Andy received his treatment of vedotin yesterday. When we first got to the hospital at our appointed time the first thing Andy noticed was a TV crew van. Let the excitement begin. A grinning hospital staff was waiting for him in the reception area of the crowded infusion room. Knew his name before we could even sign-in on the sign-in sheet. That never happens. Get ready for your 1 minute of fame and notoriety. As the oncology nurse was getting his iv, a pretty young Asian girl from southern California began an interview for the local CBS television station KIMA. Smile.
Afterwards, we went for a walk and then back to our B & B for a nap. Tried to watch the debate, but really how much stress can you take in one day? Over dinner we discussed getting back on the trail. Our game plan had been to hang out in Yakima for two more days, let the treatment take effect and then meet up with the horse outfitter on Saturday to giddy-up where he had left off in Snow Pass. At the same time we started to make plans for meeting up with a bunch of Andy’s through-hiker friends in Snoqualmie the next morning and make some trail magic.
As we started to talk, we came around to the idea that Andy could just get his pack ready and join the group tomorrow and hike with his buddies. He was feeling pretty good – that’s what steroids will do – he was getting antsy and the idea of being with his buds sounded pretty good. We had a plan.
This morning we were up early. The story broke in the Yakima Herald (Click here to read a great story) and emails were flying in. There was lot’s of good energy flowing through the web with wonderful sentiments of support and encouragement. It was so potent in fact, it was palatable. That was his ticket. Buoyed by the overwhelming response of this sweet little town of Yakima and beyond, and all the well wishes of friends and family, he was ready to hit the trail.
At Snoqualmie the temps were hovering in the mid-30’s, cooler than Yakima. His fellow hikers were corralled inside a stuffy hotel room, filled with the scents of stale food and body odor. Andy was greeted enthusiastically as he held up the newspaper with his captivating wide toothy grin on the front page, right next to the blurb about the Presidential debate.
We spread out the treats we’ve brought – a continental breakfast of French pastries, fruit, milk and orange juice. Andy is so happy! They start the trail talk right away, what they just came through and where they’re headed, when’s the trail gonna end, who’s finished and who’s behind them. They trash Cheryl Strayed over and over and over again, saying she’s NOT a PCT through hiker. Why was SHE on Oprah and how come SHE’S getting so much recognition – THEY started at the Mexico/California border and are in Washington headed to the Canadian border. Two places Cheryl never saw.
I come to realize that at any time I am going to depart, it’s really time for me to leave if I’m going to get to Seattle and fly home. We both feel this push and pull of not wanting to leave each other. Andy wanting me to stay till they muster up the energy to hit the trail, and me recognizing that they are having way too good of time sitting around the lodge lobby eating to leave anytime soon. I feel like an outsider without a trail name. My emotions keep bubbling up from the pit of my stomach to a burning sensation in my heart and the prick of tears in my eyes. I can’t talk anymore, but when I do the tears roll down my cheeks.
And the thoughts come ~ how will he fare on the trail? Will his leg hold out or will he be in pain? What if he can’t make it? Am I doing the right thing by leaving him?
As I drive away I cry and cry and cry. I talk on the phone and cry, I listen to my Neverlost and thank god I have it and cry some more. I calm and soothe myself with breathing deeply and recognizing I don’t know what’s going to happen and there is nothing I can do but trust Andy’s path.