We have returned from our glorious trip to France! We took our son and his girl, and her parents. We did a river cruise followed by 4 days in Paris. It was a wonderful trip filled with food, laughter, education, and marvel. My favourite excursion was to the little town Van Gogh lived and died in. We even saw the very room where he died; but we also saw the countryside he painted so gorgeously. The art in the museums still has my head spinning,

Sadly, I was so under the weather with chemotherapy side effects that I could not eat much of the delicious French food. Oh well. If you are going to feel bad, you may as well feel bad on vacation.

So now we are home, but not for long. We are helping Austin and Hannah to move to Waterloo, where he starts grad school in September. They have lucked into renting an entire house there. So next week we head out in the cube van with cars and cats in tow. After that, we pick up our trailer again for a spot of camping before coming home mid-September.

Just prior to our trip, I saw an esteemed urologist at Sunnybrook in Toronto. He is an expert on defects like mine, He pronounced me to be complicated but not impossible. Given my history of radiation, he holds out little hope a repair can be done successfully, but he is willing to attempt it. He will see me again in October, once I am off chemo for a month, to reassess. He says he will expedite the surgery if I am a better candidate by then. So hopefully by Christmas I can be a human being again. These defects rob a person of the sense of being a human, so freakish are they.

Today’s song is by the Beatlesque indie group Death Cab for Cutie. Their unique band title comes from a parody song in Magical Mystery Tour. Their hit “Soul Meets Body” from their 2005 album Plans perfectly captures a longing for the enjoyment of travel, knowing that death awaits us, and the bonding of relationships fostered under those conditions.

I want to live where soul meets body
And let the sun wrap its arms around me and
Bathe my skin in water cool and cleansing
And feel
Feel what it’s like to be new.

This post originally appeared on The Cancer Olympics. It is republished with permission.