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Untouchable

Greetings from the Virgin Islands, where “It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere” begins each day around 10:00 a.m.


I have always loved to travel. In fact, so much so that it has been an obsession for me for a large portion of my life. My wife Diana has been a willing companion throughout, although there were surely times when she might have preferred to just stay home.


My love of travel was forged early. We were a family of six. Like so many other families at the time, my mother ran an amazingly efficient (and happy) household. My father worked as many jobs as it took to make sure that if we didn’t always have what we wanted, we at least had what we needed.


But there was one luxury that was non-negotiable. Our family always took a two-week vacation. Granted, this was the early 1970’s. Airplane trips were only for “rich” people, so it was always somewhere drivable, generally either somewhere in Florida or South Carolina. The 14 to 24-hour drive tested a family’s mettle, but I still look upon those trips as some of the greatest times of my life.


There was tremendous anticipation about each trip. These trips didn’t come easily to a family like ours, but we somehow managed to do it every year. My father would work a full day but then… to maximize our vacation time… we would leave our dark driveway in the middle of the night. He would drive until he couldn’t drive any more. If he didn’t think he could make it all the way to Florida, we’d stop somewhere along the way. There was no Google and no “apps” at the time. You often had to stop at multiple motels to find one with a vacancy. Six humans crammed into a Holiday Inn room, but it worked.


Back then, there were no cell phones and there was no “work from home.” There was no expectation that you would “check in” during your travels. When you left on vacation, you were pretty much unreachable and untouchable until you returned home.


I left home last week to news that my PSA is on the rise again. The first result was not a fluke, which was confirmed by the second test. On the one hand, it was a huge disappointment because things were going so well with my new treatment. On the other hand, I was not surprised. It’s kind of how things have gone since I was first diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in 2013.


Today, while trying to keep the seawater out of my snorkel mask and snorkel tube – all while observing hundreds of parrotfish, blue tang, and the occasional jellyfish – I felt untouchable by cancer. The need to discuss “next steps” with my oncology team will bring me back to reality soon enough but not today. For now, cancer is back home… almost 2,000 miles away… and not to be contemplated any further on this AMAZING trip.


Until next time,


Steve


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