When life gives you lemons, go ride Lemonade!

Planning, Plan B

I ended the Planning Page with the comment Of course, this is all subject to instant and retroactive change!!!  Tune in regularly for updates. and it sure has been!!!  That page was written three months before we left and the changes that were forthcoming were large.

Our plans changed drastically three days before we left.  All of the hopes we wrote about were heavily adapted to meet the crisis that developed then.  Kathy was diagnosed with breast cancer!  And needed to have an operation!  The operation could not be performed any less than three to four weeks hence because of operating and doctor's schedules.  The operation (a mastectomy) is relatively simple and is performed on an outpatient basis with recovery time estimated at 4-6 weeks.  This sounded simple enough, and although serious, not difficult to accomplish.

This was all three days before the bike had to be in Vancouver, BC for shipping.  That date is set and the money paid.  We have our plane tickets paid and the room in Valencia for Las Fallas is paid, altogether over $4,000.  We could give this up and sit home (and mope and cry) or we could go and then buy roundtrip tickets to come back for the operation.  Guess what we did!  Of course, we went to Europe!!!

The doctor wanted to see Kathy one more time before we left and the only possible appointment was on the morning the bike had to be in Vancouver, so Kathy stayed home and I took the bike to Vancouver and got it packed for shipping and then met her the following day in Seattle for our flights.  She told the doctor our plans and they agreed on an operation the first week in April, he would email us the date and time when it was set.

Next we started re-arranging our trip plans, first to get dropped was Morocco and the eclipse.  Then we called our friends in the Azores and rescheduled our week there.  Lastly I started looking for a place to leave the bike for the month and a half we would be gone.  I looked in our GWRRA membership book for European members and found one in a suburb of Lisbon, Portugal.  This would be very convenient because we planned to fly to the Azores from there and then home from there.  So I figured out the time difference and called him one evening, hoping he would speak English.  He answered, in Portuguese of course, and I talked in English but after a bit he figured it out and switched to English too.  His name is Nuno and he has been a fantastic help and become a good friend.  We told him our problem and asked if he could help find a place to store the bike, he said "Of course, no problem!"  And he was right, he had it all planned out by the time we got there.

So we went to Europe, had a great time, came home and had the operation.  Then came the next change to our plans.  We would not be returning after the recovery period was over.  (In fact, Kathy healed in less than four weeks and would like to have returned.)  Next was the appointment with the Oncologist who says that she needs chemotherapy.  It seems that the lump was large enough and developed enough that it "may" have released cancerous cells into the blood stream.  And chemo followed by hormonal treatment is the surest way to reduce the possibility that the cancer could reoccur in some part of her body.  There is no way to tell for sure if it did or not and chemo is not 100% effective in killing the cells if it did.  And there are the bad side effects with the chemo.  All-in-all not a good situation.

We did a lot of research on the net, bought books, talked to friends and made an appointment with another doctor for a second opinion.  In our looking we found the data in the chart below.









Kathy is going to do the "combined" treatment rather than just the chemo.  As you can see it gives almost a doubling of no future occurrences of the cancer, but there is no guarantee.  And if she is in the left part of the "No Therapy" bar, she is going to all of this for naught.  This data was taken from thousands of women in several international studies and is great for predicting trends in large groups but does not tell what a single individual can expect.  And this therapy program will add 4-6 months to the 4-6 weeks we had planned to be back home.

So now as I write this in mid-May it seems we'll not be able to return to Europe until sometime this winter.  I called the airline about the change in our return date and found out that the return portion is good for one year.  So we have to use them before next April.  We are planning to return as soon as Kathy is able to travel, no matter what the season.  If it is winter we will try to find an apartment on Spain's Costa del Sol (southeast coast) until the weather up north turns ride-able.  But as I said once before Of course, this is all subject to instant and retroactive change!!!  Tune in regularly for updates.

This will be the last update until something definite happens, On to Planning Part C or start Europe.