What a Strange and Amazing Place This Is…

Okay, this one is a pretty mind-blowing post for me, and I’m still not sure where to put everything. These are the facts as I know them, and knowing them for less than 3 hours is pretty numbing still. A bunch of you know I spent more than 20 years with the LAFD. Okay, I’ll admit it was 20 years and ONE DAY more, but still. I’m dang proud of that one day. After, I worked for the Avalon Harbor Department for 5 years as a harbor patrol officer, and then went on up to Santa Barbara and worked for them for another 5 years doing similar work. Loved every minute. After that, I was DONE! I spent about 6 months preparing Willow to head south, and south I went. Most of you have read of those adventures. Loved every minute of that, too!

I’ve been home about 5-6 months, and noticed recently my breathing was not quite right. Some of you know I spent a few weeks working at The Pile, NYC, immediately after 9/11. When I got home from New York, I was having a lot of trouble breathing, and went for care. Fortunately, I have been followed since then, most recently with the good folks at UCLA. I’ve been doing quite well, and been seeing my doc every 6 months for checks and follow ups. My doctor transferred to Texas and Rice University, so in August I was seen once by an overwhelmed young doctor from the East Coast. He conferred with his attending, and decided to add another special inhaler to the mix. I was to follow up again in October, having a pulmonary functions test first.

Shortly after the August appointment, I began coughing alot, and started to wheeze. The inhalers just didn’t cut it. I called my young physician and explained that with the cough, I was having right-sided chest pain. He shrugged it off to musculoskeletal pain, and still didn’t want to see me until October. Okay. My wheezing progressed, and I denied it, not wanting to clutter an ER with just another asthmatic. Today, I couldn’t hack it anymore, and went on in. They were wonderful, and after 2 nebulizer treatments, I was sent off for a chest xray. I had a third nebulizer treatment and some ‘roids while the xray cooked. An hour or so later, feeling much better, I sheepishly asked if I could go home. The great ER doc came in and said, “Tell me more about your chest, and when was your last chest xray?” I answered my last film was when I got the plate put in my arm after I busted my humerus in 2010, and it was normal. Well, it wadn’t no’mal no mo’. So, I was set up for a CT, and that confirmed it. My right lung is just full of a crappy, big ol’ tumor, and it kinda sucks.

I’m beginning to process it all right now, and have the worst headache doing so. I’ll have a bronchoscopy tomorrow or Thursday, and since the tumor’s compressing my right mainstem bronchus, it should be pretty easy to get a biopsy at the same time. With that information, it should speed up the determination of where I go next. Whew! Yeah, I’ve cried a little, haven’t told my mom, and shrugged my shoulders at the wonder of it all.

A new and different adventure is in front of me now, and I think I’ll just approach it as I did with sailing:
GO FOR IT! Or, with my favorite paddling motto, SHADDUP AND PADDLE!! Don’t worry, I don’t give in that easy…

And if anyone doubted it, I love you all. Keep doing good things!!! (I’ll let you know what happens…)

26 thoughts on “What a Strange and Amazing Place This Is…

  1. JoyAnne52

    Hi Wendy, Checking my mail and saw your post. The past year or so, I have enjoyed your readings while you and Willow sailed the oceans. And I was sorry to hear that you were no longer on fb. But you allowed me to be on your sight, and I am thankful for that. I have enjoyed your pictures of Willow, and your two traveling partners, and the many places that you have experienced. Felt like I was there too. I am keeping you in my prayers regarding this new bump in the road issue. You are an amazing woman, and such an inspiration to so many. Please keep us posted on your prognosis. If you need anything, please call. I have a home in Flagstaff, AZ but currently living in SF with my daughter and son-in-law. Helping with a new baby girl. You are being thought of always, keeping you in prayer. OK girl, sending a hug from a friend from the past. Joanne Cameron 805-427-3483



  2. Mark Kerwin

    Hey Wendy, every time I talk to you or read your post,s, I learn more and more about an amazing person. When I read about your sailing experiences, I realize how much you have done and sailed and just how experienced of a ocean person you are. Knowing this, I think you will tackle this problem head on and will be sailing for a long long time. If there is anything at all I can do, please let me know as I am only a few miles away. Your friend, Mark Kerwin. you have my #?

  3. Colleen Ryan

    Wendy, we are right here for anything you may need that’s boat related as well as anything else including but not limited to: crying, laughing, sushi, paddleboarding, doctor visit company…..you get the gist……..your friends at Outbound, Colleen and Kevin
    Please stop by when you feel up to it.

    1. Tony de Witte

      Also, LIKE! Thumbs way up! Way to go, Ryan’s, supporting Windy all the way, even if she don’t want it. She’s a stubborn gal, yah know! You being there for her gives me a sense of solace. I wish I could be closer geographically to do the same.

  4. Sherry Lutz

    Oh dang it all…reading your latest entry completely took the wind out of my sails. How can such a lousy thing happen to such a beautiful person? Your strength and amazing approach to life will continue to help you ride this wave of uncertainty. My heart is with you, Wendy.

  5. Lenore

    Oh Wendy ;-( I’m speechless. You are forever and always in my thoughts and I am here for you whenever and whatever you (or Mom) need. Just call. You are one strong cookie but sometimes you just need to reach out… love you

  6. Tony de Witte

    Ah Windy!! Tell me it ain’t so. Just another storm on the horizon. You’ve weathered many throughout the years. What’s one more. You are on a sound, stout boat, it’s all up to you, now, gal, and you’ve got the muster to do it. We’re all behind you on this one. Windy, I have to tell you something. I heard that wheezing many years ago and it did not sound good to me. But, what do I know? I didn’t mention it because I thought you being in the medical field would be on top of it. I wrote it off to some sort of asthmatic condition from living on the water. Silly me. Say, Windy, I remember way back when you had another condition. You started a “Hole in the Head Club” for it and you beat it. You know, my daughter, Leah, in her last check up was found to have a heart murmur. She gets a more thorough examination next week. She eats like a horse but is not growing physically. Her first Chinese physical examiner reported it and we were notified. We decided to adopt her anyway. Her second Chinese pediatrician did not catch it before we took her home. And neither have the several other US pediatricians afterward. But, her current doctor noticed it. Don’t know yet how serious this is going to be if at all. But the reason I bring it up, is, if it turns out to be serious, I want to start a “Broken Hearts Club,” which my grown nephew with a congenital heart condition and Leah can be its first members. This was inspired in me by that long ago memory of that first club you started. Now, damn it, Windy, we gotta come up with another club for your current situation. What shall we call it, “Holy Windbaggers?” I don’t know. Got any suggestions!?! Love you dearly. Keep your chin up. You’re with good, nah, great company, all of us that know you.

  7. Pat Henry

    Hi Wendy! I was shocked to read about this health event, what the hell. You are such a wonderful person and it is an honor to say that you were always so gracious, helpful and patient while you were working here in Santa Barbara. I thank you for being a part of our lives and I regret that I have not kept in touch. I will keep you in my prayers and my God keep you in his/her arms.

  8. Grace Vernola

    Oh Wendy…..not happy to hear this. I would like to say….this to shall come to pass…..but……enough is enough !… none the less…you hang in girl !.. If you need to talk……I still have a good shoulder. Love Ya !

  9. Glenn Maurer

    Wendy, We’ve know you for a long time & know that fighting spirit that you have & your strong will. But we want to let you know that you are not alone and know that even though we may not be right beside you physically our fighting spirit, love & prayers will always be with you. As in the old days of volleyball the score is 13-14 but you have the serve & we’re all backing you up. WE CAN’T LOSE!! Luv you girl

  10. wsea61 Post author

    Hey, Everyone!!!

    You guys are all so amazing! I’m truly feeling the love. Are you feeling it? Thank you so much for all of the most kind and great words. So uplifting! I got some good sleep last night which was so refreshing, and today’s a new bright and shiny day. I’m going to UCLA’s pulmonary clinic this week, so we can get this party started! Stay tuned!

  11. Luanne Colasanti

    Oh Wendy, I too have enjoyed reading your posts about your travels and am shocked to read this last post. Vaughn and my prayers are with you. My brother in law Dr. Bob Bernstein is a pulmonologist here in Ventura and I have been told by many he is the smartest Dr. at CMH. (He studied at UCLA) If you are looking for a 2nd opinion please contact him. Thinking about you and sending you prayers and positive thoughts. You are going to get through this! Luanne and Vaughn

  12. Lyz

    Hey Wendy,
    Hokuloa lyz here. Well nothing to say but that’s crappy. Just remember, you are not alone in this and it ain’t over till it’s over. Keep your humor and a good doctor. We’ll be there for the rest:)

  13. Tony Senior

    Wendy, your life has been an amazing adventure that you’ve so graciously and unselfishly shared with the world. We are all here to return the favor by sharing the power of prayer and optimism. You’ve saved the lives of many during the darkest hours of night and in the dirtiest streets of the big city. You’ve sailed alone in some of the most remote parts of Northern America. You’re no cissy that’s for sure! We know you’re strong and positive, with a passion for life. Continue your zest for life and remember….you’re not alone.

    1. Roger

      We go back to your first boo boo, or should I say cramp, during your Drill Tower days at 89’s. I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside of you and have always admired your work ethic and professionalism during your 20 year LAFD career. I’ve lived vicariously through you during your second and third careers, not to mention your unbelievable adventures at sea. Throughout the time I’ve known you, there have been a number of “left turns” you have had to encounter and each time you have risen to the challenge and straightened them out. Bottom line, you are ONE BRAVE & TOUGH LADY and if anyone I know can and will fix this one, you’re it! Know that you will be in our thoughts and prayers every day and will be waiting for the next positive chapter of your incredible life.
      Loving you,
      Roger, Glenda & Alex

  14. Kevin Marble

    Word filtered my way this early morning of your discovery. For you my friend I send added strength, love and support. There was never a day that our patches crossed that I wasn’t greeted by the warmest and most sincere smile on the planet. Here it comes right back to you…

  15. Bill Bischoff

    Hi Wendy,
    I have been following your adventures at sea for a while now. I enjoy your writing and sunny view of things immensely. Even though we have not met, I am very saddened to hear about your latest challenge. From reading the other replies here, I am glad to know that you have such caring friends to help you deal with this. I will be sending positive vibes your way to use as you see fit. Your blog was such an inspiration to me as I prepared to make the sail down south with last year’s Ha Ha. I now cruise many of the same places that you have written about in your travels. Good luck and damn the torpedoes.
    Bill S/V Odyssey

  16. Deresa

    I don’t know what to say!! OMG this isn’t fair . I know you have a tough batter ahead of you but you are one strng cookie

    Please let me know if I can help at all. Running errands or taking you in for treatment. I work M, Tue, and W. But can help the other 4 days
    I’ll send positive thoughts your way

  17. Ellen Todd

    HI Wendy – Sorry to hear this news – but you are an amazing lady and have always been an inspiration to me. I was with you the night before you left for the “Rockpile” and I thought what a brave , gutsy and awesome lady to go there and support your “first responder ” brothers and sisters. You have always been there to share your wonderful spirit with your friends. or anyone that needed it and you are a gift to all of us.
    If you can survive the guys peeing on your toilet seat at the station – you can beat this one too ! Hang in there baby !!! If you need anything at all – I am right around the corner and happy to give back some of what you have given me.
    Love you bunches even if I haven’t seen you for far too long

  18. Bill McNeely

    Wow, Wendy – it was kind of painful just to read this. I hope you’re doing better already, but suspect there is a really rough patch of seaway ahead of you. Have courage and have faith! Prayers and blessings – and I will ask Bill Davidson and Daniel Heagney to talk with the Big Guy for you! This is not my first request of them – they seem to have some pull. I think Bill keeps the head working smoothly on the Big Guy’s boat, so he matters a lot. We’re not done with you yet on this side of The Big Isthmus!

  19. Terri Petrescu from Privilege

    Wendy, what a shock to see this. I thought I might find some info on how your favorite places in La Paz are doing after the hurricane. In no way did I expect this. You are one strong lady and I am sure you will tackle this. My prayers for you, (and for your mom).

  20. privilegelog

    Wendy, what a shock to see this. I know you will tackle this head on. I thought I might see some news on La Paz on your site, and never expected this, Prayers go out to you as you make your way through this unexpected turn in the road.

  21. Jeane B

    Wendy….. I’ve been underwater for a few weeks and just read your post. Your attitude is amazing. I have torn a page from your book and added it to my goals in patenting. Plz know that my prayers are with you and would love to visit if you are up for it.


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