Friday, 15 May 2015

Naramata Similkameen Blues: Friday, May 15th!

I feel fairly certain that my hatred harms me more than the people whom I hate. -Max Frisch, architect, playwright, and novelist (15 May 1911-1991)

Hi Glasgow! Thanks very much for card. Trust all goes well in Manhattan. We arrived in Naramata yesterday with another load. Wonderful dinner with Lynne. Stunning day so off to ride shortly while Cora Lee visits Penticton City Hall for water and hydro-electrical services. Then to Little Shushwap for weekend with Ruthless/Ricardo. Travel safely. Fondestos from Cruella to you and Catherine. Cheers, Il Conduttore!

Slept in until 8:30 am. Coriandre was already up, on the patio, in the glorious  morning sunshine, bonding with the resident quail and hummingbirds when I came downstairs. I fixed myself a wonderful cup of espresso while I digitated. Lynne joined us about half an hour later and she set out a bowl of fruit salad so I had that with yogurt and then suited/lubed up for my ride. Lady Mary and Lurkin' were headed into town to dispatch all sorts of shopping/civic errandos so I was free to ride.

Made for Chute Lake as soon as I walked my Trek to top of their fairly steep driveway and drank in the beauty of the lake as I headed est on Narmata Road. Knew this first part of the ride fairly well as I'd done it a number of times before. However, I'd never gone further than the turn-off to Indian Rock so decided I'd do a bit of exploring. This being the case, I girded my loins, shifted into lowest gear and headed uphill, for about 2 km, much of it reasonably steep, 12% or more, to where the pavement ends, marked by a cattle-guard and a narrower, hard-pack, gravel road. 

Knew I wasn't going to ride any further, primarily due to the road surface, so I turned around and retraced my steps, managing to clock 63.6 kph on way down the Chute Lake Rd hill. I'm sure I could have gone even faster had I the nerve but didn't really want to risk a fall at those speeds! Back on Naramata Road I made my way towards Penticton, (Passed The Sisterhood, coming back from shopping, and such, in town.), doing a loop of Upper Bench Road and then back on Middle Bench Rd to take Vancouver Ave to Lakeshore Dr. Once at Riverside Dr I didpy-doodled around a few side streets and then headed back, following the same route, to Naramata. Home by 1:30 pm so Lady Mary was a bit fussed! 
For my part I was more than delighted with outing, exploring new territory, etc., so I reminded her that we were on holiday, from packing! Stats for ride:

Had a quick shower and change of clothes and then packed up now empty Titanium Green. Lynne had set out a bagel and some sausage and cheese so I made a quick sandwich and had a delicious cup of java before we headed off. Thanking her for the wonderful stay we waved goodbye at just before 3:00 pm. Only complaint was the lack of laundry facilities! Stopped at Township 7 and Upper Bench on way out to sign up for their wine clubs so Cora Lee is now a Curds to Corks member!

Smooth sailing although we hit rush-hour in Kelowna. (When in Penticton we stopped by Burns Street to take a few snaps of our new home. Funnily enough, while I was snapping a few shots, Cora Lee called Ricardo's office to obtain his cell number and he had just called to ask his secretary for Corinne's cell number!) Made it to Little Shuswap just before 7:00 pm and had hors d'oeuvres on deck before repairing inside to play bridge and then have a lovely dinner: scallops, Spot prawns and salmon done on the bbq. 

Hello Jugos Dom Cubano! Think we'll take the Kubota to Little Shushwap to use as our very own ATV! Travel safely. Fondestos from Cruella to you and rest of gang. Cheers, Patrizzio!
Hi Patrick, It looks like a nice party I missed.  Great pics. Lucky you, having the girls to yourself. I got in from Cuba this evening and must say that home looks nicer than anything I saw in the socialist paradise.  I did score a box of 25 Partagas cigars for a ridiculously low price - I'll be a hero at the golf club at Senior Men's Day on Wednesday.  We're looking forward to  unpacking the new boxes you delivered to see what we can sell next weekend.  Hope you have a good weekend in Shuswap. Peter

Hello Baldric and Lady Anne! Can you hear me? Can you hear me, now?
Wonderful to hear from you! Glad Yellow Point was another success. Latest from Grog:
Hello Everyone, It has been a tough road for the last few weeks, to say the least! I am in a position now to get you the recap and facts after an intensive  4 days at the MD Anderson Clinic in Houston, Texas. I had a very good friend, Ron Chiovetti, accompany me through the whole process, and what a difference he made! I could right a book about that. He has done this in the past with other friends at the Mayo. I also had other friends offer, and I thank you for that!
Francesca was at the ready to fly in and take over the tough job if I had to start major procedures in Houston. It is perhaps the top Oncology institution in the world, so I was fortunate to get in as quickly as I did. On 2 of those days, I had diagnostics (ten different tests/scans etc in one day alone!) and another surgery the next day that would have taken several weeks under normal circumstances. We now know exactly where the cancer is ( and is not), and what steps have to be taken. Here is a brief recap of events:

On March 26th, I received the news that I had bladder cancer, and that it was " highly suspicious" that it was in the bladder wall, in which case the recommended treatment would be chemo therapy followed by the removal of the bladder and prostate. Needless to say, I was determined to find out exactly where this thing was, and I received very good advice from friends in the medical field to get a 2nd opinion, and if possible, from either the Mayo Clinic or MD Anderson. I think that MD was the right choice, and I was able to get in to the 1st available appointment on May 11th.

To back up, I could have started chemo in late April (my 1st Oncology appointment was mid-April), although it would have been a different concoction than what we now have, which should be more effective. I had asked if I should/could start chemo in Victoria before going to MD, which would have been about the earliest opportunity for the chemo to start, however, the Oncologist felt that I should have the surgery1st, and then consider the chemo. This was based on the information at the time, which indicated that the tumour was basically in the bladder, and perhaps into the wall and muscle. Thank goodness I went to MD, and we did not go that route! The actual larger part of the tumour was on the outside wall of the bladder, in an area that could easily spread to all of my other organs ( the peritoneal lining). A surgery would  easily disturb this, and send many millions of cells where we do not want them going!

The 2nd surgery found this in Houston, and it was again a stroke of luck that I had a Dr Kamat perform the surgery, and he found the primary area of concern.  This doctor also trains some of the best in the world, and he has referred to me to another urologist in Vancouver that trained with him.

I want you all to know that I have no criticism of our own health care system. I received the absolute best that they could do under the circumstances, and everyone that I dealt with was superb, and I have my next meeting with the Oncologist on Tuesday, right after the long weekend after getting them the MD results on Thursday and Friday, so a very prompt response! This is a very unique example, and our system would be bankrupt if everyone got the treatments and diagnostics that I received in Houston in that time-frame.

So here I am now, waiting to start the chemo therapy, hopeful that we can stop the spread, and destroy any stray cells before planning surgery. It has been especially tough on Francesca waiting for things to unfold, and I know that many of you probably felt that I was taking  too long to get the ball rolling, however, it was a path that had to be taken. And now that we have a clear picture, it is a good thing that we did what we did as quickly as it could be done.

So, we thank you for all of your love and support, and rest assured , I will be fighting this thing with all of what I have, and of course Francesca has been her usual phenomenal self throughout our challenge. With the support of the amazing family and friends that we have, we are very optimistic! With our love, Gregg & Francesca

I apologize for not replying sooner but have been on the road for last four days. Had a simply gorgeous Victoria Day weekend, both in Naramata and Little Shuswap. The fact that we were able to drop off another significant load in Naramata, (Three carloads full, one in April, en route to a wedding in Kamloops, another two Sundays ago when friends from Penticton were in town for a granddaughter's birthday and volunteered to "mule" a load, and one this past Thursday, all left in the garage of close friends.), was very gratifying. (The wine-tasting we were able to accomplish even more so!) While we still have much to move, the fact that we have now taken up a fair bit means we have more space to order what remains. By actual "loading" day, May 28th, we should be in very good shape to have everything so arranged as to make the transfer of furniture, boxes and tubs as efficient as possible.

Glad you sent along a message as we'd like to invite you to our last party at the Islay Inn:

Invitazzione: Dearest Friends and Family! The Management and Staff of the Islay Inn would like to invite you to a Farewell Bash, Saturday, May 23rd, from 5:00 pm until the neighbours call the cops! Both a Pot-Luck and a BYOB gathering, we hope, finally, to turn the tables on all the Freeloaders we have come to know and love over these past wonderful 16 years! No tears allowed but plenty of laughs, (and hootch), expected! Cheers, Cora Lee and Patrizzio! 
Do hope that you and Anne can come to our Farewell Bash but if not then we will certainly keep in touch.

We left Little Shuswap about 11:00 am yesterday morning. Enjoyed a wonderful breakfast on the patio before departing. Ruthless and Ricardo were driving back later as they had a number of chores to accomplish. This was the first weekend that they have been up since last year, at the beginning of last November. Funnily enough, we spent that one with them and Rikki and I went into lake for a quick dip while the snowflakes dusted our shivering torsos! We certainly hope that we will see even more of them in the future as Penticton is only three hours from cabin and Ruth's Mom and one of her sisters live in Kelowna so our place is really not out of the way whenever they might visit family. As well, we hope to be able to explore this part of the province once we have had a bit of time to settle in. Just having ridden along the rivers and lakes there, over Saturday and Sunday, I was able to soak in the beauty and peacefulness of this gorgeous countryside.

Traffic wasn't busy on the Coquihalla although we passed through a number of very heavy showers once we left Merritt behind. Just after Hope it became slow down then speed up then slow down, pretty much all the way until the highway becomes four lanes, or so, and we were able to zip along in the HOV lane. Home by 3:45 pm and was very happy with that as back at Hope, I lost all hope, so to speak, as I knew that if traffic was already backing up there, it would be aeons before we reached The Islay Inn! Scads of RV's, boats with trailers, etc., so that accounted for much of build-up.

Needed to be home in time for Cora Lee's meeting at 5:00 pm and my pick-up at 5:30 pm for bridge in North Van. After unloading car I did a quick run to Cheap Thrills for a few groceries and then home to have a shower and change, after readying the appetizers I was contributing to evening, and was waiting to be collected when my ride arrived. Enjoyed another grand evening with five players. This means one person rotates out every four hands. Must admit I had very poor cards for most of the evening but managed to make a slight recovery towards the end of the night so I was able to escape being the bottom of the bridge totem pole! Lads form a wonderful group and playing with them is certainly helping my game. Will miss the camaraderie once we move although Peter, in Naramata, plays with another number of his friends so I hope I might have a chance to continue there. Won't worry about this, for now, as with schedule we have ahead will hardly be in Penticton, at least with time to play, given number of visitors we already have on reservation book and then trip to India, leaving in late October. Won't be until mid-December when we first have a chance to catch our collective breath!

This week is going to be very busy, not only with more feverish packing, but social engagements most nights. As I need not mention, weather continues to be gorgeous so I'm also hoping/planning to log as many rides, (to maintain my sanity!), as possible. Must away as we are off to the Carters this evening, for bridge with Ted and Elaine Keating. Should be fun. Fondestos from Cruella, Cruel Packing Task Mistress, to you both. Be grand it we see you on Saturday! Cheers, Il Conduttore!

Pics: Copper Island when bringing boat back from Scotch Creek, Saturday; Eagle perched on Ponderosa Pine, just off patio, Sunday morning; bbq gang, Sunday evening; fire-pit, Sunday night; Monday morning at Little Shuswap; saying goodbye, Monday morning.

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