Unlike rich countries with unlimited resources to buy vaccine as fast as the rich pharmaceuticals can make them, our government is buying about 200,000 shots at a time with the following priority list of who gets their shot when through public clinics.
Looking out of my living room front window during a hard rain today (so glad rainy season is here!), the big tree is a Strangler Fig Tree with an unknown smaller one beside it plus a strangled one and then on this side is the tall, skinny Ylang-ylang Tree still growing up through the canopy of the larger trees. And all much wetter than the photo shows! 🙂 See also my May 11 “Rain Trees” post for a different look at wet trees! 🙂
Plus I’m “A Marked Man” for RadiationContinue reading “More Raintrees”
Here are just some of the many reasons I love being “Retired in Costa Rica” and I thank Christopher Howard for first printing this “song” in his Live in Costa Rica Blog & Website. It was written by the late Lair Davis to express his love for this wonderful country. It lists many of the reasons that I live here and will continue to until I die. Though he does not emphasize my primary love of the country – NATURE – and all of the natural beauty found here, it expresses many of the “people reasons” for living here:Continue reading “People Reasons for Living in Costa Rica!”
That was the name of my business during those few short years in Tennessee trying to sell nature photography. I was reminded of the many different kinds of “art” found in nature this morning at breakfast on my terrace, focusing on these two trees against the clear blue sky. Draw your own conclusions, but I liked what I saw in both the Cecropia Tree and Palm Tree.
I am in a period of rest from medical procedures until Friday when I get both an MRI and CT Scan plus modeling for my radiation mask. Then next week a new phase of Radiotherapy will begin. Stay tuned! 🙂
“Nature itself is the best physician.”~Hippocrates
I missed getting photos of the beautiful Squirrel Cuckoo, Brown Jay, Chachalacas I saw, and the Toucan my neighbor saw in my tree, but here’s 3 snaps from this morning that bring me back to my reason for retiring in Costa Rica – NATURE! 🙂
“Come to the woods for here is rest.“– John Muir
And my radiotherapy MRI & CT Scan have been postponed to later in the week. Dr. Bonilla called and said she felt I needed to rest after the eye surgery. 🙂 Amazing sensitivity!
In my cancer adventure, yesterday morning was the last set of activities scheduled before beginning radiation therapy and their 3 pre-therapy actions. The dental work and eye surgery . . .Continue reading “An Overwhelming Morning”
Of course it was right after I watered my gardens that the big downburst of rain came and just kept raining like one of those good rainy season afternoon showers. Yeah, we were hoping the same with our March 22 rain but it was not this big of a thundershower and didn’t have the Pacific Ocean storms we’re having now. I checked the Accuweather long-range forecast and, if accurate, we are beginning rainy season early (most typically it starts in May). It is also called “The Green Season” and is my favorite time of year!
Except for rain pounding down on the driveway, I haven’t been able to photograph rain around my house so it shows up very well in the pix, but here’s two from past trips that show up a little better. That one from Selva Verde (feature photo at top online) shows rain pouring off the roof of my cabin by the river, while my house here in Atenas has gutters all the way around, thus never having that same effect.
I Feel Most At Peace When It Is Raining For It Reminds Me That The Sky Is Alive.– Taylor Ashley
The honorific title of “Don” (“Doña” for older women) started in Europe for royalty and leaders of honor in Spain, Italy and Portugal, while today in Latin America it is a term of respect and endearment for senior adults. Since I started my cancer treatments, most of the different doctor offices call me Don Charlie, Don Charles or now my oncologist office lady always calls me Don Carlos. It is kind of nice to have the respect shown and helps to keep you from feeling sorry for yourself. 🙂 Respect for the elderly in Cosat Rica is everywhere!
Report on Today’s Two Doctor Appointments
Like with so many doctor appointments, both gave follow-up appointments with the biggest being with my Ophthalmologist who is doing minor outpatient eye surgery on my left eye this Friday right after the dentist appointment. It is one of her standard procedures to partially close the eyelid that won’t blink or close on its own. It will be down to a kind of permanent squint so the eye doesn’t dry out and water so much like now AND most likely I will no longer need to wear an eye patch! AND I will be able to see with both eyes (particularly helps depth perception). Both eyes are still 20/20 vision so I still don’t need glasses, though over-the-counter reading glasses (magnifying) is okay and sometimes needed for someone my age. I’ve especially needed them while reading with one eye only the last couple of weeks. And maybe the best part, her special ophthalmology operating room is in Ciudad Colon on the Atenas side of San Jose, meaning a shorter drive! 🙂
It was important to squeeze this in before radiation starts to avoid more damage from the radiation. It is like they are rebuilding my body.
And the oncology surgeon just checked the incisions and swelling which is visibly going down now, but can take a month or more. This skin is less and less sensitive in that area. But it could take up to a year before back to “normal.”
This happened the week before my cancer surgery and now it has started again two weeks before the beginning of my radiation treatments – tiring – hard to keep up with – but necessary!
1. Today, First of 3 Dental Appointments
Those who have experienced radiation know that you cannot have any dental work done after radiation for a long time, especially no tooth pulled because the radiation does something to keep the hole from a pulled tooth from healing. Hopefully none will need to be pulled! 🙂
- Today (Monday) – teeth cleaned and checked out with two tiny cavities found visually that she will fill this Friday. She also ordered a panoramic X-ray of my teeth from the Dental Radiologist one block away where I went next to make my appointment.
- Thursday – Teeth X-rayed when I will take the resulting X-ray back to Dr. Karina for her to study and see if there are other problems we should take care of before radiation.
- Friday – I return to Dr. Karina for the two known fillings and anything else she finds on the x-rays.
2. Tomorrow, Tuesday – Appointment with Ophthalmologist
This is Dr. Raquel Benavides whom I saw in the hospital and Dr. Hernandez (my oncology surgeon) recommends to see if anything can be done to help my eyelid that will not close now or blink. He thinks she can “stich” the eyelid mostly closed to a sort of squint so that I will not have to keep it covered and can still see with it. Hmmm, I’m not convinced of that yet but maybe she will convince me or have some other solution other than an eyepatch. I’ll find out tomorrow and expect almost anything to come after radiation is completed.
3. Tomorrow, Tuesday – Appointment with Oncology Surgeon
This will be my 3rd “follow-up” or “post-op” visit to the surgeon, Dr. Christian Hernández. He wants to check on the healing of the long incision and the swelling on my left face and neck. Plus he said he wants to hear what the Ophthalmologist says. 🙂 He must not have a mouth specialist friend who can fix one-sided smiles! 🙂 He encouraged me earlier to go ahead and shave on the left side, but because it is tender and sensitive I only lightly run the electric razor over the left cheek and even more lightly on the left side of my neck which is more swollen and more sensitive. So I am not back to normal yet, skin-wise. The pain is less now in the ear and jaw, but still some and I’m now taking an over the counter acetaphetamine locally popular called Panadol.
4. Wednesday – Seeing my Dermatologist as Pre-scheduled
The last time I saw him, Dr. Roberto Gamboa, was when he sent me to Dr. Hernández to take care of the tumor which I will now have to tell him came from that skin cancer he removed in MOHS surgery which is supposed to mean they got it all. Well . . . cancer roots go deep! At that last visit he also treated a little skin cancer on my upper lip which was a black spot on my lip in some of my cancer selfie photos. (I was putting a very expensive anti-cancer medication on it once a day for 20 days.) That scab is gone now and supposedly the little cancer there. Of course he will be checking for any more and he often burns bumps off my skin with nitrogen. He is also my “traveling buddy” who likes nature lodges all over Costa Rica like me. He is the one who recommended Bosque del Cabo Lodge where I’m going the first week of July and earlier got me hooked on El Silencio Lodge I’ve visited twice now! Hopefully he finds no new skin cancers this visit. And maybe the best thing is that he is located in nearby Alajuela rather than far-away San Jose! 🙂 A much quicker and easier drive!
5. Next Monday – MRI at the Lindora Campus of Hospital Metropolitano
This MRI is for the Radiotherapists to help them target the cancer cells in my head, especially in the nerves since the cancer was in the left facial nerve. The best thing about this is that it is in a suburb on this side of San Jose, Lindora, and secondly in the only hospital that takes my Medismart Card for a big discount, as does the Radioterapia Siglo XXI I’m using and thus they are sort of Medismart partners. 🙂 It will take only about an hour with a little less than an hour each way traveling, so not as tiring as going to San Jose.
6. Next Tuesday – CT Scan and Mask-making at Radioterapia Siglo XXI
I assume that the MRI and CT Scan show different things that they need, thus I’m getting both in preparation for the radiotherapy. Both of these will be in San Jose at the Radioterapia Siglo XXI building where I will spend a lot of time the next month and a half.
7. Begin Radiotherapy in San Jose
This is the long-haul treatment of cancer, radiotherapy 5 days a week for 6 weeks and they guarantee that you will be tired at the end – enough so that they encourage you to plan no activities for the following 4 week or in my case, the month of June. It will take place in central or north-central San Jose at Radioterapia Siglo XXI, the only private radiation company in Costa Rica with only one place for the public healthcare patients to get it at Hospital Mexico. I chose to pay for private because it could be quicker, with often very long waits in the public healthcare system and because my oncologist strongly recommended it because of the size of the cancer.
As I shared in an earlier post, I am now planning to travel to San Jose each Monday and return to Atenas on Fridays, staying in a hotel near the therapy location. Even though someone else will be driving, I dislike the long, high-traffic drive that at peaks can be 2 hours between Atenas and San Jose. As long as I feel like it, I will even add a tour or two each week to something of interest in San Jose like some wonderful museums and parks plus history and architecture that interests me and may give photo ops, though many museums restrict photographs. Otherwise I will be pampered with all meals, room cleaning, Wifi, and hotel gardens to relax in between treatments. I will try to turn radiation into a relaxed and colorful, tropical vacation in the center of Costa Rica! 🙂
Its a beautiful sunny day in Atenas, Costa Rica for Easter Morning with the Yigüirro singing his heart out for the rains to come (any day now) though I cannot photograph him or any birds for several weeks now because of the high winds. The birds are hiding in the thick trees for protection from the wind. Thus I resort to Easter Flower Photos! 🙂
And our online English language newspaper Tico Times also wishes you a Happy Easter with a photo of the oldest church in Costa Rica. It is a beautiful historical place that I have visited once (my gallery link) in the Orosi Valley. The Ruins of Ujarras (Wikipedia link) is the site of Costa Rica’s oldest church, the Spanish colonial church built between 1575 and 1580 . . .