How webcams and a bar in Key West helped me through chemotherapy

Chemo was rough.  I had 6 months of taxotere, carboplatin, and herceptin, then another 6 months of herceptin after that.  I didn’t work during chemo, which was a blessing and a curse all in one.  The side effects made it impossible to work and, fortunately, my job offered short term disability. However, it was also very lonely and discouraging at times being home for so long.  I spent a lot of time on my computer and I also spent a lot of time “fake vacationing”.  What is “fake vacationing”?  Well, while I was home I discovered the wonderful world of webcams.  I would find a webcam in an area I liked and imagine I was actually there.  I visited the mountains of Vermont, a small village in England, New York, Boston, Duval Street in Key West – some places I had been before and could actually see myself there, and others I could look forward to visiting one day.  I happen to love the Florida Keys, and, especially, Key West. I have the good fortune of living not too far away and have been many times. I found lots of webcams throughout the Keys. Some showed peaceful sunsets and others showed rowdy crowds on Friday nights singing along to live music. My favorite webcam quickly became the one at the Schooner Wharf Bar in Key West.  It was always lively and I had a great time people watching.  I became obsessed with an older gentleman with a long white beard and baseball hat who seemed to be a fixture at the bar.  I found myself checking on a daily basis for him.  He was always chatting with the other customers and seemed to be having a great life in the Keys.  Looking for him, listening to the sounds of Key West, and watching the sunsets from Mallory Square helped get me through the months of treatment I needed to beat breast cancer.  This summer, my family and I are going to Key West for a real vacation. I’m planning on heading to the Schooner Wharf Bar for a drink – and, if I’m lucky, maybe I’ll get to have one with the old guy in the hat and tell him thank you. 

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