The first day of summer vacation for the boys felt very summery indeed. Brooke had the day off as we had planned to try and zip down to Halibut Cove for the Art gallery opening. We abandoned those plans because the fires on the Kenai peninsula have been blowing a good deal of smoke down southward toward the Homer and the Cove. We felt for a lot of driving the trip might not be worth it. In fact Liam who almost never passes up the idea of going to Halibut cove even wavered when he thought about 8 hours in a car over a 3 day period. The idea of that much driving I have to say did not sound that fun.
Amazingly before we had kids we used to shoot down to the cove in two day bursts all the time. In residency Brooke would be waiting at the clinic door when I came running out after my last patient. We hopped in the car and drove the 4 plus hours south with a good portion of Anchorage in the caravan. We would usually get to Homer, roll up to the Salty Dawg and ramp C just in time to grab a quick bite to eat at the old Happy Face Resturant and jump on the Danny J for the 40 minute boat ride across the bay.
After the kids arrived the drive became markedly longer and more arduous. There were breast feeding stops, bathroom stops, food stops, screaming stops, diaper change stops, and each stop took twice as long because of the car seat buckling factor. We were extremely lucky that after residency my job as a hospitalist offered us a week at a time to get down and enjoy the cove. Brooke even got so brave as to accept weeks there alone with the boys just to avoid the drive back and forth. We have clearly become fairly weak in our desire to be in the cove at least compared to our residency days.
This being said the boys are much more likely to be able to handle the car time now with fewer stops and maybe even none if timed right with food and bathrooms. The only time we ever really use digital entertainment is for that sort of thing. As we haven’t taken any other trips lately my guess is they could sit still for two movies and make it all the way. Still the idea of me inhaling any smoke and possibly sparking some weird reaction, illness or more GVHD was enough to have us highly reconsider.
Despite not sitting on the Experience deck listening to regaled memories of Alaska past and thanking the folks of the Cove for all thier support this last year today turned out pretty nice. After a lazy morning we convinced Liam (Finn needed no convincing) to go for a mountain bike ride at Kincaid. We met up with the Kam-Magruder family and we had a legitimate little trail riding gang. Everyone did awesome. The kids had a blast and despite some minor whining the smiles were overpowering. We had a run into a moose and a baby but Liam was actually paying attention and saw her in time for us all to stop and reverse course. The ride was a little shortened by hte detour but I think the kids were ready to be done.
This evening we hung out with a bunch of families from Liam’s class for a summer kick off. Listening to all the plans for the summer makes me a little jealous that I am still a bit tethered by my disease process. The fact that I am alive and enjoying the weather, Brooke, my dad, and not staring out a hospital window really puts that jealousy back into perspective. As I look back at the Carringbridge posts from this time I have to laugh at how loopy I was starting to get. My mind did not like the narcotic meds. I am glad that was short lived.
As I put the boys to sleep we talked more tonight about cancer. I never really approach them about it. Liam brought it up because he wants to have a party and invite everyone that helped us out this last year. He told me he was going to sell the extra HUHS shirts I have but I convinced him we should just give them away. I am very glad he is wanting to talk a bit more about it. I tried some gentle explaining about cancer again. They thought it was most funny that my blood is now “girl blood”. I tried to be more correct about it and just point out it was one chromosome different but they latch onto some interesting points. Lucky they were both tired and eventually trailed off to sleep.
I look forward to more days of summer like this one. I know I am not out of the canyon yet. I know there are still some big wave sets of life in front of me. I hope I am not at the summit of my life. Yet this little false summit of joy and stability is very enjoyable. The view isn’t what I thought it would be. Life rarely ever gives us that sort of a glimpse. From where I sit though the view isn’t bad. In fact, even if Providence Alaska has the best hospital window view in the world I much prefer my current view.
Head Up, Heart Strong. I need a cure.