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Life’s Ups and Downs

Sometimes we have patches in our lives where ever thing seems so go right. We’ve had our share, perhaps more than our fair share, but I think we made the best of them. For the flip side of this are the patches were luck is not on your side. We seem to be going through and extended patch of this.

Yesterday we visited Prof Linch in London to discuss my recent symptoms (which have been slowly deteriorating) and the results of the MRI. The Profs. conclusion is that the disease I had has begun to return. What is less certain is what was the disease I had and what may be returning. There is a possibility of the Epstein-Barr virus being involved and to confirm or exclude this as a possibility my brain biopsy taken nearly a year ago is currently being examined. It will still be lymphoma (I understand) either way but the treatment would be different. So, more waiting for more results but one thing is certain, treatment will begin soon. Joy.

What was a real joy was meeting up with Mike and Anne from Callisto who are in the area (the boat is in Malaysia). They visited our home for an hour or so before we all went out for a Chesham Tandoori. Yum. We took them to Anne’s parents after the meal who live in the next town, Amersham. Funny connection when one thinks we first met Anne and Mike in Costa Rico after they’d recently been ht by lightening.

I’ll keep all of you updated as best I can via private message and/or this blog. Next results are the brain and cheek biopsies and the proposed treatment plans. In between all this we still may get to visit a few houses so we’ll keep you up to date with that too.

Back to the Future

The trip back to Melbourne on Monday was again straight forward. We’ve heard a lot of bad things about TigerDirect but all our experiences to date have been excellent. We even find their seats more comfortable than their direct rivals, JetStar. Very happy with the service.

Tuesday was a big day in terms of meeting with the haematological oncology specialist, Michael MacManus, at the Peter Mac Institute. There was no direct feedback on my current condition except to say things are still going pretty well. He was able to confirm that there really is nothing more we can know between now and the final MRI in Jan followed by meeting with my overall specialist, Prof Opat, in mid-Jan. This means we can go about booking flights out of the country now without incurring any greater risks than we might do by waiting. More importantly, he agreed to refer to Prof David Linch in the UK. With help from the UK Lymphoma society, my own research and confirmation from Mike (Callisto) we are certain he is the top guy for my condition. We need to visit my family in South Africa so it’s good to establish this connection in advance of our return to the UK for many reasons. We also managed to meet the assistant to Prof Opat who promised to ensure he would make a similar referral. She’s the sort of person who will make sure her boss does what he’s supposed to so this was another bonus.

With this news and Dignity left in the hands of professionals and friends we entirely trust I left the hospital feeling incredibly buoyant. I felt as though I’d crossed an invisible boundary in my life where we’d gone from the balance of our activity’s responding to the past to now being fully focussed on the future.

Since then we’ve begun really sharpening our thinking about the next few months. We’ve already booked our flight from South Africa back the UK. We are close to arranging our dates / flights from Australia to South Africa. We hope to spend a few days in each of Sydney and Hong Kong along the way. We’ve shelved our plans to visit cruising friends in Malaysia so we spent some time chatting to them yesterday via Skype and giving them the news.

Another treat yesterday was the return of the Sarah and Russ’s son, Chris, from his first semester in Stanford. We’ve been here so long that even we feel the family is now back together.

In the evening we joined the family at Ros’s school where she was presented an award for community leadership. We are all proud of her.

Last but not least we’ve decided to have Ben mail my Nexus 4 to Australia. There’s a chance it’ll be here by Xmas. How can life get any more exciting?

Another week on

We’ve had quite a busy week since moving back down to Chesham. Been catching up with a few friends. One highlight was meeting up with Mike, Ann and Jossette from Callisto yesterday in London. We shared breakfast together then went for a walk around Primrose Hill and Regents Park. We finished off with a pint in a nice old pub. Doesn’t get much better. This marks the first time we’ve met up with cruising friends off water.

In the afternoon we visited Tring on the way to visiting and staying the night with some friends from our old karate club.

Today we visited John and Ella in London and met Ella’s mum, Penne, for the first time. She’s here for the birth which, I can report, has yet to occur.

One item of progress over the last week was learning that our parts for the “sex change” are now in transit to New Zealand. They are aboard the container vessel Dublin Express due to arrive in Auckland on February 7th. The vessel can be tracked with the following link :

Socializing ….

Some folks left the anchorage (Tahina, Dreamtime), a couple more arrived (Passages, Scream). Mike from Callisto popped by to invite us to drinks Thursday night. Steve & Darusha popped by and invited us for dinner Friday night.

During the day we just amused ourselves aboard the usual way. I decided to condition the batteries and ran the generator for most of the morning. I had planned to do more routine checks of the boat but put it off to today.

Drinks aboard Callisto was fun and went on til late. Also there the Kilkeas and Passages’s.

It’s nice here but we need to get out. All this socializing is hard on the body. The bloodstream at least.

Lavena Coastal Walk

15 cruisers (including us) got together yesterday to take the bus down to Lavena and walk the coastal walk. We had mixed information about the bus departure time which ranged from 9am to 10am. The most specific advice was that it was due at 9:15 but we could have to wait until 10am. We were all ashore by 9:30 and caught the bus at 10:30. It’s called Fiji time by the locals.

The bus was the typical open window (ie, no window) kind which offered a cool breeze and fantastic views of the coast and the villages we passed through. After an hour or so we reached the village of Lavena where we paid to enter the Bouma National Heritage Park and for a couple of guides to take us on the trail.

The trail took about hour and a half to reach the waterfalls at the end. The pace was slow to allow chances to listen to the guide tell us about a few of the things we could see and to take photos. The final section of the path took us up to a shaded spot on a river where we stopped for a swim and to eat lunch. From this spot we could see one of two waterfalls a little way up the river. We swam up to the bowl beneath this waterfall where we were able to see a second waterfall pouring into the same bowl which was not previously visible. Of our group I was the only one to climb the slippery rocks behind our guide and slide down the slick chute created by the second waterfall.

After our swim we rested and had a bite to eat before following the trail back to the starting point. Our return was a quite a bit quicker as we had no need to stop so often. By now school was out and we were greeted by happy, smiling children. It’s wonderful to see the innocence of small kids not having had to be scared off by the boogeyman of strangers.

We headed back to Matei in two minivans and decided to eat at one of the local restaurants. The food turned out to be delicious. Helen and I ended up on Kilkea after the meal where we were plied with beverages that are still working their way out of my head.

On the maintenance front we progress slowly. Permissions have been sought and now fully granted to have the Lagoon techs perform the work in the Norsand yard. We’re close to knowing if/when/where the replacement charger will be sent and we should soon have the details of the sex-change worked out.

Having made the decision to slow down and spend the whole season here in Fiji there is no stress involved in staying put for a while in one place. We’re really enjoying the beauty and tranquility of Taveuni as well as this breezy anchorage. Sharing time with our friends here makes the experience priceless. So all is good.

Even better, we’ve received confirmation from our good friends, Anne and John, that they will be with us early August. Much to look forward to.