The Great Escape-Conclusion

My camping chronicles conclusion. It’s been fun “camping” with you, friends. 💚

“They gave me 3 months to live,” she said, looking at her girlfriend. “It was January of 2020.”  A lump formed in my throat-tears stung my eyes. My heart sighed; I nodded. With complete empathy, sympathy, and understanding, I listened as this 60-something-year-old stupendous stranger shared her courageously epic account (and how Covid made everything worse). The colorectal cancer metastasized to the liver. There she stood…THREE years later! A thriver, her friend, and two furry cuties were camping in their cool and compact R.V. I smiled. They were my neighbors at site 35.💚

How cute are those dogs? “Adorable!” I thought. A Yorkie (I’ve rescued one of those before) and a precious tiny white Shih Tzu. The gal without cancer exclaimed, “Finley!”, as the Shih Tzu jumped up and down to greet us. Immediately, I looked at MY Finley in my arms. Camping coincidence?

“We were trying to think of a name, and we crossed the Finley River…” …her voice trailed off as I looked around for a camera. Is this a joke? DO THEY KNOW ME?  With a dropped jaw and stunned face, I looked around for someone familiar. The ladies just stared at me. (Insert cricket sounds). Will they believe me?

Karen and Teresa were so kind. They asked if I was camping alone. Gulp. Should I share I have cancer that metastasized to the liver, or will they report this “crazy woman” or try to move their camper away from me? I felt like Kristin Wiig from a skit on Saturday Night Live years ago where she ONE UPPED everything that was said. “Oh, you have cancer?” “Well, so DO I.” “Yours metastasized to the liver?” “So did mine!” “You have a dog named Finley?” “I gave birth to my dog, Finley (are you laughing out loud? If you’ve seen her skit, you know why I typed this and I hope you’re laughing) They believed me as we laughed over our “coincidences”. We marveled at the miracles and connections. Later we even shared food.

The following day, while relaxing and listening to “Marco! Polo!” echoing from young shadows at the lake, I had another camping coincidental call. A friend, and former work camping neighbor at the resort where I lived/worked, was diagnosed with cancer recently. His wife, also a worker and dear friend, shared the devastating news about the metastasis of his stomach cancer to the liver. The 3 of us spoke by speakerphone. There were tears, questions, some confusion, shared understanding (and even laughter). Karen said, “We’re not giving up are we, Karla? We’re going to fight it for family.” She wanted Rich to hear this. Rich agreed he’d do the same.  At that moment I marveled, AGAIN, at how God connects his creations.

This is the OTHER Finley River and Teresa in the background!

Camping wasn’t an escape from cancer. Cancer needed camping. Fires burned with hope and humanity, shared stories, and a common love for the outdoors. Cancer found a content companion. Camping coincidences?

“God, with you, it’s not a coincidence. It’s soul serendipity and divine destiny.” My nature retreat was a rejuvenation of my soul. Away from the noise, angry traffic, and worries. It cleared my soul and mind; it gave me super soul stories.”

Thank you, friends, for supporting me and reading my shorts, The Great Escape. How do you find a soul retreat? It doesn’t have to be miles away. Although my life is different in many ways, I can find “retreats” in each new day. It’s still in the silence of the morning, a sip with my Savior, songs of the birds, giggles of the grandkids, and the gathering of the geese. It’s my 3 F’s-Family, Friends, and Faith (make that 4-Finley🐾). It’s in possibilities and loosely hidden in the now. Can you find it?

Have faith 💚

Have you heard of NET, yet? 🦓

Tomorrow I have an appointment with my oncologist. This is a very important one. Will my blood be fine to move forward with last treatment in a few weeks? How does he see my progress? What is my next step? Can I have sleep aide please? When will the next scan be scheduled? This Wednesday I will be participating in a Virtual ZOOM support group from the Los Angelas area. LACNETS is a community of support, education, and advocacy. There are approximately 175,000 of us living with this rare disease. Recently, I shared my story with them. I’ve watched survivor videos for hours. I’ve yet met another person with this cancer that has been deemed “inoperable” due to metastasis to the bones. Perhaps I will. I struck gold finding them!

If you feel alone, feel free to reach out @ God-willing, me-thriving, you’ll hear from me within a week. If you know of anyone in a similar battle, or could use encouragement, feel free to share my site and information.

Take care, sweet friends. You are loved. No matter what. 💚

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