Our plans to head off on the boat were put on hold when Jeff was diagnosed with congestive heart failure back in December. His cardiologists had said that the next 1-2 years would be very important, and we thought the best we could do was to leave in the fall of 2019. However, much to our delight when we were at the CHF clinic last Monday we received the go-ahead to cut the docklines next month!
Jeff had a cardiac ablation procedure four months ago which so far, knock on wood, has restored his heart back into rhythm (it’s not uncommon for atrial fibrillation to reoccur, even with an ablation). Once he recovered from the procedure he immediately noticed an improvement in his energy. Since then his ejection fraction (the amount of blood his heart pumps out of the ventricles with each contraction) has improved to 50-55% which puts him on the low edge of normal (it was 15-20% when he went into the hospital), so for now he doesn’t need an implanted defibrillator. Honestly, the possibility of an implant was the only thing holding us back. We had already decided that we were leaving anyway short of getting a damn good reason not to from the cardiologist. CHF is different for everyone, but it’s a chronic and progressive disease. The goal is to keep the progression at bay for as long as possible through medication and sodium and fluid restrictions. Some people can do well for a very long time, others not as much. It’s simply not predictable. Because of that (and given Jeff’s improvement over the past seven months), we decided to carpe diem and enjoy cruising for as long as we could. Whether it was going to be for one month, one year, or ten years, we weren’t going to have any regrets about not giving it a try. Getting the stamp of approval this past week was an added bonus.
So what’s the plan? Well, for now we are going to need to return to Connecticut every few months for cardiology appointments, so we are going to shove off after Jeff’s appointment on August 28th and start working our way south. We are hoping to hop from Groton to Cape May, New Jersey before making our way through the Delaware and Chesapeake Bays and down the ICW. Back before Jeff got sick I made a one week reservation for a mooring at the St. Augustine Municipal Marina. Fortunately denial about our circumstances had kept me from cancelling (the moorings fill up during that time of year), so we are going to make sure we get to St. Augustine by October 31st, park the boat, and drive up to Connecticut for a cardiology appointment on November 5th.
After returning to St. Augustine we are likely to poke our way over to the west side of Florida to visit friends and family in the Sarasota area before heading down to the Keys or over to the Bahamas for the rest of the winter. We’ll then spend next summer back at Shenny in Groton and use it as a home base while we cruise the New England area before heading south again at the end of the summer.
At least that’s the idea. We have learned first-hand this year how plans are truly written in sand, so we’ll see what REALLY happens. Regardless, we are going to make the most of it!