Friday, 9 March 2012

Another Birthday celebrated and still managing to cycle up hills!

Whoopee!  I am back to cycling on a normal bike.  Now I have got some strength back, I can use a normal bike - although I still love the electric bike.  I did my first 15 miles, big hills and all, yesterday on a mountain bike at Bedgebury (local forest with cycle trails).  Whilst working out the gears, I fell off spectacularly before I really got started.  No broken bones though and I still bounce well.

Health is stable at the moment, if not better than stable.  The last visit to Dr Jot. my friendly oncologist revealed that the lesion in my liver has shrunk a bit.  Blood tests all reveal normal function and bone scan still shows no progression.  I am still getting a lot of pain in my lower back and hips and so had another MRI scan as the problem may well be arthritis in the hips - I have it in the knees.  I like to spread my NHS needs across lots of specialities and haven't had a bone man to talk to for a long time.  So it might be a hip replacement on the NHS  next.

So window of opportunity for another holiday then!  Have now convinced Dave that Vietnam is the place to go for a cultural change from Wales.  (See last blog!)  It is now all but booked.  Problem is the insurance.  I have been quoted nearly £2,000 by most specialist insurers to cover the metastatic cancer.  So after talking to the Vietnamese Embassy to check that they have lots of up-to-date private hospitals, I have decided to take out cover excluding the cancer and will pay for treatment if I need it in Vietnam.
For £2,000, with one insurer,  you don't even get your baggage loss insured.

Which leads me on to the last holiday from which I have just returned.  In February, for 10 days, I went to Morocco and Spain.  It was an orienteering holiday (me obsessed, never!)  Two days of competition in Morocco and then some warm weather training in Andalusia followed by an event the following week-end.  All was going well, weather 21 degrees in the day, food cheap, forests and medinas wonderful, until one morning when in Spain, I woke up with lots of floaters, dots and lines, in front of my right eye.  Bother, it was going to be hard to see a map.  This was the Thursday morning and the true competition did not start until Saturday.  I was convinced by the people who were with me - good old Teresa, Sarah and Charlie (Dave had to stay at home for this little holiday as he has too much work to do), that I should go to a Spanish hospital.  As Spain is in the EEC  and offers us Brits. reciprocal health cover on their NHS, I agreed.  Actually anything to do with my eyes wasn't going to be related to the cancer and I had insurance for everything else, so I knew I would be okay to get treatment if needed.  Cadiz which had the nearest big hospital,  was about 40 minutes inland from where we were staying. So off we went to spend a morning being investigated and an afternoon site seeing.  It turned out I had a tear in my retina.   Not that I am competitive, but Charlie had holiday tummy, Teresa had a throat infection, so clearly I had to top those minor complaints in the cornucopia of possible holiday illnesses.  Thus giving me an even better excuse for my poor times in the orienteering event. It is always good to have a few excuses up your sleeve when, post race, fellow competitors ask why you took so long.  The tear had to be repaired by laser treatment the following morning.  This was all achieved very efficiently in the ophthalmologist's chair and I was discharged with a typed up Spanish report to take back to a specialist in the UK  Thanks goodness for google translate.  "I have lots of floaters in my eye that appear to move and have suddenly appeared this morning" was somewhat beyond my school girl Spanish.  For those interested it translates as  'Tengo un montón de manchas en mi ojo derecho, que parecen moverseAparecieron esta mañana, de repente.'  Well at least that is what I said, it could translate as 'I woke up with a goat in my bed', but as accident and emergency directed my to the eye clinic, it must have been nearly correct.  

After the treatment, I mentioned to the doctor treating me in my broken Spanish that I was in Spain for a sporting competition.  She did speak some English - well more than my Spanish and managed to get across that I was not to do anything strenuous for several days - could jogging, nay walking - up a few sand dunes with a map be called strenuous.  I decided not and did the event anyway.  Remarkably I was not last - in fact for the second race I was 4th.  Were the other competitors, dead, blind or both you may ask.? No they just can't navigate as well apparently.

So back at home again, eye checked over by Maidstone hospital Eye Specialists and all is well.  Apparently anyone can get a torn retina, especially if you are middle aged, short sited (and have an obsession with maps).  Just bad timing really.  

Finally, for those that are still awake and reading this, I celebrated another birthday last week.  Now 58 and really hoping to be planning my 60th birthday bash in two years' time.  The family celebration was conducted next door in our village's posh tea rooms.  Grandchild Ralph took centre stage in all the photos - he is still  a wee bundle of peachy skin and strong lungs.  I will post a few pictures.  My favourite is his Auntie Becky holding him whilst he looks lovingly towards his mum.

 Thought I would upload this - Bex bought me a present of a make-over with her.  We do look thoroughly made over don't you think?
 The holiday group en route to Morocco - can you spot me?  Orienteers all.
 The winning ladies team, at leisure in a Moroccan Medina.  The Medina walls are all painted blue.  It was a lovely place to visit - Chaouen, Northern Morocco.
Now what shall I take to Vietnam - sandals, sun cream, ............

Hasta la vista!