Note there are going to be a lot of pictures.
Holy cow what can I say. This was more than an outstanding vacation.
Mom, Dad and I headed to Hawaii on January 14 one day before my 30th birthday. We were set to spend 7 days in paradise.
After a long 9 hour plane ride don’t even get me started we were in Honolulu. Our first stop was the Outrigger on Waikiki Beach.
This is an amazing hotel that I would recommend to everyone. It is right on Waikiki beach. We had an oceanfront room with this amazing view!
We had room service which was awesome. We had a great first night however we were going to be up early the next morning to do something so very special.
January 15 my 30 Birthday.
Ready to do the very special thing that I waited 9 years for and worked so hard to do. I was hiking Diamond Head today. Dad decided to join me on this expedition of mine. He is pretty amazing. Got all suited up with my Bioness and all the things we needed. 6am rolled around and we were on our way to Diamond Head. I was so excited. Well we got to the park and we were paying to get in and somehow it was mentioned that it was my birthday and the nice lady let us in for free. First birthday gift. All parked and even got Mom facing the mountain. Dad and I embarked on our trip very close to sunrise. Climbing was surreal. Hiking on rocky dirt switch back trails was interesting. I still couldn’t believe that I was doing this. We made it to our first look out point and because we had started just before sunrise we got to see the sun coming up over the ocean. What a beautiful sight.
We were going to hit our first set of stairs. Here went nothing. Up I went alternating feet like a champing. No problem they were a piece of cake. A few more trails and we were at a dark tunnel. There were twist and turns there. Only hit the railing once to busy trying to take a video or a picture. At the end of the dark tunnel there was a “fun surprise”. 99 step stairs straight up. These were what I was most nervous about.
After a few pictures I sent Dad ahead of me and as there was no one behind me I could take my time and pictures. Started up the stairs that looked like a second mountain. One foot in front of the other. Even managed to video a little. Dad made it look so easy, he did an amazing job, 82 never looked so good. I went up those stairs with great pride. I was happy to be doing them at all. None the less alternating feet. Made it to the top with a smile on my face and was treated to a nice little view.
Right after the 99 stairs there was a spiral staircase. No rest for the tired. Up we went. At the end of those stairs we entered into a bunker. The reward at the end of that stairs was an awesome view. See for yourself below.
After the bunker it was a short walk to the end of the trail . There were a few stairs left. The view from the top was so worth it all. It was as close as I can get to heaven. I had such a big smile on my face the whole time.
It was an amazing way to start the celebration of my birthday. I accomplished something that I have wanted to do for a long time. It was the best feeling standing at the top of Diamond Head. The smile was so big on my face and it never came off. I was very proud that my Dad made it all the way to the top too.
The hike back down was easier than up for me. Thank goodness we didn’t have to go down those 99 stairs. Mom even got to see us coming down. It is something that I will never forget. It is a memory that will last me a life time. We had a nice breakfast at a local place and a piece of coconut cake.
After that it was time for some relaxing on the beach. Oh my goodness I loved swimming in the ocean. I couldn’t do that at home on my birthday. The day didn’t really feel like my birthday no snow it was warm but I loved every minute of it.
The night ending with dinner at Michels. This was a French restaurant that was just amazing. We got to watch them cook things right at the table. It was really cool.
It was an amazing day that I will never forget. It was lovely to relax and do what I wanted. Spending the day with Mom and Dad was the best part. We got to be with each other and I loved that. It was a different birthday but I loved it. I hope Mom and Dad had a good day too. This is a day that will always be with me. I set a goal, worked hard to get there, and then accomplished it. My heart was so full that day it was amazing. To be standing at the top looking down on the world was amazing. This is one of the biggest things that I have done in my life. I am so happy that what those doctors said 30 years ago never came true. We might have limitations but they can’t stop you. I will always hold my head high. This is a birthday that I will never forget.
Another amazing day was ahead. I was living a life long dream. Today I was going to swim with dolphins at Dolphin Quest. I was so excited. Once again I was up early 4am my body took a little longer adjusting to the time change. I was enjoying this time I had by myself in the am. I was able to just take in all the things that were going on around me. I would sit out side and just marvel that we were in such a beautiful place. Everyone else was finally up and ready to go. We were headed for breakfast at Dukes, an amazing restaurant right in our hotel.
Headed for the dolphins and can’t wait. As I saw where I would be swimming I got very very excited and a little nervous. The nervous was that I would need to be getting in and out of the water with out a railing. With my cerebral palsy I have bad balance sometimes and can have hard time doing certain things. But nothing could spoil this moment. I was willing to try ans ask for help if I needed it. Well it was an amazing hour. I was able to feed the dolphins, touch them until my heart was content, and even kissed one. I got in and out of the water no problem until the end. Almost fell in from standing up so many times. I had a great time. It was everything I hoped it would be. An experience I will never forget. I was very proud of myself and loved being with the dolphins. It is another day that will never be forgotten.
We spent the afternoon relaxing and enjoying the amazing weather. We ended the night where we started it at Dukes. Best restaurant. We had our first piece of Hula Pie. It was to die for. If you go to Dukes you need to eat this pie.
Today was going to be an easy but fun day. We were headed for the North Shore and a drive around the island. When we reached the North Shore we were treated to an amazing sight. There were at least 30 foot waves. See pictures. None really do the waves justice but they come close.
Heading back to the hotel was an experience in 5 o’clock traffic. Dad did a great job driving, even if the navigator (me) complained. Dad id learn how to change the topic awful fast and it was very funny. On the way back I had my Hawaii Five-0 moment we drove by the statute in the opening.
However I missed watching it in Hawaii as the time change The day ended with another swim in the ocean and room service. It was a fun day!
We started the day at Duke’s once again. This is a great restaurant. We were spending the day on Waikiki Beach. We rented some beach chairs and an umbrella for the day.
I got a special treat of renting a boogie board. I was excited because my surgeon said no surfing but could paddle board but didn’t have the guts to try. I was very jealous of the surfers however. My heart was really telling me to try it. But I knew better. The boogie board was a ton of fun though. Spending the day with Mom and Dad really doing nothing was great. See those two sitting there in the sun enjoying themselves made my day. After hours of sun and fun we were headed back to the room. After a nice shower I learned that I was very sunburned. Even managed to burn my scar. On the weekend we got a special treat of live music right outside of our room. It was great. We spent time listening to the music and just enjoying each others company. The night ended with me doing some shopping at night. Great time just walking around Waikiki.
Today we were headed for a special brunch. But first I wanted to enjoy the nice weather. I went for a walk. Once again I was enjoying my hip and having no pain. I walked more than 2 blocks and was loving every minute of it. I got some shopping done. I even walked far enough to find the statue of Duke. Thanks to some help from a stranger I got my picture taken with Duke.
I headed back to the hotel and stopped at the salon to get a new hair due. I get part of my hair put in corn rolls. I really thought it looked cool. Headed back to the room for a quick change of clothes and headed to brunch. We were going to the Oceanarium, This is a restaurant with a giant aquarium in the middle of it. We were eating lunch with the fish. HAHA. I met a new friend. I named him Lance.
Mom, Dad and I spent time talking and enjoying each other. After what was a great brunch we were once again headed back to the hotel. Spent the rest of the afternoon swimming in the ocean and enjoying the weather. One last night of live music. Watched another amazing sunset and took so many pictures. You can never have to many pictures of a Hawaiian sunset.
I spent part of the night walking around again. I loved being out and doing things.
Our last day in paradise. I was very sad that today was our last day here but knew that the vacation was not over yet. Today Dad and I were headed for Pearl Harbor. Once again something else I needed to sit out on 9 years ago. The only thing that would have made this better was if Mom could have joined us. Dad and I headed out, I had put on my Bioness to help with all the walking but I very quickly learned that it was broken. What a heart breaker.
Being at Pearl Harbor was such a humbling experience. Being so close to something that I have only ever learned about in text books. Knowing that so many men gave their lives so we could have our freedom is amazing. I stood there just thinking about them and how they are an inspiration and heroes. I learned so much that I will never forget. It was a great experience.
I made it through all that walking with out my Bioness. I was very happy that I could do it. It showed me that yes I need it but I am very capable of doing things with out it. But yes it is easier with it, I will grant you that.
One last swim in the ocean. I was loving that so much. We ended our last night at Dukes. Tropical drinks all around and a little Hawaiian music. Oh how I am going to miss this place.
Time to leave Hawaii. We got all packed up and left the Outrigger a place that became a second home for 7 days. It was a sad to say good bye.
We ended up getting to the airport 3 hours early because the airline didn’t tell us the flight was delayed. There are some great views from the airport. I could have stayed another week but knew it was time to start heading home. The trip was not over yet we were headed for San Francisco, for a day.
After what seemed like all day we were in San Francisco at 6pm their time. My hip held up to the 5 hour flight just fine. But I was a tired and a hungry grouch. We all were not very happy. But we made the best of it.
After a quick phone call with Bioness to try to get a part replaced and nothing settled but buy a new battery and give that a try. We were off with an amazing tour guide. We were able to make a stop at Radio Shack to get a battery. Didn’t help, it still didn’t work.
So we spent 4 hours with our amazing tour guide. We got to see so much. I did a good amount of walking with out the Bioness once again. Our tour guide took us to Pier 39, Lombard street, we drove across the Golden Gate Bridge twice, we saw Alcatraz and we ate a a famous restaurant. We got to see so much more but that those were the highlights. I loved all of it. Dad and I even got to walk down Lombard street. It was a good last day to our awesome vacation.
After finishing out nice tour we were headed back to the hotel to watch some TV and have a little break before we needed to get on our 6 hour flight to the east coast.
Finally at the airport. After going through so many airports I never once went through a metal detector, which I was a little sad about I wanted to set it off. HAHA. I always went through the body scanner. There was one time where the body scanner might have picked it up but I don’t think so. Well it was about 8 at night in San Fransisco. I spent a little time shopping and I started writing this post. (Little pokey) 11pm rolled around and we were getting on the plane once again heading for Washington DC. Vacation was finally over. 😦 After leaving Hawaii which was the hardest part I was ready to head home by this point.
6 am and with very little sleep we were in Washington DC. Seeing the city all lit up as we flew in was pretty cool. Landed with about an hour until our next flight took off for home. Time to say good-bye to my shorts for 3 months or so. They will be missed. One last plane ride until we were in the tundra. It was about -2 back home and someone didn’t have a jacket. All loaded up and ready to go one last time.
9:30 am finally back home. I was happy and sad at he same time. I was happy to be around family and friends again. I was very happy to see Jake. However I was sad that the best vacation that I ever had was over.
This is a vacation that I will never forget. My parents and I have created ever lasting memories. I know for a fact that this is the most amazing vacation that I have ever take. It was the first one in a long time that I was able to just enjoy it. Well maybe the first one where I didn’t have to worry about pain. I was able to relax, take part in pretty much whatever I wanted and what my heart wanted. No surfing though. I was loving life for all that it was worth. Loving the time with Mom and Dad in paradise. Being me and making dreams coming true. Loving who I am and what I can do at the moment. Everything that I had worked so hard for was coming try. It was a vacation, a time to be with people I loved. For a few days I forgot that I had my hip replaced and loved being me. Happy, trying things, walking with out my Bioness and loving every single moment of it. Knowing that Mom and Dad were on a real vacation where they could do what they wanted, knowing that they were happy to watch me try things. It is a vacation that will never be forgotten. My heart aches to be back there and I know it is because the vacation was one of a life time for all of us.
So you may ask why I decided to share all this an not just my hike up Diamond Head. Well I wanted everyone to see how much I was able to do. 3 years ago this would have all been impossible but I would have done it. We left on January 14 which marked 16 months post op for me. Who knew that I would be pretty much pain free and totally enjoying life. Showing everyone that there is a light at the end of this long long dark tunnel is an amazing feeling. Knowing that my life has forever changed and I can be 30 and do things that many 30 year old do is amazing. 3 years ago if someone told me that I would be hiking Diamond Head I would say that it was possible, but you were crazy. But I did it and it puts a smile on my face every time I say or think of that.
I hope and wish that there are many more pain free vacations in the future. I am ready for it. I am ready for whatever life throws at my way. I have set goals and reached them with my whole heart. I am loving every minute in life.
Loving Every Moment in life.