Recovery from Injury and Illness–a Sea Kayaker’s Story

by Eric Soares on December 12, 2011

We know that if you get sick while paddling (sea sick, hypothermia, etc.) you go right in to shore and deal with it.  Likewise, you paddle in if you get injured (wrist strain, shoulder trauma, etc.). These are acute situations that require that you get off the water ASAP and recover.  But what if you have a long-term illness or injury?  Does that preclude paddling?  No.  It doesn’t.  Here are some stories of injury, illness and sea kayaking.

My Heart Wrenching Story

In 2003, just after I turned 50, after going most of my life free from serious illness or injury, my aorta split stem to stern from my aortic valve to my lower thorax.  Three major operations and two aortic valves later, I have recovered fairly well.

Eric Soares in 2007, after the third aorta operation, with Frankenstein stitching up his breastbone

Each time I’d get an operation, I’d be so weak I could barely move.  After the first operation, I was unsure if I could even walk.  After the second, I was afraid to swim, much less kayak.  With my surgeon’s permission (read the entire story in CONFESSIONS OF A WAVE WARRIOR), my wife took me to Maui and I relearned to swim.  A few months later, I took some baby steps and kayaked in the calm harbor with my Tsunami Ranger friends as babysitters.  Now, I’m able to go out to the open ocean and paddle for miles, surf in moderate conditions (no more 12-footers), and paddle in scary looking but relatively safe ocean rock gardens.  I recognize my limitations and occasionally stretch the envelope here and there.  It’s imperative that I not bang my head or thorax, and that I not get cut (I’m on Warfarin, a blood anticoagulant).  So I’m careful, never paddle alone, always wear protective clothing, and constantly monitor myself.

Eric Soares still kayaks as best he can--here in the rock gardens on the Mendocino coast in August 2011.

I am ecstatic and grateful that I can still paddle and enjoy the serenity and the thrills of being on the water.  I plan to keep on kayaking and doing other outdoor activities for as long as I can.  I’m not on this planet to lead a tame existence.

Mary Hackney—a Spiritual Warrior

A year after my first two operations, I drove to the put-in at Princeton Harbor, near where I used to live.  I untied my boat from the rack and tried to lift it off the roof, but couldn’t.  It was too heavy.  There was no one around, so I sat down and felt sorry for myself.  A cool breeze swept by.  I looked up, and far off in the wet sand, a wavering form approached, like Clint Eastwood in HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER. As the form became clearer, I realized it was fellow paddler Mary Hackney ambling down the beach toward me.  I was saved!  She could help me take the boat off the truck.  When she walked up to me, I saw how thin she looked.  I knew she had cancer, and wondered if it would be appropriate for me to ask her for help.

Mary Hackney in her beloved Coaster at Elkhorn Slough on the California coast

She sensed my indecision and said cheerily, “Need help getting your boat down?”  I laughed sheepishly and nodded my head yes.  After we got the boat to the ground, we sat down on the sand and had a little chat.

Lightheartedly, we candidly discussed our respective medical situations.  She made a big deal about how well I was doing, and that she was happy to see that I lived through the operations and was out and about.  I was so impressed with her inner strength and determination.  She said that even though she had cancer, she was going to sea kayak, walk down the beach, and do what she loved for as long as she could.

That day she gave me some of her strength and courage. A few months later, Mary passed away.  A part of her spirit stays with me, and inspires me to keep doing what I love.  Thank you, Mary.

The Fat Paddler Recovers from Catastrophe

Can bad things happen to younger people?  Yes.  Australian Sean Smith, known around the world as The Fat Paddler, was in a terrible automobile accident a few years ago that crushed his pelvis and gave him severe internal injuries. His road to recovery was long, slow, and twisty.  He began kayaking for health and to rekindle his sense of adventure.

Sean Smith, the Fat Paddler, out doing what he loves to do

He put up a website ( to share his sea kayaking stories and help beginning sea kayakers thrive.  It was so successful, and everyone was so interested in his life story that he wrote a book, aptly titled THE FAT PADDLER, which I reviewed on my website.  You can now order the book online!

In his book, Sean stresses that he has done so well because of the overwhelming support of his family and friends.  Because of his network of supporters, Sean has been able, one day at a time, to continue to live his life, get on the water whenever possible, and help others to do the same.

Could it Happen to You?

Some readers have been fortunate not to be debilitated by illness or injury.  I am happy for you and hope you will stay in good health for many more years.  Others will get in a car wreck as Sean did or in some other way get seriously injured.  My good friend Jack Izzo broke his neck while boogie boarding and miraculously recovered after years of partial paralysis. He still kayaks and keeps active, though he is definitely not a spring chicken.

Some of you will get arthritis or other lousy disorder, or have body parts not work right anymore—you know, shoulders, knees, hips and such.  It’s hard, but physical exercise of any sort helps. Tsunami Ranger Michael Powers (age 71), had both knees replaced last year.  He’s back on the water and hiking through the woods.

Michael Powers backpacking last week in Big Sur. After recovering from double knee-replacement surgery, he makes the most of new-found mobility.

As we get older, our chances of getting cancer or cardiovascular disease go way up. If Mary’s and my stories are any inspiration, I hope they will encourage you to keep doing what you love as best you can for as long as you can.  Life, however long, is a short journey.  So make the most of it.

One last word to all my friends out there who have been knocked down:  be grateful to your caregivers; they sacrifice so you suffer less.  And to you caregivers:  take good care of yourself.  You too need and deserve to do what you love for as long as you can.  So make time for you.

Please share your recovery stories.  If you’d like to add to what I’ve written, I urge you to express yourself by posting a comment right now.

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Steven King December 12, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Dear Erikur,

I would have to say that when you say you have “recovered fairly well” that you have understated your recovery dramatically! Paddling in Northern California with you this past summer was inspirational. You dont take foolish chances that could be fatal in your case but you are going for it with gusto. That was one my key impressions from that 4 day retreat.

I suspect that your training in martial arts and related meditation and centering greatly aided in your recovery and that you integrate all this into your life. This ties back to your post on martial arts and kayaking. It has been amazing to watch you continue to be a wave warrior after these operations.

I have a similar appreciation for Michael and his post knee surgery recovery, he continues to bound steep trails in the Redwoods and to paddle with great glee. I suspect that keeping in great shape is one of the keys to both of your vigorous recoveries. I can assure you that as leaders and mentors you continue to demonstrate your passion for the water world and demonstrate how to live life to the fullest.

Now more then ever people need to take care of themselves, physically , mentally spiritually and to follow their passions! We had a great time yesterday surfing at Bolinas and you were there with us!

Thanks for sharing this, your wealth of expertise, experience and passions!


Eric Soares December 12, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Thanks for the kind words, Steve. It’s funny, because what I consider within my capabilities, and therefore what I can do with gusto, others might think is totally loony. A lot of it is perception. When I’m paddling in the ocean rock gardens, it’s no longer a big scary thing for me, just as driving a car is not a scary thing for most people (though it should be). I just have to make sure I don’t get too tired or strain myself.

Martial arts has helped me a lot with kayaking and taking a realistic view of where I am and what I am doing. For interested readers, here’s the link to my martial arts post:

Don Kiesling December 12, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Eric: Great article! I’d like to point out that an injury can sometimes lead to positive changes in one’s life. For example, in 1996 I was trying to row competitively after my college career ended. But, I managed to separate a rib. It’s a pretty minor injury compared to yours, but it is awful: you really can’t move without pain, including breathing! Like a trooper I rowed for 3 weeks after the injury, but finally succumbed to the doctor’s advice to take 8-12 weeks off of all exercise to let it heal. I’d been thinking about trying kayaking for a couple of years, so when the pain finally cleared up, I joined a kayak club, and have never look back since. (Literally! Rowers face backwards.) A few other times I’ve injured myself and it’s led me to find ways to improve my technique and move more thoughtfully. Finally, with many musculo-skeletal injuries, it’s helpful to continue moving through the pain, because it stimulates healing. You need to get blood to the injured area and flush out the bad juju (technical term).

Fat Paddler December 12, 2011 at 4:55 pm

Cheers Eric! I have been an injury magnet over the years – I’ve torn rib-cartilage playing rugby (I feel your pain Don!!), broken fingers doing Judo, broken my nose 14 times doing various physical activities, cracked ribs, my jaw, broken my hip, femur and of course my shattered pelvis in that less than fun car wreck. According to modern medicine it is now pretty clear that the best recovery for most injuries is through exercise of some sort. As Don states above it enhances blood flow, but also strengthens the support tissues and muscles that in turn support the injury site(s), and gets you on a fast track to normal movement and life. I’ve used kayaking twice now as part of my recovery efforts, and as a result I now exercise far more than I ever have. I feel healthier, more in tune with the planet and happier in almost every way. Cheers, FP

Eric Soares December 12, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Don and FP: you two are inspirational to me. Don is such a top athlete, it’s somehow comforting to know that even he can get injured–and yes, sometimes it is best to take a break and rest up. I’m very glad that Don’s rib injury led him to sea kayaking, and the rest is history.

FP, you are just phenomenal. I’m amazed that you can keep a positive attitude with all that has happened to you physically (and mentally, what with the Bali terrorist bombing and the post-stress that would cause).

I guess now is the time to admit it: I did get briefly knocked out once while kayaking (and yes, I was wearing a helmet), I have lightly hurt my shoulder by hitting it with a rock, and I’ve had the paddle shaft strike me in the nose a few times while breaking the wave barrier. And once I got speared in the thigh by the bow of another boat. And another time I smashed my face into the sand. And I have been violently dragged out of my river kayak in surf and got cut up by Visigoth waves. And I’ve been really cold while kayaking, but not quite hypothermic. But other than that, nothing much.

marc soares December 12, 2011 at 6:09 pm

As usual, good essay, Eric. I too believe that surgeries, injuries etc. can actually make us stronger in some ways. Keep posting. Marc

Philip Bonds December 12, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Hi Eric,

Seems like we’ve been down this trail before. Like you, I had the aortic valve replacement and aortic graft surgery thing done in 2007. I had lived my life completely void of symptoms right-up to the day they wheeled me into surgery. Sometimes I still look back the active life I lived and wonder if the doctors made a mistake.

Truthfully, I had known about my congenital heart valve defect since I was in junior high. My bad valve never kept me from doing sports, back country skiing, climbing, kayaking, mountain climbing and lots of other fun stuff. In addition to recreation stuff, I also did a lot of physically demanding jobs; including a fourteen year stint working Federal Wildfire Management Teams. Working fire teams required that I pass a cardiac stress test every season. Basically, I worked and played hard.

Valve replacement surgery in 2007 changed my life by giving me a new lease on life. Yes indeed, I still play hard and even work hard when I need to despite having an artificial aortic valve, a Dacron aorta and taking Warfarin, a blood anticoagulant daily. BTW… anticoagulants get a bad rap. Experiences and perspectives undoubtedly vary, but I have never sustained injuries which have threatened me with bleeding-out. Sure, like many others, I do my best to avoid injuries, but I always calculated risks even before valve replacement surgery.

In 2009, I encountered a real life changing injury. I was a hit-and-run victim while training near Grand Lake, Colorado, for a cycling event. The accident left me with a traumatic brain injury, broken ribs, memory loss, and road rash that seemed to never quit. Did I mention that I did not bleed out. I did lose the entire month of July 2009 (if anyone finds it laying around, please let me know). Despite the injuries, I returned to cycling five weeks later to ride in a benefit event for Parkinson’s research. The real life-changer became evident when temperatures dropped during the winter in the Colorado high country. The TBI left me unable to handle extremely cold weather. After a winter of cold induced seizures, it was time to retire and move to a warm climate. Arizona has been a great fit.

Life is truly a journey. All of the challenges we encounter on the journey have the potential to make us stronger. It all depends upon how we respond to the challenges. Strangely enough, it was an injury in 2007 which alerted me to the fact that I had an aortic aneurysm that was about to blow. Divine intervention, or dumb luck, who knows, but I will take it.


Eric Soares December 12, 2011 at 10:08 pm

Tinman, yes you and I have been down this road before. I appreciate you taking the time to comment here. I remember a few years ago you advised me to buck up and go for it. Great advice. I now downhill ski again (with a helmet of course), do jujitsu again (rule #1–Take no throws from whitebelts!), and I’m kayaking of course, albeit more carefully. No complaints from me! I’m glad to be alive.

I met a guy in New Zealand last year who had both his aortic and mitral valves replaced, and he’s still an outdoorsman. Imagine, he was impressed with me because I had 3 operations. I’m thinking, this guy had 2 valves replaced at once. Jeepers.

The other day, the Warfarin INR nurse practioner said that if I get a head injury, I’m basically a dead duck if I’m out kayaking in a remote location. Well, that tells me to be more cautious around rocks. For some reason they want my INR high (2.5 to 3.5). I notice that it takes a long time for scrapes and cuts to heal, and sometimes I bleed spontaneously from my nose, but I’ve adjusted to it. BTW, I do my own INR readings now.

Parting words: “Praise the titanium and pass the Dacron-88.” Take good care, Philip.

Paul McHugh December 12, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Hi Eric – I remember well your first Miramar race after the op. I was knocked out by your guts! (Not literally, of course.) The only medical advice I can offer fellow paddlers is a tiny tip, from my 400 mile paddle down the North Coast. After several long days in a row, the skin on my hands became quite soft and easy to cut or tear. The only thing that helped them heal quickly was putting vinyl surgical gloves (from the med kit) on over the bandages and under my paddling gloves. Recommend everyone on a long trip carry these. Happy Water Trails (and trials) – McH

Eric Soares December 12, 2011 at 10:14 pm

Sound advice, Paul. When I kayak I always wear gloves. On warmer days I wear Playtex Living gloves or something similar. I don’t do expeditions anymore, but I’ll take your words to heart about the vinyl gloves under the regular ones. Thank you.

Philip Bonds December 13, 2011 at 12:11 am

Okay, I’ll bite…

Dead duck? How the heck does a nurse practitioner get off by telling you that you’re a “dead duck” if you get a head injury while sea kayaking in a remote location? Just an opinion, but it sounds like the NP was being a bit dramatic. There are a lot of variables that come into play with any kind of injury. I’ve maintained my INR at 2.5-3.5 since my AVR surgery. I lived through a TBI after laying in a ditch unconscious for a half hour and flagging down a passing motorist to hitch a ride to the hospital after regaining consciousness. On occasion, I’ve done the lengthy (yeah, hours long) nose bleed thing. It seems to be a hazard associated with living in a dry climate. I haven’t bled out yet.

I guess the bottom line is that you use your knowledge and experience to assess and mitigate the risks associated with pursuing an active lifestyle. It’s not an excuse to take unnecessary risks or make stupid decisions, but I suspect when it’s time to step from this life into eternity there will be little we can do to alter what happens.

Isn’t it wonderful that your friend Mary had the resolve to continue doing the things she loved to do despite her battle with cancer. It’s even more wonderful that her spirit continues to live through you!

Home testing beats getting bled by a lab tech doesn’t it!


Eric Soares December 13, 2011 at 9:35 am

Mary had a lot of resolve, that’s for sure–and a strong spirit. Other friends have also given me spirit and resolve. Here’s to them and all people who help others!

Gene Burnett December 13, 2011 at 12:53 am

Great post Eric. And Inspirational. Taking a rational approach to our passions seems like a great way to go. I’ve been gently reining in my edges for years (I’m only 54 but I have a lot of miles on me…) because I’ve made up my mind that I don’t want an injury to tell me what I’m too old to do. And I just can’t afford to be injured. So I don’t push the edge like I used to and find that there’s an infinity of wonder and pleasure all along the path, not just at the exhilarating high spots. Be well! GB

Eric Soares December 13, 2011 at 9:39 am

Gene, you are in tune with your body, and that will help keep you injury free and lessen the effects of illness for many years. And yes, the path itself is the wonder.

Nick Crowhurst December 13, 2011 at 5:01 am

That’s reassuring news from Michael Powers and his knee replacements. After a lifetime of rock-climbing and paddling, my left knee replacement was last Wednesday, so I need all the good news I can get. Great essay, Eric.
Nick. (From the U.K)

Eric Soares December 13, 2011 at 9:38 am

Hang in there Nick. Do what your therapists and doctors say, and before you know it, you’ll be back in the saddle.

Best wishes to you.

John Soares December 13, 2011 at 7:03 am

Very inspirational stories here!

I’ve been fortunate that I haven’t had any major illnesses or injuries in the first five decades of my life. Of course, they can happen, but I do what I can to decrease the possibility, including eating well, minimizing stress, and getting plenty of sleep for illness, and just plain being careful when it comes to avoiding major blows to my body.

Eric Soares December 13, 2011 at 9:42 am

John, you were always the smartest brother! I’m glad that you have taken such good care of yourself. It really shows.

steve gordon December 13, 2011 at 7:27 am

Eric, a very inspiring post , and some great comments. Just because we are getting older and bits and pieces are starting to slow down does not mean we have to stop living active lives. I stopped windsurfing when I needed a hip replacement at age 50 and took up kayaking instead, it was one of the best things I ever did. I discovered another world and fell in love with all things kayak. Now I build kayaks, carve paddles and surf whenever I can. Even when I had to have the second replacement I used to strap my crutches on the deck and get out on the water. Its inspiring to hear others stories as well and reminds me that we can overcome all troubles with the right mindset.

Fat Paddler December 15, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Very inspiring Steve, cudos! 🙂

Eric Soares December 13, 2011 at 9:44 am

That’s the spirit, Steve. I love the title of your recent blog post.

Silbs December 14, 2011 at 7:50 am

Good for you.
L4 ACA instructor
retired cardiologist

Lee Gilbert December 14, 2011 at 9:10 am

You two chatting on the beach was a powerful image. Thanks for that.

Moulton Avery December 14, 2011 at 6:05 pm

All you mates are truly inspirational. Reading about the setbacks you’ve weathered and all the obstacles you’ve overcome makes me realize that my back problems and hip replacement were actually a walk in the park; I just didn’t realize it at the time. Returning to sea kayaking has been so uplifting and wonderful for me that at times I feel like I must be dreaming. Paddle on, lads and lasses!

Eric Soares December 15, 2011 at 8:06 am

Thank you all for your comments and support. Moulton, there can be many elements which impact one’s ability to get around comfortably or kayak. Back and hip problems seem pretty major to me. If you can find a way around them (say, through therapy or in your case, hip replacement surgery), then that is good.

I wish the best to all people who love the outdoors and have mobility issues or other medical factors which make it hard to get out there and do it.

Moulton Avery December 15, 2011 at 12:05 pm

As you know, Eric, it’s a pretty amazing and transformative experience. It certainly gave me a new take on life, newfound respect for those with similar problems -or worse, and a pledge to myself not to postpone those activities, like sea kayaking, that nourish my soul and give meaning to my life. We’re fortunate that, by accident of birth, we live in a country where we have access to that level of medical technology; most people in the world are not so fortunate. All the more reason to honor the gift and put it to good use. Whatever time remains for me, be it large or small, I want to be meaningful and count for something.

Fat Paddler December 15, 2011 at 2:58 pm

Beautifully put Moulton. 🙂

Tony Moore December 17, 2011 at 5:57 pm

Great post, Eric! The closest I ever came to having to come back from a setback (and it is MUCHO-MAJOR-MINISCULE compared to what you had to come back from) was a weight training injury where I damaged my right pectoral muscle. There was a burning pain when I attempted to do bench presses. I had to start all over again, at only one fifth the weight I was accustomed to using. It took months to get back to where I was before the injury.
But even after your surgeries, when you were physically at the lowest and weakest point, you were still, “in spirit”, a wave warrior. And you eventually convinced your body of this fact! I feel that our generation (well, at least some of us) are really expanding what it means to be 50, 60, 70, 80, whatever age. And it is a real encouragement to hear the accounts of people like you, Fat Paddler, and so many others, coming back from severe circumstances.

Eric Soares December 17, 2011 at 6:40 pm

Thanks for the vote of confidence Tony. Here’s a stanza from Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If”:

“If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!'”

This poem is actually about keeping a stiff upper lip, but this stanza tells me that my heart and nerve and sinew can do much more than I think–if I command them to do more. As we age, we tend to underuse our bodies, and this is bad. But of course, we must be careful not to overuse them either.

As for you hurting your pec while weight lifting, hey, an injury is an injury, regardless of how it came about. I think many people get hurt most often doing something routine. I badly twisted my ankle years ago by simply turning it as I stepped off a curb. How embarrassing–and painful.

Doug Lloyd December 18, 2011 at 5:15 am

Eric, another great post and really, a snapshot of the kind of guy you are: a challenge comes your way or some adversity that must be overcome and you are all over it yet, as with all your extreme activity seeking, you don’t throw caution to the wind but rather abound with intelligence, perseverance, creativity, while making use of the skills learned through years of ocean-schooled living.

My story is more one of dogged determination to well, just keep moving forward because that’s the way I’m wired and I’m too stupid to ever back off anything. Get through the storm; find the calm, and do it again! To wit, my valve defect underwent premature wearing out a few years ago when I contracted necrotizing fasciitis down my left leg. My old GP (a paddler himself) was a hospitalist by then and really thought I was about to lose my leg in the ICU but said he knew I’d find a way modify my Nordy so as to paddle again; as it turned out they saved the leg but I went into atrial fibrillation that week and battled with that endlessly for a few years, fighting it with drugs, cardioversion, multiple ablations – all to no lasting avail. The aortic valve and aorta just took a continued beating.

I was still out solo storm paddling and doing long, open crossing in whitewater conditions and I’d get so darned dizzy I’m amazed I didn’t die. Heck knows I tried! I was also seeking big tide races in opposing storm force conditions offshore, which got my heart racing literally – the then dizziness and lead-heavy legs would come suddenly. It was like, “No, no, no, not now man!!!! I later found out that because my genetic challenges also included sub-optimal production of good cholesterol, I was clogged up majorly.

Finally my wife to me to the ER for the 40th time in four years when I couldn’t work my two jobs anymore and was fainting while lying down in bed and refused to take me home and they did a valve replacement, major aortic plication, Cox Maze, and bypass surgery as needed. I was under the knife much longer than ideal shoe-horning in that piggy ring and grinding out calcium though I opted for the porcine valve having done poorly on keeping INR levels in the zone and avoiding mountain bike injuries, so recovery and subsequent activities were undertaken at previous levels of exertion with not as much of a problem, though I gave up weight lifting and got into road cycling, and moved my lumpy waters paddling to nighttime just because, though right now I’m care-giving to my loving spouse who doesn’t paddle anymore. I still hit calm water, but that’s not paddling to me.

Eric Soares December 18, 2011 at 10:02 am

Doug, as usual, when I read your comments, so many striking images come to my mind. I’d like to address a few:

1. Your medical maladies related to your heart are horrifying to me. The necrotic leg alone scared the bejezus out of me. I’m glad your wife made you get the valve replacement along with everything else. Each person’s medical situation is unique, but boy, you seem to have the kitchen sink in there somewhere.

2. Last year I was attending the Bay Area Sea Kayakers (BASK) 25th anniversary bash, and I met a fellow paddler who had aortic valve replacement, and he told quite the tale. After he had recovered a bit from the surgery, he got an inner thorax infection, and then a blood infection and was hospitalized for 6 months. Amazingly, he looked good at the BASK event. My point is that each person has his own ordeals to go through, and one size does not fit all.

3. For me, they inserted a porcine valve the first time and patched up my aorta. My kidneys had nearly failed, so I almost had to have dialysis. A few weeks later, when I had the second surgery, it was because the valve was leaking badly and so they had to go back in and play with it. The third time I had an aneurism on the pig valve, so they replaced it with titanium.

4. I too have dizzy spells (maybe from the meds). Sometimes I can just breathe through it (I’ll do a post on pranic breathing in a couple of months) & be fine, but sometimes I go blind for 30 seconds or so. That is scary, especially when surfing or driving a car. That’s why I don’t kayak alone anymore.

5. I also get the leaden legs (or arms) if I move too fast or too long. A friend who is a metabolic researcher said it’s really bad for your body to continue on after your legs leaden up, as it can cause kidney failure (I don’t know how they’re related, but he says they are). So I try to back off when my legs or arms won’t work, but I can imagine being in a scary kayaking situation like you describe and I can’t stop paddling. Whew.

6. Doug, your most striking point, to me, is when you said you are caregiving to your loving spouse. That is honorable, necessary, and correct. Please be sure to take time for yourself, somehow. With your medical condition, you too need to be cared for. Please remember that.

Best wishes,


Patty Soares December 24, 2011 at 10:59 am

Inspirational writing and comments, Eric!

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