My last post was April 21. Today is May 31. I apologize for the apparent lack of respect for my readers. A lot has happened since my last post. Most of it you wouldn’t care about. That is, for me, the exciting part. There aren’t any ghastly, life-changing or interesting medical situations to report. When you’re a cancer survivor that’s what you hope for — mundane, just-like-everyone-else days without needle sticks, blood draws and face time with people in white coats. I hope you’ll respect that I just needed some time to forget about medical things like making co-payments, filling prescriptions and lining up tests and procedures. Thanks be to God, I am now winding down my participation in the ASSURE clinical trial (end of 7th of 9 rounds) and my scans are on an every 6-month schedule. The down time has been good for me and for my family. It has felt good to put down the moments of sheer terror and replace them with a few hours of medical boredom. Medical boredom would suit the hell out of me for the remainder of what I plan to be a long, long life. I hope God has that same plan for me. I love it when a plan comes together.
During this down time, I have remained focused on getting back into shape. I still follow a mostly vegetarian diet and Jill and I have joined our fantastic new YMCA and have participated in a number of exercise classes. Yoga, spin, body pump, Zumba and turbo kick classes have been interesting and exhausting. My weight is down about 25 pounds from where I began on 12/31/09 and it is holding steady and dropping very slowly (which is what my nutritionist and my nephrologist want).
I was in the office one day and my phone rang. My friend and coffee guru, John Woodward, was on the other end of the line and he said, “I’ve got something to tell you that I think you’ll be interested in.” That phone call has spawned a new hobby, a big, after-cancer physical challenge and another thing for all my sister-wives at work (Jill, Marquette, Helena and Callie) to nag me about. I’m training for a once-in-a-lifetime two-week river adventure that will begin on my father’s birthday this fall. I, along with 30-ish other people will be paddling from Columbus to the Gulf of Mexico in sea kayaks. We’ll go down the Chattahoochee River, through 2 sets of locks into the Apalachicola River and right out into the Gulf of Mexico. This is exactly what I needed to provide me with a physical goal to really get back into shape.
I accepted the challenge before I had ever even set foot in a kayak. I have now been out 4 times and am getting accustomed to paddling and being inside one of these sleek, tippy boats. In case you didn’t know, the Chattahoochee Paddling Club is a well oiled machine. The club has 40 or 50 members and has a great Yahoo Groups website, a full calendar and holds interesting meetings that teach people about the wonders of kayaking. Here is a link to the club’s website. You can go there and see what is available for people with an interest in paddling.
Last Saturday, the club sponsored a Strokes class, which was a 4-hour training session on the various strokes a kayaker needs to have in his/her arsenal. This Saturday is the Safety/Rescue class where the all-important means to rescue oneself will be taught — and I hope learned. The people whom I’ve met are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Having them in my life has added a wonderful new dimension to a life already busting at the seams with good friends. I’m looking forward to the trip and the opportunity to showcase some of the wonders of the river system in Columbus and the Valley magazine. More later on this subject.
One of the added benefits of this trip will be an opportunity to do some bonding with a new acquaintance, Gary Bayer, who is also the husband of Jill’s cousin, Jane Bayer. Jane is newly employed at the National Infantry Museum and Gary is a clinical psychologist. They recently moved here from Memphis and are busy putting their roots back into Chattahoochee Valley soil. Gary is an interesting guy and is all about a trip like this. He is a resourceful adventurer and is a lot of fun to be around. I know we’re going to have a ball on this trip. I also have found a mobile battery for my cpap machine, so it looks like the rest of the campers on the trip will be able to hear a snake sneaking up on them.
Again, thanks for bearing with me during a brief, but much-needed quiet time. There will be a lot to tell as I prepare my mind and body for a 265-mile paddling adventure. I’ll be blogging my way along the trip. Should make for some interesting blog posts. The best news is that there will also be some incredible photography to go along with my writings, because local photographer, Mike Culpepper, is also planning to go along for most, if not all, of the trip! I can’t wait to see what his accomplished, photographic eyes will see.