Reflections on a Perfect Night – Photo Essay

Last summer was WILD! After my double mastectomy, I had restrictions and  limitations. My doctors expedited the process so my husband Danny and I could fly to Barcelona, Spain. We picked up our daughter Courtney from her Study Abroad program and drove to France.

While in Paris, we took a bike tour through the heart of the city. Courtney had traveled there with her friends a few weekends earlier and found the tour to be the highlight of her visit.

The Louvre 5

The fact that I took these photographs outside the Louvre weeks after major surgery reflects the power each body has to heal itself. They also remind me of the courage and strength of my daughter.

The Louvre 4

While studying in Spain, Courtney contracted tonsillitis. That weekend, the rest of the students in her apartment traveled to the South of France. She stayed home with a high fever, a painful sore throat and wasn’t able to keep any food down. Of course, I was freaking out from thousands of miles away. She dressed and hailed a taxi to the nearest doctor’s office. Without speaking Catalon, the doctor examined her and wrote a prescription. She found a pharmacy, taxied back home and took care of herself.

She recovered and went on trips to Amsterdam, Prague, and Paris. The bike tour was the highlight of her trip to France. Through her experience abroad, she matured into a very responsible young woman and became the ultimate tour guide. I was in a pretty hazy state and could not have navigated out of a paper bag.

She’s scheduled to have a tonsillectomy next Wednesday during her spring break.

The Louvre 1

That night in Paris was special. Watching this incredible city transform from day to the City of Lights is something I’ll treasure always. This trip gave me the hope, strength and courage to prepare for my final reconstructive surgery.

The Louvre 2

We all go through transformations in our lives. The hardest times can bring about the most wonderful changes and can be reflected in the people we become.

The Louvre 3

Do you find vacations change your outlook?

Click on photos to enlarge.

Paris Fat Tire Bike Tours

Weekly Photo Challenge – Reflections

87 thoughts on “Reflections on a Perfect Night – Photo Essay

    • Thanks so much Beth!
      Courtney chose her last break before graduation to get them out. Her tonsils have “gone south” according to the doctor and have become germ collectors. She’s looking forward to being healthy again! I’m probably more nervous than she is!


  1. Fabulous shots of the Louvre, Susie. And yes, vacations do tranform my outlook. Being in a different environment helps me to reset and rebalance my life. I love my life here in Colorado, but I also love traveling.


  2. Your daughter sounds like a very inspiring person, Susie. Yes, vacations definitely change my outlook. For me, Paris was elegant and isn’t standing outside the Louvre almost hard to take in?? Rome made me take a step back and relax, while Venice was downright magical. It’s good to see how others live, because it gives me a sense of perspective and appreciation for their lives. Travel on!!


    • Courtney is inspiring!
      I haven’t been to Rome or Venice, but hope to gain that perspective and appreciation some day. Sounds like you’ve had some wonderful vacations!
      Thanks for stopping by!


  3. Great pictures and story of the courage and strength of both you and your daughter! Would love to know more about the bike tour — my daughter and I will be in Paris at the end of May!


    • Something to look forward to, perhaps! I told Danny today that travel is one of my favorite pastimes. I miss the spring breaks with our kids, but hope to travel this summer.
      Ecuador sounds very exotic!


  4. You managed to write so much of how you felt during all these events ( writer’s skills – nicely done)
    Great match of photos to reinforce words.
    Fun to see your kid grow up to be what you hoped – and more. She must have had someone to watch along the way.
    (It had to be leaving that CO fresh air that did the tonsils in. Hope recovery is smooth.)
    I think vacations are critical – to step out and look at normal routine/life from a different – a bit detached – view. And to allow time to breath and look around.
    Good choice of topic for the time of year! Should be a popular post.


    • You made my day Phil! I think we both have very exhausted guardian angels. 🙂 You’re right. Spring break was the inspiration for the post. I love looking back at vacations, but love going on them even more! Thanks so much!


  5. Lovely. Thank you for your honesty and courage, and for all the fun!

    We’re traveling every chance we get these days — our kids just finishing college and getting first jobs, everyone knock-on-wood healthy, we know this window is a gift not to be taken for granted. April 5 — New Orleans.

    Hope your daughter’s surgery and recovery are quick and trouble free!


    • Thanks so much! I will pass your kind wishes along to Courtney.
      New Orleans sounds fantastic, in fact we plan to travel there the end of May. I would really like to go back to Europe, but like you, will be traveling as our daughter looks for work! Thank goodness, she is only looking in California, one of my favorite places!


  6. My first question was going to be “How are you doing?”, but you seem to be doing wonderfully. All the best with your continuing health journey! My favorite photo is that top one. It’s so tranquil. As for travel, I love to travel and would do it more if I could. I’m blessed to be able to travel more than many people, although not all over the world, mostly in the US and in Europe. I did get to Costa Rica this year, a marvelous trip.



    • Thanks so much Janet! Yep. I’m all back to normal, whatever that is!!!
      I loved Costa Rica. It was the one place I’ve surfed since the waves come in at small, medium, and large at regular intervals. Yes. I surfed the baby waves! I hope you get to travel again soon!


  7. I hope 30 days in CA has the same effect on me as your daughter. I just need some of that special Lindau blood that flows through your family’s veins. So glad she was okay though and you guys are just powerhouses.


    • I bet it will be great to be back home again! You must be leaving soon. Yep. She survived, but her tonsils were never the same. She will feel a lot better in a couple of weeks! She’s sick of being sick. Tonsils can become germ traps…
      Thanks so much Linda!


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  10. Susie, wonderful pictures. Happy to see you’re getting prepped for the next step. Changes are difficult. They take us out of our comfort zone and toss us onto a playing field where we’re not sure what the score is or at worst what the game is. My change? Dating services. A lot of searches by me but no responses. Wait, one, but she scared me away ’cause she told me what I wanted to hear. Hence, running shoes and distance between us.


  11. Well, now we know where your daughter gets her determination from!
    Hope her tonsilectomy goes smoothly.

    The great vacations always change my outlook. the good ones are just fun.


    • Oh thank you Guapo!
      She’s looking forward to getting rid of the little germ collectors.
      That is such a great way to put it. I love when I come home and everything looks different!


  12. Great photos and words… your daughter so obviously takes after you! I wish you both well and hope recovery is quick. I think travel is wonderful (not that I’ve done that much myself so far!) my daughter who’s been living and teaching in Madrid since last September has grown and changed so much through the experience and speaks almost like a native now which is fantastic! The next stop for her is Chile which although exciting for her is a bit of a worry for me! 🙂


    • Thanks so much!
      That is so exciting. I can imagine the worry, but she will use her experience and thrive. I’ve known a few Boulder students who have done a semester abroad in Chile and loved it! 🙂


  13. Don’t know that vacations necessarily change my attitude, but I certainly enjoy traveling. However, with the exception of cruises, which I absolutely love, I prefer traveling in the U.S. and Canada. No interest in Europe except for a cruise up the coast of Norway.


  14. Oh, I love these photos. Gorgeous! That trip must have meant so much to you after your unexpected news. I hope your daughter recovers quickly from her tonsillectomy. How nice to see the transformation she has made into such a lovely young woman. (goose bumps over here). 🙂


  15. Stunning photos, Susie! Vacations help recharge my physical, mental and spiritual batteries. I’m much in need of one, but nothing on the horizon. Thanks for letting me escape for a few moments and join you on yours!


  16. Lovely words, lovely pictures, lovey family. Congratulations to Courtney for taking care of grown-up business so well! (Good luck to her for the surgery – Dr. Peg-o prescribes plenty of Mint Chocolate Chip Ice cream.)


  17. Aside from visiting my family on the West Coast a few times a year, I seldom travel, Susie. It’s a luxury that is not withing my means. As much as I enjoy my visits with my family and best friend from college, these visits, however rejuvenating, are not getaways that have much impact on my outlook. I find that after a few days of mellowing out in the Bay Area, I am itching to return to the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple. Maybe I’m just addicted to crowds and soot.

    I hope that Courtney’s tonsillectomy and your reconstructive surgery both go well.


    • That’s how it is with going back to visit family. It’s not the same as exploring new territory.
      Courtney’s surgery is the day after tomorrow. Mine was last August. 🙂 I’m all bionic and all healed up. I’m as reconstructed as I’ll ever be. Thanks!


      • I was confused because I thought you had completed all of your surgeries. Glad that’s over with — and I’m sure that you are, too. Now you’re free to visit more picturesque places as well as to nurse Courtney during her recovery. I enjoy the time I spend with my family, but “exploring new territory” for me is confined to what I see on the stage or screen. Milton and I will soon be seeing plays set in Vienna, Berlin, the Catskills and Louisiana; our way of traveling without ever leaving Manhattan or encountering any turbulence.


  18. What a beautiful place. I can see why you would feel hopeful looking at those pictures. I think vacations, like anything, can change our outlook if we’re open to it – as you clearly are. Otherwise, for most people, its just an escape from the norm. I’m a bit of both camps, but if I travelled how I want to…definitely. And I wouldn’t look back!


    • We won’t be taking another vacation until the end of May, but I’m really looking forward to exploring. I always come back with renewed vigor. That trip was a little different since I had surgery again in a month. I went into hyper nesting mode knowing how limited I would be. Thanks Alarna!


  19. Never found the Louvres’ Pyramid beautiful before!

    Keep the health!

    On one side, biking through Paris was maybe as dangerous as the rest, as French Parisian doesn’t know how to mind bikers!


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  21. Vacations kept simple are totally healing. After my chemotherapy I caught a cheap flight to Portugual with Ryan Air. It was wonderful. That was the first time I’d travelled, and it felt like I was coming back alive. ~Catherine


  22. Your night certainly was special. Thanks for sharing it with us. My first trip after finishing up with my cancer was to Western Canada. I had not been to British Columbia or Alberta. I was able to spend some time in the Canadian Rockies, in Banff, Lake Louise and the Badlands. It was an amazing time for me. Being surrounded by the Canadian Rockies, just witnessing their majesty you realize how small and fragile we are and what a wonderful thing life is.


    • That sounds like a trip to remember! That’s why I love Colorado. I think a trip after going through illness is so refreshing and exactly what I needed to jump start my batteries!!
      Thanks for reading and sharing your experience!


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