Yesterday morning was busy at Mt. Rainier. It's so big and massive that it makes its own weather. See that "lenticular cloud" it made? And then a mean little cumulus clould floating by. And it is a little tricky to see at this resolution, but you see that "blob" just under and below the left edge of the dark cloud? That's an airliner, taking off from SEATAC.
What a view the people on the left side of the plane had!
I'm always fascinated by "work boats." The enormous craft that ply the sea in search of fish, at least most of them. Unlike pleasure boats, where us owners lavish love and baby them, the work boats are just tools. Tools that live in some of the harshest conditions, and are expected to not only produce, but protect the crew. They don't try to be pretty.
I gave this image a treatment I thought helps bring out the grittiness and the lack of glamour inherent in these boats.
[I suggest you hit play above and listen to this while reading...]
If you look at the "tagline" above, of my blog, you see the word "life" in there. When I wrote that I thought that every once in a while I'd have something to say about life. Not that I have anything earth shattering to say, but who knows, might be interesting or of help to someone. Today being Thanksgiving, I want to reflect on some things I'm very grateful for.
But I haven't done much of that. The other night at dinner this song came on. I decided to look her up and see what else she had done. It saddened me to find out she died of melanoma at only age 33. Voice of an angel, wouldn't you say?
This is personal for me, because I had (lentigo maligna) melanoma at age 27. I had a couple of surgeries and that was the end of it. Being 27, I had no thoughts of losing my life. They told me the cure rate was 60%, so I figured I was good to go. (Thank you to my brother, then a surgery resident, for noticing my tumor so early.)
For the first ten years after I went to the dermatologist twice per year, and thereafter just once. I can't tell you how many people I have met that have lost family members to the same cancer I had. Several years ago we had a benefit at our home. I met two doctors there that were new to UC Davis. "Do you two know Jim Goodnight?" I asked? "Sure, why?" He's the doc that operated on me. Both raised their eyebrows, because if Jim Goodnight operates on you, you have something serious going on.
Now mine wasn't that serious, but he was my brother's mentor, so I got lucky and got great care. They were highly interested in my case, because they were both researchers. And it turns out that the survival rate for my cancer isn't 60% like thought then. Turns out it reoccurs for a lot of people. That must have been what happened to Eva.
So, of course I'm thankful I just had it once, and that I seemed to have survived it. I'm not foolish enough to think I can't get The Big C again, but I do kinda think just getting it once is all we should have to endure.
The other important areas of my life are going well. The health of my wife and kids. My kids doing well in college and now grad school. Next month will mark 30 years since I started my company. It has taken a while but things are really going great there and I'm proud of what we have accomplished.
And then the amazing last two and a half years. We somewhat unexpectedly decided to move out of California to Washington State. This "life change" has been just that. So many new places to explore. We have made a lot of great friends here. Many things have happened that are just "so good" it's kind of hard to believe.
The biggest one for me has been a huge change in my health. Being a guy that sat in the office for decades, liking to cook and eat, and not being a natural exerciser, I had gotten pretty heavy. More than 235 lbs.
June 2012 in Scotland
When I went to Cuba in early 2012, I had a fall and within a couple of months I could barely walk. The rehab process coming back from that inspired me and I found I really wanted to get back to walking. I'm so thankful for discovering physical therapy. And as part of that process I totally changed how I eat. Over the course of nine months or so I lost over 45 lbs, and now I'm 189 lbs.
Summer 2013 with my lovely wife
It's just about impossible to put into words how different I feel. Remember how you felt when you were 20 years old? That's exactly how I feel. My PT was able to fix my back pain as well. About a year and a half after the cancer, I ruptured a disk in my back and had to have back surgery. I had been in daily pain ever since. After years of taking one type of OTC med after another, they each caused my problems and I had to give up on that as well.
So looking at those two pictures, and listening to what I have said about how I feel, you can imagine that this whole things is like a personal miracle. So thanks to Dan Sniffin for inviting me to his 70th birthday party in Cuba! Without that fall, I'm not sure any of this would have happened. And certainly not if I hadn't move to Washington and changed my lifestyle.
I'm going to close with saying how much I truly appreciate the Wondeful World that I live in. I hope your world is just as bright today.
[If anyone would like more info on the eating/cooking/lifestyle issues just email me, email@example.com]