Day +73, Friday

Photo of the Day: Walking along the C&O towpath accompanied by an armada of ducks.
Guest Photo of the Day: Mom was brilliant. While I was kneeling on the ground with a borrowed pair of binoculars, she asked a kind gentleman if she could photograph his picture of the painted bunting.

We saw The Bird!

Today, Mom and I parked a few miles down the towpath from Great Falls Park and decided to enjoy a walk along the Potomac. Our intended destinations were the waterfalls, but then we saw the crowds of people. And yes, I realize that “crowds of people” after having a Stem Cell Transplant is not a great thing, even less so during a Global Pandemic. I stayed to the far right, next to a masked gentleman close to my father’s age, who very helpfully lent me his binoculars, while Mom approached the left flank. Between the two of us, she got the picture and I saw the bird.

It was amazing!

I didn’t really think it would be that big of a deal. But then I caught a glance – one of the most royal blues in nature I have ever seen, a shock of red on its chest, and a very seemingly out of place green/yellow on it’s back and wings. It was extraordinary, just marvelous!

Mom was near the kid looking my way.
Walking towards Great Falls. The coastal rocks and pines – very distinct – were gorgeous. And reminded me of my beloved Sierras at high altitude.
We approached this bridge from the other side today
Headed home, almost back at the car, just after the sun set
A pop of color – I have always loved cardinals. And nope, my camera lens is nothing like what The Bird People have. But this picture still makes me happy.

I felt OK today. My skin is gradually doing better – the rash seems more like a light sunburn, though it still feels different – like I’ve got something that needs to be itched deep within, but a) I can’t access it and b) it’s not that bad. For now, we stay the course. Something that does NOT feel good? My abs. Peloton killed them yesterday, and that was “only” a 20-minute core workout. It’s just going to take time, a little bit of work every day to get stronger. I’ve done this for most of my life, regaining fitness after being very sick; I’ve proven that I can do hard things and this is no different.

Other challenging things? Well talking about the next subject, for one. But it’s part of transplant, and besides, I’ve already talked about difficulty with intercourse, so onward! After Christmas, per Daniele’s recommendation, I purchased a set of Dilators from Intimate Rose. I’ve been using them for about a week, and am taking my time and letting my body adjust. Basically, this means I’ll stay at one level (they range from 1 at the smallest to 8, the largest) for a few days, before upping the size to the next as my body becomes more comfortable. I consider it a type of physical therapy for my sexual and emotional health; with this transplant, my odds of a longer and healthier life are greatly increased. I want to enjoy them.

Other interesting things happening? My blond hair is so light and fine that I still look bald. Don’t get me wrong – I AM mostly bald, but the little hairs that are growing are just hard to see. I’m still loosing eyelashes and my eyebrows are thinning – shedding hair is normal, and with my chemo having started mid-October, it makes sense that what hair I have left is thinned and fine. I’ll be curious about how they grow back.

But that’s a conversation for another day. It’s late and I’m turning into a pumpkin. Goodnight!

  1. Beautiful photos! The bird should be printed, framed and hung on the wall. The colors are fantastic. I applaud your zest for life and adventure.

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  2. How lucky you were to see the bunting! And the cardinal, which I love, too. I’m glad your body is feeling pretty good as you get back in shape.

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  3. You saw THEBIRD!!! beyond gorgeous and an omen of things to come. And I bet your new hair is gorgeous as well 😻🦮🦮😻🦜

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  4. YES!! We saw the BIRD! It was beautiful, a combined effort of 4 people. What a wonderful thing when a group of people, who do not know each other, just decide to cooperate. Marit was so lucky to actually SEE the painted bunting! And I guess I was lucky too: to be able to photograph a photograph that captured the actual creature in all its splendor. Yes, it was a great hike with the sound of rushing water, excited people and marvelous scenery.
    And, in anticipation of Andy’s visit next weekend, I have started undressing the Christmas tree. A chore no one loves.

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