Another Gauntlet of Doctors

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! 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

My Team Wins! Yay Alajuela!

You North Americans think you are crazy about American Football, you should see some of the Ticos get excited about their REAL FUTBOL (soccer) team. Liga Deportiva Alajuelense survived a late scare to beat Saprissa, 3-2, and win the 2021 CONCACAF League. This is like the “Super Bowl” of Costa Rica!

Atenas only has high school football but we are in Alajuela Province, thus that is “our” team! No. I have not suddenly become a football fan! I wasn’t in the states and not here, BUT I am a fan of my local people and many of them, especially young men, are big fans. And this was so important because we (underdogs) beat the “big” team from San Jose! 🙂 They are arrogant, big city bosses who needed to lose a game! And they lost more than one! 🙂 And to show my support I chose my Banco Nacional credit card colors in the colors of Liga, our team!

Read about it in Tico Times. In English!

¡Pura vida!

A Reward for Sharing

One of my new favorite lodges in Costa Rica is El Silencio Lodge at Bajos del Toro in my own province of Alajuela, north of San Ramon in the cloud forest mountains where there are many waterfalls. I was there last September and as I frequently do, I made a little 7X7 inch photo book about my experiences there, sending them a copy plus one each of my general birds and butterflies books for their other guests to enjoy. When the owner came down from San Jose and saw the books he was so impressed that he told the staff to offer me two free nights in this luxury lodge.

Well, of course I accepted the offer and will add-on two more nights at my cost for a great 5-day visit the middle of February! 🙂 If you want to see a free electronic preview of the book online, click the title here: El Silencio, Touching Souls, inspired by a quote from Mother Teresa:

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.

~Mother Teresa

¡Pura Vida!

Or you may like visiting my “Trip Gallery” on 2020 September El Silencio Lodge.

New Village View

Some mornings I just walk the circle drive over the hill my house hangs on the side of. Near the top in just one spot, directly above my house, is this view of Atenas, Alajuela Province, Costa Rica – the tranquil little coffee-farming town where I’m living out the rest of my life, Retired in Costa Rica! The town slogan is Mejor Clima del Mundo, “The best weather in the world!” A subjective opinion of course! 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Xandari GALLERY #4 Published

The “4” can mean my 4th trip to Xandari or the 4th Gallery on Xandari or the fact that I was there for 4 days this time! 🙂 The featured photo is on my walk to the restaurant from my villa.

It is a magical getaway every visit and I tend to photograph many new things or the same things in different ways each time, like this time I didn’t even hike to the waterfalls but spent more time with flowers & butterflies and a feature on the bamboo forest. So if considering a visit to Xandari, check out each of my photo galleries from 4 different trips there with 4 different perspectives:

  • 2020 August 21-24 – A Weekend Retreat during a World Pandemic with masks & solo activities in nature. Most butterflies & flowers this time.
  • 2020 January 12-16 – Five days when I installed my photo books library and photographed all kinds of nature with more birds than above.
  • 2019 July 1-6 – My birthday week with them providing a cake and great celebration and me making another different set of nature photos all over. A very good week! Or see the Photo Book, Brilliant! My Birthday Week at Xandari!
  • 2018 July 14-18 – My first trip to Xandari and maybe my most photos as I was thrilled with the discovery in every way! Or see the Photo Book, Xandari – Enchanted by Nature

¡Pura Vida!

Central Valley Vista

Xandari is on a hill overlooking the great central valley of Costa Rica between the mountain in all four directions. My last morning here had maybe the clearest sky of the weekend and thus this expansive view of our Central Valley. Atenas is located somewhere in the right side of the photo or west of Xandari which is pretty much in the center of the valley.

Central Valley of Costa Rica from Room #4 at Xandari Resort, Alajuela. Atenas is somewhere on the right side of photo.

¡Pura Vida!

For more Costa Rica vistas see my gallery with a long name:

Vistas, Beaches, Sunrises, Sunsets Costa Rica

Bewitching Birds

Merriam-Webster defines “bewitching” as “powerfully or seductively attractive or charming” which well-describes the effect of over 900 species of birds in Costa Rica on me, along with my love of alliterations! 🙂

I usually photograph more birds than this at Xandari, but with rain and fog blanketing that mountain most of the time this past weekend, I got usable photos of only 9 species, but as indicated yesterday, I made up the difference with butterflies and flowers! 🙂 I’m never without something to photograph at Xandari! 🙂

No new species this time, but as always, I love trying to get a different view, perspective, or activity of a bird to make my bird galleries more interesting. CLICK image to enlarge.

Meet some of the Xandari family . . .

AND . . . They treat me like family! I love this place and these people!

Xandari Nature Resort

¡Pura Vida!

I return to my home in Atenas today but will have more posts about this weekend trip to Xandari and a gallery of the best photos from the weekend posted by the end of the week. In the meantime you might be interested in some of my other Costa Rica Travel galleries at CR Trips. Some of my Tico friends tell me that I’ve seen more of their home country than they have. I love it all!

🙂

Bountiful Butterflies

This trip to Xandari I photographed more butterflies than birds, which I think is a first for anywhere I have visited in Costa Rica. Xandari has always given me a lot of butterflies, partly because of their lush gardens, but today I have photos of 16 different species, a new record! Multiple are new species for me, bringing my butterfly collection up to somewhere near 120 in my Butterfly Gallery. Check it out! Quite a variety!

The only WordPress inline Gallery that now allows labels, which I want to include, is their “regular” gallery which crops each image to same size/shape, meaning you need to click on an image to see the full-size presentation of each and I prefer my framing than their boxes. Clicking one also can start a manual slide show of all 16.

A part of the “Colourscape” of the place:

Xandari Costa Rica

¡Pura Vida!

Flowers Close

My first afternoon at Xandari was mostly in the rain, but I managed get these close-ups of a few of their many flowers plus a toucan and a butterfly which I will share later. For now enjoy the beautiful art of flowers! CLICK image to enlarge . . .

Some of the best gardens I’ve visited and you can meet one of the gardeners in this video:

Fertile ground!

Xandari Costa Rica!

¡Pura Vida!

Impulsive Weekend Plans

Doing some things on impulse is part of being retired in Costa Rica I think and I’m tired of being cooped up at home in Atenas. One of my favorite nearby get-a-ways announced they were open on weekends only for now with special discounted prices, so I took the bait and will go to Xandari Nature Resort this weekend, an hour away, Friday afternoon to Monday morning; to hike their forests, waterfalls and most beautiful gardens. Hope to get some good photos and will avoid group hikes or any other interactions with people, eating alone, maybe even relaxing in their solo hot tub by reservation. But mainly some new nature experiences, some with my mask and face shield as we continue to fight the spread of COVID19 here. I will stay safe! And I forgot to say yesterday that I now have my “Permanent Residency” in Costa Rica! 🙂

The feature photo today is one of the sunsets from my last visit to Xandari in January.

Retired in Costa Rica!

¡Pura Vida!