Here I Come Again

I don’t know about you, but 2022 hasn’t exactly been a memorable year for me thus far. I’ve just dealt with six months of intense back pain dating back to September 2021, in addition to stage IV lung cancer dating back to October 2019. Yay, me.

But guess what? I finally got what I needed. Did my six weeks of physical therapy, (well, eight!) then my insurance company ponied up for my steroid injection. As I type, it has been a handful of days, and I definitely feel a difference. I’m hoping that as the next week or two passes, I’ll feel even better. Just as important as the way my body feels, is the way my mind feels: I finally have a stepping stone for turning my life around. Again. How many times will I do this? How many times will I be allowed to do this before my clock stops ticking? Somehow, someway, I don’t think I’m done. I think I can move forward. As some people like to say, “You got this.”

What a sigh of relief.

Funny/not funny what pain does to you. I can almost handle the cancer, because the odd truth is that my life continued much as it did before my diagnosis once I was on the right treatment plan. But this back stuff? It has tormented me beyond anything physical I’ve ever dealt with, has delivered a crushing blow. Add sucky New England weather to the mix and it’s a true recipe for disaster. I have not been to my favorite local hiking haunt in two months! This is horrific news! From September until November I continued my exploration of the trails around Quabbin Reservoir even though my back ached, and it kept me sane. Since the snow and ice shut me out of much of my outdoor activity I’ve been yearning to get back outside with the animals and the trees, to get my feet moving, take some pictures, feel like I’m alive again. Here I wait (impatiently) for a stretch of weather that’s warm enough to melt some of the ice and give me a Saturday afternoon to get back out there and forget about stuff for a while.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve kept myself busy with my “indoor” loves: writing my latest book, posting to this here blog, doing my special brand of artwork, reading, working on photo albums, continuing my studies of the Polish language. I’m not giving any of that up! I just have to get back to walking off those steps and miles that mean so much to me and keep me grounded. You really don’t know how very much something means to you until you can’t do it.

Know what else I need to do? Plan travel. I’m heading to South Carolina again in a couple of weeks to see my beloved niece. I need more on the calendar after that. I’ve always kept myself going by making plans. I’m seeing Southern Utah, Cape Cod, California, Oregon, and Portugal in the not so distant future. Maybe later in the year I’ll reschedule my canceled trip to Costa Rica, but COVID19 has to look a lot better before I even think about leaving the country. As long as I go somewhere, I’ll be okay. The idea of getting back to globe trotting and country hopping is always a possibility, but is not the necessity that it used to be. I’ve done a lot of crazy stuff, and I’ll do plenty more, but safety is first and doing what appeals to me most runs a close second.

Right now, my number one goal is to drive twenty miles to the north and walk a flat trail down to the edge of the largest inland body of water in Massachusetts, like I’ve done hundreds of times before. Having the sun shining would be a big plus. Melting snow, even better. And silence. Lord, give me silence! Five miles of silence. I have not done a five miler in several weeks. Several weeks too long.

Even though my feet aren’t quite moving yet again, just being able to wrap my mind around the possibility of resuming my active life is a miracle. Maybe 2022 will have some happy memories after all?

Hey, guess what? I got my airfare to Albuquerque, my chosen gateway to Southern Utah, last night. Booked my hotel on Cape Cod earlier in the week. The forecast for this Saturday is for sun and 50 degrees. I’m adding hiking to that forecast. It can’t come soon enough.

Yeah, I got this.

Author: barblee

Barb Lee is a native of Western Massachusetts who loves to write, travel and hike the world, and hang out with her beautiful Jersey Wooly bunny Muffin. Her whole life changed when she was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer in October of 2019. By January of 2020, she was bouncing back in a major way. Now, in addition to all her favorite activities, she wants to help others make the most of life following a devastating diagnosis, while she continues to beat the odds.

4 thoughts on “Here I Come Again”

  1. Hello my name is Tammie and I hike the Quabbin every weekend with my friend. We have done all the gates on the New Salem and Petersham side. We hiked over 10 miles in search of Wendell’s grave. We found the house foundation and ended up in circles and more circles in the woods straight up behind the foundation and still came up with nothing. We are going to try again next weekend. Just wondering if you could give us some pointers or better tips on location. I was a long day and hard on the body and I was so bummed that we didn’t find Wendell.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Tammie, it’s nice to hear from someone who spends so much time at Quabbin like I do. During the summer I finished a full circuit of the Quabbin gates, finding as many as I could, and hiking them if possible. Some great stuff out there, and Wendell is definitely one of them. Don’t know if you and your friend know it, but there’s also a crashed airplane behind Gate 40. About Wendell: I was there not too long ago, and it’s really hard to find him right now if you don’t know how to get there. I’d wait until spring, but I will try to help. Assuming you know that you take Dana-Greenwich Road from Dana Common. Once you hit the swamp you take the next grassy trail into the woods on the right side. This trail was a mess the last time I was up there, lots of blowdowns. Hike another three quarters of a mile. You will come to an area that you will know once had a large property on the right side of the road. Not a whole lot of it can be seen. It sounds like you made it this far. The climb to Wendell will be on the left side of the road and up the hill. When I first found him it was late summer and I noticed faint animal trails and followed them. I didn’t see the trails last time because of leaves. (But I know where he is.) He is up high. If you didn’t climb that hill on the left side of the road you weren’t near him. You will need to hike over downed trees and other roughage before you get to the foot of the hill. And just climb. It is a magical place and I hope you find it. Let me know if you do, and if you don’t, I can meet you there and I’ll bring you. It should be a seven mile round trip from the gate. Good luck!


      1. Thank you so much for your information. We did find the plane today. If you are on Facebook our hiking page is The Wilderness Warriors. We post pictures from every hike and please join if you’d like.


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