I wrote this on CF & copied pasted it here for those who are on the fence of when to leave. It's not about me, it's about YOU.
ARE YOU ON THE FENCE?
This comes up now, and then on CF. Let me give a wee bit of insight from my point of view. I believe it is Zeehag's signature that says LIFE IS AN ADVENTURE MEANT TO BE LIVED, or something like that!
I have lived my life in this way since birth it seems. My mother always worried where I would end up, or how I would end up. I have never been a regular to the time clock, and pretty much lived the life of a vagabond. Telling myself at 45 I could get a job, and work 20 years for retirement.
That job never came along, and is there such a thing as a retirement anymore? The world is not a safe, or guaranteed place. My ex always said in another life I must have been an explorer. I am always wanting to see what's around the bend, or over the horizon. I have always been of the go now crowd, and more than ever I am glad I have been. We all get through life differently, and my way is not for everyone that's for sure. Recently I have had a new appreciation for my beliefs.
So for those of you on the fence of when to slip the dock lines. Here is the reality of what happened to me. Most here know I left Florida in May headed for Hawaii, and then home to S.F. In an attempt to leave Panama while feeling perfectly healthy, and capable. I became extremely ill overnight. Unfortunately it was the first night out. As always I pushed this feeling aside thinking it was motion sickness. Something I very rarely get.
I started feeling this tiny mass under the skin on my neck several days before we left. I thought nothing of it. At 59 things show up on our bodies. That first night sailing it started to grow, and within 3 days it was the size of a golfball.
The pain was excruciating, and kept me from sleep. I would lay in my berth as Melanie was sailing the boat, and worry. Still hoping it would be something that would pass such as an ear infection. After a day, or so I was finally sleeping from exhaustion, but it was in very small increments. At the end of 3 days we had finally passed Isla Malpelo, and I had fallen into a stupor of sleep. I could not do my watch, and Melanie was single-handing the boat. The ITCZ can be a most uncomfortable place.
Through my stupidity I put us in a bad situation. Melanie was feeling the results of sleep deprivation. She woke to a freighter bearing down on us. She woke me, and as I looked into the binoculars the freighter filled the lenses. There wasn't time for fear to set in. We tacked, and tacked flawlessly. Just in time to watch the hull slip by in complete silence as I remember. We were so close I could see well lit hallways, and individual doors slipping past.
Then the fear, and anger set in. I was mad at myself, and I was mad at Melanie. It only took minutes before I realized that Melanie held no fault, it was mine. Something I thought nothing of. It turned out to be something very significant, and I went from what I thought was healthy to extremely sick in a matter of days.
I showed Melanie my neck, and explained what had been happening to me over the last several days. I explained we were an accident waiting to happen, and we needed to turn back. According to the grib files we were a day, or so away from the trades headed to Hawaii. It was not a hard decision to make, but it was a sad one for me.
To my point of being on the fence. Your health can slip away immediatley with no warning at all. I am fortunate is all I can type. We flew back to the states, and I am in the S.F. Bay Area. Unfortunately Mel is in Florida working, and being seperated is tough. I am getting cancer treatment at UCSF. The mass grew from golfball size to the size of my outstretched hand. From fingertip to wrist, and from thumb to small finger.
I have recieved 3 chemo sessions. One lasting over 5 hours, and the others over 2 hours. The mass has shrunk to less than half it's size, and I can again raise, and lower my chin. I can once again turn my head to the left. The day of the first chemo I could not put a cap on my head without severe pain. The next day I could wear my cap, and a week later I feel fantastic. I have not experienced side effects of the chemo, and I continue to stay busy, and ride my bicycle.
Today I recived the best news of all. My abdomen has been declared clean. It looks like some radiation, and MAYBE some more chemo will put me back on the boat soon. Just in time for the trades to turn to Hawaii.
Please remember this is not a story about me. It's a story about you, and your decision to leave the dock. Hone your skills of sailing. Make sure you can afford the boat you have, and it won't deplete your funds. Make sure you, and the boat are ready, and then sail. SAILING IS NOT ALWAYS A SLICK MAGAZINE COVER, but what it truly is, is Magic! It is rewarding, and for me it is life itself. Well, that & my little brown love Melanie!......i2f