Monday, August 10, 2015

Summer is over. Back from our last trip of the summer (and it was fabulous)

We got home last night from our final trip of the summer. Crocodile tears, seriously. This blog post is a quick recap of our trip and to prove that life post myeloma or cancer diagnosis continues. It is up to each of us how we handle our challenges and how we wish to approach life. Sit down, think about it, and decide which is best for you (emotionally, physically and spiritually).

Not long ago, a fellow cancer survivor asked a group of people if her approach was shared by any of us? She just felt like each day, she plodded through life. We are all different. On this journey of Myeloma, there is no "destination." There are moments in this journey where we are in the midst of hard core treatment and we simply can't do more than survive each day and fight to get well on the other side. And then there are lulls in treatment where we can do anything we could do before getting sick. And then there is everything in between. That said, I decided long ago to live better, grander and with more purpose than I ever did before. Looking back, I simply survived in my prior life. Joy, spontaneity and "purpose" was contrived. I worked, I waited for my husband to have his next alcoholic explosive tantrum, I sat in traffic sucking fumes, and I fretted. I do my best to minimize all of those things. Hence, my insatiable desire to explore and build relationships, memories and experiences.

So on that thought, the last time I left off on our travelogue, we had just arrived in Charleston, South Carolina. In this beautiful, historic and oppressively hot and humid city, we walked the streets of Old Town. It was quite similar to Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, a town I lived in for seven years. We visited the former Slave Mart and Ft Sumter where the first shots of the Civil War rang out. Morgan and Siena were great-- they survived the heat and humidity and saw amazing sites and learned a lot. We ate fantastic seafood and shopped for T-shirts, spices and magnets. Morgan and I bought very cute sundresses and shorts. Siena got necklaces.
Liz Lizette Smith Nielsen's photo.Liz Lizette Smith Nielsen's photo.

The following day, we headed back to Savannah because we loved it that much. From my phone, I booked what looked to be a beautiful mansion turned into a B&B in the historic district. When we got there, we realized that the hotel had been on our ghost tour a few nights prior. Whooohooo! Our room was BEAUTIFUL, huge with a gigantic fireplace and charming bathroom. The girls were terrified. "Anna" the hotel's ghost, haunted the room just three doors down from us. And, really, she did hauntings throughout the hotel, as Miley Cyrus also experienced just a few years prior to our arrival. The girls insisted on sharing the huge four-poster King bed and leaving the TV on all night. To celebrate, the next day we all got T-shirts that said "I slept with a ghost." The breakfast was basically a cookie display (yum!). The next morning, we hit up beautiful churches and another graveyard. But the best part was sitting outside the night before eating dinner and listening to live music. We didn't want to leave and our dinner took a really long time to get through (on purpose).

Liz Lizette Smith Nielsen's photo.Liz Lizette Smith Nielsen's photo.Liz Lizette Smith Nielsen's photo.
Liz Lizette Smith Nielsen's photo.

On our way back to Orlando, we stopped at Fort King George, the oldest fort in Georgia. Unfortunately, there was a sign warning us not to approach the wild alligators. The girls both had a meltdown but I made them explore anyway. We never did see any signs of alligators.
Liz Lizette Smith Nielsen's photo.

We met up with my best friends, Julie and Shane, spent the night with them for the next two nights, and went to Disney World. It was so hot and humid, there are no words. We did it anyway. It was fine but I'm done with theme parks and, honestly, I like Disneyland better.
Shane Butler's photo.Julie Gerken Butler's photo.

Liz Lizette Smith Nielsen's photo.
William arrived two days later. We picked him up at the airport and we spent the next three days at the beach in Jacksonville. The girls had surf lessons and we kept the boards for two days. We visited St Augustine and I fell in love there. We stayed with William's brother, Bob, and his sister-in-law, Kim in their beautiful (and I mean BEAUTIFUL) home. They were perfect hosts. And our final night we spent on a boat. It was perfect.
Liz Lizette Smith Nielsen's photo.Liz Lizette Smith Nielsen's photo.Liz Lizette Smith Nielsen's photo.


And William surprised me with this beautiful gold cross necklace, which I am wearing at the oldest Catholic mission in the USA in St Augustine in this photo. I am reading Killing Jesus, I'm a big huge Jesus fan, and I've been looking for the "perfect" cross necklace in, like, forever. William found it! So kind and thoughtful and totally unexpected. Lots of love :)

Last night, we flew home. There you have it. I'm back at infusion at Huntsman getting my Carfilzomib and I'm high on Dex. Tomorrow I will crash but tonight I will have endless energy. Our wedding is less than two months away. I bought two wedding dresses-- one for the photos and one for the party. One dress is here and it's perfect, the other I'm waiting so hopefully I love it as much as I think I will.

.... And tick-tock, school starts in nine days. On Wednesday, Siena and I have a date to go school shopping. We already have a plan on where we are going, what we are looking for, and the exact order we are hitting up the shops. Morgan has spent almost all over her money already so she's done.

Cheers! Live with purpose,
xo, Lizzy