We’re back from a week long vacation in Alaska! But before I get to that, let me catch you up on a few other developments.

First! The fire situation calmed right down after a rain, and then POOF now the Yukon has dozens more fires and there is even an evacuation alert for the folks over in the community of Keno. We just got a significant rain again though, so the fires should stay calm for now.

Me with curly short wacky hair
My hair is so so curly!

We headed down to Whitehorse last week for my checkups. I would have told anyone it was a mind over matter thing, and suck it up, if they told me about any sort of anxiety before their post-cancer check-ups, but it’s no joke! I understand now!

It’s almost like some sort of PTSD thing, when I even see an IV pole on a TV show. About a week before my three-month check-up, it really started getting to me. Like a mental cork screw in my brain.

If they told me I had cancer again, I would have said, yep, I knew it.

If they said I was all clear, I would have said, told you so.

This upcoming appointment was weighing over everything. When booking accommodations in Alaska for our vacation, I went out of my way to make sure every one of them was refundable if we needed to cancel the trip.

Would I find out that I just had a good few months of normalcy before crashing back into cancer and a quick shuffle to the exit door? Where was it spreading? Is it my brain? I just felt a twinge. My kidney? Was that a cramp in my calf or a cancerous tumour? Is it my bones?

My first appointment was with my gynecologist, and he had a medical student do most of the appointment and exam. During the internal exam, the student said he saw something he wanted the doctor to double check. Jeff was sitting on a chair nearby. I was flat on the exam table with my knees spread. It felt like, this is it. I don’t want to breathe. I crossed my fingers. We nervously looked at each other.

Once the doctor was looking in me too, it was dead silent in the room. Nothing. An hour passed. Or maybe just a minute. Then lots of medical lingo. Then a “that discolouration? Nope, I’m not concerned about that. It’s pretty normal after radiation. I’m not concerned about anything I see here”.

Exhale.

I’m okay! YES!

It feels like I was just assigned another three months of life!

Jeff wears his “LUCKY” shirt to all my appointments and procedures.

Right after I had an appointment with a general surgeon. I had asked before for a referral to get some cysts removed from my head, because they are big and annoying and were really a pain in the butt while I was bald.

So we start chatting and I’m going on about my head bumps, and he is asking about my bowel movements. Uhm, wait, what is going on here?

Turns out it was a referral because it was suspected that I had Lynch Syndrome, which often results in colon cancer. I was recently told I was clear and do NOT have the syndrome, but the doctors hadn’t received those results yet.

The surgeon was going to schedule a colonoscopy, as would be the next step if I had Lynch Syndrome. Whew, I’m safe! I explained that I recently received the results and I do not have the Lynch Syndrome.

But then he said maybe it was still a good idea. I had a cancer that spread all over in me. He said I could wait until normal screening starts at age 50, or I could do it now and if it is all good, resume after 50, and have the peace of mind that I was okay.

I was all for waiting until I’m 50. But he really urged that I should schedule one so if there is any concerns, it is dealt with promptly.

I guess putting off things and ignoring symptoms got me into this spot in the first place, so I caved, and I have not just a colonoscopy scheduled, but also a scope from the throat down at the same time. So I’ll be totally knocked out. That’ll be in September. Oh goodie.

The good news, is he also agreed to schedule an appointment in October to take off the couple biggest cysts on my head. Yeeha! They are likely just the harmless cysts many of my relatives also have on their heads, but I will be so happy to be rid of at least two of them.

While we were in the city, I also needed to get my eyes checked. Chemo was rough on my eyes. Remember after each dose I went through several days where my vision was terrible? My eye doctor thinks my retinas were likely swollen and wishes she could have looked at the time, just out of curiosity. My vision is mostly back to my normal, with just a slight prescription change, but I’ve really lost all ability to switch focus, likely just due to aging, so I’m taking off my glasses all the time to use my phone or look at my watch. Guess what that means…. bifocals! AHHH! Well actually, they swayed me over to a progressives lens, so that has been ordered and I will likely need to go back to the city to get them fitted when they come in.

We were SO ready for vacation after all of this! It’s been a couple of years since we had one!

We started at the Klondike Rib and Salmon in Whitehorse. Jeff had halibut fish and chips, and I had their new chicken and gravy with bannock. It was amazing!

On Friday we headed over to Alaska, on the Beaver Creek border crossing.

We went to Tok, Alaska that night. It really isn’t that far from Dawson City, but since we were all the way down in Whitehorse, it took a bunch of hours to get that far.

I had booked a little cabin in the woods at Caribou Cabins. It was amazing! Maybe the nicest accommodation of the entire trip! I’d highly recommend it.

It was on the property of the owner’s house. They had a couple of reindeer in a fenced yard out back, and off to the side of their yard, in the trees, were six cabins, each separated with trees. Ours was the newest, just finished a month or so ago. It had power and water, an oil heat monitor, bathroom with shower stall, and even a small fridge and microwave! Oh, and satellite tv! Very private and quiet. And there were power plugs everywhere! So many hotels force me to unplug the lamp and alarm clock to do my nightly charging of watches, phones, and accessories!

We checked in, and then went over to Fast Eddy’s for dinner. Even after a tour bus of folks hit the salad bar and dinner special, they still had enough prime rib to feed Jeff!

I ordered a small pizza, and we ate it for two days! Biggest small pizza I’ve ever seen! They advertise as “no better restaurant on the Alaska Highway” and they may be right! We also seem to stop here every time we’re in Tok!

After dinner we walked over to say ‘hi’ to the resident reindeer, Boomer and Buddy.

He seemed a bit itchy and showed us just how flexible he was!

The next morning we returned to Fast Eddy’s for breakfast. Jeff’s breakfast came on THREE plates! I thought it was maybe a bit inappropriate to order the reindeer sausage after staying with the reindeer the night before, but he thought otherwise.

The next day we headed towards Anchorage! I’ll blog again soon with more photos and adventures from Alaska! Wait until I tell you about all the animals we saw!

Lisa

Lisa (Verkley) Schuyler is a blogger reporting live from her new home in Canada's Yukon Territory. Often found wearing a hoodie, covered in pet hair, Lisa is a mis-placed forester who now spends her days engineering happiness for WordPress users. Lisa loves nature, animals, and most importantly, her handsome husband Jeff.

3 Replies to “Back from Alaska!

  1. I’m glad to hear so much good news this morning! Glad your appointment had good results. It’s been 9 years since my diagnosis and I still worry about every twinge and get nervous before every appointment. So happy you are negative for lynch syndrome! Looking forward seeing more of your Alaska vacation.

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