Robbie donated sloths from the Sloth Sanctuary to the Sarcoma Center at MD Anderson today. The sloths were given to Robbie when we visited the Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica. The sarcoma center was happy to receive them and plan to give them out to their younger patients.
The nurses and doctors at the Sarcoma center are like family. We had a rough morning and just being there calmed us down.
Robbie also got to visit the OT/PT area and see some of his former therapists. Normally we are on a tight schedule when we are at MD Anderson, but today we had plenty of time, since he didn’t have any appointments.
Robbie said goodbye to his sisters tonight. They are flying back to Tulsa, Oklahoma. We miss living near them.
Here are some more pictures from the trip. The ocean pictures were taken on the Caribbean side at Banana Azul Hotel beach. The kids had a great time between rainstorms playing on the beach. Robbie didn’t let his leg or other health issues stop him from having fun. We were there Jan 17-Jan 20.
The scar from his first lung surgery (on his back) is healing well.
We arrived in Houston this evening. The pictures are from the Costa Rica Airport.
Robbie loved the trip and is very thankful to everyone that helped him. He was able to see sloths almost everyday.
It is the last full day of our family trip. We visited a hotel in the mountains for the day that had hot springs and various outdoor activities. Robbie toured their wildlife reserve in the morning (including a sloth) and he went white water rafting in the afternoon. He laughed while white water rafting and the guides kept a close eye on him, which I really appreciated. Then he relaxed in the hot springs. The water was so relaxing and the views of the mountains were outstanding. We fly back to Houston tomorrow.
Our current hotel is also a working farm. Almost everything they cook in their restaurant is grown here on grounds. They also sell some of the products they grow. (Spices, fruits, vegetables, chocolate). Aside from produce they also tend to chickens, pigs, and cows.
We attended the chocolate tour on grounds today. Their cacao (or in English, “cocoa”) plantation has over 300 cacao trees. We tried the various stages of cacao beans and helped roast already fermented beans. Then we removed the outer skin to get cacao nibs followed by grinding them using both modern and ancient techniques. We tried the Aztec way of drinking cocoa…which is much more bitter than what people usually drink today.
Robbie was able to participate in all the steps along with his sisters for making chocolate. Unfortunately, it has been raining a lot lately and the trails to the fields were very muddy… and Robbie slipped and fell in the mud. He took it like a champ and still had fun. He is still very tired from yesterday, so towards the end of the tour, he returned to our room to rest.
Robbie also saw a sloth today in the wild and took several pictures.
We took Robbie as a family zip-lining through the rain forest in Costa Rica. The tour started with riding a gondola to an observation area at 4,100 feet. The zip line tracks stretched across canyons, trees, and lakes down the mountain side, with seven different rides. The longest cable was just over a 1/2 mile. It was pouring rain and we flew quickly between platforms. Robbie and his siblings loved it! Jim and I thought it was frightening and fun at the same time. One man went up on the gondola and then was afraid to go. Finally one of the instructors rode with him. It was fun watching Robbie and the kids get so excited! I was a little nervous about his leg, but he got along okay. He is tired tonight!
For awhile we have been enjoying a nice break from worrying about Robbie’s cancer. It is great to see him enjoying himself instead of spending all our time at the medical center. Tonight I was reading online and saw that one of the families I follow, that has a young son with the same cancer as Robbie, passed away today. So heartbreaking …osteosarcoma is a horrible cancer. Thinking of their family tonight. There is an Osteosarcoma Facebook group and the group rarely goes a month without loosing a precious child or parent.
Jim, I, and Robbie took a taxi to Puerto Viejo, the nearest town, to walk around. I regret not taking Spanish in school. We had fun walking around and visiting the little shops. We learned to divide the prices by 550 for the American price.
It was a bit of a challenge to find a taxi home. Finally, we found someone willing to drive us. We had to point when he got to our hotel and he made good money because we didn’t have change. The taxis aren’t labeled. I almost wonder if anyone with a car can call themselves a taxi.
Robbie also got to see sloths today by our hotel. He never gets tired of watching them.
Jim and I took Robbie and Lynn to the Jaguar Rescue Center this morning. Robbie got to spend more time with sloths, which he loved. We were able to walk up to the trees where they were playing and also see baby sloths in baskets. They have a variety of animals and birds that they rehab and try to get back into the wild. They treat injured and sick animals.
They recently received a mother sloth and baby that were injured and another baby at the same time. The first baby died, but they were able to get the mother to adopt the other baby and eventually release them back into the wild together. We were hoping to see jaguars too, but they said, they have to limit contact with people. Unfortunately, only 40% of the animals they receive are able to return to the wild. Some have permanent injuries and others become too dependent on humans.
We are still taking about Robbie’s day with the sloths yesterday. I am so touched by the kindness of the owner, her family, and her friends at the Sloth Sanctuary.
We had a quiet day today. Robbie was tired after his big day yesterday.