked what I would be doing, it would be the same as I am doing now.  How amazing is that!!!  I’m living the dream life I have wanted for so many years. I know that you all are really upset and having a difficult time adjusting and dealing with my health situation.  I hope you remember to enjoy life, remember me with fond memories, and know that I value our friendships.  I am really at peace with everything.  I’ve had serious health issues for over 43 years and my body is weary and having a challenging time enduring this any longer. It’s time to be at peace with no pain.  I know that I will be with God, that’s extremely comforting.

After I die, my body will be cremated and my ashes will be scattered in Albuquerque, New Mexico, from my friend Scott’s hot air balloon, or scattered from the sky in Florida… how cool is that!!! So whenever you look at the sky, know that I am floating somewhere in the sky, clouds, etc.  My body and spirit will be free.  I will always be a part of your heart, and you a part of mine.

When I was in Albuquerque in October 2011, I saw a billboard at a church. It said, “Dream as if you will live forever, Live as if you will die tomorrow.”

This new road trip will be done a day at a time, I will be visiting friends in states I have not been to in several years. I’ll continually reevaluate to determine if I can continue on or know when I need to return to Florida.  My first few stops will be near Jacksonville, Savannah, Bluffton, SC, then Knoxville, TN, then north towards Montana, and west to the Washington coast. If I am still able to continue on, I will go through eastern California, then to Albuquerque, Texas, and back to south Florida.

I’ve been spending a lot of time with my mom. I am doing things with her and taking her places that I enjoy and giving her new experiences. Tomorrow, I am taking her to the FIHA Indian pow wow in Fort Pierce about two hours north of where we live. I have gone there for many years and she has never been. I will also get to see many vendors who are also my friends. It will be nice to see them again, since I didn’t go last year.  A couple of weekends ago, I took mom to the south side of Lake Okeechobee to show her where I like to camp, and also we went to a local produce farm where we were able to get cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, and potatoes that were harvested while we watched. Can’t get vegetables any fresher than that.

Well, that’s about it for now.  Always remember to look for things to be grateful for.  An attitude of gratitude is extremely important.  Blessings always.

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