So, this blog is supposed to be about myeloma (or at a push, my arse). I’m not sure that encompasses boring you all with my holiday snaps. Then again, it’s also about the spirit of saying ‘sod myeloma!’ whenever possible and showing what can still be done to anyone newly diagnosed. As someone who’s always enjoyed travelling far and wide, both for work and pleasure, having myeloma clip my wings has definitely been a worry at various points. So this post is basically a short and rather smug post to say ‘look – I’ve just been to Cape Town and the winelands even while I’m relapsing’.
I’ll spare you a full run-down but suffice to say I took advantage of some free flights (courtesy of a certain bearded entrepreneur’s airline who bumped me off a flight back in the autumn) and some generous hospitality (courtesy of a lovely Capetonian friend who used to live in London before recently returning to his sunny homeland – and who amusingly I originally met through er, Viking Soulmates).
Cue the holiday slideshow:
A little impersonal in that none are of me: for now, at least, I’m sticking to some anonymity. Just imagine me super-imposed on all these pictures with a big smile on my face, a bit sunburnt, and with my nose in a book/ the New Yorker/ a conversation about South African politics.
The story does have a touch of the medical: on my second last night I found myself vomiting and with a fever, and took twenty-four hours to get out the other side of that. A little unnerving, particularly as I found out my expensive single-trip travel insurance (with my health status fully declared) would only accept a claim if I went first to a public health facility – which made it pointless. (AllClear travel, if anyone in my myeloma gang would like to avoid them). Although I’d been advised that the best place to go for myeloma was a private place, as I wasn’t feeling too horrific I did actually try to go to the public hospital A&E. After seeing enough of it to make me praise the NHS for the umpteenth time in my life, I was told that with a foreign passport they told me it would be cheaper and much quicker to go private. I was feeling better anyway so thankfully I didn’t need to pursue it. Moral of the story? Glass-half-full version is that my immune system seems to be able to handle a vomiting bug without disastrous effects and I had a great holiday; in an emergency, there was a place where I could have got all the care I needed (at my own expense) … but I do need to look into fine print more on travel insurance, and/or accept the cost risk myself. In any case, this was a bit of a Carpe Diem (and carpe free flightem) one-off, and I’m more likely to stick to holidays in Europe or the UK usually.
I had my routine monthly hospital visit due on Friday when I landed back in London, so I knew the good old NHS was there to pick me back up, whatever shape I’d been in. This involves getting a drug on a drip to help strengthen my bones after previous damage was done when I had active myeloma before (I’ll probably post more on that another time), and monitoring of blood and urine to see how I’m doing in general. I’ll find out the latest blood results in early March and possibly be able to make a treatment decision at that point.
Meanwhile, I just have to adjust back to the weather…. and to Monday morning in the office.