Several months ago Lynnea and I started planning a ski/snowboard vacation to Alpe d’Huez, France. Two of our good friends from Israel, that live here in Groningen, invited us to join them and some of their friends on a six day trip of epic winter sports in the French Alps. Not wanting to pass up this great opportunity to experience a new culture and a new language (both French and Jewish/Hebrew) we signed up immediately. Of course when Lynnea’s diagnosis was given to us we thought that there was no way we would be able to go to France. After consulting with the doctors they thought it would be in our best interest to go and get some fresh Alpine air before Lynnea’s surgery. Instead of six days on the slopes we decided it would be best to only ski for three days. This would give us a day and half to get to the south east part of France by car with our two friends. Instead of coming back with them at the end of the week, we would take a bus from the ski resort to Geneva, Switzerland and take a fifty minute flight back to Amsterdam. So with our plans amended we went and spent four warm sun filled days at the Alpe d’Huez resort. It was a wonderful time spent soaking up the sun, exploring the mountains, enjoying wonderful homemade meals, and laughing with some of our new Israeli friends. The morning arrived when we had to depart. Lynnea and I had arranged to take a bus from the resort to the city of Grenoble, which is just over an hour away, and then transfer to another bus that would get us to the Geneva airport. As the bus started its decent down the winding two lane switchback road I began to see signs with bicycles on them and the name of a person next to it. At each turn I began to pay closer attention to these signs, until I realized that they were the names of famous bicycle racers who had won this stage of the Tour de France. I couldn’t believe it. I had no idea that the Alpe d’Huez resort was part of the mountain climbing stages of one of the greatest bicycle races on Earth. It was at this very mountain area where Lance Armstrong competed in a stage and would go on to win seven Tour de France titles after battling cancer. As Lynnea was burrowed into my shoulder trying to get some sleep I was struck by how fitting this place was for the two of us to visit. Not only is it a place where arguably, one of the greatest feats of human athleticism has occurred, but that it provides such a wonderful metaphor for the journey ahead for Lynnea and I. That this fight with cancer will be done in daily stages just like the Tour de France. That there will be days ahead which will be easy and feel like we are on flat ground. Then there will be days when we have to climb a mountain, because chemo has made her body sick. We don’t know how to fully prepare or train for these stages, but we do know that we have to take it one day at a time. And just like the Tour de France, we know we have hundreds if not thousands of people cheering for us and working with us to help fight. I have no clue how Lynnea’s body will respond to treatments, I pray that she will be healed fully, and that we will surround her in a year and call her a cancer survivor. That is many days and stages from now. What I am here to say is that stage one is complete! That yesterday the surgeon removed her left breast without complication. There is no evidence that the tumor was attached to the chest wall and the skin around the tumor was loose. That yesterday she slept, rested, and through most of the night she experienced little pain or nausea. This morning and this afternoon she was up walking around her room and down the hallway. These are all positive signs that speak of a healthy recovery, but the journey is still long.