July 21, 2016:
Sorry for jumping around chronologically. Please look at the date at the beginning of each post to know where on the calendar the post you’re reading takes place. This one, for example, takes place on July 21, 2016, whereas the last one was about our activities on June 6, 2016. As I get time, I will try to go back and fill in the empty spaces between my updates.
So, here’s our July 21, 2016 update: We are currently in Utrecht, Netherlands (beautiful city, by the way). Mark had a follow-up thyroid scan at the University of Utrecht Medical Center, and everything looks good! The nodules on Mark’s thyroid don’t appear to have grown since his original scans in March.
Happily, Mark’s cancer is behaving as expected: it is very slow-growing. Which is a relief. I still haven’t given up dreaming that this trip will bring on spontaneous remission, but barring that, ‘no growth’ is a great outcome.
We knew the odds were very strong that Mark’s cancer wouldn’t run errant, and that we would be safe taking this bike trip, but you never know who might be that unlucky one that defies the odds – in a bad way. So, it was very reassuring to learn that Mark’s cancer is growing as predicted, which is to say, not in any discernible way.
The radiologist’s response upon reviewing the scan was, “Keep on pedaling!”
Very happily, we will! We’ve decided to alter our original plans and save Denmark for another year – maybe one of record drought instead of record rain! It was a tough decision, since we hear such great things about cycling in Denmark, and because we’ve never been there despite Mark’s ancestors hailing from there.
And even though summer has finally arrived to northern Europe (just in the last week or so), the sun just seems too tenuous. We’ve been living outside for the better part of two months, and I barely have any tan lines. Not that I’m actively trying to tan, but how could I possibly avoid tan lines – unless there isn’t any sun, of course.
We’ve decided that from here, we will go a bit south to Rotterdam, Netherlands, and then cycle east along the Rhine River across the Netherlands, south through Germany (mostly along the French border), and into Switzerland. We expect to take a few months at Team Lumaca speeds to make it that far. Once in Switzerland, we think we’ll continue south into Italy, but our exact route at that point remains to be seen.
So, if you have friends, family, acquaintances, or the most tenuous of connections with people along the Rhine who might be willing to host us for a night or two along the way, please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
And I would like to give a shout out to all of the wonderful people who have hosted us so far along our journey. Everybody has been warm, hospitable, and very indulgent with us – especially with offering up their washing machines, and for not calling Guinness World Records to measure the eye-popping quantities of food we eat. Thank you all for your friendship and generous hospitality! We are incredibly appreciative of all of you.