(On Climbing 14 Stories-or thereabout).
You my dear family and friends are owed an update and I thank you for your patience.
The aneurysm diagnosis somewhat accelerated my trip to visit the Rosy Mound Preservation Area to share with my sister the spot where our mom’s ashes were spread. Originally, we were going to stay at a hotel or in a camper but budget and availability became obstacles so we, my sister Jan Krist and my cousin Deb Letterman and I, found ourselves camping in a tent.
We had a ball! Three 60-something babes put up the tent and set up camp without a single argument. When the temperature dropped down into the 40s overnight we slept in every article of clothing we brought on atop air mattresses -which was really a problem when nature called in the wee hours of the morning. Then struggling to get into a standing position to make the trip across the street looked more like a keystone cop routine than a proper lady getting up. The first night sleep was tough to come by but I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.
The Rosy Mound Preserve is special to my family. It’s a place we visited several times a month when we were growing. We’d climb the face of the dune and roll down hill over and over till we were too exhausted to continue. In the years since we moved away it was designated an endangered ecosystem and the preserve established.
One path in particular took on a special meaning when mom died from lung cancer. (Adenocarcinoma, the same nsclc I was diagnosed with.) That year I brought her ashes to our childhood home and took one of the trails out to Lake Michigan. The trail is only .7 miles long but it involves walking trails that were built across 320 stairs and wooded paths that climb up to a height of 200 feet or about 14 stories. A challenge for a healthy person a very challenging path for my impaired lungs.
Fatigue and lack of sleep had me wondering if I was making the right decision. I seriously considered postponing this but the presence of my sister Jan encouraged me. We talked it over and I decided to go as far as I could taking breaks when I needed to get breathing and pulse under control. Deb was being treated for a sprained ankle so we had to leave her behind.
We did it! We made it to the top. Resting on benches thoughtfully placed along the way. Sharing memories of our childhood and the first time we took on walking to Lake Michigan by way of Rosy Mound. And I shared the special views that I selected for mom’s final resting place.
When we reached the apex of the trail I recognized that I would not be able to take the last flight of stairs down to the lake (90 of them) and still be able to make it back up then back to where the car was parked. So next the new goal is to become strong enough to complete the whole circle next year.
The concern for the aneurysm did slow me down but this trip was important. This problem has existed for at least 7 years and has only grown .3cm since it was first observed. As far as treatment goes, the surgeon I saw wants to monitor it every 6 months by CTs with contrast. This can be scheduled the same appointment as the annual lung cancer CT and offer extra monitoring against progression. I’m waiting on a second opinion appointment at the University of Michigan Medical Center. I’ll keep you updated.