Friday, July 6, 2018

Day 1728.....uh its been a while

Hello.... Hello..... Is this thing on...
Oh I there! I'm back!  Sorry, it has been soooooooo long, I was just keeping you hanging as all good storytellers do :P.  Nah actually I have been rather busy these last few months with moving, starting a new job, getting a new schedule, seeing the doctor, medical treatments....oh and a puppy :D.  Well, that about sums it up,
Until next time.

I guess I could give you a little (or a lot) more detail.  When we talked last I was in the hospital getting pumped full of bunny immune cells.  Well I am hoppy ;) to report that I am still human and going about my life merrily.  Unfortunately, the rATG did not work but I did not have any major side effects so that was a bonus.  Plus now I know what it is like and that it is not that bad, at least for me. I had a fear of getting rATG pretty much as soon as I heard about it pre-transplant, yet as with all my fears they turn out to be not so bad and the things that suck are things I never really saw coming.  Trust me I know from experience God really meant it when he said "DO NOT BE AFRAID". There really is no point it does nothing but get us all worked up, steal our present moments and lock us in a box of fear.  Everything I have ever been afraid of happening that has happened was actually okay, there was no reason to get all worked up.  And yet God also knew what he was doing when he said it over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over .... okay you get the point.  Not being afraid is something I have to constantly remind myself.  My latest mantra is the little bit of the song "don't worry, about a thing, cuz every little thing is gonna be alright" and it is true!

Alright, rant over!  Anyway like I said the rATG did not work. I went back in February only to discover my lung function had dropped a bit more.  This time there was no evidence of infection so the doctors were pretty certain it was from rejection and likely, chronic rejection.  They went ahead and did a treatment called campath.  I had heard about this fun med a few times before, from other transplant recipients and knew that it is a gnarly drug that basically wipes out your immune system for at least a year :O.  But at that point in time my doctors felt that it was my best option and really the only tool in the tool box against my (Joe's? Freddy's?...)lungs.  So at the end of February, I was shot up with the stuff.  And....... it seems to have done the trick. So far I have had one appointment since and everything was stable.  I go back in about two weeks and will see if these lungs are holding out, but until then I go about my life.

Having chronic rejection really has not changed my life much.  There are days where my breathing kinda sucks, a bit like before transplant and I am WAY more tired all the time and I definitely can feel the lack of function when I try to do anything physical, but other than that life is dare I say... normal.  I am working, paying bills, shopping at target... you know all the adult stuff. It is pretty easy to forget that there is a ticking time bomb inside of me.  Honestly apart from the lack of lung function things really are the same as before I got rejection.  Rejection is pretty much a guarantee at some point for us transplant folks and if we do not ever get it, it simply means we died of something else first.  So for me, the biggest difference in having rejection is that I know I have it rather than waiting for it to show up.  I can also work on mentally preparing for a second transplant as that is likely in the nearer future than I would like, but who really knows there are people who live years with rejection (by the way when I refer to rejection in this post I mean chronic rejection or Bronchiolitis Obliterans Syndrom (for those google crazy folks ;P), as it is sometimes called, similar name, but completely different disease than acute rejection).  So I just keep on going.  Waking up each day and living it to the fullest.

This new, or really old, way of life for me has made working a little bit hard. I enjoy my job but I would also love to be off traveling the world and spending time with my family and friends and when I try to live each day to the fullest, being stuck at work kinda does not really fit into that plan.  I am currently working as a behavioral health tech at an independent living site out here in Phoenix. What that means is that I work with people who have mental illness and a history of substance abuse learn to live the life they want.  I would not say it is the most rewarding job ever as I literally have the same conversations with the same people about the same issues day after day after day, but it is nice that I get to have a small part in making someone's life better, and... I have three days off a week!  I am also in the process of starting a new job.  It is with a company called VIPKID and I will be teaching English online to Chinese kids!  The best part, I set my schedule and can teach anywhere where I can get internet access, meaning I can teach and travel.  For now, I am working on building up my client base but I hope to one day make this my fulltime job and have more freedom in my schedule.  If you are interested in signing up or learning more you can use my referral link here ( I do get paid an incentive if you sign up, but I am really just sharing this as I think its a pretty cool way to make some extra money. You do need a degree but that is about the only requirement)  I am very early in the process and have yet to teach an actual student but I have my first real class tonight! Wish me luck!  I'll let you know how it goes.

Besides that, I have been trying not to melt in this ridiculously hot weather here.  You do get used to it and it is true it is more tolerable as it is a dry heat but man is it hot, for instance, yesterday it got up to 115 :O.  The hardest part is it doesn't cool off at night so there literally is no relief. Oh and I'm forced to go out in it to take my puppy to pee, yup I got a dog.  She is very sweet, fairly calm and much more suited to weak lungs and apartment living then pepper was. Her name is Islay (pronounced eye-la).  If you are a scotch fan you might recognize that name :P.  She is psycho and does not seem to mind the heat.  Her talents include jumping on and in everything, like a cat, chasing balls, laying in the middle of the road, being super cute and speaking Spanish!  She definitely brought a needed friendship to my life as I have been pretty sad and lonely out here in the desert.  (Get it, it is a desert for real but also kind of one metaphorically :P)

Well that is about all that is going on with me.  I will try to keep this thing up more regularly!  I hope you all are doing well.  If you have any specific topics you want me to cover, let me know in the comments.

Until next time
Your friendly neighborhood Lemon ;)

P.S. I've been thinking about doing a vlog (that is a video blog for those less techy types) any interest in watching that?  My biggest hurdle currently is how silly I feel talking to myself and a camera!  But we will see I think it could be fun!  Plus it is like all the rage and who am I if not a cutting-edge trend follower :P.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Bunnies and the New Year

Sorry it has been so long since I last wrote.  Life has been kinda crazy lately.  Since my last post I had my sinus surgery, which went well but left me unable to smell... anything :(.  I also got to go out and visit Michael's family and home town for a much shorter time than planned but at least I still got to go.  I started and finished my final semester of college, graduated with honors, got a new apartment and a job!  Oh and took a semi spontaneous trip to London which was fabulous. You can say things are going pretty well, and they are... or at least were.

Around Thanksgiving I began to develop some shortness of breath. A trip to my doctor confirmed that my breathing was indeed down.  We decided to keep an eye on it, start some antibiotics and go from there.  I did well, was able to enjoy Thanksgiving with my family, return back to school and finish my last few weeks strong.  On Thursday of this past week I went back to my doc and unfortunately discovered that my lung function had dropped even more and this time much more sharply.

All my doctors were understandably concerned and had me fly straight to duke (do not pass go do not collect $200... oh wait wrong thing :P) Anyway.  I got to Duke late Thursday night and was given a bronch the next morning to figure out what was going on.  The results came back as I suspected, I have both froms of rejection :(.

I have dealt with acute rejection up until this point but this is the first time I have had chronic rejection.  Although the names sound similar they are not the same thing.  The biggest difference between the two is that acute rejection can be stopped and reversed.  Chronic rejection is not really something that can be treated it is more managed or slowed.  Luckily the doctors believe we caught it early and that the treatment will be somewhat helpful.  Only time will really tell.

My treatment is a medication called rATG.  It is a substance derived from rabbits that essentially attacks human immune cells.  (I've done a lot of research so if you want to know more let me know).
This treatment is the next level of rejection treatment and will wipe out my immune system even more.  It will be crucial for me to be carful about germs from the next few months at least.  Hopefully this treatment will do the trick to fix the acute rejection and at least temporarily delay the progression of the chronic rejection, but only time will tell.  I will have to come back to Duke more frequently for bronchs after this and to keep an eye on my white blood cells and red blood cell count as this treatment can flare up my cancer again.  Luckily my treatment is going well and I have had almost no side effects. If I were to experience them they are some pretty nasty ones, so I am quite please with that.

This whole ordeal comes once again as a reminder that life is extremely unpredictable and things must be held onto very loosely.  I am currently sitting in a hospital room in North Carolina.  A week ago I was sitting in my Grandmothers house in Aspen enjoying Christmas time with my family and dreaming of sitting on a boat this week enjoying fresh sea air as I was scheduled to go on my first cruise ever.  What I find kind of ironic is my cruise was to celebrate the end of cancer.  Hopefully I will be able to go at some point.  For now I'm where I need to be even if it isn't exactly where I would like to be.  At least it is still a break for me so it isn't interfering with my new job and Michael is not in school right now so he was able to fly out and spend time here, which has been awesome.  Having people around really does make it much more tolerable!

Anyway until next time!
Anna the lemon (or bunny lemon as we are saying now!)

Friday, July 14, 2017

Once a Lemon Always a Lemon

      Being a lemon is not temporary it is a problem deep down at the very core.  You can get a new paint job and put in all new upholstery and although the car might look shiny and great, drive it off the lot and around the town for a few days, weeks if you are lucky and pretty soon the check engine light will be flashing and another $1000 bill will be added to the pile.  As much as I try to hide it, or tell myself it isn't true I really am a Lemon.
     I have been pretty lucky up until this point (and really considering my lemoniness I am still fairly lucky).  For the most part, since the whole cancer thing was dealt with, I have been able to enjoy a pretty normal life.  I have had a few bouts of rejection here and there but that is about it, until this year.  If you have been following my story closely you know that the new year, brought some new bugs, a few weeks long sickness and the end of my no hospital stay streak.  Well since then I have had a cough.  This pesky cough was what I thought, a sign that I had rejection.  In May I had a bronch to check that theory, which was correct.  I did a 3 day dose of heavy duty IV steroids and my cough went away.  Or so I thought, a week later there it was again.  
     In June I went back to Duke for a follow up bronch.  I was prepared for another round of rejection treatment, but no rejection.  So why this cough?  My doctor thinks it may have something to do with my sinuses and told me to get checked out by the ENT (ear, nose and throat doctor).  
     The results of that visit were less than ideal.  At 25 I think I have become an official member of the Cystic Fibrosis club as I too, like many of my friends before me, will be having sinus surgery.  The biggest down side, as if having surgery weren't bad enough, is that it seems the only time to have my surgery messes with my travel plans for the summer.  Not cool CF, not cool!  
     For probably the first time in my life I am having something medical done that does not have to occur at a specific time.  I am not sick, this is not sudden.  It is being planned and yet, I still find myself forced to cancel plans and miss out once again.  To me this is one of the most frustrating aspects of having a chronic illness, my health always seems to get in the way.  The lesson learned from all the changed plans and disappointment is good, life is completely out of your control.  No amount of planning, no meticulous medication schedules can prevent illness and changed plans, which has been good for me and really helped me to have more of a go with the flow attitude then is my true nature.  Unfortunately, the path to this discovery is littered with dissapointment, feelings of being left out and frustration.  This surgery is simply more of the same.  What makes it so difficult is that it is planned.  It did not have to be one more missed event in the book of my life, and yet, despite my best effort it is going to be.  In addition, the surgery comes with another hospital stay, so there is that too.  

     In other news, the climb is next weekend!  You all have been a huge help so far and we have raised a fair amount of money.  Thank you! 
    For those of you still thinking about donating, DO IT!!! The money goes towards helping find better treatments for people with CF, with the ultimate goal of finding a cure, so people can stop missing out on life!  OR at least miss out less.  So please, please help!  Even if you only have a dollar, if everyone gave a dollar it would add up real quick.  (feel free to spread the love around, it all goes to the same place whether you donate to me or another teammate!) 
                                 To Donate to our team, click any of the TEAL words!
   Also in case you are wondering, the CF Foundation is one of the top non-profit organizations and has a fantastic model to use the money most effectively, many companies look to the CF Foundation to learn how to go about this themselves, so your money will be used well!  

Friday, May 12, 2017

Bumps in the Road

Hey guys!
Sorry I've been kinda MIA this year, but like I said before this is a good thing, it means I am out living my life.  This year I really have been!  School is out and once again I am back in Colorado, this time for most of the summer, no awesome travel plans to Europe for me this summer.  Can you get withdrawals from lack of travel because if you can I have them.  I miss being in Europe so much and can't wait until I can get back there.  Next summer anyone?

Anyway, this semester went well, even with the slight hiccup at the start, which ended up causing me to basically miss the first two weeks of class.  My classes were all super interesting and I really learned a lot.  My social life has also seen a few big changes.  Remember those great friends that I mentioned in my post from January??? Well one of them has become a little bit more than a great friend!  That's right, I'm dating now!  It has been going really well and is definitely an exciting new path in my life, neither of us is sure where this leads yet but it is an adventure and we are both enjoying getting to know each other better!

Most of my summer will be spent at home or working.  I am going on my usual Mexico trip, but for a lot shorter time this year.  Then at the beginning of June I am in a few weddings.  I have reached that age where all my friends are getting married.  The funniest part of all is that both of my groups of friends (School and friends from home) are at the marrying age despite being 5ish years apart.  It's what happens when the younger ones are part of the Christian crowd, why is it that Christian people often get married so young?

As far as my health goes, I've hit a bit of a road block.  Rember that crazy sickness I had back in January well, ever since then I have had a bit of a cough.  I had met with the transplant team in Phoenix and they didn't seem to think too much of it.  However I had this sneaking suspicion that it was linked to rejection.  After a bronch at my most recent Duke trip, it was confirmed that I do indeed have rejection again.  (What is this like my 6th or 7th time?  It seems like my only break from rejection was right after chemo, killed two birds with that one stone)  Luckily, so far I have only needed the lowest form of treatment they have for rejection, which is what I will be doing this time too.  I will start an IV steroid treatment tomorrow afternoon that will last for 3 days.  I will have to go back to Duke later in June for a follow-up bronch to make sure the steroids do the trick.  Steroids are not my most favorite thing in the world but I am thankful they are available and effective in treating my rejection.  Hopefully this time the IV goes in a little smoother than it has been in the past,  last time it took 6 tries!

With this last bout of rejection have been getting a lot of people wondering why I have rejection again, doesn't your body get used to the lungs eventually?  Unfortunately, the answer is no.  Rejection is always a threat with lung transplant and sadly is one of the leading causes of death for people post transplant.  The transplanted lungs are not my own cells and they never will be.  Our immune system is designed to recognize self versus others and respond to the presence of other by attacking and destroying the foreign cells.  Great when it is a bacteria invader, not so great when those cells are another's organ that is keeping me alive.  As of right now there is no treatment that completely prevents the immune system from attacking the lungs while still providing the necessary protection against bacteria and other harmful substances.  That is why it is so important to put off transplant as long as possible.  Transplant helps give a person more time but it is not a permanent fix.  One way you can help people like me delay the need for a transplant as long as possible is by donating to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation which does ongoing research into new and better treatments for CF.  They are not governmentally funded at all, yet they provide amazing support and treatment for all people with CF.  They are a major part of the reason I made it as long as I did without a transplant.  In July a group of us will be climbing the stairs at the football stadium to raise support for the foundation.  If you are around and interested we would love to have you join our team.  Please also consider donating (that's a link, click it!) to our team.  All the donations go directly to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation!
Thank you so much for your support!

At the Sand Dunes with Anniken (My Norwegian sister!)

Adventures with this crazy kid!

Art Night with these Cuties!

Some of the Climb Team from last summer!

0 days since last hospital stay

Blog post written back in January (oops, sorry guys!)

They say transplant is trading one disease for another, it's easy to forget this when things are going well, but inevitably post transplant "disease" has its way of keeping it on your mind.  For most of this year things have been going fairly well.  I have been mildly sick here and there but nothing major, well... until now.  New year, new germs, or something like that.  Anyway, I got pretty sick after the start of the new year, probably the sickest I've been in a long time.  It all started with what I thought was a cold but quickly realized it was much more.  I was still at home so I went in to see my CF doc there.  I was sent home with a few meds in hopes they would do the trick and they did... or so I thought.

Fast forward a week and I was sick again.  This time much worse than before and I was back at school.  I ended up doing a little research and found a transplant hospital in Phoenix so I decided to go there.  I figured they would know what to do and I wouldn't risk getting trapped in the ICU again (read about it here).  Luckily I made the right move.  This place seems pretty good and they have been doing exactly what I would think they would do.  I've only been in a couple days and already I am doing much better.  I was on oxygen when I first came in because I couldn't breathe and I am off of that completely now!  Hopefully I will keep on getting better and be able to get out of here in a day or two.  The semester just started and I really need to get back to class!

 My hospital streak is gone, but I am where I need to be for the moment.  I will have to start a new streak once I get out of here!  Thankfully I have some amazing people here who were willing to help me out, from taking me to the hospital and hanging with me for hours in the ER, to helping my mom get my car and just being here hanging out with me and playing games.  I am so thankful for the people I have in my life!
The start of this whole thing, I think Nora knew something was wrong

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Day 1059

     The day has come.  Today, October 12, 2016, marks 3 years since my transplant and basically 2 years since I finished chemo.  Wow!  Has it really been 3 whole years already?  It feels like it was just yesterday.  At the same time, lengthy pre-bed treatments, tube fed meals, coughing, lack of appetite, burning lungs, beeping IVs, oxygen tanks and an overall struggle to survive seem like a very distant memory.  I almost can't remember my life before transplant, almost.  
     Making it to 3 years is huge.  About 40% of my fellow transplant patients don't make it this far.  It is not just a statistic but something I have seen play out.  I have seen the dreaded message about a friend needing prayer as they take a turn for the worse.  Many tears have been shed as those battles come to an end.  It is an interesting experience to see friend after friend suddenly go downhill all while I am sitting here fine.  It is confusing, on one hand, filling my head with the why me's of survival and yet, it is also calming.  There is an interesting peace that comes with knowing, truly knowing, how fragile and temporary life truly is.  At any moment it can be taken from me, from any of us, and the thing is, there is nothing any of us can do about it.  
     So what do you do with this information?  You live.  You find what matters, what is worth your time, what makes you happy and fills you up and cut out what doesn't.  You fill it with adventure, with fun and laughter.  You fill it with people in community sharing struggles, joys, laughter and pain.  You say yes to opportunities and try not to let worry about the little things stop you from experiencing the big things.     
     3 years means I have lived 3 years longer than I was supposed to.  3 years means I have gotten to experience almost 3 years of "normal" life (all except that little cancer blip, two years ago).  I have had 3 years to share laughs and play games.  3 years to be silly and make up songs.  3 years to pull all-nighters full of good conversations.  3 years to explore this crazy planet and go on spontaneous adventures big and small.  3 years to meet people and make friends and I've loved it!  
    I won't lie and say I have enjoyed every minute but I have definitely liked a lot of it and I wouldn't do it differently if I went back.  These last 3 years have been some of the craziest but also some of the best years of my life.  If 3 years is all I get, I know that I lived those years to the fullest!  And, if I get more time, I plan to keep on living it, one day at a time because, honestly, that is all any of can really do!      
     This year to celebrate I am going somewhere to see my human smallness and fragility in a more tangible way, under the stars and the rising sun, surrounded by good friends, with an early morning trip to the Grand Canyon!  Until next time, get out there and live!


Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Other Side of Travel

Somebody get that girl some hand sanitizer!

Recently I had the amazing opportunity to go on a 3 week long adventure through Europe.  I shared much of our journey on social media. Social media is a great place where we can catch up on people's lives and live vicariously through them, but it is only half of the story.  The pictures shared show the happy times, the beautiful scenery the best parts of our lives.  Just as you can cut the dumpster out of the picture of the beautiful gardens at Versailles, you can cut the hard life moments out and paint an almost fairytale picture of a very real experience.  Well I'm coming clean, maybe not completely clean this is not true confessions, (if you want juicy tidbits I'm not your girl!) I will give you a slight glimpse into what a trip is really like for a lemon and what it takes to make it happen.
Behind the smiles, before the yummy food, along with the awesome memories, is a world of pills, sanitizer, finger sticks, tons of luggage and a bit of extra planning.  It can make the difference between an enjoyable trip and a health nightmare (though as stated here, no amount of planning can truly prevent that).  It is the world that exists behind the scenes that makes travel possible for a person like me, a person with a chronic illness.  Unlike my healthy counterparts, I can not pick up and go in a moments notice, my travel essentials won't fit in a small backpack, spontaneous trips can't go on and on, they can only last as long as I have until my next refill. 

On this most recent trip what you didn't see was the half hour or so we were stuck at the Borghese Gallery because my body suddenly decided to make a whole bunch of insulin and crash my blood sugar, which took forever to come back up, or the amount of room in both my suitcase and carry on that was dedicated to pills and extra supplies,  It was a lot!  Basically my entire carry on and a quarter of my suitcase.  I would say this might be the hardest part for me because I hate having tons of stuff with me, I like to travel light.  In fact before my transplant I never used a purse, I was a pockets girl, if I couldn't fit it in my pockets I didn't need it.  Well now the amount of stuff I have with me on a regular basis could put a diaper bag to shame (okay maybe not that much, but in do have a ton of stuff I have to carry around.).  Trips, especially out of the country trips, are extra hard because in addition to my regular daily amount of supplies I have to be sure to bring plenty of extras in case something happens.  For instance on this latest trip I was gone for 24 days which is a lot of pills, but I also took an extra 6 days of supplies with me just in case.  So for this particular trip that amounted to over 1000 pills!!! Then there are all the supplies I need for my diabetes, pump sets (which come
in two parts), extra batteries, insulin (two kinds and an extra bottle of each), syringes in case my pump fails, lots of glucose test strips and of course alcohol wipes, tons and tons of alcohol wipes.  Then there are the quick sugar snacks I need for the inevitable blood sugar crashes.  All this takes a bit of planning since I need to make sure I have enough supplies on hand to get through the whole trip.  In addition I get an antibiotic to bring just in case and I also almost always have a mask, wipes and handsanitizer with me.  

Believe it or not this is what is left after 2/3 of the trip!  And it's only my pills, well and two pump parts.
On the trip itself there are usually a few times my health issues get in the way, I wouldn't be a true lemon if that wasn't the case!  This particular trip was no exception, although I think it was the smoothest trip health wise I have had.  I had energy most of the time and felt well enough each day to participate in the activities, despite getting sick less than a week in.  On my last trip to Europe, I stayed behind a few days because I didn't feel well.  This time I really only skipped out on one evening, which ended up consisting of walking to a place for takeout anyway. 
What were those lemon moments you ask, well like I said, I ended up getting sick pretty much right of the bat.  I guess looking back on it, it was kind of inevitable as I was around the most people I had been all summer when my immune system was at its lowest, my rejection treatment ended up happening days before my trip.  Luckily for me it seemed to be a quick bug as one evening of rest and a slower day following it were enough for me to mostly recover.  
My blood sugar proved to be the biggest issue on this trip.  The previously mentioned rejection treatment has a tendency to cause my blood sugars to get way out of wack and this time around was no exception.  I went from having extremely high sugars one day to crashing multiple times the next.  These crashes caused us to have to stop in a few places while I waited for my sugary snacks to kick in and allow my legs to regain their solid human status instead of the limp noodle like state given to them from the lack of sugar (cell energy) in my blood.  The Borghese Gallery being one of those places.  I also had a lovely crash while eating gelato!!!! (um... WHAT, crazy body gelato has sugar!!!)
Little did I know in this pic my blood sugar was crashing rapidly (quit wasting your time with pics girl, EAT THAT GELATO PRONTO!)

The Great 2016 Gelato Crash!

In addition to the interruptions, there are a few challenges of traveling, especially to another country with some unique needs. First of all I am sometimes limited in what or where I can eat as I have a few food restrictions and need to be extra careful about cleanliness and food safety.  An example of that, the sandwich. A staple it seems in most countries' diets and quite easy to find, yet if it contains any meat and is not hot I can not partake.  The other challenge I find when being abroad is knowing the carb content of my food.  You would think that  almost 3 years of having to count my carbs every time I eat I would be an expert at knowing the carbs per serving, but my friends you are mistaken, I SUCK at carb counting.  This is one area where technology has been a detriment.  Instead of learning carbs I rely on nutrition labels, online nutrition information and good old (new?) fashion internet searches.  Well my friends when the nutrition label is in French, a serving is listed per 100g and access to the internet costs more than college, you get some pretty interesting and highly inaccurate carb counts.  I mean does anyone know what 100g of gelato looks like???  Add to this that many packages did not include the amount of grams in them, forget being able to be like oh 100g is 1/3 of this 300g container.  Chocolate bars we found in the grocery store in Paris turned out to be my favorite nutrition label as there was literally a picture showing what a serving of the bar looked like along with the carbs found in it!  Luckily the word for carbohydrates is pretty easily identified in all of the languages we dealt with on the trip, so you know, it could have been worse.  Plus I had my continuous glucose monitor (learn more about dex here) which helped immensely as I could catch my highs or lows most times before they became a real problem!
Despite the challenges, traveling is great. It has been a while since I had been on a sightseeing type trip and I had forgotten how much I love it.  I get too comfortable in my known daily routine that I forget the true thrill of traveling!  My adventurer spirit has been reawakened.  I can't wait to get on to more windows! 

Here are a a few pictures from the trip: