Day 34, Year 7: Some Good News and Some Not So Good News
Date: Monday, December 12, 2011
Weather: Partly Sunny, Continued Chilly Temps
Location: Brewer Fiddler’s Cove Marina, North Falmouth, Massachusetts

Life is all about balance. You know you have to take the good with the bad, but some days the bad overtakes the good. This was one of those days. Boatworks came this morning and Windbird is covered for the winter. That is the good news. The bad news is about Mark’s health situation. He had a colonoscopy today and the results were the worst case scenario. He has a tumor and the doctor today said his thirty years of experience tells him it is the dreaded “C” word. We knew cancer was a possibility and I thought I was prepared, but I now think there is no way to be prepared to hear that the person you love so deeply, the father of your children, the grandfather of your grandchildren, probably has this terrible disease. Mark took the news much more in stride than I. He is upbeat and ready for the battle. I can’t talk about it without crying. We have an appointment with a surgeon on Thursday of this week and hopefully the biopsy report will be back by then. The tumor has to be removed whether or not it is cancerous, and the doctor today recommended that it be done as soon as possible. Mark has decided that if that operation can be in the next couple of weeks, he will have it done and we will have to cancel our Christmas visit to New Mexico. If it can’t be scheduled until after the first of the new year, however, we will go ahead with our current plans. We so desperately want to go to New Mexico to spend time with Ziggy, but Mark’s first reaction after hearing the news today was, “How soon can we get this done.” Unfortunately, his bad news for the day wasn’t over. As soon as we got back to the boat, Mark started shaking like a leaf and he felt so bad he couldn’t even think about eating dinner even though he has had almost no food for 48 hours. It took us a bit to figure out what was going on. He has known since late last week that he has a bladder infection, but he couldn’t take the antibiotic until after today’s procedure. Evidently that was just a few hours too late as he spiked a fever of 102.5 F this evening. Because they had to remove a polyp in the colon today, he is not allowed to take any pain reliever other than Tylenol for a couple of days, and of course, our only Tylenol onboard had an expiration date of 2008. I gave him that anyway and then at 8:50 pm I rushed out to go and buy some new Tylenol. Thankfully, a nearby neighborhood store was still open. Mark has now had his first and second round of antibiotic and some old Tylenol. His temp has come down .5 degrees and in another hour I will check it again. If the temp is still going down, I’ll give him a round of the new Tylenol and then set the alarm to keep checking his temp through the night. I’m hopeful at this point that we aren’t going to have to make a middle of the night trip to the ER. I hope we have things under control.

After getting the bad news this afternoon, we had lunch in Hyannis before heading back to Falmouth. Mark mentioned during lunch that our timing for sailing around the world was just right. He thanked me for pushing to get us going. I had always said that I wasn’t going unless we could get home before Mark turned 70. We made it with a year to spare, but just in time to deal with these health issues. And it was the best thing we have ever done other than having two beautiful children. More than ever, we both believe that you must not wait to fulfill your dreams. You never know what tomorrow might bring. I’ve mentioned this before, but it is so appropriate today that I must bring it up again. On our refrigerator we always had the following saying attached with magnets.

On an ancient wall in China
Where a brooding Buddha blinks
Deeply engraved is the message
“It’s later than you.”

The clock of life is wound but once
And no man has the power
To tell just when the hands will stop
At late or early hour.

So, now is the time you own
And the past a golden link
Go cruising now by brother
It’s later than you think…