From Gunnison

We have not yet had a very warm day, but it has been sunny enough to melt the snow here in town. The creek behind our house is rising fast and we can hear the roaring as the water rushes by. Birds are everywhere.

Ellen has a new bird book and she is reading it aloud as we identify different birds at the feeder outside our bedroom window as we sit in bed together and drink mate early in the morning.

Ellen is now in the down part of her treatment cycle, extremely tired, aching joints, not feeling very well. It does seem perhaps this time around is not quite as bad as the last time, but these are still hard days. Her spirit is strong, and she was even able to take a short walk today.

The dogs are showing their love and concern for her, sleeping at the foot of the bed, and cuddling her. They know she does not feel well and they are helping in the way that they know. And it is quite effective.

The famous Harvard study on health and well being shows that “the people who fared the best were the people who leaned into relationships, with family, with friends, with community.”


Our family, our friends, our community are surely letting us lean into them, and we are pulling great strength and comfort from all of you. Thanks for the meals that appear just when we need them, the cheerful visits, the rides, the help in the house, and the solidarity. Your love touches us deeply. Words fail us.

Last week, before Ellen’s most recent therapy session, we spent a lovely day with our godchildren Maria Jose (who is turning 15 today), Gregory and Rio. Among the various things we did was to climb Maggie Pass near our house.


When last Wednesday came and it was time to go to the hospital for treatment, Ellen again wanted to walk the several miles to town and the hospital. And she did. And she was blessed by a group of friends who showed up to walk with her.

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How much support she feels. What a lovely group of people. What a way to start what could be a difficult day.


We hope you can get some sense of how good this made Ellen feel.

She stayed feeling good for a couple of days afterward, but is now in the down part of the cycle. That is just part of the process, and as hard as it is, this is the process that can make her well, and she is grateful for it. Thanks to all of the dedicated medical professionals and researchers who have made this possible, and the many cancer patients who have gone before, and as hard as it seems, letting us all learn from their experience. We must acknowledge them with gratitude.

Luke has for the last couple of weeks been reading aloud to Ellen in the evenings. We have been reading Mark Twain’s A Tramp Abroad, a travelogue of his trip to Europe in 1879. We are now 25 chapters in, and have been in Germany, spending time in the university town of Heidelberg, taking a large raft of logs down the River Neckar, watching castles go by, walking through the Black Forest, and taking the cure at Baden Baden. We are now going to Switzerland.

Ellen likes this in part because she knows some of these places from her time in Germany.

Your support and caring is what is making it possible to get through this. We are conscious that we are still not quite halfway through. Do let us hear from you. It makes all the difference.

16 Replies to “From Gunnison”

  1. We are sending from the Front Range our heartfelt best wishes for continued healing. And we send a vote of confidence for the BroCollies. Love from us. Lori and Eric


  2. Thank you for the update and the wonderful pictures! On Gunnison warming, it snowed on my birthday when I lived there and that was in July. Our recent bedtime read to each other was, THE DALAI LAMA’S CAT and we loved it.

    We love you!

    Rob and Mary Ann


  3. Thank you so much for this update, I have Ellen in my heart and now I can imagine your spring, the reading, the dogs and enjoy to see the friends supporters. I send you my love. Be strong. Hugs. Stela


  4. Hej Ellen
    Fint att följa din blogg och följa med i sjukdomsförloppen för att se att allt går framåt och du kämpar på, fortsätt med det. Många härliga vänner har du runt dig och det är skönt. Många varma kramar till dig och Luke från oss i Sverige.
    Kram från Maj-Lis, Stefan och Karna


  5. Hola mi queridos amigos, gracias por tenernos actualizados con lo que está pasando en sus vidas , realmente mi amiga es un ejemplo de fortaleza, estos días tengo suficiente tiempo para analizar que importante es ser fuerte emocionalmente, yo tuve un pequeño accidente el domingo pasado en Miami, salvé mi vida por milagro, estoy muy dolorida me fisure unas costillas, pero todo va a estar bien pronto, pienso cada día en ti Elencita, y eso me ayuda a no dejarme estar , yo no soy tan atlética como vos, pero estoy tratando de caminar por lo menos 2 cuadras al día 😃, cuando ya pueda manejar voy a Gunnison y te acompaño en tus caminatas , un fuerte abrazo para los dos , Luck gracias por ser tan buena persona y esposo, todos te queremos mucho también, que tengan un hermoso día ❤️❤️


  6. Your strength and love brings joy and hope to all of us. May your days be peaceful and birds and sunshine and friends fill your near future.


  7. Prima tan querida:
    Te mando este poema porque sé cuánto lo vas a disfrutar.

    El hombre

    Amo el canto del cenzontle,
    pájaro de cuatrocientas voces.

    Amo el color del jade
    y el enervante perfume de las flores.

    Pero amo más a mi hermano,
    el hombre.



  8. Thank you so much for sharing and keep us updated, Luke you should be a writer, I’m loving the way you describe your days and Ellen I’m happy that you are embracing all the love around you, you sure deserve it. A huge hug to each one of you!


  9. Community is everything. I’m glad to learn of these many connections and the love of life you both bring to the process of living.


  10. Amiga y amigo!!!!! Qué maravilla verlos y escucharlos. Desde Lima los acompaño con mi cariño….y la buena energía de los APUS!!!!!!!!


  11. Birds–
    I read this last night in a book full of “insights” way over my old bald head. I think of Luke and Ellen this morning, and of this, about a raven.

    Mr. Sellers has in his yard a large Newfoundland dog, and an old raven: these have fallen deeply in love with each other, and never desire to be apart. The bird has learned the bark of the dog, so that few can distinguish them. She is inconsolable when he goes out, and if he stays out a day or two, she will get up all the bones and scraps she can, and hoard them up for him till he comes back! John Wesley, journal entry, April 5, 1790


  12. Please could you let us know when Ellen is scheduled to receive her next ‘chemo’ treatment? Then we can send he healing vibes and thoughts when we know the date and time. Thank you. Anna (Copenhagen).


  13. You mention Heidelberg and Baden-Baden, among other places. This reminds me of the summer of 1961 when my parents and I were on our way back to Denmark after spending one month in Liebefeld, a suburb of Berne, Switzerland. My parents had swapped houses with a Swiss family, who were living in our house while we were staying in theirs. The journey back to Denmark was somewhat tense because this was when we heard that East Germany was building the Berlin Wall … Mark Twain’s travelogue, did you say? Bruce Chatwin ‘reinvented’ this genre with his splendid book, Patagonia. In it, he mentions the following names, randomly chosen in the Buenos Aires telephone directory under the letter R: Pompey Romanov, Emilio Rommel, Crespina D.Z. de Rose, Ladislao Radziwill and Elizabeta Marta Calmann de Rothschild …
    Keeping you both in our thoughts and prayers, Anna


  14. Gunnison: No nos conocemos pero tu tienes a tu cuidado un verdadero tesoro de persona. Cuenta con todos nosotros. Desde Argentina mi apoyo a tu tarea como puedo, en espiritu. Seguro eres un gran hombre. Cariños a toda tu familia.


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