A Conversation With Author And Cancer Survivor Edie Littlefield Sundby The Mission Walker A 1600 Mile Journey On The El Camino Real

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Manage episode 291944864 series 2768449
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Edie Littlefield Sundby has been a great friend to Slow Baja. Since I originally aired my conversation with her in July of last year, she has introduced me to many of her Baja community. A few have been interviewed on Slow Baja already, and I hope to record with the rest as time and travel allows. When a family member was headed to the hospital for major surgery, I turned to Edie for advice. She had the answer, and her relentless positivity was deeply appreciated. The surgery went well. With a little time to to recover life will be back to normal, and I should be back in Slow Baja soon. Enjoy this enlightening conversation with my friend Edie Littlefield Sundby.

My guest, Edie Littlefield Sundby, was arrogantly healthy when she received word that she had stage-four gallbladder cancer. The doctors gave her three months to live. "I had to kill cancer before it killed me," Sundby said. Seventy-nine rounds of chemotherapy, five-and-a-half years, and four radical surgeries later, she was in remission. The battle took half of her liver, ten inches of colon, two inches of her stomach, part of her throat, and all of her right lung. Amazingly, her spirit was intact!

While driving up highway 101 to Stanford Hospital for surgery, she noticed the Mission bells denoting the El Camino Real. "I had this obsession to hug them, to follow them, I had to walk the old California Mission Trail. I had to walk all 21 Missions, saying a prayer of thanksgiving at each one." On a cold, rainy day in February of 2013 -six months after losing her right lung, she started walking from Mission San Diego to Sonoma. Fifty-five days and 800 miles later, she made it. "When I got to Sonoma, I was soaring; I did not want to stop!"

In 2015, when cancer returned, and she knew it would, she reflected on how happy the walk to Sonoma had made her. In an instant, she decided to walk all the Missions in Baja. "It was wonderful to have that to look forward to; I had another walk; I had a mission I had something larger (to focus on) than what was going on inside of me." Through the internet, she found the guide and outfitter Trudi Angel in Loreto. "I had the promise of a burro for ten days and a vaquero for five days; that was good enough for me." She walked across the border to Tijuana and boarded a flight to Loreto, Mexico.

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