Good News and Tough News
Today, Monday, was a day that most cancer patient tend to get most anxious about, check in or update appointments. After lab work done 3 weeks ago and my CAT scan done about 2 weeks ago, my oncologist called today with the results, it was supposed to be an in patient appointment, but with the doctor swamped with extra work because of Covid we only had time for a chat. Saves me 3 hours of driving anyway, and the update was positive, my scan showed no uptake in disease and still appears to be stable, like I’ve said before my new favourite word. The markers in my 5hiaa were a little higher than last time, but nothing to be alarmed about and still within a “healthy” range….so, yah, whew . I’m good for another 6 months until the process repeats itself. In the meantime I still have lab work done every 2 months and a shorter appointment call. The bad news though, that came from the call is my Oncologist accepted a new position to further her career, which is awesome, but leaves me sad as we had a very good patient-doctor relationship. Now as a cancer patient your never left without an Oncologist and have been referred back to the Doctor who originally diagnosed me, which is actually her “Mentor” I guess the word would be and reassured me I was in good hands and my care can continue in Brantford uninterrupted I guess. I can’t help but get a little teary eyed though, she’ll be missed and not just by me.
How About Some Beautiful Pictures
I was messaged about how a lot of you enjoy the pictures I take while out canoeing and camping and right about now, this time of year theres no better time to post a bunch to help out with the winter blahs. I’ll include these in upcoming posts to help lift spirits and not just yours, but mine as well, as I wait patiently until May and yes the first trip of the year is already booked. Into Misty Lake in Algonquin Park, along the Petawawa river and attempt to catch my first brook trout and maybe even my first laker….fingers crossed. There’s a lot of other plans in the works for this year and as long as my health holds lots of new content (pictures and video). Anyway let’s get into the good stuff, I’ll have some galleries of the places I’ve been and add some small text in order to explain where there taken and maybe some meaning.
Temagami – Donald Lake
A mix of pictures captured of two separate trips one in September of 2020 and August 2021.
September Trip- Day 1
We started out on a windy and cool September morning after parking at the sportsman lodge, we paddled headwinds through Kukagami Lake for about 3.5 hrs until we reached the 1000m portage into Donald lake. The start of that paddle was in a secluded bay, as you can see below. It wasn’t until a short paddle and a turn of direction to the north that the winds slowed our progress again.
Although our progress was slowed, we decided to drop some line in the choppy water and as advertised within minutes I had my first fish on. I decent size bass, we carried on to our campsite which took another good 1.5 hours of paddling up the fair sized lake with rollers getting to be about a good foot high, with a few white caps.
Arriving at camp around 4, we quickly had to set up camp and gather wood as the temperature was dipping to a very cool -5 Celsius and that was by far the coldest we’ve ever camped in. After raging fire and some drinks to warm the belly, I dove into my tent, left on my thermals and toque and drifted into deep sleep after a hard day, despite the cold conditions.
Day # 2
We awoke to a beautiful cool morning and water like a sheet of glass, a clear sky dotted with a few clouds. The day was spent fishing and exploring the area, being the temperature it was and time of year we had the whole lake to ourselves and after a breakfast of oatmeal we were on the water to try the fishing. After a slow start, by mid-afternoon things started to heat up for me, Unfortunately for Chris not so much. We managed to reel in enough bass to have a shore lunch, which if you’ve never had one, your missing out on one of life’s great meals.
The rest of the day was spent exploring the north section of the lake and along with hiking the shores to its various scenic viewpoints…breathtaking. After a late dinner and another good sized fire, night two was a balmy 4 degrees, but quite a different feel. It was time to hit the sleeping bag around 10, as we had decided to paddle to a different lake to spend the final night.
Day # 3
Once again a brisk, but stunning morning greeted us as the early morning mist floated above the crystal clear water. After packing up camp and another oatmeal breakfast we loaded the canoe and pushed off heading south down the length of this stunning lake, one that I vowed I would return to and did just this summer past. The wind was calm and the water flat which maybe for a much more enjoyable trip on the way out.
Bass fillets simply breaded and fried in oil
After hooking into one more bass on the way out we had a shore lunch on our way to the next lake and once again it was delicious. That day we made camp on Kukagami Lake at an established campsite, not a nice as the ones on Donald, but nevertheless I was in the bush, where I belong. What was left of that day was paddling to see the sites and trolling for fish, I had one on, but he managed to shake loose before reeling him in. We reminisced that night around the fire about the great trip we just had and at that point was our most northern and isolated canoe trip we had taken and agreed it would be far from our last.
Day # 4
A sunny, warmer morning greeted us on our 4th morning, although the wind had picked up and now from the south of coarse, that’s the direction we’re heading. After a quick 350m portage, and back into the open waters of Kukagami Lake, where in the big water we were greeted with a strong headwind that turned an hour paddle into almost two hours. Once back and into the bay leading to the Sportsman Lodge we could see the white jeep parked up on the hill signalling we’d made it back and the trip now over. I’ll tell ya though after a paddle like that a 6 hour drove home seems like an eternity, but a successful trip and one I’ll not forget.
I’ll include some of these trips in future posts as a reminder to go and do those hobbies, sports or whatever brings you happiness, before it’s too late and you find find yourself thinking, “If only I’d done that when I was able.” If to help you along, I managed to get in this trip only 5 weeks after being in the Hospital for my first bowel obstruction, I struggled at times, but boy was it worth it and only ramped up my love for exploring the outdoors.
“Do what you can before it’s too late”
I went back to the same lake in August, I think I have already shared some of those pictures here, but hey they’re always worth a second look and I came in through the north end of the Lake this time. Anyway here’s some great pictures and I did manage to get about a 5lb bass, We did see bigger ones so, ya I’ll be going back again.
Thanks again for all the suggestions and well wishes for my health, “stable” is now on of my favourite words and brings the anxiety and stress level down in our house. It’s been in check for almost a year now, let the trip planning begin for next year. I’ll never be the same person I was before cancer, with the time I have left this is where you’ll find me. Love you all. Cheers
If anyone has an interest in joining me on a canoe trip, go ahead and message me, I’d love to introduce anyone to the back country, believe me when I say you’ll find something out about yourself. I do on every trip!
5 thoughts on “Health Update, with a Touch of Temagami”
What a day to celebrate you!! Yeah!! You continue to be in my prayers. Sending you light and love.
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Congratulations on ‘stable’. I agree it is a wonderful word and comes with a big exhale as you hold your breath when the anxiety clicks in. I am so sorry you are losing your oncologist as I know how important that relationship is. It sounds like you are in good hands. Thanks for another great read!
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Thanks Marj, hope all goes well in your coarse and you get as much out of it as I did. I’m happy you enjoyed the read.
Beautiful photos! Like you, I can hardly wait for spring so I can get out camping, hiking, and kayaking again. Also like you, I’m a neuroendocrine cancer patient whose favourite word has become “stable”. Unlike you, I was never told 10 to 15 years or any other number. I’m 8+ years past diagnosis and have had two other unrelated cancers in the interim, both removed surgically. I’m still going strong and I consider every day a gift! Rest when you have to, but keep on going. I think staying active and having a positive attitude helps a lot!
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Thank you, funny how a word like stable used to be one of the more boring words in our vocabulary and just like that, it’s the best one you could hear. Glad to hear your going strong, and having hobbies and a passion is so very important and honestly I believe that is why we still feel well most days. I have some camping trips already planned for this season, some pretty extreme, my camera will follow and document. Thought about getting a drone.