Category Archives: Travel

Taos Trip and Other News

Last week, Laurie and I drove down to Taos, New Mexico. It was a quick two night trip.  It’s about 290 miles driving.  We had a good time.  We drove to Walsenburg, on the interstate highway then a side trip to the Great Sand Dunes National Park for a quick, slightly rainy visit, then took La Veta Pass over the mountains to Taos.  Coming back, we drove through Angel Fire to Raton, New Mexico, then over Raton Pass on the interstate back to Denver.  Great scenery both ways.

The southwestern food there is to die for.  I could not resist even though I knew I might have some Carcinoid Syndrome due to all the peppers in the food.  I did get it but not until we got home (that liver surgery two years ago has done so much for my quality of life!)

Taos is famous for the art of course.  We visited galleries and a museum.  We also visited a historic cemetery where the famous scout, Kit Carson is buried and walked the historic plaza and part of the Paseo.

We drove to the Rio Grande River Gorge which has a famous steel bridge across it that was built in the 1960s (565 ft. high, second highest bridge in the US highway system).  There we also saw some southwestern Indians selling handmade jewelry.  Laurie bought one or two pieces. We also visited the Angel Fire ski area but there is not much there in the summer.

Cancer News:

Kaiser Permenente HMO has denied a referral to a carcinoid specialist, claiming that they do everything that’s needed to treat the disease.   I have filed an appeal.  I am investigating changing insurance.  I think that I will probably pay for this first visit myself for a second opinion.  If he specifies a treatment that the HMO won’t or can’t do or if he specifies surgery, I will have to drop the insurance for sure.

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Scotland, Ireland, Carcinoid Syndrome, Pacemaker

What a month!

I had my birthday early in the month.  Made to 68 years old.

Laurie and I spent the last two weeks in Scotland and Ireland.  It was a good trip.  About 7 days in Cellardyke near St. Andrews being with Derek, Kat and Ansel.  Great to be with family and of course enjoying the 2 year old grandson. Stayed in a different bed and breakfast most of the time. It turned out to be good.  Spent a day in Glasgow, then on to Dublin!  Four days there walking and touring.  It’s a good city.

Unfortunately, the Carcinoid Syndrome caught me there with the normal issues of diarrhea, low blood pressure and heart rate. It seems to happen every time I travel now.  Fortunately, even though I had to sit out a little of the touring, it was fairly controllable and I was able to enjoy Dublin and just being there with Laurie.

Tomorrow, my semi-yearly CT scan for carcinoid.  I hope there are still no changes visible. It would be nice if we found my still unlocated primary tumor.

Next week, May 27, I am scheduled to get a pacemaker.  The doctor told me that my average heart rate during a test last month was only 52 bpm and we know that it falls sometimes as low as 35 bpm.  It is not certain, but it could be due to the carcinoid. An oncology teacher told me the connection is known to occur, but is “exceedingly rare”!  I get all the luck! The cardiologist says that I will feel better immediately.  It will only be an overnight in the hospital.

Be sure that I will post as this progresses,


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Back From Europe – May 2014

We returned from our travel to Holland and to Scotland last night.

It was a great trip.  We stayed in Haarlem in the Netherlands for 5 days.  There we visited tulip gardens. It was just after the tulips’ peak and raining but very beautiful anyway.  We enjoyed walking all around the old town of Haarlem.  The town center is mostly foot and bicycle and many of the buildings are quite old. We visited the old church, St. Bavo Church, now called the Grote Kerk, which was built during the period from 1370 to 1538.  The Christian Muller organ in the church was constructed in 1738 and looks quite impressive.  It was played once by Mozart and by G. F. Handel.  While touring the church we had the good fortune to hear someone practicing on the organ and it was quite impressive.  We went to the Frans Hals museum which has a lot of interesting things about Haarlem as well as paintings by the old master and by other lesser known masters.  It was very good.

We also took the 20 minute train ride to Amsterdam one day.  Walked about the city and spent time in the Rijksmuseum visiting more of the old masters like Rembrandt and Vermeer as well as works by more modern artists like Van Gogh.  We tried to visit the Van Gogh museum which is near the Rijksmuseum but the line was so long that our limited time would not permit.  It was a very pleasant day with good weather.

We found the Dutch people to be very pleasant and handsome people.  In the cities, the bicycle is probably the main mode of transportation. A plus for us language impaired Americans is that they all speak english very well.

We flew from Holland to Edinburgh in Scotland.  We visited a few places there and after one day took a bus to Cellardyke where our son and his family lives (He teaches at the University of St. Andrews). There spent 5 days visiting, walking along the coast and playing with our one year old grandbaby.  He is quite adorable.  We got re-acquainted with some of the best fish and chips in the UK.

A great trip!  But… traveling with carcinoid is not always a picnic.  There were alternating bouts of diarrhea and constipation.  Not so good on long flights and bus rides.  Fortunately, my medications control it mostly.  I also experienced the fatigue common to many cancer patients.  I needed at least a couple of days to restrict my walking about and let my wife go on her own.  There was also some dizziness from the various heart stuff.  Nothing really serious but this is something each of us with carcinoid has to be constantly aware of.

May we all have the best possible outcomes,


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