Turtle Rescue, Meet Your Ambassadors, and More

Friends and Family,

What a week! First, there were turtle rescues.

No, not THAT kind. Rescue OF turtles, not BY Ninja Turtles. The second option would stretch believability even more than if I told you that I was still alive after nine years with lung cancer.

No, I'm talking about rescuing REAL turtles. That means we're back in Hawaii again, taking our usual morning beach walks. Only this walk was far from usual. First, we  came across this distressed-looking adult turtle, out of the water, baking in the sand.

While Genevieve called the Turtle Rescue hotline (yes, there is such a thing in Hawaii), I found a five gallon bucket and poured ocean water on the poor turtle.

Meanwhile, the Turtle Rescue man told Genevieve that finding this turtle on the beach either meant that it was in distress, or that it was taking a nap.

When I poured the bucket of water on the honu (Hawaiian for turtle), it immediately did a 180 degree spin in the sand and headed for the ocean at full speed.

So depending on your point of view, we either rescued this poor turtle, or made him grumpy by waking him up from a good nap.

Next, on the same walk, we come across a family with a young boy that has been stung by a Portuguese Man-of-War, which is a tiny blue bubble of a creature with a three-foot tale that feels like a bee sting on a string.

The boy had been touched on the leg, chest and arm, and welts were forming. Genevieve instructed us to get the white berries off the naupucka shrub that grows just about everywhere along the beach. We gathered berries, mom rubbed them in, and the boy immediately got some relief. Genevieve told them to go to the ER if symptoms worsened or he had difficulty breathing. The mom thanked us for the instant relief, and for saving the family a trip to the ER.

This stuff never happens, but this day EVERYTHING was happening. We were almost back to our beach house, when we saw a fisherman struggling to get his line out of the water. At first we thought he had a snag, but eventually we saw what he was reeling in: You guessed it. A turtle.

I offered to help. He reeled it in until I could grab the turtle and lift it by the shell. I held it while he ran back to get his pliers, and then pulled the hook out of the poor turtle's mouth. Once it was out, I let the turtle loose in the water, and he swam off at Olympic speed. He didn't even say thank you, probably because his mouth was too sore.

So I'm starting to think that this is why I'm still alive: To rescue turtles. But then Genevieve reminds me that we have been invited to be ambassadors.

Sounds impressive, doesn't it? Now you're wondering, "ambassador of what?"

I guess "Cancerland" would be the best answer. This is four-day speaker training program in Chicago, so that Genevieve and I can become more skilled at public speaking, and then speak at regional cancer-related events when the opportunity presents itself. Now THIS has our full attention. I can't think of anything more fulfilling than providing hope and inspiration for other people that are going through what we're going through.

Last, but number one on my mind for the past couple of weeks, I want to give you an update on my friend Craig Blower. Craig and I have been on parallel paths with Tarceva and then AZD9291 for the past almost three years, although Craig started AZD9291 a few months before me. He has had growth in his existing spots, and metastasis to some new ones. The treatment course is unclear at this time. He is asking for virtual hugs across the miles. If you are so inclined, visit https://craigblower.wordpress.com/ and say hello. It would mean a lot to him, and to me as well.