Charile, I lost
the love of my life (in fairness to the wonderful woman I now live with, she had
been to that point) to breast cancer on May 19, 2004. She had first been diagnosed 10 years prior to that and after some initial set-backs, went through a wonderful window of over 5 years being apparently cancer-free. Sadly, we mistook a respite from the storm as something more.
Sheila and I had always planned on retiring to the Caribbean
and, in advance, taking a year or two sabbatical to do a circle route
of the Atlantic in our boat. We COULD have gone earlier if we had been prepared to make a few, small sacrifices. But complacency, inertia, short-sighted priorites (worries about money/security - quel surprise!) kept us from breaking away for a number of years.
Finally, we made arrangements for sabbaticals from our respective careers and were preparing to depart with the opening of the Erie Canal in May of.... you guessed it, 2004. Sadly, while on a brief vacation
in St. Martin in January of that year she started to develop some balance problems and, upon our return, was diagnosed as having 3 extremely large brain mets. Despite her valiant efforts, the end came all too soon thereafter.
Charlie, I write this not to suggest that your cancer will not be completely eradicated - I hope and pray that it is. I write this only to applaud you on your plans and to urge you take this life-changing experience as one that permanently
changes your priorities. Sheila and I had a 'wake-up' call ourselves of course, but sadly we weren't prepared to listen. Instead we fell back into the trap of pursing a 'secure' future. That decision - and the integral part that I played in it, stands now as perhaps my life's only eternal regret.
Best of luck Charlie, and congratulations on the new direction that your life is about to take. Many of us will be (and should be) envious of that adventure, even if not of the events
that precipitated it. We cannot control life's events
, only how we react to them. And for that, I salute you.
Here's to smoothe sailing on every sea you encounter from here on in.