Sunday, September 14, 2008


My plan at the beginning of the summer—no, let's be more exact—my plan from the time we considered staying in Seattle last October and I told Ian if we did we would have to buy a ski boat—was to spend a lot of time this summer waterskiing. For a variety of reasons this had not happened. One reason is that, on truly warm and sunny days, Lake Washington is full of other boaters, and as a contained volume of water, is also full of huge waves that break against the boat like boulders. Not a fun time to ski. My cousins who live in Kirkland frequently go out at 6:00am, when the sun is misty and new, and the lake is glassy calm. But their boat is moored on Lake Washington. We would first have to ask to have our boat taken down the evening before, then we'd have to motor the slow, slogging pace through the Ship Canal for 30 minutes, then we'd be on Lake Washington and we could ski. That just seems like a lot of extra work to me, to be, essentially, very cold and wet in a very short time, very, very early in the morning.

And, then, of course there's been the matter of the cancer and the pneumonia and the treatments, so I haven't really been at my full strength this summer, plus the entire month of July was a total loss because of the hospital. Also, the last time I waterskied was about 15 years ago.

Anyway, about a week ago I decided that, if at all humanly possible, I wanted to ski at least once this summer. On Thursday, the chill of the lake put me off the idea a little—after all, it's been cold at night and Lake Washington is significantly colder than it was just two weeks ago. But today seemed like it might be our chance. Our friends T&E (recently engaged in one of the cutest stories I've heard) came with us, the weather was hot, and I was determined to try and find a place that would work.

Well, of course Lake Washington proper was full of water boulders again, but as we bumped across it, Ian looked over to Juanita Bay and suggested we check it out. A little bit sheltered, big enough to go fast (i.e. we would be far enough from shore), and evidently party central today (ski boats anchored and rafted together playing music popular with frat boys from the early 90s, lots of people on wave runners, some skiers). We decided it looked good enough to try, so we pulled the tags off our tow rope and skis (they were very new), I zipped up my super tight (and I mean actually tight, that's not slang for hip or cool or awesome or other slang words) lifejacket and away I went. That is to say, Ian had never towed a skier before so he had a bit to learn (which he learned very quickly), and I was using my atrophied legs that hadn't done it in 15 years. In 4 or 5 tries, I managed to get pretty much up once, but Ian cut back the acceleration too quickly and I fell in. I decided discretion was the better part of valor and got out. Then, much to our delight, E decided to have a go. She got up immediately and skied around several times (I was driving at this point, and was also learning/remembering—I had driven skiers several times before, but again not in 15 years. At least once she fell as a direct result of my actions). Then Ian went, and he got up immediately as well, and even did a tricky trick where he crossed one wake, then turned and went all the way across the other wake! He told us when he got out that the second wake crossing was an unavoidable consequence of the first—he couldn't stop the skis in the middle on the way back.

After all that, I had to try again. First hit it! was just a continuation of water being shoved quickly and coldly into all orifices, but the second time I actually got up! I got up, on water skis, and I skied! It seemed that the rope was pretty short though (we have an adjustable one and we'd adjusted it too much, I think), and I decided to let go rather than crash.

We adjusted the tow rope and E went again and said that yes, indeed, it was easier. And then we came home.


Note: This is Ian skiing, not me. I didn't stay up quite long enough for the camera to be found. Next summer.


allyson said...

Yay. Looks like a blast!

xoxo A

Anonymous said...

Hi there. I read your comment about tumor marker scores that you posted back in August.
I was diagnosed in October 2007 ith stage 2b breast cancer with lymph node involvement under my arm. I WAS GIVEN CHEMO FIRST (TAC)TO SHRINK MY TUMOR. The chemo worked and shrunk my tumor to the size of a marble formt he size of a ping pong ball. After I finshed the Chemo, I had surgery. I had clear margins but at the 9:00 oclock position it was narrow. He also removed 18 lympe nodes with two of them still positve for cancer. My breast surgeon told me I could rely of the radiation I was about to start to kill any cancer cells that may have been left behind near the tumor itself or I could have a re-incision. I elected to have the re-incision. The margins were clean. Then, I had 33 radiation treatments with the last 5 focusing in on the scar areas.
After my radiation treatments were finished on June 11, 2008, I started taking Amimidex, 2 calcium plus vit.d and a multi vitimin every day. I had my tumor marker test done then also and it was a 24. I just went last thurday for my 3 month check up and had another tumor marker test and it is now 31.
This bothers me and I wonder why it went up. The Oncology Dr. told me back in June that anything below a 36 was good. Why the increase I wonder. Coudl it be the stuff I am taking now ? I do not no a lot about these tests and wonder should I worry, too ?
I hope you can learn more from your Dr.s and share it with others. I am sorry your test score was way high. Let me know how you are doing.
Thanks, MARY ANNE In Atlanta, Georgia
Ps...What kind of cancer did you have and what treatments and surgery did you have ? I could not find that info on your blog. How old are you. I am 59 years young.
Thanks again.
I pray you will do well. I will come back to your Blog and read more info.

CMT said...

Mary Anne in Atlanta--I am 35, and this is my 4th round of breast cancer (first was when I was 26). Your tumor marker scores can change up or down based simply on your body chemistry, so I think your doctor is right--31 is nothing to worry about at this stage. A rundown of my treatments: lumpectomy, two reincisions, chemo and radiation when I was 26-27. Recurrence at 28, chemo and Herceptin. The Herceptin continued for 5 years. I then had another recurrence at age 34 and had a single mastectomy (right breast), and chose no other treatments at that time. That was Jan 2007. This time, my third recurrence, included cancer in my lungs, bones and brain. I had 5 full-brain radiation treatments in May, and the rest of my body is responding well and quickly to chemo. I meet with my doctors again next week to assess my progress.

Thank you for reading my blog!

Also, Mary Anne, I know that sometimes this isn't easy--but you should NEVER worry. If you have a question, by all means contact your doctors or their nurses--they will be happy to help you. But worry fills your life with an uncertainty that you don't need. Live, and love living (as I suspect you do, being "59 years young"!).