Much-Needed Getaway to Hawaii…10/31/10

Dear friends,

Thank you for your continued interest in our lives. There is so much going on in the world, and I’m touched you care about our activities. I hope your fall has been fulfilling and healthy.

I don’t remember where October went, except that somehow I didn’t make too much time to blog! Here’s my latest update.

I continue to be incredibly touched by the volume of supporters we’ve seen for The Power of Two film in the last few weeks. Thank you dear friends!!!!! We are forever indebted!

Well, after the film fundraiser in mid-October, our energetic POT team was busy following up on details as the editors worked around the clock to incorporate the 3 pages of feedback :)I offered for the film. I realize I don’t have much control over this project and was feeling like I was left to do very little. After just a week of few ‘to-do’s’, I started to feel bored.

My boredom was relieved with a much-needed, real vacation with Andrew. We hadn’t gone away together for 2 years, and the insanity of the past 2 years required a true break. We needed to sit and do nothing but stare at each other and talk about ‘the big picture.’ No, not the film, but the real big picture. It’s rejuvenating for our relationship, for our souls. Yes, I know it’s a luxury.

After our plans to escape to London fell through, Andrew and I found a great deal to go to Lanai. We stayed in the romantic Four Seasons Resort on top of the mountain. It was unusually cool when we arrived but the following days reassured us that we were in fact, in Hawaii.

The 3 days we spent in Lanai were pretty much all we could handle there, because there is NOTHING to do. Andrew really needed that. It felt very good to lay by the poolside, be served cold drinks, fruit, cold towels, cucumbers for the eyes, and have full access to SPF 30 sunblock:).  The beachside service was equally opulent, with free snorkel equipment, and set-up of an umbrella and covered chairs. Andrew and I swam around for a bit in the water. I was in Heaven, frolicking about in deep but warm water. It felt so good! Andrew is not much of a swimmer and I’m always pushing him to try it a little longer. His arms gave out after 30 minutes, and snorkeling is not his forte, so our water time together was left to a romantic evening warm bath.

During the days, I gently urged Andrew to pull a “Stenzel” and go for a hike. He’d roll his eyes. We went on a gorgeous 5 mile hike from the Mountain resort through the Lanai mountains, and came to a gorgeous vista point overlooking Lanai canyons, and Molokai and Maui in the distance. Then we rushed to the beach resort to make it to a yoga class, one of my desires.  In the evening, after a day at the beach, we hiked around the bay to the top of a cliff, known as ‘Sweetheart Rock,’ and watched the sunset through the clouds. The following day, perhaps unwisely, we headed out for a coastline trail from 11:30-1pm and nearly suffered from heat stroke. We walked over unsteady lava rocks along cliffs looking over crashing waves and white foam. It felt good to be active, but Andrew grew frustrated by my packed agendas.

So, as you can see, the dynamic in this relationship is that I’m always restless and itching to be active, to do more, to see everything there is to see; but Andrew reluctantly joins me but would rather relax(he is a lawyer and a producer after all). I tell him he doesn’t need to do what I do; but he wants to be together. Oh, the joys of a couple! But seriously, though, we did relax; but I need to earn my relaxation after a good hour or two of exercise! Our big splurge was to have a couples massage in a tent outside, right above the water. We paused during the massage to lift our heads and look out at the Spinner dolphins jumping around the bay. It was indeed Heavenly- a once in a lifetime gift. Of course, I felt guilty… like what gives some humans the right to live so indulgently while most people will never have this chance?

Overall, this was a true getaway from any normal habits – even commercialism. There was no shopping on Lanai; the few stores we saw were closed or shut down. There were few restaurants to choose from, and we visited one locals joint, Blue Ginger Café, three times because it was the only place that didn’t cost 3 digits for a dinner. Lanai is a painful place for a thrifty Stenzel.

My one adventure was reserved for the last afternoon. While Andrew fell asleep in a lawn chair with a canopy overlooking the ocean (wouldn’t you??), I decided to go snorkeling one last time. I head out into the deep dark rough water, to overcome my fear. I swam pretty far out, enjoying the unusual coral rifts underwater that invited amazing colorful fish.  I kept telling myself, “I can do this. I’m okay. Don’t panic.” Snorkeling always tests me! Well, after I got my fill of snorkeling, I was pretty far out and decided to be brave, and swim across to the other side of the bay. There I went, competent, strong, brave, swimming along… then OOOWWW!!!!! I felt a strong stinging sensation up and down my arm and a little on my leg and rib. I itched and examined the painful site while splashing about in the water like a shark attack victim. Trying not to panic; I kept swimming as I didn’t see any creatures around me. As I swam along, itching a little, I glanced at my left arm and saw a long line of welts. Ouch! It was a jellyfish. I thought maybe I’d have a reaction so I’d better swim ashore. Bummer. My chance to prove myself was dashed.

After less than an hour, the welts were gone and I have prednisone to thank for. Sometimes it’s great to be on immunosuppressants! I put Neosporin on the sting anyway, just to reduce the chance for infection. Thankfully, all is well.

As I write this, I am just amazed at how normal my life is. My health has been such a gift, to allow me to describe this dreamlike life that is just a fantasy for many. As I soaked up the sun, three of my transplanted friends are suffering so, so, so much and it pains me to witness the unfairness of transplant outcomes. One of them never got a day free of pain and nausea; one has been inpatient for 3 months and now on a ventilator, and the other is at the end after 8 years post-transplant. I guess perhaps my time will come someday, and maybe I’ll look back at this blog not with yearning, but with appreciation for the time I could truly live. And I also recognize that these friends may not be in Hawaii, enjoying their lives, but they are surrounded by loving friends and family. If our bodies bring us down, it’s nice to see that love is still present for these friends. And whether I am in Hawaii or in a hospital bed, how blessed I am to have Andrew, whose love accompanies me through the best of times and worst of times.

Take care, and may you be blessed with relaxation and a getaway sometime as well… xo Isa

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