So Plan A – which wasn’t really a “plan” so much as a strategy to achieve the Vision that is core to TJLDC – had been as follows:
– Retire from The Walt Disney Company (TWDC) in mid-First Quarter, Calendar Year 2016.
– Spend mid-Feb thru mid-May getting the house and yard in shape for an extended absence
– Depart Washington State in mid-May, headed north. The first intermediate objective would be to get set up in one of a number of campgrounds on the Anchor River, Kenai Peninsula, Alaska, no later than mid-week prior to Memorial Day Weekend, 2016. We would be accompanied by my friend and fishing partner Bob Funseth and his wife Ok Sun.
– Spend the summer touring Alaska and fishing all of the old places I remember from my 4-year Army tour up there, plus any new ones that we could run across. We’d expect Bob and Ok Sun to bail out by mid-summer and return home while LDC and Companions journey on.
– About mid-August, we hoped to head south, catch the Trans-Canada highway, and work our way across Canada, arriving in the Marine Provinces by mid-September. Work our way down the coast following the Atlantic Salmon runs, spend the Fall in New England, then work our way down the Atlantic coast planning to arrive in Florida about the end of hurricane season.
– Work our way across the Gulf and Mexican Border States, wintering over in Arizona somewhere, with a detour to Southern California to visit Darling-Darling’s sister and maybe do Disneyland if I had any Comp Tickets left.
– In the Spring of 2017, head north from Arizona into Utah and Colorado, heading east through the Mid-Tier States, do Appalachia on up to NY and Penn, then cut back across the Great Lakes States, then the Northern Tier states and back home sometime late fall or early winter 2017. If it took longer than that, that’d be OK, too, so long as we could meet the objectives of The Vision.
Enter LDC stage left, following the 2015 winter holiday season, having checked off the first state, Hawaii, by a week at Disney’s Aulani resort in November.
The prior summer, the doc had informed me that my PSA levels (PSA being an indicator of Prostate Cancer) were becoming elevated and that we’d keep an eye on them. I had a Urology consult in September and we discussed current conditions and set up follow-up plans “just in case.” I took my semi-annual physical in early January, as I usually do, not thinking a thing about the PSA discussion we’d had a few months earlier. At TWDC I was busy getting my projects in line for transition to someone else, planning retirement parties, validating bennies, and all that pre-retirement folderol, with an announced retirement date of February 19th.
In late January, @ 3 weeks prior to my retirement, I got a call from my Doc’s office. My PSA level had spiked and I was advised to get a Biopsy on my prostate as soon as possible. Crud!! It sure looks like Plan A is down the tubes. I immediately contacted my Director, Cassa Hanon – who had hired me on at Disney both as a contractor and later on as an FTE, and my Manager, John Hendow – who I’d sat next to the entire time I was with Disney as contractor and then as my boss for my entire time as an FTE. What are Little Dickey Carroll’s options, and where do we go from here? Looks like it’s time to come up with Plan B!
We came to conclusion that it would make sense to cancel my retirement, proceed with the diagnosis and various follow-on activities, and then take Medical Leave of Absence if that was appropriate.
So began the new journey that I will be chronicling under Side Trips for all who might be interested in one person’s dance with The Big C.
As always, may you never stop learning and may your journeys always lead to new and exciting destinations!