Day 362, Year 10: Preparations
Date: Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Weather: Another Gorgeous Fall Day, Temp in the 60’s F
Location: Quissett Harbor, Falmouth, MA
For me, today was all about preparations . . . for the passage south and for the arrival of Mark’s sister and brother-in-law who will be here on Friday. But before the preparations began, Mark and I both took early morning walks—Mark in Boston and me here on the Cape. It was another totally gorgeous and warm fall day, so Mark walked partway to Mass General from the Hope Lodge this morning. I went walking with friend Jane Woodin. When I returned to Windbird, I started doing an inventory of food onboard so I’ll know what needs to be bought for the upcoming passage south. I then went to Heather and Jed’s to use their kitchen to do a little cooking for this weekend. The day flew by much too quickly with not enough done, but isn’t that the way with all days? Mark spent his whole day at Mass General and then after his last treatment he met up with Alan and Helaine Kanegsberg, our friends from Concord, NH. The three of them took a nice long walk to Government Center and then down to the Boston Commons. They walked across the Commons and back toward Mass General. They had thought about having dinner at Lala Rokh with Persian cuisine or The Hungry I touted as a romantic French bistro, both wonderful restaurants, but were intrigued by a place called The Little Lamb. This place is literally right across the street from the hospital. It features Mongolian food that you cook yourself in Chinese hot pots found on every table. Mark reports that they were very pleased with their choice.
At some point tomorrow, I return to Boston. I will spend tomorrow night with Mark and on Friday morning we will clean his apartment and pack his things to move him back home. He still has another week+ of treatments, but his stay in the Hope House ends on Friday. When we get back to the Cape on Friday evening, we will meet up with Mark’s sister Mary Ellen and her husband Lee who are driving up from Florida for a visit over the long Columbus Day weekend. It looks like this lovely weather is going to extend into the weekend, so we will all enjoy.
Day 351, Year 8: Farewell to Eel Pond
Date: Sunday, October 20, 2013
Weather: Still Sunny, a Bit Windy, Temp in the mid-60’s F
Location: Great Harbor, Woods Hole, Massachusetts
It was another beautiful fall day. We sold our old dinghy at a VERY low price, but at least it has a new home. We took a walk through Woods Hole and around Eel Pond and just enjoyed the fact that we get to spend our summers in such a special place. Then we moved Windbird out of Eel Pond to Great Harbor where we picked up a mooring. We decided not to go through the ‘Hole’ to Buzzards Bay this afternoon as we would have had to anchor in Hadley Harbor. When we thought about it, it seemed silly to dip the new anchor chain in salt water just one time and then bring it up to let it sit in the anchor locker all winter. By being on a mooring tonight, we will still have new anchor chain next spring. Once we were in Great Harbor we pulled up the dinghy motor and raised the dinghy on the davits. Then we sat in the cockpit surrounded by our wonderful cockpit enclosure and read. It felt a bit like being a cruiser for one evening.
Tomorrow morning we will leave here at first light and arrive in our winter home by 10 am. Fiddler’s Cove is also a beautiful location so we are looking forward to arriving there. Heather is going to be there to catch our dock lines and then Bruce and Jane Woodin are coming for lunch. Tomorrow will be the first day of the Voyage of Windbird, Year 9—a new year, a new adventure.
Day 350, Year 8: A Happy Man
Date: Saturday, October 19, 2013
Weather: Getting a Bit Cooler, but Still Sunny
Location: Eel Pond, Woods Hole, Massachusetts
Mark is a happy man tonight. His new Nexus 7 tablet arrived today. Since we are leaving Woods Hole tomorrow, we had Heather and Jed take the car and this left us with no transportation. But the instant Mark got an email message that the tablet was being delivered this afternoon (sooner than expected), he hopped on the bus and headed straight to East Falmouth to pick up it up. I tried to convince him that he would live through the night without it, but that fell on deaf ears. When the old Nexus 7 went flying off the top of the car a couple of weeks ago, it was broken but the cover was fine. Unfortunately the new tablet is a slightly different size, so we’ll have to order a new protective cover . . . and make sure Mark doesn’t leave it on the top of the car again!
We spent our morning going to soccer games and taking things to the storage unit between games. So far we have been very fortunate to have all but one soccer Saturday be warm and sunny. There was rain early one Saturday morning, but it was gone by 9 am, so the games were still on. Sam and Jonah are increasing in skill level, but the most important thing is that they are having a great time running up and down that field with good friends. Ollie loves watching and does a great job of dribbling the ball up and down the sidelines. He is constantly on the lookout for anyone with a friendly dog and stops to pet when he finds one, no matter how big or how small. He absolutely LOVES ‘duggies’ and if he can’t have a real one, we are going to have to find a mechanical dog that can walk and bark!
Day 349, Year 8: Ollie and ‘We’
Date: Friday, October 18, 2013
Weather: Repeat of Yesterday . . . Mostly Sunny and Warm (low 70’s F)
Location: Eel Pond, Woods Hole, Massachusetts
‘We’, Mark and I, are having so much fun with Ollie and I think Ollie is having fun with us as well. Mark spends a lot of time each day doing his public radio consulting work, but he’s always right there to help out. And Ollie loves it when Granddad plays with him. I had planned to take Ollie to the public library for storytime this morning, but he REALLY did not want to get in the car. He wanted to play outside. And who could blame him? It was a beautiful morning, so we played in the backyard and in the garden. He helped me pull up the dried corn stalks that we can use to decorate the front yard and he helped me pull weeds and take them to the compost. He put them in his little doll stroller which worked great for transport. By noon, he was so tired–but he didn’t want to come inside. So Mark took him for a stroller ride. He fell asleep almost immediately and when they got home and I put him in his bed, he slept for another two and a half hours. While he slept, I canned vegetable mineral broth. This was a mainstay for Mark when he went through chemo the first time. I use it instead of water when cooking. It is jam-packed with vitamins and minerals, so it was good to get 14 pints canned today. When it was time to pick Sam up from school, Ollie happily got in his stroller for another walk with Granddad.
We started our day by moving Windbird from the dock back out onto a friend’s mooring in Eel Pond. The couple that owns the dock, John and Ellie, are in their eighties and their extra income is from the dock rental. Normally only Star, the sailboat owned by Steve and Irene from Nevis, is on that dock. But since Steve is undergoing radiation treatment for colon cancer, they have moved their boat to Boston and the dock is open. But the daily charge is $30. This is fair enough, but more than we can afford. So when we got up and the winds were favorable, we untied our lines and headed back out into the pond. We will probably leave Eel Pond at the 4 pm bridge opening on Sunday (the last opening of the day now that we are into fall hours), go through the Woods Hole Cut, and spend the night in Hadley Harbor in Buzzards Bay. Then on Monday morning, we will sail or motor up to Fiddler’s Cove. We have to arrive there right at 10 am in order to enter on the high tide and since the first bridge opening in Eel Pond is at 8 am, we can’t make it without heading out the night before. We went aground going into Fiddler’s Cove in November of 2011 when we tried to enter a couple of hours before high tide, so we’ll not try that again. It would be easier to wait until Monday of the following week when we could just leave Eel Pond when there is slack tide in the Woods Hole Cut and then go directly to Fiddler’s Cove. But the forecast for nighttime temperatures this coming week is in the 30’s. That means we’ll need to be plugged into electricity in order to run our heaters. So we’ll just have to do this move in two steps. We also want to go to the Wellfleet Oyster Festival on Sunday and we think we’ll do that and just plan to get back to Woods Hole by 3:30 pm. So some things never change. No matter what, we never seem to sit still. We are always on the move.
I can’t end this log without noting that on this day in 2005 we sailed out of Boston Harbor on our voyage around the world. We have had a phenomenal eight years since then and look forward to the next eight. Cancer or not, we sincerely hope our sailing days are not over.
Day 348, Year 8: Acceptance
Date: Thursday, October 17, 2013
Weather: Mostly Sunny and Warm (low 70’s F)
Location: Eel Pond, Woods Hole, Massachusetts
I know there are ‘official’ labeled stages of acceptance when one finds out they have cancer, but somehow Mark and I both skipped those stages when he was first diagnosed. I think he is skipping them again, but this time I am going through something between grief and anger. But with each hour that passes, I begin to accept. The wonderfully supportive emails and calls from friends and family surely help. And tonight we launched into our characteristic research mode trying to find out everything we can. The main problem is that we don’t have the information we need. We will get that next week, so in the meantime, we research and try our best to piece together the best case scenario.
Today both Mark and I went to Heather and Jed’s for the day. Mark spent a great deal of time doing his public radio consulting work and I spent the day with Ollie. But it was great to have Granddad there to pitch in with Ollie when I needed to get cooking or laundry projects done. I’ve said it many times before, but I’ll say it again. Ollie is just the easiest-going, sweetest little guy in the whole world. Unfortunately, part of him is starting into the ‘terrible twos’ stage, but I try to ignore that and focus on the positive. After his nap, Mark took him to pick Sam up from school. When they got home, we had an after-school snack, practiced the week’s spelling words for a Friday test, and then headed to the cranberry bogs to try and forage for cranberries left-over from the harvest last week. When we got to the bogs, Sam wanted to dive right into the waterway that runs between the fields to collect cranberries, but we restrained him and foraged in the matted vegetation along the edges of the waterways instead. That is, we did this until Heather and Jed arrived with Jonah. At that point, Jed jumped the ‘ditch’ and started hand-picking cranberries from the field. Sam and Jonah wanted to join him but there was no way to get them across the waterway. We weren’t even sure Jed could get back across, but he did, and we came home with the equivalent of three bags of cranberries. We didn’t really care how many cranberries we harvested. We just wanted the boys to experience gathering.
Tomorrow Mark and I will return to Heather and Jed’s to spend the day with Ollie. Mark will do more consulting work and Ollie and I will go to the public library for a tot’s reading time. Sometime this weekend we will either move back out onto a mooring so we are not paying a daily dock fee or we will move the boat to Fiddler’s Cove for the winter. The problem is getting there. We have to go through the Woods Hole cut at slack tide and enter Fiddler’s Cove at absolute high tide. And the timing that makes those two things possible is tricky. Then we have to add in the wind factor. And that makes it even trickier. But we are paying $30 a day to be here on this dock and that is more than we can afford. So sometime SOON we will either move back out onto a mooring in Eel Pond or head to Fiddler’s Cove. As with any ‘passage’, it will all depend on the weather.
Day 347, Year 8: Strike that. Reverse it.
Date: Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Weather: Overcast and Misty
Location: Eel Pond, Woods Hole, Massachusetts
“We have so much time and so little to see. Wait a minute. Strike that. Reserve it.” This is one of my favorite quotes from the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory movie from 1971. And it fits our situation right now. Yesterday we were headed to Puerto Rico for the winter. Today we had to scrap that plan and make new plans for staying here. Mark met with his oncologist this morning to review the results of yesterday’s CT scan. Unfortunately his cancer has returned. They found a small growth in the fatty tissue of the abdominal cavity. This will mean either surgery or chemo or both, but whatever, we will be staying right here for the winter. Well, we won’t be staying here in Eel Pond. Hopefully we will be able to return to Fiddler’s Cove where we spent the winter of 2011-2012. Mark has to have a PET scan next Tuesday and then the surgeon and oncologist will decide on a plan of action. They are also getting his colon cancer tumor out of cold storage and doing some genetic testing to see if it has a specific marker that would make it react to specific drugs. Mark couldn’t believe they keep all removed tumors in cold storage, but they do.
Mark amazes me with his positive outlook even though he is tremendously disappointed that he can’t sail south. He is definitely not looking forward to a cold winter, but he’s ready to battle this thing.