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What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?

– Vincent van Gogh

It is December 17, 2010 and exactly one year ago at this time, my life was in the hands of skilled doctors and a medical team who would not give up!

I can tell you that this attitude saved my life, saved my spirit and saved my resilience. My personal support team includes my husband, my mom, my dad, my step-mom, my brothers and a wide array of friends, relatives colleagues and fellow learners. If you are reading this you very likely know what we’ve been through and a huge success the process has been.

Here’s what is happening now – this will be the last entry I make to this Blog – life as I knew it when I began this update has changed drastically.

My health has improved more than I could have dreamed possible, my business is taking on a different more international/internet focussed approach and my life is moving to be centered part of the time in Canada and part of the time in Ecuador.

Yes – you have read correctly – Michael and I are taking a BIG spoonful of our own medicine and going to Ecuador for almost 4 months to become travellers and specialists in South America. We plan to do this more and more each year. Please follow us on our new Blog (actually opened on June 1/2010) which we will be adding to each week but very badly maintained.

With gratitude to you all we are signing off from this Blog and look forward to talking to you from Ecuador.
Susan and Michael and of course Bertie – Yes! she is going with us!

Hello my friends – You may not know that as a result of the surgery I had in December, my vocal chords were affected by the movement and stretching to get at my aorta for repairs. This led to a very scratchy and weird sounding voice. I found the whole thing very tiring and the specialists felt that at “my age” nothing would improve and minor surgery would be necessary to correct the problem. That was scheduled for yesterday.

Here’s what happened – I arrived for day surgery, they hooked me up to an IV, and my surgeon and a variety of specialists came out of the OR after their first surgery of the day conducted a full examination. And lo-and-behold – the outcome is that my vocal nerves ARE regenerating, and they announced with great surprise – that to attempt surgery may in fact damage the recovery and ultimately damage my voice even more! So go home Susan and come back in a month!

No Surgery – how about that! So when you call, my voice may not be as strong as it used to be but it will be MY voice and not some artificially altered voice box.

I titled this post – Resilience is the Key to Recovery for a number of reasons. Mostly, I have been pondering where resilience comes from. I have no answers to this big question of the week but I do know that being able to Bounce Back has given me the gift of very positive recovery. Here’s the quote that means the most to me today.

That which does not destroy, strengthens. – Friedrich Nietzsche

Spring is almost (officially) over and I realize that it has been far too long since my last post.

Since you last heard from me, we made the remarkable decision to move back to the city. Doesn’t that sound simple?

Foolish me – while moving to the city made great logical sense – be closer to our families, closer to my medical support team and have less to look after – logistics were much, much more daunting than I ever thought possible. We put our house in the country up for sale at the end of January. Because we were selling a country property, we were advised to expect six to eight months selling time – well – our sale took 22 days from beginning to end!!! Some said this was great bonanza (and of course they were be correct) BUT the work just started! We found ourselves without a next step home and very unsure about where we might look and what kind of home we would be interested in.

Our success continued and we found a very special apartment near the center of the city which we absolutely love. So having made that decision, our next project was to decide what we would take with us and what we could easily do without. Remember the title of my post. I thought I had grown out of the trap of naivety – well my friends I am here to tell you when it comes to moving, I am now a firm believer that we should all take the plunge at least every three years. Waiting longer than that only guarantees that we collect more stuff and dust collectors than we ever will know what to do with.

Since we sold our home, Michael and I have had a LARGE garage sale, consigned numerous pieces to the antique auctioneer, given clothes and collectibles to the local woman’s shelter and donated ALL of our office furniture to the Habitat Re-Store in town – that sounds like a lot of purging – right? Not even close enough!

We have spent virtually all of our waking hours for the last 10 days opening boxes and asking each other “Why did we keep this? and where are we going to put it?”

It will take us some time yet to feel truly at home – we are going to explore our City again and look forward to enjoying the galleries, theatre and food that it has to offer. Obviously, there is a lot more diversity here, than in beautiful, downtown Alliston – on the other hand, we will miss the privacy we enjoyed in the country and of course we will miss our friends (it’s not THAT far) – we are excited about the fact that simplifying our lives will support my ongoing rehab program. With fewer chores and responsibilities in the managing a house, our time is much more our own and the pressures are only those that come from walking my miles, and choosing how we will market our travel business in a new setting.

With all of this activity, the best news is that my health continues to improve and I now look forward with anticipation to what life has in store for us.

I am sure that you will understand that we want to avoid any more junk mail in our email boxes so I set up a new email address for you to ask for our new mailing address and phone numbers. Please write me a note to slbtravel@gmail.com

By the way – it was originally Buckminster Fuller who encouraged us to “Dare to Be Naive”!

Try it some time – you never know where it may lead you!

Lots of love – Susan

The 6-week Mark!

I’ve been a bit remiss in updating you on my life and recovery. Yesterday marked 6 weeks post surgery and I have to say, many of us (friends, Family and Doctors & I) are stunned at how well I am doing.

My biggest problem now is to have the patience to not do anything too stupid or risky – The folks that know have told me that I cannot lift anything more than ten pounds for at least 8 – 10 weeks post surgery! I will not be able to have an official rehab appointment until the 10th of February! So until then – only walking – I have hit the 1.5 km mark officially – Yahoo! The good thing is I get a lot of testosterone to look at CFB Base Borden – WOW their training makes me look like an infant learning to crawl!!!

I have to remember this!

“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself.”
Saint Francis De Sales

Any suggestions about how I can keep myself in check would be much appreciated! Love to you all – S

We’re in the City early this week for the first round of many doctors’ appointments BUT! The folks we have seen are using words “magic, WOW, miracle” (let’s not get carried away) and “we’re all thrilled to be part of this whole thing!” So I guess I’m well on the mend.

What is the most important to me is that I got the go ahead to go to the Arctic with my mom in the middle of July this year. That’s my goal and that’s what I’ll be working towards now.

My first milestone? I have now been walking over a kilometre 5 times a week – next thing to do is to add some incline – stairs are still are a big problem but – each day will build stamina!

Sorry I’ve been of line a bit but fatigue is my biggest enemy now.

Also, I’ve actually been out in the social world – my voice will not get any better any time soon (they tinkered with the nerve to the vocal chords) so I’m not waiting any longer for it to catch up! I was so thrilled to see one of my “Butt Kicker” friends (Helen) yesterday and the Chamber folks on Friday, I can’t tell you how much you all mean to me – I’ll be around and loving to near from you soon – Cheers’ Susan

Today Michael and I went to the Base Borden Fitness Centre and started waliking – he went a lot further than I did but I did 4/5ths of a kilometre (4 laps) and felt pretty good – good news is that my pulse recovered very quickly and I didn’t have to crash when we got home!

Today I also spent some time looking for quotes that I can post near my computer to keep myself motivated and challenged – here’s the one I found the most interesting – I don’t have the answer but I do know that I AM alive – any thoughts? I’d love to hear from you – inspiration is always welcome – I have a long,long way to go – Thanks for listening! S

Here is the test to find whether your mission on Earth is finished: if you’re alive, it isn’t.
Richard Bach

I’m home, fire’s on and Life Does Go On! I have been pondering my successes since I started this blog and find myself in awe.

I have had the best medical care possible, the best friends and family, the best support from those that care for me and of course the best spouse period. However, while in hospital, I the chance to listen to a lot of complaining and moaning (from fellow patients) about sad lives and “why me’s?”. I learned all the “bests” in the world cannot possibly stand-alone without a very positive attitude! So for me, I now ponder a chicken and egg discussion – does a positive attitude come before a fabulous support network or the other way around?