What started as IDC (Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma) in 2011, then turned into CHF (Congestive Heart Failure) in 2013, probably partially caused by chemotherapy along with a genetic pre-disposition. Here we are now in March 2016 and I am newly diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer in the left breast and liver (LMBC - liver metastasized breast cancer).

So the focus has shifted yet again, BUT... I continue to THANK YOU for your prayers, love & support. I receive them with open & loving arms. My wish is that I will gain strength from you, will provide helpful information and strength to others & will help to strip away the fears we each experience.

I am strong. I am loved. I am healthy. I WILL SURVIVE!

Have you or your loved one had their annual mammogram? PLEASE, don't put it off. Speaking from experience, I highly recommend monthly self exam as well. And if you are now cancer free of breast cancer, do everything you can to insist that your doctors follow up with an occasional PET Scan and labs for tumor markers.

Contents may be uplifting, sad, funny, scary, downright depressing ~ THAT IS CANCER .... at it's best, at its worst.

PLEASE ~ Feel free to share this blog with anyone who is interested to learn about my journey. While I welcome their support, I hope that by sharing this experience freely to the universe I may help to support others by breaking down some of the barriers and fear associated with breast cancer and the treatment.


Monday, April 23, 2018

A Wonderful Adventure Through Arizona

So the hubby and I took another wonderful travel trailer camping trip in March through some of Arizona. Trips like this are so exciting for many reason:
1) Being that just over two years ago when I was diagnosed for the second time with breast cancer and this time Stage IV metastasized to the liver, I had no idea where I'd be today in this journey. 

2) That when planning a trip like this in advance, I always worry that the tides may change and we won't be able to make the trip then, or maybe ever; that the new trailer we just purchased would all be for naught.

There is is just so much that flies through the brain that never did before. It is different in many ways.

And we hope to do another one soon. As a matter of fact, we met a few full-timers; couples who have been out on the road for 3 plus years, or those that take off for three full months every winter. It definitely gives one something to think about and strive towards.

I won't detail every stop and adventure, although I'd love to; but I will give you a few highlights. But let me start out by saying that I absolutely love our new Nash 24M trailer. And that's even after seeing so many huge and beautiful 5th wheelers and motor coaches on the road during this trip and at all of our camp spots. Our Nash now has a slide out couch across from the dinette so we have a bit more floor space, a dance floor as we call it, and a wonderful pantry storage in the kitchen; not to mention a walk-around bed and loads of great storage space. Oh and an automatic awning, which is so convenient. I think you get the idea.We love it!

After a couple days on the road, and exploring much of Route 66, we landed at the only spot we had made reservations for this adventure, the Grand Canyon. And Grand doesn't quite do it justice. We immediately changed our 4-night stay at Trailer Village Campground to 6 nights. And we filled every day with fun, even though some nights got down to 10 degrees. Some days barely over 40. But we came prepared, although I caught a nasty cold during that time. We hiked most of the rim, although though the altitude and elevation was a challenge for me. We took in all the lodges and ate out a few times, our favorite meal being a lovely dinner at El Tovar Lodge. We rode just about every shuttle line there in the park, and the shuttle service is absolutely amazing, I might add. We spent a day driving out to Cameron Trading Post and stopping at all the Rim spots along the way. Sunsets were thoroughly enjoyed at the Rim our first night in the park, and a 6am 10 degree sunrise a few days later. The light and photo opportunities are so beautiful and endless.

Hopi House
Hopi House

From there we headed South into Oak Creek Canyon through Sedona, camping at Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood, AZ and driving through Jerome and nearby ruins. Dead Horse Ranch is a lovely park that we'd like to explore more another time.

Then it was off to the concrete jungle area of Mesa, AZ to take in the SF Giants in a couple of the Cactus League games. I had no idea that there are a few RV Villages housing up to 1,800 spots for RVs and tiny modular homes in Mesa. This is not our preferred place to stay, but it was perfect to allow us to Uber to and from the games. And even spend a day touring the Hall of Flame fire museum. If your a snow bird planning to winter in Mesa or somewhere nearby, these RV parks offer oodles of activities and have strong community centers for the active senior. We enjoyed our time here, but were none too anxious to move on down the road. 

Next stops were just outside of Tucson at two different delightful campgrounds we enjoyed thoroughly - Picacho Peak State Park, and Gilbert Ray Campground, both in the Sonora Desert. The desert and Saguaro cacti were such a delightful change in scenery. 

Gilbert Ray Sunset

 Although we ran out of time to visit family as we had hoped; we were able to spend a day touring Mission San Xavier and Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, both must see spots that you need to save up a half to full-day to really appreciate fully. The Mission was a favorite spot of Mark's mother and it was a special visit for us both.

Mission San Xavier

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a must-see stop. Be sure to take in the free flight show of raptors if you can. What a sight to see.

From here we were off to Havasu River at the River Island State Park camp ground, then a few more nights at Joshua Lave RV park between 29 Palms and Joshua Tree. Nearby London Bridge was a fun day trip and lunch out, as well as a bit of the Lake Havasu City area, as well as the magnificent Joshua Tree National Park, which requires a longer visit next time around.

London Bridge
 We finished off the trip with a couple of nights at Joshua Tree Lake Campground and spent a full day drive and hiking in Joshua Tree NP. What a special place, and another future stop in our lives. 
Joshua Tree Lake Campground

Joshua Tree NP

One more night on the road and we returned to a vibrant green California and Sonoma County following the heavy rains that preceded our return.

This was another epic entry into the journal of our lives.

Filling my life with love, laughter, family & friends!

~ Peace and Love ~

B  E  L  I  E  V  E

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