Patty in the Wai'oli Hui'ia Christian Church in Hanalai.

If you remember sometime back in an earlier post when Patty was in the throes of chemo, we made the decision that we were going to make our yearly trip to Kauai in 2011 come hell or high water!  Well… we did it!  We just returned from eight amazing days in Kauai!  I thought of putting up a post the night before we left but it dawned on me that wouldn’t be too smart.  Why would I tell the world that we’re going to be away from our home for 8 days?  Being an ex-cop… I should know better than that!

We left bright and early on last Tuesday morning, June 21st.  Patty’s sister Dottie was so generous to donate some of her frequent flyer miles to the cause and flew us both First Class to Kauai and back!  What a treat!  A treat to see what the “others” have!  I mean… wide seats… leg room… real food with real silverware… real cloth napkins… oh and did I mention free drinks?  Champagne… mimosas… more champagne… more mimosas!

I’m going to try to keep this post brief and will elaborate more in future posts, but we had such a good time!  Some highlights… a condo with a lanai overlooking the ocean…

We woke up to this sunrise our first morning. Gorgeous!

We somehow ended up at a Kapa’a Rotary Wine and Pu Pu party and felt like wedding crashers…  Only us… but we had a ball!

The server took this picture for us. Everyone behind us knows each other... we just showed up for the wine and pu pu's!

One night we ended up in a local’s bar (that our Hanalai pastor recommended)… This is another story!

I couldn't miss the opportunity to take this picture of Patty hanging out at the Tahiti Nui Lounge in Hanalei with a "local"! She almost looks "local", or is it "loco"?

This trip was to celebrate several things; first of all we celebrated Patty’s one year cancerversary on June 22nd.  Second, we celebrated our 17 wedding anniversary on the 25th.  Since this past year has been such a trial for us, we felt this anniversary was special… it was a new start for us.  As such, we renewed our vows in the Wai’oli Hui’ia Church in Hanalai on Saturday, June 25th.  The Pastor, Ahu Alpha Goto performed an amazing traditional Hawaiian ceremony.  He’s a really cool guy and from what we heard at the Tahiti Nui, he’s one of the best surfers on the north shore of Kauai.

Here's a picture of the historic church.

There are so many blanks to fill in, but I wanted to keep this post short.  The bottom line is we had an amazing trip… just what the doctor ordered.  We were finally able to relax and take a week away from cancer.  Yes, cancer was an occasional subject of conversation, but the topic of vacation and relaxation came up more.


No news is good news… at least that’s what they say!

Here's Patty on a hike this past weekend in the mountains above Palm Springs. She and her sister Kathy had a quick "girls getaway."

As they say… no news is good news.  How that applies to Patty… life is good!  Her hair is pushing the one inch mark.  It’s funny, but her hair is really coming back curly!  I joked with her the other day, but looking at the top of her head reminds me of a weather broadcast showing the high and low pressure systems.  Her hair is swirling in every direction.  It’s really cute when she gels it up.  As a friend from church said yesterday… “It looks so European!”  That’s my wife, always on top of fashion!  She just made an appointment with the hair dresser to throw some color on it next month so she’s been busy researching cuts and colors for short hair.  She wants to do something “fun!”

Patty is still having the neuropathy issues in her hands and feet, but yesterday she told me that she thinks it’s getting a little better.  The doctor said the neuropathy would peak around 5 to six months after her final chemo, and if what she said was true, she may be over the hump and on the road to recovery in that department.  We have noticed that her immune system still is not at 100%.  She’s had several colds over the past few months which is unusual for her.  Patty rarely gets sick, but we notice now when she gets a cold, it hangs on longer than normal.  She has one right now that’s been hanging on for over two weeks.

Reconstruction is right around the corner.  Patty’s reconstruction surgeon dropped a bomb on her about a month ago.  He announced he’s retiring.  This was really disappointing news.  Patty had developed a very close relationship with him over the past 10 months.  He was involved in the mastectomy and has treated her regularly every couple of weeks since then.  Now he’s retiring.  Now what?  It turns out that one of his associates in his office is taking over his practice.  We had met her before and really liked her.  Patty had an appointment with her last week for an exam and to discuss her options going forward.  As before, we both felt very comfortable and have confidence in her. She agreed with the previous surgeon that Patty is completely healed from the mastectomy and Patty could go forward with the reconstruction process whenever she felt she was ready.  Believe me… Patty’s ready to get this party started!  The surgeon discussed several options for the reconstruction.  Without going into details, she recommended one process that Patty felt comfortable with.  Patty wants to wait until after we get back from Kauai to have the surgery.  So, it’s officially scheduled.  Patty will have the surgery on Friday, July 29th.  This is so ironic.  July 29th of last year was the date of her mastectomy!  Exactly one year to the day!  How crazy is that?  The surgeon told us the procedure will take about six hours.  Patty will be in the hospital for at least three days and then be able to come home.  She’ll be down for a good three weeks following the surgery then we can expect another 4 to 5 weeks after that until she’s completely recovered.  I joked with the surgeon when she talked about Patty’s recovery time frame and made a comment: “She’ll still be able to wash dishes, vacuum and do laundry right?”   She gave me a look then said if she had to, she’d write a note for Patty that said “no housework!”  Damn!  Well, I tried!  She’ll have more procedures after that, but hopefully no more surgeries.  The surgeon said when everything is said and done, she can expect the process to take about one year from start to finish.  Patty is a little nervous, but she really wants to have this done.   I’m behind her 100%!

Earlier I mentioned our trip to Kauai.  We’re so excited!  We’re going for 8 days and leave in less than a month!  We can’t wait!  Patty had told me while going through chemo, one thing (amongst many) that kept her focused was our trip to Kauai.  We’ve been there a couple of times before and don’t really need to do the sightseeing.  The title for this trip should be “Relax and Enjoy!”  That’s exactly what we plan on doing.  Those white sandy beaches are just what the doctor ordered for both of us.  We rented a condo on the north shore overlooking Hideaways Beach.  I have a feeling we’ll be spending a lot of time there.  While in Kauai, we’ll be celebrating our 17th wedding anniversary as well as Patty’s 1 year “Cancerversary”.

Oh… I wanted to thank those people from El Dorado County again!  Lead by Becky the Queen Fundraiser, they raised another $238.00 for Patty’s Komen Walk in November!  Patty is now at $1,518.00 towards her goal of $2,300.00.  She’s 66%  of the way there!  Thank you so much!

Moving represents so much more to us!

What a hectic week this has been and it’s only Tuesday.  We had the walk-through on the new place this past Sunday afternoon and signed our loan doc’s in blood that evening.  The buyer of our condo had their walk-through yesterday afternoon.  This morning I wired the balance of our closing costs to escrow.  Phew… that pretty much tapped our savings!    The exciting thing is we’re scheduled to close escrow and move on Thursday!!!

Moving into our new house is a big milestone for Patty and me.  I thank God we had the condo to live in the past 15 months.  The condo served its purpose.  But, moving into a single family residence represents so much more than the inconveniences of living in a 708 square foot, 1 bedroom, 1 bath condo.  It represents so much more than not having a back yard or a garage. So much more than frequently hearing the disturbing sounds from the neighbor above us and his girlfriend!    Moving represents me and Patty going forward with our lives!  It means putting breast cancer behind us and taking the next step to many years before us.

Patty and I have found we’re finally at a place in our lives that we’re able to plan the future.  Plans for today, tomorrow, the day after that and months and years ahead!  The house is just part of our master plan.

I posted a blog last year about making plans to go to Kauai this June.  It’s a trip we have tried to do yearly, but last year was out of the question since Patty was in the middle of her fight.   I have to admit, I was somewhat uneasy going through escrow and looking at the numbers thinking I wasn’t sure how we were going to afford Kauai.  I talked to Patty about the trip a couple of weeks ago, telling her that we may have to postpone the trip a few months just to be safe.  Patty had the perfect response… “I’m not postponing this trip.  Thinking about going to Kauai gave me something to look forward to during my battle.  I just can’t give it up.  We’ve gone through too much.  We deserve this!”  She was right.  How ironic, but she assured me that we could afford the trip which eased my mind.  Normally it’s the other way around.  Ok… I over reacted!  We’re going and we can’t wait!

I got home from work today and learned that we’re renters again!  Escrow on the condo closed today and we’re renting it back for a few days!  Thursday can’t come soon enough for us!  You figure 708 square feet of living space with 350 square feet of boxes!  If things go as planned, we fund tomorrow and record Thursday morning… then it’s ours!  Bring on our future!!!