Thursday, January 19, 2017

Life Turns to a New Direction




This is a very hard post to write.  Three weeks ago, my life changed in an instant.  No real warning, no time to prepare, no time to do anything but focus on the new firehose of reality that was now rapidly propelling me in a totally new direction.

I know lots of travels and photos have transpired between my last blog post (my summer volunteer ranger gig at Bryce Canyon National Park last summer) and now.  I hope to fill those gaps with backdated posts in the coming weeks as I get the time/energy.  

But this post may very well end up being my last, chronologically speaking.

After spending the last three months trying to enjoy touring central Mexico (plus a 3 week jaunt over to Cuba) with my fellow View RV friends Hans and Ursula, what seemed initially like a minor back muscle pull in mid-November eventually grew into excruciating, screaming back pain by the end of December.


As we celebrated Christmas day at Lake Chapala looking onto this spectacular scene with fellow RV friends, Jerry and Becky, we all knew something had to be done.

I made an appointment the very next day with Dr. Santiago Hernandez at Chapala Med.  Dr. Hernandez, like me, had grown up in Chicago.  I figured that alone should make him better than most other doctors in the area!  I was able to get a same-day appointment and was immediately impressed by the thoroughness of his new patient exam, his caring, genuine personality, and his exceptional English skills.  This was a doctor I could trust with my life.  Little did I know how soon that would be put to the test!

On Tuesday afternoon, December 27, I left my RV not realizing I'd never likely see it again.  Bing, bang, boom-- full-time RVing finished in an instant.

Hans and Ursula drove me in the Tracker up to Guadalajara for an MRI that Dr. Hernandez had ordered. As the MRI lab was near Dr. Hernandez's home, he said he'd stop on his way home to watch the test real-time so he could get the results immediately from the radiologist rather than wait a few days for the report.  (What doctor in the U.S. does that kind of thing for his patients?).

Well, it turned out to not just be a patient-friendly decision, but a potentially life-saving one as well.

The results were nothing short of stunning...to both me and him.  The good news was that my spinal cord was intact and not affected.  The bad news was that I had a 6 cm cancerous tumor on the top of my psoas muscle that was also wrapped around 2 vertebrae.  The vertebrae were so compromised, they were now just bone shards encased in tumor tissue.

Dr. Hernandez said that any false move or fall could instantly parallelize me, and said that I had to immediately go to the hospital for bedrest and surgery.  I was shell-shocked and dumbfounded.

After bringing Hans and Ursula in to give them the news, Dr. Hernandez escorted us to a private hospital about 2 miles away.  He then rolled me in a wheelchair to the registration desk to help translate the admitting process, and then got me up to my private room.

Mexican hospitals (even private ones) operate under the assumption that family members will stay with the patient continuously to assist them in eating, bathing, bathroom, etc.  The hospitals only have nurses-- not any "aides" (who do all of this stuff in the U.S.)  So immediately, Dr. Hernandez asked who could stay with me on my 1st night at the hospital.  Ursula suddenly found herself volunteered, and the hospital gave her a small bag of toiletries and some bed linens for the small sofa in the room. 

The next few days were filled with emotional ups and downs, but 2016 ended on a humorous finale when both Hans and Ursula decided to stay the night with me for New Year's Eve.  I still don't quite know how they managed to pretzel themselves onto that small sofa, but their years of sailboat expertise likely helped!  It meant the world to me to be able to ring in the new year with such dear friends, and to not have to be all alone.

On January 1st, professional help finally arrived.  Dr. Hernandez located a service who provides bi-lingual nurse's aides to foreigners like me.  The only problem-- they only had a male nurse available on January 1st.  I was o.k. with that, so in walked an early-50's Mexican man named Ismael who would serve as my continuous caregiver. 

Over the next 2 weeks, Ismael became a member of the family.  He also gave me great insight into the Mexican way of life, and most importantly, he renewed my faith and spirituality in the long talks we had before and after my surgery.

My brother, Randy, arrived from Vail, CO on January 2nd, during one of his busiest weeks of ski season.  His boss said to just go and take as much time as he needed-- when it comes down to it, family is all that really matters.

Dr. Hernandez recruited two of his most-trusted colleagues to perform my marathon surgery-- Dr. Juan Delgado, a surgical oncologist; and Dr. Ernesto Ledezma, a neurosurgeon.  The surgery was January 6 in Guadalajara, and lasted over 10 hours with major incisions down both my abdomen and spine.

I spent the first night in the ICU and recall quick visits from Randy and Ursula that, even in my drugged up state, seemed a bit too cheerful and a bit "off."  Something had not gone right.  I was able to move my feet, hands, toes, and fingers, so the good news-- I wasn't paralyzed.  But I had the sinking feeling that they had not been able to remove all the tumor and/or it had spread to my bloodstream.

Dr. Hernandez broke the news to me early and quickly the next morning-- only 90% of the tumor could only be removed.  The remaining tentacles are currently tapped into my aorta and other blood vessels and impossible to remove surgically.  The rest is hoped to be removed (or at least temporarily halted) via radiation and chemo.

My vertebrae could not be removed/replaced, so the neurosurgeon used bone cement to rebuild them and, literally, created a "bird cage" of rods, pins, and screws around that area of my spine to keep the vertebrae from collapsing.

The surgeons did an amazing world-class job considering what they had to work with.  Now, just  2 weeks after surgery, I'm out of the hospital to a rehab center, walking almost without a walker, and getting around without much pain.  It really is quite amazing how fast the body can recover. 

But my prognosis is not rosey.  Had I done nothing (no surgery), I would have survived only another 2 months at best.  Now, with surgery and an aggressive round of radiation and chemo for 8 weeks, the doctors here say I might get another 12-18 months of quality time if all goes well.  

Of course, there's always room for a miracle.  I can't believe the hundreds of friends and family who have told me that not only are they praying for me, but their hundreds of friends and fellow church members are praying for me as well! It might sound contrived, but I really have felt this amazing embrace, and it most certainly is helping!  So, please, please, please--- keep those prayers coming!





When journalist Gwen Ifill died of endometrial cancer this past November, I kept wondering "how on earth does someone die from this disease?  It's got a 95%+ survival rating if caught at Stage 1 (which is when mine, and most others are indeed caught).  Last summer, my Chicago oncologist was so confident, she said that my survival was more like 99% since I'd had the 3 rounds of brachytherapy radiation as an added safeguard.

So how does a smart, amazing woman like Gwen Ifill die from such a disease?

None of us will know Gwen's medical details, but I now know how this happens.  Humans make mistakes.  Medical statistics aren't perfect. Cancer hides from even the most skillful surgeons, and strikes later with a vengeance.

Perhaps Gwen knew from the start she would be one of the unlucky ones.  Perhaps I've been fortunate to not know that until just a few days ago.  But the sad truth is that, yes, with uterine cancer, a seemingly invincible, 95% survivable, Stage 1 Adenocarcinoma can suddenly bite back as a deadly Stage 4 Clear Cell Carcinoma (which is what I am now fighting).

Over 10,000 U.S. women will die of uterine cancer this year.  That's 14% of all women's cancer deaths (Breast and GYN).  And yet, of the $1.15 billion that goes towards women's cancer research each year (via NCI and private charities), less than 2% (a paltry $18 million) goes towards uterine cancer research.  

Think about these numbers for a minute, and think about the rapidly growing number of women being diagnosed with uterine/endometrial cancer.  

Something more must be done. We need our fair share of funding!  

We need a research charity focused solely on Uterine/Endometrial cancer, because the single catch-all GYN cancer charity operating in the US right now (for ovarian, uterine, cervical, vaginal, vulvar cancers) is simply not effective, and not getting the resources directed towards research.   

Additionally, if my survivable Stage 1 cancer can suddenly end up as a Stage IV, something seems very wrong with the current GYN oncology "Gold Standard."  I hope that any fellow GYN cancer survivor will push their providers for at least a baseline CT or MRI test when they are initially diagnosed.

The "Gold Standard" advised that a biopsy and vaginal ultrasound were the only diagnostic tests needed when I was initially diagnosed in 2015.  No need to do a CT scan or MRI to check the rest of my body to see if cancer lurked anywhere else (and it might possibly have already been there as early as 2015).

Last summer, when I had my 1-year follow-up with my oncologist, again, the Gold Standard advised that no testing of any kind was needed-- simply a pelvic exam and that was it.

Not until I finally developed Stage IV symptoms a few months later would an MRI finally be ordered.   That sure doesn't seem very "Gold Standard" to me.  It's an outrage. 

The U.S. healthcare system is seriously flawed in its approach to preventative and comprehensive medicine.  Where would I be now if a simple CT or MRI had been done earlier?  Especially if US healthcare pricing were more on-par with the rest of the world (i.e. my Mexican MRI cost just US$300).

Next week, I will be flying home to seek care at one of the premier cancer centers in the U.S.-- M.D. Anderson in Houston.  I'm told if anyone can give me the most state-of-the-art advanced treatment for my cancer, it will be them.  

And yet, the back of my mind still worries.  Will my insurance cuts corners and deny coverage due to the outrageous U.S. costs?  Will my Obamacare plan get cancelled due to new Congressional actions leaving me with no coverage at all?  Will I have been better off staying in Guadalajara (where the doctors are equally skilled and costs are a fraction of the U.S.)?  Only time can tell.




Today would have been Millie's 12th birthday.  I had originally planned to be on the same beach in Mazatlán (as where this picture was taken) to spread Millie's ashes in a place she loved so much.  I struggled over that decision as there were so many wonderful places that Millie loved to swim and play Frisbee.  How could I ever narrow her final eternal place to just one? 

But now that events have turned, the answer is so much clearer than ever before-- I will now hold onto Millie's ashes longer, until her's and mine can both be spread together.  

A few years ago some of my mom's ashes were spread across a patch of wildflower meadow beneath a lone pine tree at the far end of this gorgeous small lake in Colorado.  I can think of no finer place for Millie and I to return to this earth.



I hope this post does not leave readers with the impression that I'm giving up on life.  Far from it!  I'm staying positive, and praying hard that I might be one of those 15% who will still be here 5 years from now and beyond.  I will do whatever it takes to get these remaining tumors zapped from my body as fast as possible.

I won't shed tears over this prognosis, I will just relish each and every quality day that I am given.  There are no guarantees in life.  Even having this new "expiration date" doesn't mean I'm exempt from getting whacked dead tomorrow by a passing bus.  Life turns in an instant...both good or bad.

I am grateful for these last few years of complete freedom to explore and photograph beautiful places, volunteer for wonderful national parks and refuges, and reconnect to my family and friends in deeper ways than I ever could while still in the working world.

Certainly, I wish I had retired (or changed careers) sooner to have even more quality time, but I don't regret for a minute the decisions I made to simplify my life, reduce my expenses, and live a more purpose-driven life.  My thoughts on my "About Me" page still hold as true today as they ever have.

I now head to Houston to fight the good fight for the next few months, and will head to Colorado after that where my brother and his amazing wife and family have made the most selfless decision imaginable-- to take me in and care for me in my final days.  

I am beyond blessed.

Thank you for following my journey these past few years.  I've greatly enjoyed meeting and corresponding with so many of you.  Never stop living your dreams!

















79 comments:

  1. I have never commented on your blog but I have read it for years. You were one of the first blogs I started reading when I started dreaming of rving full time, I am now just a couple of years away from that dream. My husband and I have been working hard to rid ourselves of debt and obtain funds. You have been a role model for this lifestyle. Thank you. I know I will read your blog again soon and you will be on another rv adventure. You are in my prayers.

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  2. Sending good wishes your way and hoping for a speedy recovery!

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  3. Courage, mon ami. I will be praying for you.

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  4. Take Care..Is all I can say..I too have been reading your adventures...
    Best to you..
    Upriverdavid

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  5. I'm one of those readers who has silently followed along on your journeys, dreaming of starting my own. Thank you so much for bringing us all along with you and providing the inspiration to know that it's possible to get out there and create our own adventures. You are in my thoughts and I picture you with the best possible outcome, with lots of future adventures to come.

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  6. Oh. My. Goodness. I am shocked. Remember I was diagnosed and treated for the same thing, stage 1 endo cancer three yrs ago. We talked at that time. Now I read this. I AM SO SORRY! There are not too many days that go by that I don't think about it returning. To say I am scared now is an understatement. But, it makes me realize how precious life is. I wish we lived closer, I so much want/need to give you a hug. I hate cancer! I will pray for you! Keep writing your blog, you have a gift for writing. Girlfriend, take care and get going with those treatments. And remember they have pills for any discomfort. This is so not fair!

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  7. I have been reading your wonderful blog with admiration and a tinge of envy (well, maybe more than a tinge)for the sights and adventures you have been so fortunate to experience. Life, truly, can change in an instant. You have an amazing attitude, and that will make the upcoming tribulations bearable. I am wishing for a small miracle for you. And my thanks for all the joy you've brought the rest of us through your life and writing.

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  8. Not good news but a positive attitude will help you through the tough days ahead, Nice that you have you brother to help out and keep you comfortable. Many prayers for you.

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  9. I am so sorry to hear this, you have been my inspiration for so long, praying for you.

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  10. I am another who has silently enjoyed your blog for several years. Hoping that MD Anderson may have some promising treatment for you.

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  11. It seems like the ball was dropped at your 1 year follow-up... hopefully your situation changed that. We think about your setback everyday, and pray you will live on, in defiance of this disease. Your attitude is a good start.
    mark

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  12. Lynne, I never cease to be amazed by you--for all the years we've known you, first just through the internet and email, and then personally, you have remained one of the most inspirational people I know. Not only have you always been selfless with your advice and counsel as we started on our RVing adventure, but you have been so positive in the face of many of the toughest challenges life could throw at anyone. Now this, just so devastating--or at least it would be to just about everyone else. But you? No way can anyone read your post and think it's devastating--overwhelming and horrible, of course, but you have not let this devastate you. You continue to show all of us what living in the moment truly means, and how one can face even the most unbelievable challenge with style, grace and a positive attitude. I am so fortunate to have met you and proud to call you my friend. Trisha and I continue to pray for you each day and send you all the peace, love and light we can.

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  13. I too have followed yor blog and admired your pictures. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

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  14. Thank you for sharing your adventures thru your prose and pictures. I pray that you will again be on the road after this adventure.

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  15. Well Lynne, I wish this post had better news but appreciate you sharing it with us. You're on a new and difficult journey. But your outlook it positive and you're facing the challenge with resolve. Thanks for all that you've shared with us - both the good and the bad. You've been a good inspiration as to how to live a life. I will add you to my prayer list.
    Jim

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  16. Lynne - I am so sorry. You're right, we never know what's around the next corner. I'm glad you've had such wonderful times and travels - you've seen and experienced so much more than many people who live to a greater age. That courage and optimism will be with you in the coming months, and along with all the good wishes and prayers of your friends, family and followers, will help you through this battle. All my best wishes and prayers in your fight. God be with you.

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  17. Sending tons of prayers your way! Fight on and feel the prayers surround you! Many blessings to you on your "new" journey! HUGS!

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  18. You may not be shedding tears, but I am. I am so glad to see your strength during this time of need. I wish you the best and will pray for you.

    I enjoy reading your blog and viewing the many wonderful photos of places I will never see. Thank you for sharing them with me.

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  19. Yes, Life sure can take a turn can't it. I have read your blog for the last couple years , not commenting much but want to let you know I have really enjoyed it. I am so sorry to hear how your life has been turned around. Praying for you and wishing you some kind of peace, luck, whatever good can come out of this. I just lost a friend to Melanoma that had spread rapidly to the brain. So unexpected. It just makes me realize more and more, that life is meant to be lived now ! Dont wait till you have x amount of money in the bank, etc.. Lynne , you have lived a full life these last years. I will say prayers for you that this final journey is not all bad and may you find peace.

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  20. Lynne, I am so sorry to hear this devastating news. I love reading your blog and continuously look up things in the gadgets and faves sections and all the learn how-tos in the girls guide to RVing. I admire your stamina and positive outlook. I shed tears for you after reading this and will pray for you. Being a cancer survivor myself, I pray a lot for others who suffer form this disease and pray it doesn't reoccur somewhere else. I am currently having muscle inflammation in my thigh and now wonder if I should get an MRI myself to see if it could be cancer. Take care and I pray & wish the very best outcome for you.

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  21. Thank you for sharing this post with all of us. I have only been following your blog for the last year or two when I finally came to realize I had to find a way to spend my remaining life doing what I have always wanted to do. To travel and see as much of the natural USA as possible. At 27 yrs old my mother was given a cancer death sentence, a few weeks after I was born. She survived till a few weeks before her 71st birthday. So please do what you must, and live each day that is given to you. I am saying prayers for you and all that love you. I am so grateful to know you found a kind , wonderful doctor and caregiver while in Mexico. And praying your future doctors are of the same type. Thank you for sharing so much of your life with others. Please know how much you have inspired me and that my search will continue for a rig similar to yours that will give me a chance to enjoy the time I have left. You have always done nothing but encourage others to enjoy each day the way you have shown us you do. Hugs to you, and please know I think of you often.

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  22. Oh Lynne. I don't even know what to say. I want you to know what an impact you have made in my life. You inspire me and I admire you more than I can ever put into words. Your writing is always elegant and peppered with humor and endless optimism. I am typing this through tears and a feeling of being blessed having come across your blog. Prayers for you continuously "friend". Jane

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  23. Lynne,

    This sure is the news none of us wanted to hear...especially you, I'm sure. Cancer sucks, my dear. Diana and I will keep you in our prayers. Keep positive!

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  24. What a shock ! We are so sorry! Stay strong and pray you beat this awful disease.. Love your writing and beautiful photos! Hugs!

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  25. Much love to you. Your courage is awesome. I am praying that God will bless you with good health and happiness. Your blog was my favorite and now I will miss it if indeed you don't update it. Your eye for beauty has always been unparalleled. Blessings to you, you will be in my prayers.

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  26. So shocking! Who goes to the doctor for back pain and gets such an unexpected diagnosis? I'm glad you had such a good Dr. & surgeons, but like you, I wonder if maybe you should have stayed in Mexico. Not just because of cost, but because American treatment is pretty much limited to surgery, radiation & chemo. Mexico has always had a more open attitude to more unconventional treatment....laetrile, essiac, Hoxey's formula, high doses of intravenous Vitamin C, marijuana oil(legal in Co.)...things like that. Things that aren't even allowed to be talked about by American oncologists because the pharma industry does not want anything used that they don't make a killing off of and most of the things I mentioned are plant based & unpatentable. There's nothing that says you can't do your own research and try any alternative treatment you want, whether you go for more chemo & radiation or not. I am hoping for all the best for you and that six months from now, or a year, you will be back out on the road with your RV & yellow Tracker.

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  27. I have read your blog for some time now, but I have been a silent reader. I had been wondering for the last several weeks what you were up to. Not receiving emails with new blog posts had me worried. You have been a source of inspiration for some time now. I've talked to my own children many times about your blog, admiring your independence and life of adventure. You are a role-model for what a women can do on her own. You will remain in my thoughts and prayers and my hope is, that your optimism and determination will aid to your recovery. God bless you.

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  28. Dear Lynne. Don't recall when I became familiar with your blog, but it was several years ago. Being somewhat off-the-grid myself the last 18 months, am not as familiar with your world as before, but your writings still pop up occasionally and it's always an enjoyable moment. In that sense you may be a distant and sporadic friend, but you are always a delightful one and I always appreciate hearing what's going on in your world. Such is the case today, even if I don't like the news itself. Your grace and courage shine through, and your pleasant demeanor is an inspiration. No one knows what the future holds, but I'll pray for yours. Thank you for sharing this. Tom

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  29. Lynn, you inspire me to face my daily challenges with more courage. I wish the very best for you no matter how long it is, if wishes and prayers will extend your days here, consider one more added by me, I do hope you will keep us informed as it is important info you are sharing, God Bless You.

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  30. I've really enjoyed following your journeys,and I'm so sorry to hear this. But I'm amazed at your good spirits! You're an example to us all. I'll be thinking of you.

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  31. This made me cry so much... lovely picture of Millie...You are so upbeat.... I will pray for you to have a blessed time left. Am thinking of you, have always loved reading your blog and seeing your beautiful pictures.
    Take Care and God Bless

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  32. In the way of some encouraging words, I want to tell you the short version of my husband's cancer. He had a stem cell transplant at the end of 2007, and was told he would likely live for about 30 months. That "expiration date" was mid-2010. He is alive and kicking still today, although not as robust as he was before the Multiple Myeloma got hold of him. I know nothing of the cancer that you are suffering with, but wanted you to know that doctors' predictions are not always accurate. My husband joins me in wishing you the very best treatment and recovery period.

    Virtual hugs,

    Judie

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  33. As always, your words are truly inspiring and so full of truth, thank you for sharing with us all these years, praying for you

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  34. So sorry to have read this. But your outlook is so strong and I know you will fight with all you have. Yes I will be thinking of you and praying for you recovery.

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  35. I read about your original cancer journey and was so impressed with how open you were about it on this blog. When I got my own breast cancer diagnosis this past October I took your example as a model and have tried to be equally open and upbeat about my process. It was easier as I had your experience to model. It is only a blip. Im in tears right now and my own world has been rocked. Thank you so much for your honesty and this wakeup that I also need to be vigilant with the after care. My prayers are with you.

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  36. Words continue to elude me. Thank you for sharing your journey, for inspiring and continuing to inspire even as you face the unimaginable. I can't even begin to fathom the wave of emotions you've surfed over the past weeks as you've navigated this.

    You evoke positivity so beautifully in this post, with a firm reminder that life is short and the 'system' isn't perfect.

    *big hugs* to you and lots of love. Know you're in my thoughts every day and we're wishing you the best of every day ahead.

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  37. Lynne, I could not believe it when I read your blog. Our thoughts are with you as you fight off another nasty intruder from your body. Your positive attitude should help. We never know what may come our way. We hope all goes well and that you will again be able to go out, enjoy nature, take photos and write more blogs.

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  38. My husband and I have always enjoyed your posts for your beautiful photos, prose and honesty. You are in our prayers and we hope for a good outcome for you- Mary Lou

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  39. We've followed you for so long you feel like a close friend, so I was gutted to hear about this. I wish I had the words for the emotions that your story has brought to me...sadness that you have to go through this..shock at the doctors and our health care system...inspiration from your positive and go-fight-it attitude. Thinking about you daily and wishing you good speed to TX and the best of everything. Love and light to you!

    Nina

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  40. Lynne, your courage in the face of tremendous adversity is truly humbling. I'm so sorry you are going thru this. I do believe in the power of prayer and miracles, and I'm praying for you to get yours. Greg.

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  41. Lynn,
    It has taken me two days to come to grips with your current news and situation...... Your message hit me like a ton of bricks! I have tried to recall when I first started reading your blog, I am not sure about the timeline exactly..... You were working full time and then you decided to renovate your home, etc........ at any rate, I shared a lot with you and Millie:....
    Sorry things have happened in such a downward, rapid fashion with regard to your health....
    The Doctor you located in Mexico, as well as his friends who were your surgeons were such a Godsend for you..... so thankful you were able to trust them ..... M.D. Anderson will be top of the line for your ongoing treatment..... How trusting you have to be in a situation like this ...... I admire your outlook and your ability to positively face all of this head on ......
    I am thinking of you, praying for you, and hoping that somehow, someway you will find a silver lining in the way of treatment that will bring a cure for you...... Your attitude will be such a plus in all this ...... Stay strong!!! Easy for me to say, but try to brace up because the treatments can be so harsh and such a bitter pill ..... try to call on your strengths and wonderful positive outlook along the way ...... bring up some of your gorgeous photography and travel memories as stepping stones when things get tough ...... and you need some sunshine!!!
    Lynn, you are thought of fondly, you are so honest and generous in sharing on your blog .....As a solo traveler your are amazing and such a role model ...... Travel on in this new journey, you just never know what will happen at the crossroads during the unscheduled adventure.......
    Hoping for nothing but the best along the way ....... take good care..... please check in on here if you can ..... All the Best, Sally Browning

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  42. I have been missing your blog posts and wondering where you were. I am so sorry to hear your shocking news but glad to see you are still thinking positively. A good friend's sister was diagnosed with three types of cancer and was told she would not have long at all, maybe 6 months. She is still fighting it almost two years later and during those many months, she has traveled far and wide on more adventures than most people will do in a long lifetime. I think her positive attitude and fighting spirit have carried her this far along with strong family support. You will have so many prayers and virtual hugs supporting you during this rough time. All of us that have followed your blog whether we were lucky enough to meet you in person or not are sending you waves of support.

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  43. Dear Lynne - you are a warrior ... filled with strength, courage and love. So sorry to hear about your cancer. We will be holding you in our thoughts and send you healing light. Imkelina and Michael

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  44. I have never seen your blog before; I just learned of it from a reader of RV Sue's blog. I am blown away by your beautiful photographs, your talented writing, your spirit, and your attitude. I will pray for you - for renewed health and healing and for strength and comfort.

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  45. Dear Lynne, Thank You so much for all your wonderful posts of your adventures over the past yeats. You have shown me great photos, unseen places and your love of adventure and life. My wife and I will hold you in our hearts and wish you the best. Love, Pat and Jerry

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  46. Like others, we have followed your travels, adventures, modification write ups ( even copied the mattress one), enjoyed your pictures, all of it. Your joy comes through. We wish you the best, and will hold you in our thoughts and prayers.
    Dan & Elaine

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  47. Like others, we have followed your travels, adventures, modification write ups ( even copied the mattress one), enjoyed your pictures, all of it. Your joy comes through. We wish you the best, and will hold you in our thoughts and prayers.
    Dan & Elaine

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  48. Dear Lynne, I have always enjoyed your posts. This one was a shocker. I'm just at a loss for words. I was so upset when Millie passed away and now this. I was glad to read that you are not giving up. We will be here for you and praying.

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  49. I've been so inspired by your blog. I've been reading for years and I've been on the road full-time for more than three months now. Thanks for the continued inspiration. I will keep you in my prayers.

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  50. I have no words except to say you have been an inspiration. I will pray for you.

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  51. Hi Lynne,

    We wish you strength and courage to cope with the months ahead. Thank you for sharing your life and photographs with us all these years. You are an inspiration.

    Peter and Shelagh.

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  52. I have never read your blog before this but I just followed a link from Camper Chronicles website. I am so sorry to hear of your plight. I have had the misfortune of hearing that "C" word three times in my lifetime. I had breast cancer in 2002, a melanoma in 2008 and was diagnosed with endometrial cancer in 2016. Theoretically, my cancer is gone BUT as you have just discovered, it's a crapshoot. All we can do, is try to live each day to the fullest. Nothing is guaranteed.

    I know how hearing the word "cancer" makes you feel in the pit of your stomach when you hear it spoken. I know that no matter how upbeat you are, there will times in the middle of the night when you will fall apart and that's OK. Sometimes it takes tears to help us find strength. Remember that medical professionals often underestimate a patient's willingness to fight when they are giving you an "expiration date". They don't know everything – and they don't know you!

    I am praying for strength and courage for you. Prayers DO help and miracles DO happen. Take care of yourself – HUGS!

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  53. Hi Lynne,
    Thinking of you and hoping that you are on the Road to Recovery. You are a courageous lady and I know you'll beat it! We are all in your corner. Is there a postal address we can send cards to you?
    Best Wishes,
    Michelle Fanwick

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  54. My dear, I'm now back in SMA where I have internet and a computer that does not delete every fifth word. I've been on pins and needles to hear what happened at MDA last week.
    When my daughter Jennifer was diagnosed, they told her she had about 10 days.........she lived 5 1/2 years, thanks to MDA and her brother who gave her stem cells and bone marrow. Three of those years were cancer free.........miracles do happen with love and good medical care. I'm thinking of you daily.

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  55. As a single woman RV'er, I must write to tell you how much your posts have meant to me. I know I am not alone - far from it! - in thanking you for caring and sharing your travels and knowledge of life on the road. When we bought the Navion 3 years ago, I thought my husband and I would have travels and adventures together. When he said, "no thanks", I decided to venture on my own. You helped me to overcome so many of my doubts and concerns about solo travel. None of know what lies ahead. Life can turn on a dime. But whatever lies ahead, I am thankful for my days spent touring this country and to you for the part you played. Three of my 4 closest friends have been diagnosed with cancer and they are all still here! MDA is a great choice for treatment; eat vegan if you can. And know that so many people are pulling for you.<3

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  56. You made a difference..with your amazing attitude, ability, talent, caring nature, thoughtfulness..you some how took unbelievable life experiences and made them seem as though we were there and had experienced them with you. You did it with such an amazing attitude and zest for life that ALWAYS made me sad when I reached the end of the post..your writing and photographs were so beautiful and are cherished by many...thank you, prayers and a virtual hug is what I have and seem so inadequate and insignificant compared to what you have given me... I will be eternally grateful,kind soul..Peace

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  57. Lynn, I have been following your posts for the last 3 years. You are an amazing woman! I send you all my healing thoughts and energy to help you on your journey. You are an inspiration to many and I hope that brings you joy and comfort in this dark night of the soul. Again, please take in my healing thoughts and prayers.

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  58. HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY to you Lynne!!! Thinking of you, sending thoughts and prayers your way ........ Hope you were able to begin treatments at MD Anderson . Keep up the good fight ........ You're thought of fondly .

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  59. You've been an inspiration to me as I began my journey as a full time nomad in April 2015. Living in my travel trailer has been a joy and an adventure. Your blog taught me so much. I hope that your treatment goes well and that you beat the odds. The puppies and I will be rooting for you. May peace always be with you.

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  60. Lynne you are in our thoughts and prayers

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  61. Lynne....I am keeping you in my thoughts and prayers...think of you often and always say an extra prayer when I do..big hug...

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  62. Lynne....I am keeping you in my thoughts and prayers...think of you often and always say an extra prayer when I do..big hug...

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  63. I hope today is a good day for you and that tomorrow is even better. Thanks for sharing your story. Hugs.

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  64. Lynne, I am thinking of you and missing you and your updates so much. Sending lots of love from British Columbia, Canada.

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  65. As I read your post my first thought was how blessed and wise you are. To have realized the life you wanted and to make it happen is amazing. Then to share it with Millie, well you have been blessed beyond words. I pray that you will find peace and hope in the next few months.

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  66. Lynne,

    Of course you don't know me as well as I know you. I've followed your blog for several years, vicariously enjoying your life on the road. I'm a 67 year old happily married man, but I have lived a bit of life on the road through your trips, travels and travails. My sister is a single woman, 55 years old and an IT professional. Sis hopes to travel more extensively in the future and she often talks about the RV she will one day buy and one day live in as she does IT projects from all over the country. I've sent her links to your blog repeatedly, pushed her to consider a Winnie View and used you as a positive example of how great life can be.

    I say all that to let you know that people like me, people who don't really know you and haven't met you have been inspired by you and yes have loved you from afar. You've been important to so many of us. Thanks so much for the inspiration you've provided.

    I hated to read about your health problems and I'm saddened by the bad news you have recently received. You will stay in my prayers and I wish you the best possible outcome and a return to good health and and inspiring life on the road. Thanks so much for who you are. We love you.

    Harley (Rob) Atkins
    Charlotte, NC

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  67. Lynne, Harley certainly said what so many of us have thought but just could not but into words - so thank you Harley. I hope and pray that you have received some answers for your health issues, Lynne, and you are having better days. I was so happy to read your comment on Tioga George's blog not only for the advice that you gave him but to know that you are still following his blog. Keep on keeping on - you have greatly Inspired so many.

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  68. Hi Lynne, I wanted to write to tell you that your blog was one of the few Solo Women RVers I found while I was in the research stage, that inspired me to downsize my possessions and go off on a solo 30,000 mile post-retirement trip around the US and Nova Scotia in a 26' Winnebago.
    I thank you for writing and sharing your adventures. Because of the magic of the Internet, our blogs will live on for a very long time after we do, so you can count on your legacy of educating and inspiring women to go out there and live that dream. I hope you are comfortable and well cared for going forward. Thank you. Clancy McKenna of Clancy's Travels (formerly of Transition to RV Life) cmkvillage.com

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  69. Like so many, you don't know Sharon and me. But we have followed your blog since before going full-time. Now we ARE full-timers. YOU ARE GOING TO BEAT THIS. I feel confident that God is not done with you here on earth. You have even more to contribute. Who knows the extent to which you have touched and inspired others. Keep fighting. You were NOT lead to those Mexican doctors just to have it end in Colorado. Stay strong and positive. Easy to say, not easy to do. But, you have been to this rodeo before. We will pray for a full recovery.

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  70. We met through Colin and Contessa on the Isla in winter of 2014. I have followed your colourful adventures with amazing photos since then. My prayers go to you for successful operation and I too know that you will beat this. Warm hugs. Be well. Hugh

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  71. Hi Lynne, first time commenter, long time reader.

    Your posts and photos were great inspiration for me for a long time. Several months ago, I saved your detailed and very useful post about setting up one's domicile in Florida so that I can start the process, when I am ready for full-time traveling.

    That post alone was worth thanking you several times, but I waited until today to say thank you.

    I really appreciate and thank you for all the positive spirit, energy and the beautiful photos you shared with me over many, many months.

    I hope, pray and believe that you will be healthy and happy for many more decades and will be able to visit and share many, many more places.

    Thank you and take care.

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  72. Lynne,

    I have been following your blog for years now, hoping to follow in your footsteps one day. My mother was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia in 2011 and I am all she has so I have to stay close to home for now, but in the meantime I am making plans. Please don't listen to the doctors who give you a time limit, they have been wrong so many times! Thank you for inspiring me and I look forward to reading your blog for many more years. Sending you light, love and prayers for a full recovery.

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  73. Lynne, I've read your blog for years, but never commented. You've been a wonderful role model for me as a woman who RV'd by herself with her dog. You retired before I did and showed me how. My thoughts and best wishes are with you as you go through (another) challenge. Sending prayers your way!

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  74. Hi Lynne I have been reading your blog for a couple of years. You have inspired me, made me laugh & made me cry; Thank You! Last week, in no small part due to you and other solo women rv-ers, I put a deposit on a Forest River Sunseeker, bless you for your encouraging blogs that help us move toward dreams. I will be praying for you, for your recovery and your future.

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  75. My thoughts are with you. I discovered your blog some time ago when I was researching RV options. I had come back to double check something and was not expecting this post. I am glad to hear you maintain an upbeat attitude and wish you all the best.

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  76. Thinking about you today. How can I not, we had the same cancer!! I hope you are having some good days!

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  77. I noticed you posted under tioga George. How are you? I have sent many happy thoughts your way.

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