Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Our Travels + Melanoma

After the last post, anyone accessing this site might be wondering what is going on. Well, we decided with the support of my surgeon, and my oncologist partner, my son the surgeon, and another surgeon partner of mine, that we would go ahead with the planned trip. Everyone agreed that it would not make any difference to postpone the definitive surgical removal and the sentinel node biopsy for 4 weeks so we could take this trip. I have spent some time off and on checking the lesion that still remains on my right upper arm. It will be nice to get it off though the trip of course has kept me occupied to block most of these thoughts.

Here's our trip itinerary. You may read here and there in my future postings about some of these sites: Prague, Czech Republic in off and on rain showers; Budapest in a gorgeous sunny day with this time a visit to the interior of the Great Synogogue, the second largest in Europe; a cruise with Avalon down the Danube from Budapest to the Black Seas past the Iron Gates of the Danube, and a high light visit to Veliko Tornovo, a lovely medieval town in Serbia; then Bucharest, Romania; a tour of northern Romania including the Bran Castle of Vlad the Impaler fame, the stimulus for Dracula; finally a tour through Moldova to seek out the villages of Amos parents' birth and other important sites for the family history. We have been traveling since May 3 and return home tomorrow.

We are staying tonight at an interesting litte hotel at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, Netherlands. We didn't want to pay the $300 a night to stay at the Airport Sheraton. At this point in our trip as we are travel weary and wending our way home, we didn't want to go into Amsterdam. We have seen it quite well on past trips. This little hotel is called CitizenM; the M stands for Mobile. It is certainly meant to house the mobile citizen. The rooms are almost like a small river cruiser stateroom. A king sized bed stretches from wall to wall and up to the window which overlooks the tarmack of Schiphol with its KLM planes coming and going, yet you do not hear the planes. The shower is open in the room as is the toilet with circular clouded glass enclosures that can be closed for some degree of privacy. The luggage is intended to be put in a drawer under the bed but ours was too big and too heavy to do that, so we stacked them by the door making it a little difficult to get in and out of the room. There is a remote control to alter the lighting, the background music, the temperature, and what is played on the large TV on the wall to the left over the bed. You can watch movies, TV, or play games, or you can just watch all the instructions and demo videos for the various assets of the room. The decor downstairs is very avant garde. There is a large internet cafe, and two small libraries, as well as a canteen where you can purchase any item 24 hours a day and heat it up or eat it cold. We also spent sometime exploring Schiphol while staying at this hotel. We have been through Schiphol numerous times but were always just following signs to get to another aisle of gates, or to get to the exit to get into the city. This time we explored the shopping mall and we ate a lunch at a very large Burger King. We even went up to the viewing terrace where children were going crazy at the sight of all the airplanes landing and taking off.  I recalled what my two boys would have thought when they were small. They would have been excitedly screaming as well. I think I will head back up to the room and try out some of that technology.

One day and I am home. Will fast on the airplane the last meal so I can immediately go and get my fasting blood drawn for preop labs. Also will get my chest xray and EKG done in preparation for surgery on this melanoma in 6 days. Ah, it is all coming back to me now. Back to reality. So that is what happened. I committed to living my life as planned and going on this trip as long as it was not foolish to do this. Now I must start to practice my meditation and my mindfulness training to get through the next couple weeks of procedures and of waiting for the results of the sentinel node biopsy. Stay tuned!

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