And so we raised our children in California and worked hard. We had a good life. Eventually the children grew up and went their own way. We retired, Ted first, followed by me in 2007. Then the real fun began.
We moved to North Carolina. That was a good location—somewhere between the grandchildren in Atlanta and our family in South Carolina and New York . We visited family and traveled far and wide—working on our bucket list. Ted had always wanted to travel but we never felt we had enough money to travel and raise childen so we didn’t do much traveling while we lived in California. All that changed in North Carolina. We traveled to Paris, England, Iceland, South Africa, Central America and many west indian islands. Ted zip lined in Costa Rica and Jamaica and found a love of hiking and just being outdoors in general. We were having such a great time—and then we got a reality check.
Fast forward to December, 2012. After returing from a 3-week trip to South Africa, a cruise to Nassau and a 2-week stay in New York, we came home to see what was wrong with Ted. His stomach was really acting up and he spent most of our time in New York resting.
Time stood still. Everything was happening as if in slow motion. All I heard was the monitor that was hooked to Ted beeping as his blood pressure went up. On the outside his face was calm—on the inside he was a bundle of nerves as indicated by the rising blood pressure on the beeping monitor. Rashida and I were staring at the doctor and not believing what we were hearing.
After being diagnosed with an ulcer a month before, Ted still didn’t feel well and was losing weight very, very quickly so we’d made an appointment with the gastroenterologist who ordered a colonoscopy and an endoscopy. He gave us the good news first—the colonoscopy showed a couple of polyps that they removed—no problem. The endoscopy, however found a large narly (his words) mass, he wasn’t sure what it was—never seen anything like it before--will have to bioposy it-results will be back in a few days unless there was something to worry about, in which case it would be earlier. It was Friday. Finally, the nurse came in and disconnected the machine.
The doctor continued to speak but I heard what I think Snoopy must hear when humans speak (“wha, wha, wha”)—my mind was rushing around in 500 different directions.—I could no longer process what he was saying. Somehow we made it through the weekend. On Monday afternoon the phone rang, caller ID said it was the doctor’s office. It was too early for this phone call and we knew our lives would be changed forever.