I never watched the TV show The New Adventures of Old Christine much, but the title keeps resonating with me as I am thinking about what’s been going on in my life the last few weeks. I’ve had some not-so-subtle reminders that my body is aging and my mind is not as snappy as it used to be. If I had a dime for every time I say, “I can’t remember” or “I can’t find…”, I wouldn’t be as worried about finances as I am now, either.
So it actually started a few weeks ago with a weird feeling in my throat. It felt like I had to keep clearing it, but nothing was coming up even though I was coughing a lot. At first, I just thought it was my version of the colds and flu that were going around so much then. I’ve always had a really good immune system and excellent health, so I was thankful it wasn’t worse.
When it was still there after a couple of weeks, then I felt a lump on the right side of my neck, I figured I’d better get it checked out. I called Medicare to make sure I’d be covered to go to a walk in clinic since I’ve never been to a doctor in Tucson. But that turned out to be just wasted time and effort because after the examination, that doctor said, “Yes, you’ve got a lump on your lymph node. It could be caused by anything from allergies to cancer. You need to follow up with your primary physician and start running tests to find out.” I told her I was a fulltime RVer and I had no primary physician. She looked at me like I was crazy. I told her I’ve always been ridiculously healthy and never planned my travels around proximity to doctors. Now she looked at me like I was a raving lunatic and said, “But you’re almost 67 years old now, so you’re going to have to think about that!”
Yeah, that’s how I looked back at her. Quite the bedside manner you’ve got there, doc!
She had taken my blood pressure before and it was fine, but as she was taking my pulse, she now said my heart rate was a little fast.
So I looked at her for the crazy person I thought she was and said, “Just hearing my weight was shocking enough, but you just told me I was so old that I should always be near a doctor – how do you expect my poor heart to react?”
That answer amused her, but she just repeated that I’d have to find a doctor here or somewhere else to start the testing process to see what’s going on in my neck and I should do it soon. So this was my first real run-through of getting medical attention when I was in travel mode. I figured I’d never get an appointment to get in to see a doctor before my planned departure from Tucson at the end of the month. But one of my local friends came through with a great reference to her doctor and I was able to get in much earlier than I expected. Thanks, Cate!
The wheels of medicine grind along as slow as the law, but at this point, I’ve had blood tests (all normal). The chest x-ray to check for the cause of my coughing and shortness of breath came back clear. An ultrasound showed not just one lump on the right side, but several around my throat on both sides. They can’t tell what they are or why I got them, so now I have to wait until Thursday to go in for a CT scan. That will show if the lumps are attached to anything and then the next step would be a biopsy to see if they’re benign.
I told the doctor I was leaving Tucson on April 30. She said I should have any diagnosis by then and at that point, I would research any treatment they might recommend. Until then, I’m continuing my planning of my big Summer of 2018 in Colorado. Anything I need done can be done there, probably in Durango area, where I’ll be the longest.
So far I’ve refused to fall into the worry trap, but it’s interesting the things you start asking yourself at the mere thought of facing your mortality.
Like: if I knew this was my last trip, would I do something different or go somewhere else?
And it was really interesting to conclude that I really wouldn’t, other than going to see family, of course. But I’ve never seen much of Colorado and being among the mountains that have always turned me on the most seems like a fitting last hoorah, and especially the departure date on my birthday.
One of the ways I justified starting to fulltime RV in 2001 had to do with wanting to have no regrets when I was on my deathbed. Inspiration’s Journey was the website I started then to explain all that.
I am grateful that my good friend Rochelle is parked right next to me. I still marvel that miracles and angels like her appear when most needed. The other day when I was standing out in our desert backyard having a spell of some pretty dark thoughts, I was able to go over there for a hug and some comforting thoughts.
But mostly, I feel a good measure of peace about it all and believe on a higher level that things are unfolding precisely as they should and I will be given whatever I need to deal with whatever comes my way. I always have and I see no reason for that to stop now. I toyed with the idea of not doing a post at all before I got final test results, but I’ve got things to say and I’ve never been one to hold my tongue even when I should. Plus, I figure I’m not the only one who has dealt with this kind of issue and maybe we can learn from and support each other, whether a fulltime RVer or not.
I’ve also been reliving a lot of old memories as I’ve been redesigning the website and blog (see Latest News about that). And I’ve pondered some of the regrets I still have for some choices made a long time ago and can’t do anything to change any of it now.
So I’ve concluded that Malia may be old, but she’s still got enough get up and go to start on some new adventures.
Basically, the plan is to keep calm and RV on (even if at a snail’s pace), but this Granny’s still going!
It’s not easy finding RV parks in Colorado with openings during the summer at reasonable prices, so I’m now looking into getting a solar suitcase deal so I have the option of boondocking more. I have a lot to learn about that, though, and am in research mode to try to get it done before I leave. Oh, and I’m becoming an Elk on Sunday. That will give me more options for places to stay that allow RV parking. Having multiple options is good and I’m keeping all of mine open!
As always, I’d love to hear your Comments and ideas below.