In Island Mode…

I awoke this morning to a beautiful sunny sky, light breeze, the sound of the water against the shore, the sound of the palm trees swaying away. Breakfast was outside on the deck of our suite, which is a grass-thatched roof hut. Fresh berries & tropical fruits, home-made granola and yogurt.

Rick surprised me with a massage. Not one, but two special treats. Here’s how the day continued after breakfast. Our shower is outside. We have a modern one inside our suite in a beautiful dark colored tiled surround jetted tub, however there is something quite earthly and grounding when you shower outside. I felt free. It is enclosed with bamboo fencing and pretty private however if you really wanted a view let’s say, you would get to know me quite well. On the wall of the shower I can’t help but notice the details. The sea shell screwed into the wall that served not only as decoration but also a soap holder. I stood under the rain head shower spray and as I lathered shampoo in my hair my eyes are drawn to the beautiful view before me. I am looking out into the ocean or bay, I’m not sure which it is but I do know that it is called Newfound Harbour. The Florida Keys are absolutely stunning with several shades of that brilliant clear blue turquoise water.

My clothing of choice today is a plush white robe and slippers. The robe is over-sized and I feel like I am wearing a blanket. The breeze outside is keeping me cool even though it is 75 degrees this morning. I leave Rick sleeping in the suite and I make my way down the crushed seashell path to the spa. I am on my way to my first ever massage. This is the special surprise that I mentioned earlier and got side-tracked. My brain wanders everywhere and is consumed by the beauty and tranquility of my surroundings.

Half way to the spa I encounter a little deer drinking out of a little puddle. I stop to watch it for a moment. She stops drinking and she looks at me as if to say good morning. I bend down and put out my hand and for the first time in my life I am touched (physically) by a wild animal. She kisses my hand. It was magical. I felt that ever familiar feeling of being with another Earth Angel friend. I think to myself, how many people can say they were kissed by a deer on their way to their first massage? Lucky me. Not any amount of money can buy you that kind of experience.

I am greeted at the spa and I meet a lovely woman by the name of Thekla. She asked me if I had any sensitive areas that she should be made aware of. I have been on this island for 3 days now and this is the first time that I have revealed the cancer thing as I proceed to tell her that my abdominal area is sensitive due to surgeries & scarring. I am naked and laying under a sheet on the table and she kindly asked if I would be interested in sharing my story. She was curious and interested and of course being the open book that I am, I shared some of my journey with her. I am glad that I did, because she told me that she is going to schedule a colonoscopy with her doctor soon. This was another gift given to me today. Chances are she will have no problems, but at least she will get a base line and know what her body has to tell her. This could save her life and this makes me so proud that I might have had something to do with it. Perhaps she will tell a friend and that friend will go on to tell another and so on. So many people do not talk about this type of cancer because of the “ick” factor. I can tell you first hand that all cancers are icky and I selectively choose this description because it’s the nicest way to describe it or them.

Swedish massage hour one is complete. I put my robe on and continue on to meet Sonia who will perform a sugar body scrub for me. Coconut mango. I feel like an old beat up car going for some body work. I think of my Dad as this is what he does for a living. He meticulously brings old, or beat up vehicles back to their original beauty. I am being sanded down with sugar, releasing the old and shedding some skin. I feel so good and it is quite something to shower laying down, like a car wash. I feel light and pretty and totally relaxed and ready for the rest of the day.  My skin is radiating and ready to soak in the positive energy of the sun and energize my soul some more. There was a beautiful bouquet of red roses on a table in the room and of course I had to stop and smell them before I left to go meet up with Rick.

I can’t stop touching myself. My skin doesn’t feel like mine. I am so smooth and brand new. Rick says, “you smell like butter”, and I replied, “I feel like butter!”. Coconut, mango butter. Mmmmm. We were laying on the bed just talking about nothing really, which is nice. It’s nice to be so comfortable with someone that you don’t even need to talk at all. We just layed there for a bit and listened to the fan above the canopy bed with mosguito netting and a sea shell that served as the fan pull. We talked some more and as usual, out of nowhere my eyes get all wet and my voice cracks as I try to hold my breath to make the pending tears stop. “What are you crying about now?”, he saks me. I muttered out one word. Grateful.

Surprise, I fell asleep, it wasn’t even lunch time yet. I was just so comfortable. I woke up to a roaring fire. Well, not quite, but Rick worked with the best tools he had on hand. We don’t have a fireplace in the room, after all we are in the tropics. Here I am laying in bed and right before my eyes is his IPAD. He found an app that was a roaring fire. How cool ! I layed there and enjoyed it a while and then we got ready for lunch.

I think day three finally hit me. I mean, island mode hit me. I had another nap after lunch while Rick pretended not to work on his IPAD. Dinner was delivered to our room. I never have naps, well I shouldn’t say never. Lately I have been known to fall asleep at odd times that aren’t scheduled bed times, so yes I guess it’s time I admit I have become a napper. Guess my body needs the down time. I think it’s my brain that needs to be shut down. It’s always in over-drive and you know what I am thinking about. I wish it would just go away.

It is a full moon tonight. We go for a walk after dinner and take some photos of the moon and it’s beauty. It is even prettier when the palm trees sway in front of it. We sit at the fire pit in big comfy chairs and talk with a couple who are from Wisconsin. It is their first night here. As we are chatting and being mesmerized by the fire, two deer come to say hello. One came up behind Rick and the other came up behind me. I tried my luck again and held my hand out. They both kissed me. I can’t believe my luck. This is so beautiful, they are so beautiful. I am missing my dog C.J. at home.

It is almost midnight and Rick is catching a little t.v. time in the great room which houses the only t.v. on the island. I am just outside the little building that he is in. I am seated at the pool bar which of course is located at the pool that is lit up beautifully. I am the only one here. Just me and several pineapple glass candle holders. I am writing to you by candlelight. All of the staff has taken the boat ride to their homes for the evening. The staff does not live on the island. This paradise is reserved for quests only.

Island mode is quite something. Maybe it’s just this particular island that makes me feel like I am on little islands on this little island.  Let me explain.  The outdoor shower, an island.  The hammock nestled back within the palms, an island.  The king size bed with mosquito netting canopy, an island.  Enjoying the sunset from the end of the dock, an island.  I am on all these personal little island escapes, yet I am so very lucky because I am not alone.  I have my guy all to myself and it’s so nice that we don’t have to share our time, with work, with stress, or with anything.  We can just be in island mode and breathe.

This post was written on March 8 and I have just re-read it today, April 2.  Two days before I begin chemotherapy treatment.  I have a terrible chest cold and I have no energy.  Rick is away at work.  It’s just me and the couch.  It’s cool outside today but the sun is shining, I have the patio door open and I am gazing out into the sky looking at the bare trees in the yard just patiently waiting to grow into their greenery for spring.  Reading about our island mode is exactly what I needed today to keep me focused on the prize and to gear up for the fight.  More island time somewhere in this world awaits us and I plan to get there.