BOOK OF THE WEEK: Ebb From the Shoreline

BookCover (2)Today’s treat is an excerpt from the book Ebb From the Shoreline by Brenda Boitson. Her book alternates between her journal entries during her husband Kevin’s fight with cancer (in italics) and the story of how they met (in regular font).


Excerpt from Chapter 14 “Casting Out Our Fears”

August 29, 2008 “Greetings (again) From 5D”

Well, as God would have it, we’re back in 5D, and even in the same, beautiful room 10! We are both very, very happy. It took a long while to get here — first the wait for the discharges, and then, seconds after we were told that our room was ready, someone coded on the floor in the next room. I was in our new room getting set up and came over to find chaos in 5C. We prayed for the patient and the family and were very relieved to hear they had survived. It is so scary to hear that “code” word, and even scarier to practically witness it.

Kevin is getting all set up with his monitors and IVs, and then will hopefully enjoy some warm green tea, some Ativan, and sleep!! I hope to do the same (minus the Ativan) in a little while.

My sister and her husband are visiting us tomorrow, and hopefully the guys can score a new TV here to hook up the Xbox and enjoy some guy time. Joni and I are looking forward to heading to White Marsh Mall to do a little retail therapy.

An update on the other angiosarcoma patient family that I met here — her name is Doris, and I believe his name is Ronnie. It turns out they decided not to discharge him! We are praying that means good things, in that there may be hope for his case and some comfort. But I do want to lift up Ronnie not only in prayer for healing but also our sympathies. His son, just 18, took his own life last week, which was very difficult to hear. Doris says she wasn’t sure if it was because he knew he was going to lose his father or what, but our prayers certainly have increased for them.

Thanks for all the love you all have left — I LOVE hearing all your comments. I’m glad you find this blog to be so encouraging and a great read. It’s very “zen” for me to write and put my thoughts out there. I have always loved writing, and I want to give a BIG shout out to Mrs. J who truly helped shape my writing and my commitment to it. Kevin asked me to write a story about our journey, especially this, so it has begun. I’m just on page 10, so we’ll see where it takes me. I’m not sure if I’ll write a book on everything or if I’ll incorporate the blog in it as well. That’s to be decided.

Have a wonderful sleep and a safe, celebratory Labor Day weekend!

We didn’t have enough money for a gym membership, and Kevin was getting antsy just hanging out at home after he worked all day. He wanted to work out and take care of his body, but I couldn’t justify a monthly gym membership in our budget. It was frustrating to live within such a tight budget, constantly hoping we could remain on the edge without tipping over and losing everything.

Kevin began researching things to do in surrounding areas, and Cabela’s became Kevin’s favorite store to explore. He had been reading about surf fishing and was hankering to spend some of his funds on a rod/reel combination and some fishing gear. We did not have much extra money for it, but we needed some excitement, and I wanted to go camping. Kevin had begun setting aside some money from his farm work to help pay for extras such as fishing gear. I knew that Kevin had been busting his rump at the farm, and I figured I could juggle our funds for that week so that we could do a little shopping. I was not good at following a strict budget. I wanted us to be able to do something other than stay home and work all the time.

Kevin had loved fishing with his grandfather at a young age, and the opportunity to fish in the Atlantic Ocean was extremely appealing to him. He purchased a few books online about surf fishing, and once we purchased enough gear to begin fishing, we planned our first weekend vacation together to Ocean City, MD and Assateague Island, where he could fish.

We chose Memorial Day weekend so we could enjoy 3 days at the beach without feeling too rushed. I was in it for the camping, Kev for the fishing. I invited my brother and his girlfriend to join us because I wanted to get to know her better and knew they also loved the outdoors. None of loved mosquitoes, but when it comes to Maryland beaches, they’re a given.

Arriving late after work on Friday, we set up our tent in the dark. The three-wing tent was quite the nuisance. It was far too big for our needs and too monstrous to put up with just two people. Sweating away, we finally got the tent assembled, unpacked as much as possible, and then planned for bed since it was so late. Kurt and Bethany arrived much later (in the middle of the night), and we could hear them clanking tent poles together around 2 a.m. The tent went up, and the rains came down, and down, and down.

After an hour of heavy, intense rain and pulling all of our items towards the center of the tent to minimize anything getting wet, we heard commotion in the tent next door. I yelled over to Kurt and, after hearing his reply of a few curses, came to find out that their tent was not fairing nearly as well as our own.

The next morning we realized just how bad things had been the night before, and Kurt and Bethany woke up in something that resembled a lake with a tent in it. Everyone was quite cranky about the night’s weather adventures, but Kevin was excited to get fishing. Nothing would stop him. We packed up our car to head to the beach. According to him, we were already hours behind finding a good spot on the beach and well past the best tides for fishing. We rushed off down the road to Assateague Island to begin fishing, leaving Kurt and Bethany to fend for themselves until they regained their wits.

I was excited to use our three-day weekend to camp and relax, but Kevin only wanted to fish. The worst part of the beach was lugging all of the gear over the dunes onto the sand. It certainly gave us a workout. I plopped down on my lawn chair with a good book and a cold wine cooler while Kevin began perfecting knots and putting together his line, sinker, and bait in order to catch the perfect fish.

He was maniacal about doing everything just as he had read, and I watched with a smile. He was so happy to be out here and away from his crappy job. I was so happy we were beginning some traditions of our own. I could feel the sun burning my face and joyfully sat there while Kurt and Bethany made their way onto the sand with us. Blankets, beers and beach: perfect.

We spent most of the day on the beach and discussed plans to drive into Ocean City that evening. It was an unspoken tradition to go to the boardwalk on each and every trip into OCMD. The boardwalk wasn’t so much Kev’s thing, but I would have killed someone for a Dumser’s milkshake. After soaking up the sun through my yellow bleached hair, I was thirsting for their milkshake. We packed up all of our gear, and after three trips, we finally had the car packed up again.

After showers back at the campground, we fought through traffic and made it to the Boardwalk, which was packed as usual for Memorial Day weekend. We were all more than slightly sun-kissed, and the cool ocean breeze coming off the water was refreshing yet chilly. Kev and I held hands and walked beside Kurt and Bethany, who stopped to look at the trinkets, and eventually we stopped at the boardwalk vendors for some fries and shakes. The sky was darkening quickly, and we were looking forward to a campfire back at the campsite…with s’mores. When it came to camping, I never had healthful planning.

That night we cuddled up in our pajamas with our loves by the fireside. A family pulled in behind us, and we helped them start their campfire so the younger kids who were with them could enjoy a proper s’more. The humidity was high, and mosquitoes were biting, but it was a vast improvement from the downpour the night before.

Kurt and Bethany’s tent had dried, but their bedding was damp and stunk of mildew. Even our mansion monstrosity had sprung a leak the night before. I hoped the rain would keep away and we would stay dry. Kevin was itching for another day of fishing at the beach. I sunk my teeth into the gooey, super-sweet goodness of the s’more, and soon we retired to our bed of air.

The next morning we enjoyed much of the same: fishing, reading, sunbathing. Kevin caught a few jellyfish but nothing worthwhile. The beaches had become crowded with the long weekenders, and it was much more difficult for him to cast without first catching a kid or two. The night rolled by quickly, and the next day we hit the beach for a few more hours before driving home to our everyday lives.

August 30, 2008 “Rebounding Away”

Good morning. Kev and I are all back and comfy at 5D again, even in our old room. It feels SO good to be back. I’m trying to get back our portable TV so we can get the Xbox hooked up so that when Lou comes they can play some guy games. Exciting!

Another exciting thing — Kev got off the heart monitor this morning! So very happy — he is back to where he was before all this junk happened, and we are quite happy about that. The doctors say that the plan looks to start Kev on his second round of chemo this week, and they’ll just keep a close eye on him! Wahoo!

Kev is excited to get back up and walking this week, and he’s also looking forward to getting a new, more comfortable chair in here for him to lounge in outside of the bed. Fun stuff happening!

He’s back to his full-on Juicy Juice kick, so I know things are improving — haha. Kev got a great sleep last night, which was so great. He even got an extra nap already this morning.

I hope you all have a wonderful, wonderful day today. Happy Labor Day to everyone in the States — stay safe!

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