Among the many things I wondered that day was: How would this new diagnosis change my lifelong love affair with travel?
Here’s the partial verdict thus far: not so much. At least not yet.
In May, 2010 -- within a year of that revelation about my health -- I journeyed for three weeks in Turkey. It was a rigorous adventure, and I spent days walking the crowded sidewalks of Istanbul, exploring the haunting ruins of ancient Greek cities along the Aegean coast, and hiking up and down the hills of Cappadoccia in central Turkey. I didn’t see many people my age in the remote places I visited, and I felt pretty good about that.
For the first time in my life, I used a cane – the collapsible, travel variety – on a few of the most arduous hikes. And I found the cane came with an extra bonus. Ten minutes after I entered a spectacular cave church -- the "Dark Church" -- in the Goreme Open Air Museum in Cappadoccia, the small space filled with a big tour group that completely filled the place. Eager to escape the crowd, I bent over and stepped forward, holding my back with one hand, and maneuvering with the cane in the other. I felt like Moses fleeing Egypt, as the sea of tourists suddenly parted, and I made a quick escape.