What advice should I have taken five years ago?

Actually, I’m alive because I didn’t take a lot of the advice I was given. I had been misdiagnosed and had lots of bad doctors.

So, I was busy. Dealing with breast cancer in both breasts — unrelated tumors — and ultimately getting a two-for-one mastectomy removing both breasts. Glad I didn’t have three of them, eh?

There is a lot of advice I wish I had gotten (but didn’t). Instead, I got some excellent advice from myself.

medicare confusion

Most important? “Find the best doctors and hospitals to take care of whatever ails you. The local drones may be able to set a broken leg, but for anything more complicated, they’re gonna kill you if you let them.”

I took my own advice which is how come I’m here to tell the tale. Pretty sure if I hadn’t been my own most powerful advocate, medically speaking, I’d be an ex-blogger.

doctor hospital examination room

This is my best advice. 

Life is unexpected. Shit happens. Cancer, heart issues, diabetes, arthritis. You name it, we get it. No matter how well you take care of yourself, you will at some point require medical care, maybe surgery, maybe other stuff.

Regardless of convenience, due diligence about medical resources are critical to survival — yours and those you love. Do the research. Find out what available medical facilities and associated doctors and surgeons and support services are within even an extended driving distance. If you have to drive a considerable distance to obtain the best services and people, do it anyway. Survival trumps convenience.

Your life is on the line. I’ve been there, done that, and lived to tell the story. It is absolutely worth it. You are worth it.



We came back from Arizona late last night … with more than 2,000 photographs. Some of them are still on the cards in the camera. I’ve dumped most of the photographs onto my hard drive, but I haven’t sorted through them. Yet.

While Garry shot the Iron Cowboy, I bought jewelry!

While Garry shot the Iron Cowboy, I bought jewelry!

You’re going to see a lot of pictures of Arizona coming up! This is no exception.

Memorabilia at Apacheland Movie Ranch Museum

Memorabilia at Apacheland Movie Ranch Museum

For the tourists ...

For the tourists …


In summary, traveling to Arizona on JetBlue was like travelling first class, almost. Coming home via American Airlines was like being luggage. But less comfortable.


It was a very long ride home, though shorter than flying westward. Eastbound, we had a tail wind that got us to Logan an hour early.

It seemed much longer. Not only were we starved — which I expected and for which I was prepared having brought a variety of semi-nutritious snack food (do salted peanuts and Fig Newtons count as nutritious?) and a large bottle of water. Bought at the airport because food for which you pay ten times the normal price is safe, while food bought in a grocery at normal prices will explode on impact.

I think we could have been dead in our seats on our return flight on American and only other passengers would notice. The flight attendants were in the back of the plane, playing cards. Having, as far as I can tell, a fine old time.


There was no entertainment. No television. The WiFi was not free. They wanted $12 (each) for 60 minutes (each) — and the Patriots-Kansas City game was on. Which was more than an hour. They had whacked us with a $25/per bag luggage fee … and wanted another $12 from each of us to use their WiFi? For an hour? It wasn’t even unlimited WiFi. You had to watch one of their programs. Mean-spirited bastards run that airline.

As I told the attendant, “Your airline sucks.” She agreed. They probably treat her like luggage too. Don’t fly American Airlines.

We managed to get the score in real time on our smart phone. It somehow connected to the WiFi despite the firewall American Airlines erected. Let’s hear it for Google. When the game ended, Garry and I had books on our Kindles, so we survived without WiFi …and those salted peanuts helped too.

When we got home, it was obvious no one had cleaned since we left. Talk about filthy. Wow. Two weeks of dog hair, sand, and odeur de canine. The Christmas tree is still up (“Don’t worry about it, I’ll take care of it and I’ll put the wrapping paper away, I promise”). Right. Sure. Uh huh.

I swept three times before unpacking anything and washed the floors twice this morning, but it’s going to take a lot more scrubbing before the place is habitable. I’m not a clean or neat freak, but I draw the line at genuine filth.


The kid’s going to be 47 in May. You’d think he’d have a grip on “clean,” wouldn’t you? You’d be wrong.

We are home. No fresh food because we used it all before leaving. Today I threw away about five pounds of leftovers that had become lethal-looking science experiments during our absence. Garry made a very short trip to the grocery store. We needed half-and-half. That’s not groceries. That’s survival.

Tomorrow we’ll deal with The Rest of the Story. Today, it’s football and not being in transit. Sorry I missed your blogs today and yesterday. I’m surprised I’m awake and almost coherent.


While we were away, someone won the $1.5 billion PowerBall. Even after taxes and fees, it’s still more money than I can imagine having. More money than Garry and I earned in our entire lives. Combined. Before taxes. More money than us and all our friends had or ever hope to have.

Someone won it. On a $1 lottery pick. Go figure.

NOTE: We have concluded that there is a secret interaction between hair gel and PowerZero so dangerous and explosive, it is banned from the air! That’s the only sense I can make of it. Who knows what hidden dangers lie in your luggage?