A New Year

Maine, August 2021

Tomorrow I am back in class!  I look forward to being in my science lab, with actual three-dimensional students, for the first time since March of 2020.

I just read my last post and it’s time for an update.  Back in May I mentioned that my white blood cell counts remained low.  Side note: when talking with my cardiologist recently, I asked about why my red blood cells plummeted after the double mastectomy, so much so that I needed a blood transfusion even though I did not lose much blood during the surgery.  She pointed out that the intense chemo had just finished the month before.  My bone marrow had only begun to recover, just hanging in, when bam – I went through another physical trauma, the surgery, and it just collapsed again.  Not a very scientific explanation but it works for me (and no one else has even tried to come up with a reason for what may have happened). 

It takes a long time for bone marrow to heal.  By the end of May of 2021, ten months after the surgery, my test results entered the normal range.  And I could no longer be held back.  I went to social events at the end of the school year, attended commencement, and then proceeded to get out and have a fantastic summer.

The day after the last faculty meeting in June, I took off on what became a three-week, 4500-mile road trip.  The main purpose was to spread my parents’ ashes in southern Wisconsin.  I had given myself permission to return home at any time, once that mission was accomplished, but I just kept going.  And going.  I started off by heading northeast to Connecticut, then west to Illinois, north to Lake Superior, southwest to Iowa, south to Texas, then east along the southern states to Atlanta, and then drove from Atlanta home in one day.  Along the way I visited friends, did some nostalgic wanderings, played tourist, and hiked when I could.  It was fantastic.

I came home for a short bit to recoup and get ready for the next trip which was a couple of weeks of hiking and kayaking in Maine.  My friend and I had a great trip filled with beauty, adventure, and restoration.  Returning home to the heat and humidity of a Maryland summer, I became a slug for a few weeks.  But over the Labor Day weekend I returned to my four-mile hiking circuit four days in a row.  After experiencing some mundane pain in both knees (both the old and the new), I relented and started using trekking poles.  The goal is to save the knees for as long as possible because I do not have time to deal with them!

Why?  Well, given the gift of adventure from my parents, and now knowing that I can include long-distance driving if needed, I have three huge trips planned in the next fifteen months.  As of this writing (we know how tenuous plans are these days), I intend to spend Christmas in Iceland.  I have also booked a seven-week road trip beginning – you guessed it – the day after the last faculty meeting in June.  If life allows it, let’s go for it.  Why not?  (The third trip remains under wraps for now.  😊 )

Because my immune system was suppressed when I got my initial shots, I qualified for the booster.  I got the shot as soon as I could and now feel ready to return to in-person teaching.  Let’s bring it on. 

Today, Jews around the world are celebrating a New Year.  May we all find a bit of joy during these challenging times.  Shanah Tova!


4 thoughts on “A New Year

  1. I’m glad I was on your list of places to stop. I enjoy reading your blog, you are a very talented story teller. I hope school goes well. I’m sure the students are going to love having you in the classroom!

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