Sunday through Wednesday I had the pleasure of staying with a friend in Frisco, CO. Frisco is a small town in the mountains of Colorado at about 9,075 ft. (2766m.) altitude. It is near several well known ski resorts. The first day there we had the pleasure of walking around an outdoor art festival in the Frisco Main Street. Then, we drove to the Copper Mountain Ski Resort to their Guitar Town festival which featured an outdoor stage. On the stage all day, well-known electric guitar players and their bands entertained us. It was free and very much fun.
On Monday, we drove to the Arkansas River and fly fished there for a couple of hours with no luck. Then we drove toward Independence Pass and fished the Lake Creek which feeds Twin Lakes. We were likely over 10,000 ft. (3048m.) altitude. The fishing there was great! We each caught rainbow trout in abundance and my friend Ed also caught a brown trout and a brook trout. We had the creek to ourselves and a beautiful Colorado day.
Tuesday, guess what? Another beautiful Colorado day! We decided upon an adventure and drove over Ute Pass to fish the Williams Fork River. We took a road that we were unfamiliar with. Right where it dead-ended on the west side of a huge molybdenum mine, we found a tiny creek called Darling Creek. We fished a small hole near the road and caught numerous brook trout in a short time. Then we drove back along that road a few miles and fished an area of the Williams Fork River that we had never fished before. Again, we caught many brook trout and Ed caught a larger rainbow trout. It was an exceptionally beautiful place even for Colorado. “Trout don’t live in ugly places.” Again we were well over over 10,000 ft. (3048m.) altitude. This second day of fishing tired me a bit and I certainly got winded climbing steep river banks and wading the rivers. I believe most people would find activity at that altitude a challenge, so I feel good about it.
Wednesday morning I drove back to Denver (a mere mile high or 1609m. altitude.) and went to a followup meeting with my urological surgeon.
Great news! The cancer is very low grade, not aggressive, below T1 grade in the T0 to T4 grading system. However, it often recurs. We decided that I would not need the followup BCG treatment unless the cancer does recur. The doctor had put some kind of chemo in my bladder during the procedure two weeks ago and it was removed the next day. This is supposed to help prevent recurrence.
We also decided to avoid surgery for my overlarge prostate gland, if possible. I am now taking a second medication to try to control the symptoms that I have from BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia).
Today is Thursday. I started on my normal morning walk. Immediately I noticed that the pains in my intestinal area were a little worse than normal. People with mid-gut carcinoid cancer often have pain in our gut. In my case, I don’t usually have it every day, just some days and it is usually very low intensity, not enough to hamper activity. It can be on one side or the other or both. Sometimes it is in the liver area but more often lower than that. Today it was a little worse, on both sides but not the liver, but I decided to power through it and keep walking. The pain never changed neither got worse nor better. I think maybe it is the disease’s (or just my old body’s) reaction to the changes in altitude.
Also, my spine with a degenerating disk and arthritis was bothering me. This was probably worse because of the wading and walking in the mountains. Wading has been compared to walking on greased bowling balls. The streams this week were a smaller gravel so not as bad as large stones but still the factors of walking, balancing, slipping and stumbling in a river do stress my back. I am 68 years old and many people have quit fly fishing by that age. I am lucky to be able to continue with it.
I was able to walk about 3.6 miles. Not as much as I had set out to do, but acceptable in the circumstances. In meditation studies, I have learned that pain is a teacher. I know many spiritual paths believe that. With meditation, we attempt to learn to just sit with our pain, whether physical or emotional, and embrace it (cuddle it like a baby is one teaching). Once we have recognized, acknowledged our pain, we are taught that we can live with it more readily. Thus far, these studies are helping me.
May we all have the best possible outcomes,