‘Belize or bust’ takes on a new meaning

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Rose has done yoga by herself every morning under the palapa at the end of a pier just north of Turtle Inn. The owners let inn guests use the pier. Nice neighbors!
Rose has done yoga by herself every morning under the palapa at the end of a pier just north of Turtle Inn. The owners let inn guests use the pier. Nice neighbors!

We make plans. We make plans. We make plans.

So exhilarating.

So in control of our future.

We make plans. Therefore, we are. We make plans. Therefore, we will be.

And then, something happens. And all those plans, all those to-do lists and decision trees and carefully calibrated calculations which are designed to regain control over your life … they don’t mean anything.

We were in Belize scouting locations for our new home. We were on a mission. This was our future and we were taking control of it. Time and money would be ours to command, ours to harness to serve us.

Then, in the artfully crafted paradise called Francis Ford Coppola’s Turtle Inn in Placencia,  Rose discovered a lump on her right breast.

It wasn’t an ambiguous lump. It was assertive, tender to the touch and unmistakably, a lump. And it  projected all that a lump on the side of a breast portends.

“Do you want to go see a doctor right away?” I asked.

“No,” said Rose. “Let’s wait until we get home.”

Tracy Barton Hostetter loct an incredibly brave fight with cancer while we were in Belize. She would come to work out with Rose on the Pilates machines, even  when chemo left her debilitated.
Our friend Tracy Barton Hostetter lost an incredibly brave fight with cancer while we were in Belize. She would come to work out with Rose on the Pilates machines, even when chemo left her debilitated.

The lump arrived about the same time that we got word of the death of a dear friend, Tracy Barton Hostetter, who had waged a years’ long battle with cancer, winning over and over only to have it reappear in another form, in another place. You couldn’t help but link the two events.

I think for both of us that lump added a layer of surrealism upon a layer of harsh realism to our adventure. It was an uninvited rider piggybacking on our future. An uncertain menace? Or, perhaps, just a benign distraction? We had no way of knowing. But there it was, mocking us and our plans to take control of our future.

It just didn’t make sense. Rose is ridiculously healthy — a yoga and Pilates instructor  who makes healthy meals and consumes blended drinks filled with kale and carrots and fruit and soy protein powder. People like Rose don’t get sick, much less cancer.

Last year I went through a similar event – I don’t know what else to call it. An event. An enlarged prostate which no doctor would operate on because I had no health insurance. And no health insurance company would cover me because I had an enlarged prostate.

I finally had an operation in April.  Six months later.  (If you want a defense of Obamacare,  talk to me.) No tumor. No cancer. Just a life suspended for a while. A life not in my control.

And suddenly it was Rose grappling with the implications of a lump on her breast.

Certainly, if it were cancer, there would be no move to Belize. At least, not as planned. Not by February.

On Wednesday we went to the Kaiser Hospital Breast Clinic. A couple of hours, several doctors and several tests later, the doctors concluded that it wasn’t cancer.

Rose and I went out to lunch and, after a sigh of relief, resumed making plans for our move in February to Belize. We were back in control of our future.

Then, this afternoon Rose got an e-mail from one of the doctors who acknowledged the “abnormality” on the breast and recommended that a breast surgeon examine it for a possible biopsy.  Just to be sure.

So there we are. Still making plans but with one ear cocked for the call from the surgeon.

We have to move ahead, like everything will be OK, because we believe it will. One more doctor’s exam “just to be sure,” is a small price to pay for complete peace of mind. Isn’t it?

Rose, paddleboarding off the beach of Turtle Inn in Placencia.
Rose, paddleboarding off the beach of Turtle Inn in Placencia.
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11 thoughts on “‘Belize or bust’ takes on a new meaning

    Karen Kelly said:
    September 25, 2013 at 4:42 am

    The doctors are being extremely safe with Rose. That is a good thing.. Forge ahead. Stay positive. Sending love. K

    Like

    Corinne Lynch said:
    September 25, 2013 at 8:13 am

    Prayers for you guys. Get the biopsy. I had the same thing last year and all is well. The biopsy eliminated the lingering questions. I did a stereotactic biopsy–took a Xanax before the procedure. Easy and painless.

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    Robin Dishon said:
    September 25, 2013 at 8:54 am

    Yes, another doctor visit is well worth peace of mind. I am so glad they are being so thorough. All best to you!

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    lifeagain said:
    September 25, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    Yep, live your life with a sense of urgency. The lump, or prostate or any health scare is a call not to get our life plans derailed BUT to get them in action and start living a life. I hope the best for you Robert and Rose.

    Don

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      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      October 16, 2013 at 7:46 pm

      Exactly, Don. The reports came out good and ere back into making our move with more urgency than ever! Thanks for your thoughtful words.

      Like

    Maddy said:
    September 25, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    Beautiful Rosé! I will be positive and send good thoughts and prayers your way so that you may go on to your adventure with Robert!

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      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      October 16, 2013 at 7:44 pm

      Good thoughts and prayers read to good results, Maddy. I just posted the “official” report (ie: Rose approved) and there is no cancer. Onward!

      Like

    Esther said:
    September 25, 2013 at 11:55 pm

    Hey Rose: Like Corinne above, I had the same procedure (2 spots at the same time). They didn’t offer me Xanax …….get the Xanax. My results were also good after all the stress. Praying all will be well with you, too.

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      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      October 16, 2013 at 7:43 pm

      Hi Esther. TThe news came out all good and were back on track for Belize by the end of February. I just posted the “official” word from Rose on the blog. Sadly, no Xanax …. Thanks for the prayers and concern — from Rose and me.

      Like

    Janet and Ian said:
    September 27, 2013 at 2:48 am

    Hi Rosie and Bob, so sorry to hear you’ve hit a hitch in your plans. I too had a lump a few years ago which turned out to be a harmless cyst. Praying the same diagnosis for you xxxxx

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    Closing up shop « Bound for Belize said:
    December 31, 2013 at 6:02 am

    […] is also commiseration over family woes and a collective mourning when a dear friend is lost, like Tracy Barton Hostetter  who died from cancer this […]

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