Well, I guess you can’t put this many crazy drugs in your system without something happening. I wake up at about 1;30 am, not too unusual for a bathroom run and some water, but then I’m wide awake, I listen to my self breath for about an hour before I get up. To bad it’s so early, I feel like I could go out and cut the grass. I’m sure that would impress the neighbours!
I’m feeling OK generally but I’m noticing a bit of a stuffy feeling in my head and sinus area along with a very slight headache feeling.
I wonder what the rest of the day will bring? Actually I’m wondering what the next 122 days will bring. But, as they say, one day at a time.
“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”
Hebrews 4:16 NLT
Today is the 1st day of the treatment part of the journey. Chris Ford drives us to HSC and we get checked in. Before you know it I’m in chair #5, swallowed a truck load of pills and the IV is started.
After some pre-treatment meds in the IV they start the 1st of 4 IV drugs, Rituximab. I they are watching quite closely for a possible reaction and ramping up 50ml/hr every 1/2hr. This will take all morning and into the afternoon. Once this is done it’s cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, and vincristine all together for another couple of hours. This along with the Prednisone taken earlier will complete the CHOP-R protocol.
The day seems to fly by and I get lots of support from family and friends. Shirley is with me most of the morning, but it’s pretty boring sitting around looking at me, so Mandy picks her up for lunch and drops her back home. Lots of good text messages with folks keep me busy for part of the time. That along with some podcasts, P&W music, and Pastor Leon messages on healing make the afternoon quite enjoyable. A visit from Pastor Goertzen is a big plus and he shared his cancer experiences and the Word. Bonus is that I’m finishing up and he gives me a ride home so we get a little more hang time, which is excellent.
End of day, I’m feeling good, no reactions to the treatment.
We’re on the run for home now. You know how it is when the road trip is coming to and end and your looking forward to returning to the comforts of home. It’s a 7hr drive with a few gas, restaurant and shopping stops, but basically “boogie to the border”. Crossing back to Canada is uneventful, and it’s good to be home.
It’s still rainy and windy as we leave Mackinaw City over the bridge and on to the southern shore of Lake Superior. As we cross the bridge you can see Mackinaw Island in the distance and I’m remembering the trip my parents took me on to New York, NY & Washington DC, via a stop on the island and a stay at the Grand Hotel. That was a great trip with lots of good times and memories.
It’s a driving day with a few stops for some brief sightseeing and we enjoyed the views of Lake Superior and some of the huge rollers that were crashing on the southern beaches.
I’ve been to Duluth a few times before, many years ago, and I’m surprised by the layers of freeway as we approach the city and navigate through to our hotel. We settle in and then find some dinner at a near by restaurant. A little relaxing in the hot tub and we call it a day.
The weather has really turned over the last couple of days. It has cooled off considerably from the sunny +26°C earlier in the week to about +4°C and rain.
We leave Belle Vernon and take the Interstates, tolls and all, to Mackinaw City just to mix up the return route and see some of the southern shore of Lake Superior. Coffee in the cup, GPS set, and we’re off. Within about 10 minutes, we hit our 1st toll booth. Upon leaving the toll booth the GPS is updating the directions, but the choice is right there and as I’m rushing to read the signs and hoping the GPS will come to the rescue, I make a split second 50/50 decision and of course moments later I realize we’re going the wrong direction and the GPS confirms with its oh so polite “route recalculating”.
Interstates are wonderful, except when you make this kind of mistake. There are no U-turns, no easy fix, in fact it’s 30 miles before we can turn around! Insult to injury, we have to pay yet another toll to retrace those wrong 30 miles. Not a happy camper for a few minutes here.
What can you do? Not much, so I eventually I let it go and we settle in to a day of more tolls, traffic, gas stations stops and worsening weather and road conditions, especially the last 2 hours getting into Mackinaw City. When we arrive it’s quite cold, a mix of rain/sleet and blowing hard. Our hotel for the night is a little funky but passable, defiantly more of a summer resort complex that a 4 season establishment.
Here we are, at probably the FLW highlight of the trip, Fallingwater.
How did we get here? The original plan was to do the FLW Trail as established by Wisconsin Tourism. Also, a nice review of the trail. This would have left us in Racine, Wisconsin. Well, Racine is close to Chicago where there is a lot of FLW stuff. However, both Shirley and I have seen a fair number of the Chicago sites, one trip for Shirley & two for me. But we’re so close (sort of) to the FLW Mecca and Google Maps showed us it’s just a 10hr drive on the Interstates, so lets go for it!
All along the trip we’re treated to the fall colour show around every corner. Well, not so much on the Interstates but once we were off onto the more rural roads it was quite spectacular.
Well worth the drive!
We check in to the visitor centre and get hooked up with our small 12 person tour group. They are pretty fussy about what you carry into the house. Shirley is not able to carry a fairly small purse and I’m cautioned about my camera and the need to keep it in front of my body. They really don’t want you to hit, bump or touch a lot of stuff. In fact we get a list of dos and don’ts, basically don’t touch anything unless it’s metal or stone/concrete. And oh yeah, like so many FLW sites, no indoor photography.
Other that that you are right in the house with all the furniture, antiques, and priceless art works, up close and personal. We tour a good portion of the main house & guest house, but not everywhere, and certainly not allowed to go down to the river & falls. Here is our tour group as we first approach the house.
It’s raining lightly off and on and they supply umbrellas at ever point where you go outside onto a terrace or path. It seems likely that rain is not an uncommon occurrence in this part of the country.
There is a trail down to the iconic photoshoot point where it seems you really can’t take a bad picture of the house.
Here’s a short video of our visit to Fallingwater.
After the tour we drive around a bit and see some very cool places where rivers and bike trail intersect.
However, being a rural area there are not too many restaurants, none of which work for Shirley, so we move on to Polymath Park.
At Polymath Park were shuttled through a scenic 130 acres to the Duncan House,
Balter House (my fav of the three),
and the Blum House.
Duncan is the only “true” FLW house which was build originally in Isle, Illinois and then disassembled, moved and re-assembled (over the course of a couple of yeas) at Polymath Park. The Blum & Bater houses were designed by FLW apprentice Peter Berndtson. All of these three houses are bookable for overnight stays. I think this would be great but we can’t agree on which house, besides they are booked quite a long way out. After the tour it’s back to Belle Vernon for dinner. Tomorrow we turn homeward and it’s a big driving day to Mackinaw City.
We’re in Racine, WI today and tonight so very little driving on the agenda today. We have two tours lined up with a little shopping planed in between.
The morning tour is for Wingspread, the house designed by FLW for Herbert Fisk Johnson Jr., then the president of S.C. Johnson, We arrive at about 9:45 for our 10am tour and are greeted by a closed gate and an intercom system. Apparently we’re “early” but the nice gentleman on the intercom opens up the gate for us.
We park and wander around the grounds for a few minutes and then congregate with the others on the tour in the living room.
After some shopping and lunch we’re off to the next tour of the SC Johnson Administration building and Research Tower. Sadly, they too don’t allow photography inside the buildings and there are lots of security folks keeping an eye on things so, just outside shots.
We have dinner down on the waterfront at a marina overlooking the lake.
and take in a nice sunset.
Back to the hotel in downtown Racine to rest up for the all day drive to Fallingwater in Bear Run, Pennsylvania.