Hoping Rainy Season Started Early!

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

¡Pura Vida!

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!

Remembering 6+ Years in Costa Rica

A lot of American, Canadian and European retirees choose to spend their last years in the beautiful land of nature called Costa Rica. And I am amazed at how many of them get a house somewhere and just sit on the porch, leaving only for the many necessary functions including immigration paperwork, shopping, medical services, a few for church, etc. While some take an occasional trip to see other parts of Costa Rica, there seem to be only a very small number like me who have a passion for seeing every “nook and cranny” of this beautiful natural paradise. And wow! What most of these gringos are missing! 🙂

For more than two years of the past 6, I traveled to a different park, reserve, or nature lodge every month. Last year I decided to slow it down to one place every two months, then got even that slowed down with the Coronavirus Pandemic. While this year was scheduled for a trip every two months before the villain Cancer came into my life. Meaning only God knows how many more places I will get to visit or revisit as I have been going back to favorite places more lately. Either way I get to be immersed in nature, my passion!

One wall of my living room is covered with photos of birds I’ve photographed here and another wall behind my dining table has photos of me on adventures around the world from Africa to Tennessee with a metal print of my social media logo, meme, or “gravatar!” 🙂 And below that gravatar is a map of the many places I’ve visited in Costa Rica. I just updated that map including my anticipated trip to Bosque del Cabo on Osa Peninsula this July for my 81st birthday, the only “new” place this year. The rest of the year I have 2 or maybe 3 scheduled repeat visits to favorite places, assuming I will be able to travel: Caribe Puerto Viejo and South Pacific Uvita for sure with Tambor Bay a maybe.

Since I’m not sure how much more traveling I will get to do here in my final years paradise, I decided to share the updated map that is on the wall mentioned above. Here:

Places I’ve visited in Costa Rica over 6 years in no particular order.

And just for fun, here’s the Google map that shows where Google has tracked me going all over Costa Rica with the number of times. Of course the solid red blotch is the Central Valley where I live and they’ve tracked me moving around near home a lot! 🙂

Where Google has “tracked me.” This map is more than a year old. And I have no explanation for the dot out in the Pacific Ocean. A Google error I assume. I have not been that far away from land! 🙂

“Jobs fill your pockets, adventures fill your soul.”

~Unknown

¡Pura Vida!

Opening Up With Nature

“Like music and art, love of nature is a common language that can transcend political or social boundaries.”

~JIMMY CARTER

Sunrise & Flower Shots from my February

Visit to El Silencio Lodge, Bajos del Toro

¡Pura Vida!

HEALTH UPDATE: Today I visited a geriatrics specialist for the first time in my life at my surgeon’s request “to make sure I’m healthy enough for surgery.” — I AM! — But in the process I’ve come to appreciate a new specialist whom I really liked and appreciated and who can possibly help me manage my lifestyle for my remaining years better than anyone I’ve talked to yet. Already he has helped me! In addition to approving me for surgery! 🙂

Tomorrow I go for a negative Covid Test and then I’m ready for surgery, I think. 🙂

El Silencio – GALLERY 2

The “Trip Gallery” for last week’s 4 nights at El Silencio Lodge & Reserve in Bajos del Toro, Alajuela, Costa Rica is now completed and ready to visit by clicking the image below or this web address with many photos not yet shared on the blog:

https://charliedoggett.smugmug.com/TRIPS/2021-02-15-20-El-Silencio-Lodge

And because I was there just 6 months ago, last September, and was not having a knee problem, I have even more photos in THAT FIRST TRIP GALLERY, especially more waterfalls! 🙂 Just click the gallery title below to see it . . .

2020 September 14-19 — El Silencio Lodge & Reserve

The joy of being “Retired in Costa Rica!”

¡Pura Vida!

Costa Rica: “Best of the World!”

Check out this National Geographic Traveler Article online listing Costa Rica as #2 on their list of Best of the World: eight sustainable destinations for 2021 and beyond.

The above photo is one of mine from Drake Bay since Nat Geo used their Drake Bay photo and I think mine is just about as good! 🙂 It’s sunrise from Aguila de Osa Lodge and the full post online also has my Drake Bay snorkeling photo. 🙂

And for those email recipients who won’t click the magazine link above, I copied the CR part of the article into my full blog post on my site, just click below . . .

Continue reading “Costa Rica: “Best of the World!””

In the Shadow of Trees

Darkness is absence of light. Shadow is diminution of light.

~Leonardo da Vinci

A photo from San Gerardo de Dota that I liked and didn’t include in my flower post. Sometimes it’s the little things that impress me the most, yet often get overlooked like this diminution of light.

¡Pura Vida!