This view of St. Andrews, Scotland, taken last October 11 from the tour bus is not available on my gigantic flat screen TV at this time. A huge grandstand, in place for the British Open, obliterates it, not that the cameras have been behind it--no, they've been shooting towards the grandstand at the 18th hole, also very near the 1st tee. I'm so happy for the golf enthusiasts seated there. I wonder if they have tickets for Thursday through Sunday? I've got a seat for all four days right here in my studio apartment. I'm thankful for broadcast sports! I'm thankful that when I woke up Thursday morning at 1 a.m., I found ESPN's coverage in all it's multi-cameraed glory, filled with shots of the rolling course and the surrounding city streets, the Clubhouse; wind-blown golfers, so slim that the way their pants and shirts blow in the wind makes me feel it along with them--there's no extra cloth in their garments because no one dresses baggy for the golf course, yet their pants and shirts are flapping like crazy as I type here in Portland, before 10 a.m. our time. And the wind is messing with their putts and their drives. They could do without the distraction of the wind.
The clubhouse of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews. I wish that I'd had time to see if it was open to visitors, but I didn't because of a lovely distraction I experienced--serendipity at its pinnacle, especially for a sports' lover like me.
These two men joined me at the 18th hole, riding along to the exact spot where they needed to complete some work. Sean on the Toro Workman, Kenny on the John Deere Pro Gator. A couple of congenial fellows who explained to me that they were there to "change the hole." They agreed that it was OK for me to take lots of photos. Looking at my photos right now, remembering how nice these two guys were, how excited I felt to even be at St. Andrews, much less be allowed to walk onto the course because we just happened to be there on a Sunday--gosh. Right now, remembering standing at St. Andrews' 18th hole while watching my gigantic flat screen TV and enjoying these scenes and this golf--while thoughts of chemotherapy and its side effects flap about in my brain--well, I think distraction works rather well.
Forgive me, but I don't know exact terminology here, so I'm winging it, trying to be descriptive. They've already pulled out green lid and the support from the current hole. Kenny's cleaning up the edges of the current hole so that it will be easier to plug.
Sean's cutting the new hole, cranking the tool into the ground with practiced precision.
It's a beaut, that new 18th hole at St. Andrews Links!
Kenny's putting the white cylinder inside the new hole.
Good ol' muscle power comes into play here, too.
Close inspection is required.
And more, with the trusty pocketknife in hand.
Kenny's not satisfied with something about the new hole, so he's pulling out the white plastic cylinder. Sean's answering a question about the course from someone standing nearby.
The tool goes back into the new hole, for fine-tuning purposes, no doubt.
The process of inserting the white plastic cylinder is repeated. It's twisted in by Kenny, using an metal handle that gripped the green top and allowed him to get some torque into making the cylinder go into the ground.
Success! Replacing the 18th hole flag!
Now, the cylinder of earth inside the tool needs to go into the old hole successfully.
Success is close, but not yet complete.
Kenny's at work with his pocketknife again, pulling the plug out.
He readies the old hole some more--it has to fight properly and tightly.
There it goes, guided by Kenny.
Now, pounded into the hole.
Kenny kept on hitting the plug until he got it where he wanted it.
Barely visible, right? Well, not for Kenny and Sean, they've got more to do to get it right.
Kenny worked with his pocketknife around the edges of the circle.
Kenny pulled this broom out of his vehicle and went to work sweeping the loose dirt so that it disappeared into the grass.
Almost done now.
Nope. Kenny grabbed a handful of soil from a vehicle and tossed it onto the ground.
Then he used his shoe to smear it into the grass atop the now plugged old hole. He's finally satisfied with this hole changing.
A close-up of the new 18th green hole. Neat!
Here they are! Sean on the left, Kenny on the right, the 18th green hole in the middle.
If we didn't know that the brown to the left of the flag was freshly applied dirt to help the old hole blend in, we'd never guess what had just happened, would we?
To finish up the post, here's the view of the grounds to the left of the flag. On television, lots of folks are standing on the other side of that fence you can see at the left side of the photo--the cars are not parked there, at least I didn't notice any while I watched today. I saw other folks walking along behind the crowd. I cannot imagine being able to just look through the edge of the crowd as I walked by and possibly spy someone finishing the course for that round. Wow!
There’s a great short video at this link, as well as some interesting facts about The Old Course at St. Andrews.
I saw the chemo people Thursday afternoon. Dr. Da Graca said that we're working toward curing me. That's a goal worthy of my best work.
The start date for it is tentatively July 29. I see the radiation people next Tuesday. I won't know for sure about the chemo start date until the radiation people put their two cents into the plan on July 21 when I see Dr. Johnson.
I do know that I will have to have a total of six chemo treatments (which they call rounds), spread out over 18 weeks--the first round you're to be prepared to be there for six hours, the others you'll be there for five hours--it's OK to bring food in a cooler so I won't be subjected to cafeteria food, hooray! Since I needed a concrete image of this for my sort of brain, I got this example out of Dr. Da Graca: if I had started chemo on July 16, the next one would be on August 6, then the next one after that on August 27, and so on until I had finished all six rounds. I will be closely monitored for side effects that might impact the schedule. It will take four and a half months to complete the six rounds.
Not that I'm worried about it, but I have absolutely no real idea how this is going to impact my being able to go back to work. I need to go back to work when I feel like it because I do a good job of my work, and I enjoy the people at work. However, I realize that I must listen to my body and how it reacts to all of this chemical invasion. I promise you that I will not allow myself to do anything stupid which would imperil my recovery.
Of course, I may be going through radiation at the same time or sandwiched in between chemotherapy, with radiation as the sandwich filling and three rounds of chemo as the the two slices of bread on each side of it. I have no idea the number of treatments or how often, so there's no way to know how thick that sandwich filling is, time-wise. Another option: I may finish all of the chemo and then have the radiation, or vice versa. Like I said, I go see those people next Tuesday, July 21.
Thank you for your continued prayers, love and concern.