Catching Up! 2/22/19

Hi Friends!

It’s been a little over a year since I retired Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog.  I can’t tell you how many times a day, over that year, you’ve all crossed my mind.  Many of you followed me over to Facebook, so I feel like we’ve all pretty much stayed connected through social media.  This summer, while we were on Mackinac for three months, I wrote for the Mackinac Island News and Views Facebook Page, and that gave me a chance to continue talking about the island we all love – without all the deadlines I was always imposing on myself with the blog.  It worked for me in a large way, and I hope those of you who followed along were pleased with that format.  But.  For a few of you, we’ve lost touch, and I thought today was a good day to try and catch up with everyone.

So here goes.

We had a pretty chilly winter last year (which suited me just fine).  Ted and I continued to volunteer – Ted, working two days a week at the Visitor’s Center at Fort Matanzas, and me, working two days a week in Same Day Surgery.

Our granddaughter Jordan graduated from high school and started college at the University of Alabama.  Grandson Matthew got his driver’s license.  I can’t believe he will be off and gone himself in a couple of years.  That happened way too fast.  Ted surprised me with a week in the mountains in June for my birthday, and oh my gosh it was nice.  He booked a cabin right next to a flowing stream, and Jason, Jen and Alex joined us for a few days.  By the time we got home it was almost time to pack up and head to Mackinac.  We once again visited with Ted’s newly found family in Michigan for a few days and so enjoyed strengthening those bonds before we traveled on to Mackinac.  Our son Blake, who lives in Turkey, visited us for ten days right after we arrived on the island, and throughout the summer we had visitors from near and far, including three of my girl cousins from south Georgia!  We spent Thanksgiving with Jason, Jen and Alex at Palmetto Bluff SC, and they joined Julie, Matt, Jordan and Matthew here at the house with us for Christmas.  We had a very quiet New Year’s Eve.

I guess the big news (in my mind anyway) for the summer was my health.  I developed a cough in June, and by the time we left for the island it had been going on for a month and was driving me nuts.  It was  almost constant.  I couldn’t talk without coughing, and once I started coughing I’d start sneezing (which seemed to last for 15 minutes at a time), and my eyes would water until I looked like I’d been crying over a really sad movie.  By the beginning of September I was fed up, and on the advice of a Mackinac friend I took myself down the hill to the Mackinac Island Medical Center.  Just to rule out pneumonia, they took a chest x-ray and sent me back to the condo on antibiotics and a short dose of steroids.  You can imagine my shock when I got a call two days later from the med center that the x-ray had shown a nodule in my left lung, and several cloudy areas in both lungs. They wanted me in St. Ignace THAT AFTERNOON for a CT scan.

The next four weeks are a blur.  After the scan was inconclusive, I was referred to Petoskey to a pulmonologist, who ultimately scheduled me for a needle biopsy of the lung nodule.  The day I had the biopsy I will admit to riding the ferry back to Mackinac with Ted, believing I had lung cancer.

Almost a week later, I met with my pulmonologist for my biopsy results.  He opened the door, and the first words out of his mouth were, “You don’t have cancer.”  Tears of joy came then.

Long story short.  I’ve been diagnosed with histoplasmosis, which usually occurs when you live somewhere with lots of birds.  They don’t think it’s active – they don’t even think my cough (which has gotten so much better) is even related to the histo.  I had a follow-up CT scan last month that showed basically the same thing as the first one.  My primary doctor here in Florida wasn’t comfortable with what he was seeing though (his exact words were, “you just have a lot of weird stuff in your lungs”), so he referred me to a pulmonologist at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville.  After meeting with her, and after she reviewed all my scans and the pathologist report, she has said, “Go live your life.  We’ll scan you again before you leave for Mackinac.  As long as there’s no change, you’re good to go.”  She did request further blood tests (all of which are negative for anything) and asked that I have the hospital in Petoskey send the slides of my biopsy to Mayo for their pathologist to review.  I took care of that last week.

After ruling out cancer, all the doctors I’ve seen think the cough, sneezing and runny eyes are due to something in the environment I’m inhaling.  Since the allergy season in Florida never really ends, I see a lot of Zyrtec in my future.  And that’s ok.

I’m feeling great, and my cough is almost non-existent. I’m out with Bodie walking everyday and have even started to do a little biking again.  Life is good, and I know that the many prayers that were lifted up for me this summer were answered by a very gracious and loving God.  Thank you to all of you who lifted those prayers.

Now for fun stuff!  Ted and I leave March 26 to travel to the Holy Land with a group of friends from Little Stone Church.  This trip has been almost a year in the planning, and we are so excited!  Our goal is to NOT have checked baggage for this trip and we’ve ordered new luggage that incorporates packing cubes.  I know you’re all laughing out loud – at least those of you who’ve seen on the old blog posts everything I pack up for a Mackinac trip.  But we are determined not to have to worry about lost luggage!

At the end of the trip, Ted will fly home with most of the group, while another small group goes on an extended tour.  I’m doing something entirely different.  The day Ted leaves for home I will fly from Tel Aviv to Istanbul and then on to Ankara – to visit Blake for a few days.  Then I will fly back into Tel Aviv, meet up with the second Little Stone Church group, and fly home with them.  Am I nervous?  You bet your life I am.  But I’m also so excited I can hardly sleep at night!

Even with all that going on, I’m still thinking ahead to being back on Mackinac for three months again this summer.  If all goes as planned, we’ll be there again the middle of July through the middle of October.  I’ve been asked to write for “News and Views” again, and I’m so looking forward to that!

So.  That’s what been happening with the Horton clan over the last year and what’s coming up in the months ahead.  I’d love to hear what’s been happening in your lives, so please feel free to comment!

Sending love and hugs to all of you.  I miss y’all.

Brenda (Bree)


35 thoughts on “Catching Up! 2/22/19

  1. So glad the cough hasn’t progressed. It’s been a busy year for everyone. The Holy Land and going to Turkey by yourself, WOW!
    My best friend’s parents are going to make their first trip to Mackinac this summer. We are trying to think of things they shouldn’t miss.

  2. So good to hear from you and I know you will enjoy your trip. No worries about luggage. What a great idea. Being nervous before a big trip is okay but being nervous about having cancer is different. I am so glad your doctor at Mayo said what she did. You are so blessed and I am so happy that you don’t have cancer or anything else serious. I do miss you and Ted and the dogs. May God continue to bless you and your loved ones. My prayers for you will continue and my hope to make it to Mackinac is still a work in progress.

    • Hi Betty! Thank you so much for your sweet words and prayers. Any time you’re ready to make that trip to the island, let me know!

  3. I LOVE THIS! I did a triple take, seeing the alert in my email that you posted a blog! Yay! Was lovely reading every word. Thankful to hear of your abundant blessings. Wishing you a safe and happy journey to the Holy Land ❤️

    • Hey sweet DeAna! I didn’t post this to Facebook because I figured everyone there has already heard all this stuff – well, except for the Holy Land trip. Hope to see y’all this summer on Mackinac!

      • Would absolutely love to see you this summer. One never knows! Sending much love ❤️❤️❤️I

  4. So wonderful to hear from you on the blog again! Wishing you a safe and great trip! We’re heading for the Island in early June. Hope the snow is gone cuz I’ve had enough in MN this winter! Hope to go back to the Island in October and would love to see you again!
    Karen and Arnie Strusz

  5. Glad to hear from you and catch up on what’s been going on with you and Ted. So sorry that you have been going through health issues, but thankful that you are getting better. How exciting for you both to visit the Holy Land. Going on from there to visit Blake for a few days will be the perfect end of your trip. Prayers lifted for continued health and safe travels. It’s been a long and cold winter here, and we are looking forward to spring and warmer weather. We missed going to Mackinac last year, and are hopeful to be able to make the trip up there sometime later this year. Would love to see a few pics of your trip if you have the time and can post them. Take care Brenda, and hope our paths cross on Mackinac later this year.
    Love and hugs to you too!

    • Hi Jayne – so good to hear from you! Just about every day I think about starting the blog up again JUST SO I can post about the Holy Lane and Turkey trip! I’m sure I’ll bore everyone silly on Facebook about it. When we get back home I’ll just have to do a “special post” on the trip! Hugs to you and yours!

  6. Oh My Gosh Bree!!!!! I was so excited to see your posting!!! I don’t have Facebook so I’ve been wondering how you and the family were doing. Thank you so much for the update. Have fun on your travels and Gods Blessings to you and your family💜

  7. When I decided to leave Facebook one of the things I knew I’d miss was seeing updates from you! Was so happy to receive this email! Hope you will have a wonderful (& safe) trip. Will look forward to another update down the road!
    -Abby (long-time reader)

    • Thank you, Abby! So good to hear from you. I miss those of you who aren’t on Facebook – wish I could think of a solution to that! Hope you and your family are doing well. Hugs, B.

  8. WELL There you are! I have miss your wonderful posts and hearing about all the goings on! I managed to connect with Ted on Facebook when I couldn’t get the “friend” button to work on your page. I love your beautiful silver hair! It looks very nice on you! Ted said he loves it too!
    I am so sorry to hear about your scary trauma with your lungs, but so relieved it is “just” the bird issue. Sounds like toxoplasmosis with cats! Your trip to Israel and Turkey sounds like a dream come true! You’ll be fine, and carry on luggage is very doable! I even did it last year on the Albany High School Chix of ‘66 70th birthday cruise for a week, then on to my brother’s for two and a half weeks! You’re a pro! You’ll have room for the souvenirs! Can’t wait to hear all about it! Thanks again for reconnecting with us!

  9. So excited to hear from you again. You have had quite a year! I am glad your health scare wasn’t serious. What an amazing trip you have planned. I look forward to hearing all about it. Hope to see you on the Island this summer. Sending prayers for safe travels!

    • Thank you, Lora! Hope you’re on the island when we are – let me know and we’ll have a “meet and greet” somewhere! Hugs, B.

  10. I’m not on face book so I haven’t been able to keep up with you. When I opened my mail and saw you name I was so excited. I’ve missed hearing about all of your adventures. Thank you so much for this update. It was so good to catch up.
    Maybe you could start an Instagram account. I do have Instagram.
    Teresa Griffin

    • Hi Teresa! I am on Instagram (bree1972), but I’m not very active. I’m trying to learn to post there more often, but it’s just one more “techy” thing this old brain has to figure out! I’ll try to do better since I know you’re there! Hugs, B.

  11. I saw this post on my email and almost deleted it thinking “I wonder why an old blog is popping up?!” It feels like old times! LOVE IT! So fun to see others reply posts also. Excited for your trip to the Holy Land. I must confess that it makes me a little nervous to think of you and Ted in the Middle East. Sadly, a lot of unrest in the area. Can’t wait to see you and Ted this summer on the island!

    As always, sending hugs from from Iowa!

    Yvonne & Tony

    • Hi Yvonne! For some reason the only thing I’m concerned about in this Middle East trip is making my connection from Istanbul to Ankara without having to go through Customs in Istanbul. I only have an 1 1/2 hour layover, and Blake says there’s no way I’ll make the connection if I go through Customs there. BUT – he says “usually” if you are connecting to another city in Turkey that HAScustoms they are more interested in you making your flight. Then, I’ll go through Customs in Ankara. Hope that’s right!

  12. Hi Brenda!!…I was thinking the same thing as Yvonne! I couldn’t believe you were posting a blog BUT it sure felt sooo good to hear from you. So happy to hear that your health is good, and I think your trips are going to be so exciting. A little on the scary side but exciting none the less. Have a safe trip(s) and I will be thinking of you! We have a lot to catch up on when we get to the island. Can’t wait to see you then, so I can tell you all about our first grandDAUGHTER!! Love y’all!

  13. Bree,
    I’m so glad you posted an update. I never got on Facebook so I’ve been missing you and your updates so thank you so much! I feel bad about your health issues and I’m all too familiar with your histo as my husband had suffered with that twice. It can be very serious as I’m sure you are aware, so just be sure to watch for symptoms. I wish you all the best and it’s so exciting to hear of your upcoming trips. Maybe I’ll see on the island. I’m going in Aug. with a few friends. Take care!

  14. It’s been almost a year since the last update – just wondering how you are! Always loved your stories of Mackinac – we are Florida natives who have visited Mackinac Island 8 times – always in October for the weather 🙂
    Hope you are well. I enjoyed your blog for many years, and I thank you for that!

    • Hi Delicia! Thanks so much for your sweet words. We are doing fine and still enjoying our Mackinac summers. We lost our precious little Maddie just before we returned to the island last summer. She was 14 and we miss her tremendously. Bodie turns 4 in March and his brain is finally catching up to his “grown-up” body. He keeps us active and laughing! I still think about returning to blogging. Thanks so much for checking on us. God bless.

  15. Not sure if you will get this reply – but I did want to say that I hope all is well
    With your travels and different living places.
    God bless

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s