Saturday, June 7, 2008

Vacationing Cancer Survivors

So you thought I'd left for good, eh? Nahhh ... There's still too much to talk about. Like Dori and her sister, Kathy, having a wonderful time at the beach the last week. Both are cancer survivors. We're prayerful it stays that way.

Last week, Dori, the kids and I headed to Edisto Island, S.C. It's really a throwback beach - no fast food, no stop lights, no under 25 groups allowed. It's just families hanging out at the beach. The island isn't very long; the developed part is three miles. But it is beautiful, stunning in its tranquility and simplicity. It's Hilton Head Island pretty without the exorbitant prices, overdevelopment and traffic. The spanish moss on giant oaks is soothing. It's Pawley's Island pretty before too many people discovered it. The beaches are perfect playgrounds for little ones. I bought a hat that says "Edislow."

The first four days, the kids played and I fished in the surf while Dori watched from under her beach umbrella. Every 30 minutes, she would smile and wave, then get back to her reading of the day. We collected shells and explored the island more (we were here two years ago with some from my side of the family). We relaxed and had family time. I recalled something Kathryn said last summer on a trip home from the hospital. She vented, "My whole summer's been ruined and I don't even get to go to the beach!" I said, "Kathryn, I promise, when Mommy gets better, we will go to the beach. You hang in there for Mom." Goal set, goal met.

The fearless four also ventured one hour to Charleston, one of my favorite places. It's the Newport, Rhode Island, of the south. The Market in the heart of this vibrant city is a must-visit. It has an endless array of handwoven sweetgrass baskets, tablecloths, local foods and books, and other mementos and trinkets. Dori and I gnoshed on Charleston BLTs (substitute lightly breaded green tomatoes) and other goodies. I showed the crew some landmarks and stunning homes before we called it a day, seeking reprieve from the sweltering heat.

On Wednesday, we were joined by Dori's sister, Kathy, her young daughter, Claire, and Dori's Mom, Happy. They immediately meshed and chilled with us, like they'd been with us the first four days. While I fished and caught an occasional small sand shark, I glanced back occasionally at the girls to see them enjoying each other's company. The conversation looked lighthearted. Lord knows the three could have talked serious - about Kathy's successful bout with breast cancer or Dori's successful bone marrow transplant. Some quick hits: I noticed Dori's bruises seemed to fade more during the week. She even stayed up until 9 a few times to watch TV with us before bed. And the girl ate.

Will and I hit some golf balls the last few days. It wasn't my only physical activity (get your minds out of the gutter). I ran four times, shifting to training mode. Inspired by so much, I finished four hot runs of 4.5, 5.0, 3.0 and 7.5 miles. The three longest runs were at dawn. On the longest run, I ran the whole island in mushy humidity. Thankful for every ocean breeze I got, I finished happily in a dripping mess. Twenty miles on vacation - Not bad!

On Friday, Dori and I had a breakfast date at the Seacow Eatery. My pancakes were awesome, and so was the company. Dori and I hopped online to check some email and to get a fundraising update. We were stunned by the great start, reading heartfelt comments from PJ, Kevin Gaffney and many others. Many were motivating and funny. Who is Anonymous? That's a good question. Whoever you are, Mr. or Ms. Secret ... Thank you for the generosity.

And so we're home, safe and sound. I'll post more photos later, probably next week.

P.S. Here's a link to some recent news about AML research. Wanna know where some of your generosity goes? This is one very good example.

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