5. “Feeling homesick” – Checkup No. 2

Have you ever reflected about the past, dear reader, and realized that it is not what it used to be (to quote a lawyer friend from Scotland)?


Prior to my second checkup in late August 2021, it began to slowly dawn on me what the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard had meant in 1843 when he wrote that “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

What I had not expected was to learn about how much my cancer journey had changed me already, and that there was no way going back to who I had once been.


Balcony wisdom  
Prairie skies in B.C.

“I cannot believe that it was a year ago today that I visited my GP about the lump in my lower left abdomen,” I said to my twin sister on July 23, 2021.

We were sitting on my balcony enjoying yet another gorgeous sunset. I stretched and yawned, feeling at peace with myself and nature.

“How does that make you feel?” she wondered.

“Good question,” I admitted. “I just remember holding on for dear life.”

“No joke.”

Instead of excelling in the “teaching remotely during the fall semester” work category in the summer of 2020, I had instead completed a “reporting symptoms-to-having surgery” health journey in only 17 days.

“Do you think you have changed since then?”

“You bet.”

I proceeded to show my twin sister an image online to which my main guide had drawn my attention earlier that day.

A piece of poetry had touched me deeply as it illustrated what was now different about me, four and a half months after having finished cancer treatments. What was it?

A revised version of our late mother’s favourite daily mantra, the Serenity Prayer.

Both are reproduced below, so you can get a sense of my transformation over time.

“Dr. Barb” also suggested to bold the important bits to make sure the main takeaway doesn’t get lost.

To that end, the original version can be found on the left, while the version that described the new “me” is given on the right. Ready?

God, grant me the serenity to accept             God grant me the serenity to accept  

the things I cannot change,                              the people I cannot change,

the courage to change the things I can,         the courage to change the one I can,

and the wisdom to know the difference.       and the wisdom to know it’s me.

“Barb 2.0” promptly applauded (“Bravo”!) because I had (finally?) figured out that the only individual I could ever change was me, myself, and I.

“Yup, that captures it perfectly,” my twin sister stated after having read the poem out loud.

Her reaction made me wonder, if not suspect that she had included yours truly in the list of people she could not change. After all, I could be “stubborn to a fault” sometimes, according to my trusted neighbour in Regina.

“Can we chat about our birthday now?” my twin sister asked.

“Sure. What did you have in mind?”

She knew that a year ago, I had not felt at all like celebrating because there had been complications during my surgery which had taken place on August 10, 2020, the day before our birthday.

Specifically, I was not moved from the Recovery Room to the Short Stay Unit right away but spent my entire birthday in the hospital’s Medical Surveillance Unit.

Moreover, the post-surgery pain was excruciating (“Still 10 out of 10?”) because of an epidural that had not worked properly (don’t ask.)

In addition, I kept throwing up – or, more precisely, at – a very kind emergency physician, something which now (that is, a year later) managed to amuse me very much (“Did he change his shirt afterwards?”).

My one and only wish for my 54th birthday was simple: I wanted to replace bad memories with good ones.

My smart sibling had already figured that out on her own.

“How about a quiet family supper, followed by a piece of birthday cake?”

“That’s perfect – let’s just take it easy and go with the flow.”

Spending time in nature and resting (if not both together) came to mind immediately. Work of any kind was definitely not going to be on the agenda.

In fact, ever since I had returned to my professorial duties part-time in early July, “Dr. Barb” tracked every “working minute” (what else are makeshift spreadsheets for?).

I also took many breaks and always quit on time (!), much to the delight of “Barb 2.0”.

What I had not factored in, however, was how much longer everything – from reading complicated e-mails in late July to preparing a four-minute online presentation on my research in mid-August – would take me.

Thankfully, “Dr. Barb” had been expecting that (“I am writing to request an extension”) and was not worried about it, nor was my main guide (“One task and one document at a time.”)

“Barb 2.0” eventually realized that keeping my brain busy (aka “Dr. Barb”) always managed to calm my mind and my body, including my nervous system which sometimes lived up to its name.

Several days later, my phone beeped.

“Are you up for a visit on your birthday, Barb?” the text said.

“For sure!” was my reply.

Five minutes and several more typed text messages later, I called my twin sister.

My antique-truck owning, Harley-Davidson-driving colleague-friend and his wonderful spouse from Regina were going to drop by on our birthday, sometime in the afternoon.

“I told them just bring themselves,” I said. “Their presence is their gift.”

“It’s going to be so good to catch up with them,” my sibling commented.

She had not seen them since our last “twin visit” in Regina in August 2019. But she had enjoyed helping me record a funny video message for my colleague-friend several weeks ago.

A fellow Leo, he had recently celebrated a milestone birthday; his son had contacted me after being told by his mother that I had left town already. Apparently, his father had loved our heartfelt birthday wishes.

On the evening of August 10, I put a funny blue sign that I had purchased many years ago in my Bavarian hometown of Weiden on the inside of my balcony railing.

It had the word “Biergarten” (German for beer garden) printed on it, and possessed magical powers: it instantaneously put me into an Oktoberfest-kind of party mood (oompah music included) without the need for booze!

Happy birthday to us!

Since our birthday was technically already under way in Germany thanks to the time difference, I took a selfie (or maybe more like 20?) with my twin and the decorative piece in the background and posted it on Facebook.

The accompanying message read as follows:

11.08.2021: Happy birthday to my twin sister – what a year it has been for both of us! May the coming 12 months be the best ones ever.

Judging from the plethora of congratulatory messages I received from relatives and friends from all over the world on the 54th anniversary of my birth, my global audiences couldn’t wait to hear more about my adventures of healing and recovery.

But that would require me to update my electronic diary on a regular basis, which is not on my list of fun activities.

I felt that my full attention was needed elsewhere.


My butt hurts!

“I am going to apply for an ISBN number for Perfect Timing today,” I said to my twin sister (“That’s awesome.”) Twelve days had passed since our birthday.

My sibling had been most impressed with how diligently I had been editing the manuscript in the past four weeks.

In fact, I felt that I was now one step closer to getting it published, a prospect that was exciting and scary at the same time. If you have ever seen your full name in print, you will understand; if you haven’t, give it a try and see how you feel.

“Are you ready for your trip on Friday?” my twin sister asked.

“Pretty much.”

I was heading home to the prairies for the first time after temporarily moving out west.

To that end, I was using some of the frequent flyer loyalty points that had been returned by Air Canada to my account after my research-trip to Europe in June 2020 had to be cancelled because of the pandemic.

To my great frustration, I had not been able get the flight online booking tool to work at the time. Was I just out of practice, or what was going on?

“I am not sure why the system is giving you trouble,” the customer care representative told me. “You are going to have to pay a fee if I make the arrangements for you.”

“That’s fine,” I said, given that I had been the one to reach out for professional help.

“Dr. Barb”, the frequent traveller, had conveniently played a memory clip of a fateful trip several years ago while I was trying my luck to get the Aeroplan website to cooperate. (In hindsight, I should have probably deleted the assorted curses in multiple languages from my improvised “Comply or else” booking tool script.)

Be that as it may, I remember flying home to Canada after having spent a month-long, exhausting research trip in Europe.

Like everyone else on board, I had not been prepared at all for a horrific thunderstorm that paralyzed most of Ontario. (“I hate lightning,” my inner child screamed, hanging on to “Dr. Barb” for dear life.)

Granted, my window seat allowed me to admire the Canadian side of Niagara Falls for 45 minutes (“Wow!!!”).

However, by the time we landed, all flights from and to Toronto had been cancelled, for obvious reasons – except for the one to Regina at the very bottom of the screen.

“Oh @#$%,” I said to my “inner crew” members.

I realized immediately that I would likely have to spend the night at the Toronto Pearson Airport – and decided that I would leave any available hotel rooms to people who really needed them (like those with kids or upcoming medical appointments.) The inevitable result?

Bad leg cramps, excruciating lower back pain, and sincere regret accompanied my “I am going to tough this out” decision for hours on end. Enough said.

The customer representative on the phone then brought me back to the present.

“We’ve got a special deal on today.” Upgrading to business class would apparently cost fewer points than flying economy!

I promptly breathed a heavy sigh of pandemic relief (“First in, first out, less people to sit with.”) I was also happy about the “check your bag for free” perk (“More room for presents!”).

“Thank you for all your help,” I said at the end of an unexpectedly pleasant phone call and hung up.

I was now all set for my second post-treatment check-up scheduled for the morning of August 31.

Granted, while I wasn’t looking forward to another pelvic exam – which should be fine, given that I was very diligent about carrying out my “special homework” four times a week – I couldn’t wait to return to Saskatchewan, and for good reason.

I had been terribly homesick for “my life at home.”

It had involved my bubbly extroverted self hanging out with my best friend, my trusted neighbour, and everyone else who had been sad to see me go (“Winston will miss his auntie Barb.”)

We had kept in touch, of course; that’s what technology is for, after all.

But it was not the same, even if my head was trying to tell me otherwise (“There are no kilometres in our hearts.”)

An ocean and two sets of mountains still separated us, let alone different time zones; that is, Mountain/Central versus Pacific.

Did I make a concerted effort to try and convince myself that I had “everything” I needed to heal from my cancer ordeal on Vancouver Island? Of course.

I was pretty much joined at the hip (to use a colloquial expression) with my kind-hearted twin sister and spent quality time with my relatives on a regular basis.

Purr, purr

I had also reconnected with a long-time friend who had recently retired from her administrative assistant job. A trained Reiki-master, she knew I loved cats and let me play with Madeleine, her pride and joy, whenever I wanted to.

I had furnished my new home, an activity that had been unexpectedly exciting (“Shoe racks as shelves? Ingenious.”)

And I had visited favourite places – such as the beautiful Victoria Inner Harbour – and been exploring new ones as well, by car, bus, and on foot.

How long would it take for the US-Canadian border to open and the Seattle Clipper Ferry to run again, let alone cruise ships with tourists to descend upon the capital of British Columbia? Would it be weeks or months or happen sometime in 2022?

Most importantly, I had begun to harbour feelings of resentment towards my younger sibling. Did I really need a helicopter parent of sorts at 54 years old?

The universe promptly sent me an important message via her husband.

According to my brother-in-law, she had been “a real mess” throughout my cancer journey – I had suspected that much already – and not expected me to be “so frail” in real life. (For the record, I have always been good at making people believe that everything is “just fine.”)

“Barb 2.0” also took the time to remind me gently that my twin sister had every right to be concerned about my wellbeing.

Throughout the month of July, I continued to experience post-cancer-like fatigue (“I am back in chemo land!”).

Regular exercise sessions geared toward cancer survivors, courtesy of my younger sibling (the personal trainer), were alternated with lots of rest, especially on weekends.

Nevertheless, IBS symptoms suddenly worsened in August.

Thankfully, I had been told by the oncology dietitian what to do when that happened. I was to return to my radiation therapy “diet;” that is, avoid caffeine, high-fibre foods, and dairy products. (This made me miss my usual cup of black tea in the morning.)

Despite following these rules carefully, there was still the occasional “diarrhea day,” and I knew what that meant.

Sitting down to work on my computer, for example, would be painful. (This made me miss my sit-stand desk at the office.)

Moreover, I had figured out that walking, of all things, could set off minor rectal bleeding (“Not again!”).

Maybe St. Fiacre, the saint of hemorrhoid sufferers (and gardeners!), could help; Dr. Google seemed to think so. Sadly, this holy person was too busy to respond to my lamentations (and believe me, I tried!).

To my genuine surprise, I shed some tears on the morning of my departure for the prairies. If anything, I should be feeling genuine joy about “going home,” I reckoned.

“What is going on?” I asked my “inner crew” when I sat down in my assigned seat on the plane.

Their individual answers reflected my fragility, both physically and mentally.

My “little one” responded first. She did not want to return to a location that was associated with memories of a critical illness (“I hate the waiting room at the cancer clinic.”)

My top-hatted guide did not weigh in but instead promised to help keep my “little one” calm. He was good at that (“Let’s play a round of ball, young lady.”)

“Dr. Barb” did not mince words. She was worried to the core about having to board two “pandemic planes” that were likely filled to capacity (“What are the odds of contracting Covid despite being double-vaccinated?”).

I could not blame her for being anxious.

Unlike the province of British Columbia (and much to my horror as an immuno-compromised individual), the Government of Saskatchewan had dropped the mask mandate in mid-July.

Of course, to protect myself and others, I wore a surgical-grade mask throughout my trip. In fact, I was still wearing one every time I welcomed someone to or left my apartment in Victoria (better safe than sorry.)

Interestingly, “Barb 2.0”, rather than my inner child, had fretted about what food would be served to business class passengers travelling from Vancouver to Regina that could upset my tummy unnecessarily. (Anyone who has ever had gastrointestinal issues on an aircraft with tiny lavatories will understand this particular predicament.)

You guessed it: the admittedly impressive-looking selection of dishes listed on the menu that a courteous female flight attendant handed to me shortly after take-off was mostly incompatible with my special dietary needs.

Adopting a “Now or never” attitude, I tried the glazed salmon and ate a bit of the cheesecake – both tasted delicious, and neither bothered my stomach.

But my bottom was sore from sitting too much that day when we landed in Regina two and a half hours later, in the mid-afternoon (“I’m home!”).

The prominently displayed “No more masks required” signs genuinely shocked me as I walked through the airport. Covid-19 cases had gone up dramatically in Saskatchewan in August (and caused the City of Regina to introduce additional safety measures in September.)

My trusted neighbour gave me a big hug when she picked me up (“It’s so good to see you, Mom!”) and assured me that many others like herself had kept their masks on (“You do what’s right for you, Barb.”)

She then took me straight to the supermarket, just like she used to in pre-pandemic times when I would return from an overseas trip.

Finally, she accompanied me up to the seventh floor to make sure I wasn’t going to collapse in the elevator (“Let me help you with your stuff, Barb.”)

How fortunate was I to have someone as caring – and did I mention wise and funny? – as she looking after me? Pretty lucky, I’d say.


There’s no place like home

Before pushing my suitcases into the bedroom and putting away the groceries, I opened my living room window to let in some fresh air.

In fact, I stood there for at least five minutes to enjoy the blue sky and awesome city views. Was that my favourite caretaker getting into his bright red, freshly washed truck in the parking lot behind the building?

Coincidences exist, according to psychologists. But it was not lost on me that my “prairie home” windows faced east, while my “island home” balcony faced west.

Perhaps, these directional opposites were representations of my pre- and post-cancer treatment identities – or maybe not.

If nothing else, it felt good to be surrounded by “my own stuff,” I said to my twin sister during a quick video chat (“I got here safe and sound.”)

When my best friend stopped over after supper for a long-awaited visit (“I’ve missed you, Barb”), life was (almost) back to normal, as far as I was concerned.

Sipping herbal tea, we just picked up where we had left off at our last phone conversation the day before.

Several hours later, I went to sleep, happy but tired. If only my bed would stop creaking (now in an alto range, in case you were wondering.)

My first stop the next morning was at my trusted hairdresser’s salon. She commented on how much my hair had grown. We both agreed, however, that it still felt “weird” (for lack of a better term.)

“Can you show me again how to use the thinning shears?”

I had already added them to my checked luggage to avoid a “repeat performance” at airport security on my way back.

“You do know that they have hairdressers in Victoria.” She smiled.

“They don’t know my hair like you do!” I grinned.

“Then let me show you how to use this particular pair of scissors correctly, Barb.”


In hindsight, I realized that I had not taken a picture of the new “Barb 2.0”. Was that because I still had a tough time embracing her as a part of me? Only time would tell.

I spent the rest of the day running errands and hanging out with two cherished friends.

One was the fellow IBS sufferer who had made me order my new bedroom furniture before leaving town (“Good to see you, Barb”).

The other visitor was my German microbiologist colleague-friend.

Wie geht’s?” (“How goes it?”) she asked.

“I am doing great,” I answered truthfully.

We were both thrilled that our weekly check-ins – which we had been keen on continuing after my departure for Vancouver Island – did not have to involve technology anymore. Instead, the two of us went for a stroll around my neighbourhood.

I had told both ladies how excited I was about playing the organ “live” at church again.

“You chose the right weekend to return,” my pastor said when she picked me up the next morning.

View of the sanctuary

This was the first Sunday that we would worship in the sanctuary of the church. I have included a picture here that was taken from my organ bench, albeit many months later.

We had gathered in the “Fireside room” throughout the pandemic to live-stream services. I realized that the last time I had played the electric piano was almost a year ago. We had moved it from the organ loft to this large meeting room on the Sunday prior to my first chemotherapy treatment in late September 2020.

I was still recovering from major abdominal surgery at that time. The result? I found it tough to sit still for more than ten minutes (“Excuse me if I lie down on my yoga mat during the prayers!”).

After climbing up the flight of stairs to the organ loft, I was deliriously happy to see “my” favourite instrument of all time again. As always, I sat down and played through all the music that was required before, during, and after the service (“A-flat, not A-natural!”).

Forty-five minutes later – that is, by the time the pastor welcomed the tiny in-person congregation (in addition to many folks watching via Zoom) – I was exhausted.

An hour later, I barely made it through the postlude. (I can’t remember what it was, only that it was fun to play and that it earned me a round of applause.)

“My bottom was so sore during the sermon that I stood for most of it,” I told Winston and his human mom.

They had picked me up after the service, and he was clearly happy to see me (“Woof, woof, woof!”).

“Are you going to be okay walking around the lake, Barb?”


I had been looking forward to our outing way too much to cancel at the last minute. And I was so glad I did not, because I enjoyed every minute of it to the fullest (“It’s so good to catch up.”)

My favourite part was the end of the walk when Winston and I rested on “our” bench in front of my building.

He jumped on my lap and started licking my face. This made me laugh out loud and really feel alive.

“What is on your agenda before you leave again on Wednesday, Barb?”

“Rest is my top priority these days,” I noted, proud of myself.

I gave the same answer to my trusted neighbour when she dropped by that evening for a “How are you doing, girl?” chat.

“That’s good to know, Barb; keep it up,” she advised.

Of course, she had used her “You know that I will find out if you don’t” voice.

I knew it well, and it always comforted me because more than once during my bumpy cancer journey, my trusted neighbour had shown up out of nowhere when I was about to do something “incredibly stupid” (my words, not hers.)

She was particularly fantastic, if not scary, at figuring out when my addled chemo-brain was playing tricks on me (“I don’t think that’s a good idea, Barb.”)

Or had she simply hacked into my head early on, and without my knowledge?

“I will do my very best to not overdo it,” I replied to my trusted neighbour, and I meant it.

“Good girl,” she said, smiling.

Most of the next day was spent at work where a big surprise was waiting for me (or, more precisely, “Dr. Barb”.)

My old office looked and felt completely different now, thanks to a fresh coat of paint and new carpeting. The old drafty windows had also been replaced and boasted both vertical blinds and pull-down shades to help with the glare.

“Barb 2.0” was thrilled as well – and then pointed out that she wanted me to feel “like new”, as in “fully restored, if not better than ever,” at the end of my healing journey.

I was not to get bogged down by setbacks, she emphasized.

That comment reminded me of my desktop computer, which was still sitting on the floor and waiting to be assembled. There was also my old desk to contend with; its “Did you miss me, Barb?” vibes made me feel positively creepy.

What had happened to the new, fancy one that I had been promised prior to my departure in June?

I reached out to a staff member about the mix-up. Much to my delight, she popped by my office as one of the few people who was not working remotely from home.

“I only found out two weeks ago what you have been through, Barb,” she said. “I am so sorry and blame the pandemic for our lack of contact.”

I agreed with her. The building on campus that housed mine and other faculty offices, a chapel, lecture halls, and a cafeteria, had been shut down for months, with no end in sight.

“It’s great to touch base now.”

Then we quickly chose my new office furniture together (“This one has a sit-stand function, which I know you like.”)

Meanwhile, my favourite IT person (“Love the hair, Barb!”) was putting my desktop computer together in record time.

It enabled me to participate in an online committee meeting that started at the hour (“I don’t recognize the background – where are you …?”).

Ninety minutes later, I began putting all my books back on the shelves but left my pictures boxed up. Decorating my office walls could wait until my next visit several months from now, I decided.

Finally, I grabbed my purse and walked seven minutes across campus to hop on a bus – it was strange not to have access to a car anymore. But I was confident I would (eventually) get used to it.

After a simple supper, I knocked on the door of the neighbour who lived straight across the hall from me on the seventh floor.

“It’s good to have you back in town, Barb, even for a little while.” She was visibly pleased.

I handed her a small present to thank her for allowing me free use of her Wi-Fi during my visit.

“That’s totally unnecessary.” She was pleased, nonetheless.

“I disagree,” I stated, sounding genuine.

Our paths had crossed many years ago in the building’s elevator.

A retired missionary nurse, she had been thrilled when I moved up to “her” floor in early February 2021. She had also made a point of checking in with me regularly (“How are you feeling today, Barb?”).

The little angel figurine I had chosen for her as a token of my appreciation seemed fitting because she had been praying hard for me throughout my treatments.

“Have you had your check-up at the cancer clinic yet?”

“No, that’s tomorrow morning.” A massage, an eye appointment, and dinner with my “TV couple” friends (in that order) were the other items on my schedule.

“Let me know how it goes, Barb.”

“I will.”


Is it my fault?      

“Thanks so much for giving me a ride,” I said to my trusted neighbour. I had picked her up on her floor, and we walked down to the parking garage in the basement.

To counteract my increasing anxiety (“Deep breaths, deep breaths”), I began talking to her about the weather – a thunderstorm had been forecast for the early afternoon.

Was it going to be okay to walk the 20 minutes it took from the massage therapy clinic to the optometrist? I would have to play it by ear.

“Text me when you are done,” my favourite chauffeur said and pulled up to the hospital’s main entrance.

An hour later, I typed the word “finished” and pressed the “send” button on my phone.

“How did it go with the new doctor, Barb?” (My regular oncologist was still on parental leave.)

“She was fabulous!”

“That’s great to hear,” my trusted neighbour said, waiting for me to buckle up.

I explained that, as always, my favourite oncology nurse had come to talk to me first about my symptoms (“How have you been, Barb?”).

She also told me that this physician was very thorough and great at explaining what was going on inside my body.

You are always on my mind

The nurse was spot-on with her evaluation. However, she had not warned me about the resident (“Nice to meet you”) who would be performing the initial pelvic exam.

Was this her first day on the job, I wondered (“Try to relax”)?

In hindsight, l felt like the root vegetable that had reminded my trusted neighbour of my “pelvic homework” (“This carrot made me think of you, Barb,” her text had said.)

“Everything looks and feels fine,” this oncologist said. “But certain parts of your body are having a tough time healing from the cancer treatments,” she clarified.

“Is it my fault?”

I was waiting for her to drop the hammer.

“No, Barb.”

But there was no doubt that my body was continuing to send important messages that the oncology radiologist and dietitian would try to figure out together with me. They would get in touch with me about it soon, I was told.

This physician was also keen to order a CT scan prior to my next checkup in late November.

“We need to know whether the cancer has returned or not, Barb.”

The genuine empathy in her voice and compassionate look in her eyes had a most soothing effect on my weary soul.

“Dr. Barb” was similarly impressed, specifically with this locum’s no-nonsense attitude and excellent bedside manner, as was “Barb 2.0”.

“It’s good to know that your medical team is on the ball,” my trusted neighbour said after listening to my detailed report and carefully navigating traffic.

Eventually, she slowed down when we arrived at our destination.

“Have a great rest of your day,” I said and got out of her always immaculate car. It was starting to rain but I was wearing a waterproof jacket “just in case.”

My trusted massage therapist was thrilled to see me “in the flesh” (“This place is not the same without you, Barb.”)

My lower back, both hips, and some upper neck muscles were in sore need of her superpowers, and within minutes I began to relax.

My check-up had gone well, and there was help on the way as far as my other physical ailments were concerned. Hallelujah!

“I have a question for you, Barb,” my trusted massage therapist said toward the end of the treatment.

She was working on the visible reminder of my cancer surgery (“Remember to massage it regularly to help break up the scar tissue inside your belly.”)

“I am going to visit friends on Vancouver Island in September,” she said. “I will be flying out of Victoria – would you be up for an overnight guest?”

“That would be lovely!”

I knew we would have the best of times, and we did.

After all, my twin sister and I shared a birthday with this wonderful young woman, who was 19 years our junior (“You could be our kid, you know.”)

She arrived on a rainy Sunday evening and enjoyed being spoiled rotten by yours truly (“When should I have breakfast ready?”).

When she got into a cab to the airport 24 hours later (“My treat”), I gave her a big, long hug and shed a few tears of gratitude on my balcony afterwards.

I would forever be thankful to her for sending me to my GP to report initial symptoms (“There’s a lump in my lower abdomen.”)

My “TV couple” friends were also part of that special list of friends. They had invited me over for supper on my last day in town, firing up the BBQ in my honour in late August.

Since that’s exactly what they had done the night before I got on a plane to Victoria in late June, it was “a tradition” by now, I was told.

“We are so glad that you got another ‘all clear’,” they said, giving me big goodbye hugs. “May it be the beginning of a life-long trend, Barb,” they added.

I couldn’t agree more.


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