My two vacation is over. I got back just in time to hear the news about the FDA approving Idelalisib/Zydelig for Follicular Lymphoma, and to post something quick on Thursday morning, but it's mostly been recovery and catching up for a couple of days since then.
My wife, kids, and I went to the United Kingdom for two weeks -- 5 days in London, 4 in Cornwall in Southwest England, and then 5 days up north in Edinburgh, Scotland. It was a great trip for all of us. My Doctor Who fan daughter got to see the TARDIS in Earls Court; my middle child, who has embraced his Scottish heritage, got to eat real haggis in Scotland; and my oldest, the jazz musician, got to see Bill Evans and Mike Stern, who played with Miles Davis in the 80's, in concert as part of the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival.
It was the first visit to England for me and the kids, though my wife had been there before we were married. So this was also her way of keeping her promise to show me England some day. I still need to keep my promise to show her Italy, where I lived for 10 months years ago.
It was a great trip, and a much-needed one. We had a really tough spring. My shoulder surgery and recovery was only a part of it, and I won't get into the rest of it here. But it seemed like someone was just piling more and more tests on us as the spring went on. We passed those tests, and we're all better for it. And the trip to England and Scotland became, in some ways, a celebration of getting through the spring, a way of re-setting our lives and starting over, but also a way of remembering someone we love.
And while it seemed like I had been writing from the UK every few days, to be honest, I had actually written most of that stuff before I left, and posted it as I went along. That meant that I took a chance on writing a post about missing our dog, but it worked out OK, because we really did miss her. And she missed us, too. She didn't pass out when she saw us, like this other schnauzer did (in a video conveniently posted on YouTube yesterday), but she was happy to see us anyway.
It's funny, though, how it's almost impossible to take a vacation from cancer. It seemed like there was always a reminder. One museum we visited showed artifacts from vikings who had lived on the British Isles, including a quiver full of arrows -- anyone who has read this blog knows the specialist I saw long ago called the available lymphoma treatments the "arrows in your quiver." And it seemed like every major street in every town we visited had a few "charity shops," what we in the U.S. know as Goodwill or Salvation Army stores. And a whole bunch of those shops supported Cancer Research UK. And then outside Edinburgh Castle, a man dressed as William Wallace from Braveheart (as opposed to the real William Wallace) posed for pictures with tourists, accepting donations in a box, with a sign that said "All Donations to Support Leukemia Research."
I think we all probably knew already that there's no vacation from cancer. And that's OK. I wasn't looking for one. Six and a half years, and I still check in with the support group every day. I still read your comments on the blog every day. I still look around the net to see what's new for Follicular Lymphoma every day. Every day. And I still welcome new experiences, and ways to share the world with my family, and opportunities to live my life. Every day. Cancer is only one part of those days -- as small a part as I decide it's going to be.
It's good to be back.