Well, we appear to have survived what has felt like the longest winter in history. Conditions have been harsh and it might surprise you to find it's colder on a boat than in a camper!
Perhaps, on the whole, part of the challenge has been mentally adjusting to not resuming our travels as planned. As disappointing and frustrating that has been it was the right decision.
So a swift update, much delayed but I guess you're used to that from me by now!
The surgery went well. It was a long, and at times, painful day. Made vastly easier by the company of my gorgeous neice Seni. Sent at 10am for the wire to be inserted I then had to wait till nearly 4pm with 4 inches of wire sticking vertically out of my boob! Overall a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things. In and out I was on my way home to Mum and Brian by 6pm feeling pretty battered, shattered and wired all at the same time.
The next three days passed quickly and quietly and I was so well looked after by my parents and Tabitha. They say it takes 48 hours to get over the anesthetic and they're not wrong. I was champing at the bit to get back to the boat though - by Monday evening we back aboard.
I was keen to get back partly because the day before my surgery I was suddenly confronted by a puddle on the bedroom floor.
Unbeknownst to be me, but apparently Tabitha was aware, there had been some ominous gushing and glugging noises for a day or two!! I legged it up to the boatshed looking for some help and asked for Simon the onsite engineer who'd already tidied up a couple of bits n bobs for me. Came the reply; 'in the dry dock, why?' to which I gasped 'there's water coming through my bedroom floor' to be told 'you'd better run then'!!
So I did and duly found Simon who came along to inspect what all my panic was about.
To be fair, we did agree that my panic was not unwarranted!
So, off I went leaving Midnight Blue in the care of the marina crew. Whilst I had faith in everyone to make sure all was well I can't deny I was pretty anxious - I didn't really want my engine bay to double as hot tub!
Turned out the automatic bilge pump wasn't feeling it's autonomy . Several months of dripping stern gland (normal) and heavy rain/snow run off (not normal) had taken it's toll. Duly pumped out and a de-humidifier installed it wasn't long before we were mostly dry.
I can sense you are impressed with these additions to my vocabulary - now I just needed definitions to go with my new words!
The following month passed pretty quickly, two weeks without driving was not as onerous as I had anticipated. Family and friends rallied round to help and both Tabitha and I really felt grateful to be close to family and to have found such a great home ed community that has welcomed us so warmly.
Moving onto Midnight Blue has been a massive learning curve without doubt but totally the right thing to do. Truth be told, I already had an inkling that I needed a better, more comfortable base. I wasn't sure exactly how serious this health scare was nor how much treatment I might need.
Yes it's physical and can be cold, the camper is warmer and has more storage believe it or not! But with our winter touring plan on hold we were delighted by the wood burning stove and an oven! There has been a LOT of pizza and Tabitha has baked and baked. And we needed a secure home base from which to tackle what might lie ahead.
My physical recovery was amazingly quick and a fortnight later I was duly recalled for my results...
It felt routine, my recovery was swift, everyone I had dealt with was very positive of a good outcome. I went in feeling nervous, apprehensive even but hanging on to the positives.
I was about to be told that I have excitable cells, that in fact there were two tumours of these excitable cells but that both had been completely removed. My surgeon's broad smile got through to me before anything he actually said, I had been pretty sure all would be well but the relief was immense.
So there we are, it's actually taken a long time to process and in some degree I still am working through it all. I have several friends who have been on the same journey with much greater challenges ahead and in some cases, thankfully, behind. I feel incredibly lucky to have 'got off' so lightly.
I am left with a small scar, a bit of an oddly shaped nipple, 5 years of annual checks and an element of discombobulation. The relief is real but I haven't had the joy/euphoria that other's have expressed, and for which I am truly grateful for, on my behalf.
It's an odd experience that's all I can tell you!
This wasn't the blog I sat down to write this evening but I guess it was what I needed to write.
Come back for more floaty boaty tales of derring do and drama in Part II, as you might imagine there is plenty to keep you entertained!
ps: This is so much MORE than a post script however: thank you all for your well wishes and support, flowers and errands. Especially thanks to my mum and Brian who looked after me so well and of course to Tabitha who has handled this so amazingly. I am extremely lucky.