my journey to health and well being via exotic destinations

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The highs and lows of 2021


In a year where there has been little travel and many health issues I am challenged where best to post and how to write this blog! For most of us it has been a year of great uncertainties and lows, with a few highs. On the whole we don’t share our lows as we maintain our oh-so-very-British stiff upper lip. So here goes – my year in review. Continue reading


Hip, hip for the NHS!


The Scarlatinas on stage. Marc Hayward (centre) was a pal of Louise’s

This has been a busy seven days one way and another. The big event was the marking of the 6th anniversary of Louise’s death and we celebrated with a memorial gig at Nambucca organised by her friends. One or two oldies came to raise the average age a bit, but it was great to be with her gang, in a place she loved to dance.

One other major recent preoccupation has been the state of my hip, the broken one, rather than my sarcoma leg. I started the process of trying to see a consultant before Christmas, and after many false starts, and cancelled appointments, caused by my referral going astray between the GP and UCLH (aaargh), I finally received an appointment before the cancelled one to see Prof Haddad, the man by all accounts.

Meanwhile, I was hedging my bets and had been to see a Swiss GP and got some MRIs on the Swiss insurance, which is my back stop. In the UK I am not covered for a pre-existing condition – though this experience made me take out a policy with SAGA pretty pronto for the princely sum of £142 pm which is I think a bargain. Cigna was quoting £16,000 pa!

So far my NHS experiences had been great – the Marsden before xmas was a breeze, in and out in 1 hour with 2 consultant appointments plus a x-ray; my bone density scan at the Royal Free last week was 2 minutes early, and she scanned the other hip for good measure; and today the Trauma Clinic at UCLH started well, with the registrar ushering me into his office bang on time. Of course I shouldn’t have expected to see (although secretly hoping) the Prof as I was told the appointment was with him ‘or one of his team’.

Babar was charm incarnate, took my history, waggled my leg around (admired my sarcoma scars of course, as any professional does) and then sent me off for an x-ray. And this is where you see the poor old NHS stretched to its limits – there are walk-ins, people like me sent down from upstairs and pre-booked appointments. A couple of people were getting a bit irate at having to wait so long – I was there 1 hours 20 minutes – but a nurse soothed and sorted them; there were babies running around, elderly people in wheel chairs and the terminally ill. One big hot pot.

The x-ray itself was quick and efficient and soon I was back upstairs, and Babar took me in immediately. Sadly he was unable to read my Swiss MRIs so I will have to have some more done here. The x-ray shows my right hip has collapsed, as well as having necrosis. So he recommends a replacement. And, joy of joys, my charm offensive must have worked as he’s putting me on Haddad’s list, although the waiting list might be 12 rather than the 8 weeks for the normal clinic.

It must be the words, spoken dead pan, ‘I might not have much time left and I want to live my life to the full’. I think he sees though me, as he says, ‘You don’t really think that’. And of course I say, ‘No, but its useful for those violin moments you need to conjure up in the NHS’ and we both laugh.

So it’s a result and, so far, hurrah for the NHS!

Three years clear!

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Reposting this from my Healthy Living with Cancer blog….all part of the journey

healthy living with cancer

22239_245584604708_511244708_3137715_6127093_nThis is always a difficult time of year for me. Firstly, 7 December is our daughter Louise’s birthday. She would have been 27 last week, but instead she is forever a glorious 21 – young and beautiful. We celebrated her life with some close friends at the Bench last week and later in the Steele’s where we held her wake.

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This gallery contains 8 photos


The Singapore chapter closes, but a fresh page beckons



Enjoying Singapore’s national dish – Chilli crab

Here I am sitting among boxes as I wait for the packers to remove our final belongings as we prepare to leave Singapore. It’s been an experience, mostly wonderful. We came here as refugees – from the emotions surrounding the loss of our daughter Louise and the wish to mourn in a private and fulfilling way, by adventuring and ringing the changes. The deep sense of grieving never goes away and, as I have said many times, time is NOT a healer; but it is possible to fill your mind and your heart with happy experiences that take the raw edge off that insistent nagging realisation that every day you wake up is another without her. Continue reading

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Celebrating TWO years in remission

xmas new year 2015 - 3

The majestic Dents du Midi from the little chuff chuff up to CHampery

Sorry for the long silence! Nothing amiss just…travelling back to London and Switzerland has proved extremely exhausting. I know it sounds curmudgeonly to complain – and I’m not really moaning – but being homeless while our house is being renovated is unsettling to say the least. We are turning it into two flats, one of which we shall rent out, but it involves the whole house being re-organised as you can imagine. Continue reading


#Bereavement and the suppression of #immunity

I thought this post from my site should reach a wider audience….

healthy living with cancer


I was visiting a dear friend who has just been diagnosed with leukaemia and was chatting to him about why some people get cancer and some don’t. I expounded my theory that I am convinced that both Ross and I both became ill after the great grief we experienced when we lost our darling Louise. My friend was also trying to make sense of his illness, coming hot on the heels of his wife’s breast cancer (as couples we are members of our special cancer couples club, but we won’t invite you to join it, it’s terribly exclusive) and was able to contextualise their respective illnesses within a bereavement framework. It was he who pointed me in the direction of Prof Janet Lord’s research on how age alters our immune response to bereavement.

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My year 2014 in review – the ups and downs of living with cancer

Another fabulous sunset, Ngapali beach, Myanmar

Another fabulous sunset, Ngapali beach, Myanmar prepared a 2014 annual report for my blog. In sheer size of viewing numbers they surmise that the concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people; vickygoestravelling was viewed about 18,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it. That’s quite a good feeling! Keep clicking please…

Here are the most viewed blogs, illustrating the ups and downs of the year – which has ended nevertheless on a high! Clear health, on my skis again, despite being taken out TWICE in one week by beginners, and now having a duvet day to try and rest my poor old back, bum and shoulder, which are all covered in bruises! But I will not be deterred and will venture out when it’s quieter tomorrow, New Year’s Day, when everyone is hung-over! Continue reading


A year of living with cancer: travelling hopefully

The birthday couple!

The birthday couple! November

On Monday 15 December I had my check up with the Prof. I had flown in the day before and had spent the day with Tommy, first at the Bench, with a late birthday tribute to Louise (always in our thoughts),  and then in the pub with some of Louise’s friends watching the football. Consequently felt not only anxious about Monday’s appointment but also rather hung-over! Continue reading


Burmese days 5 – Inle Lake, home to one-legged poling fishermen

The classic shot - fishermen at Inle Lake

The classic shot – fishermen at Inle Lake

Inle Lake is home to the unique one-legged rowers and a tourist destination like Bagan. It’s a peaceful sight, watching the fishermen cast their nets deftly, one leg wrapped round a pole. The water is calm, the air fresh but broken by the sound of the two stroke engines in full throttle as boat loads of people speed up and down – monks and school children, ladies sporting umbrellas to keep the sun off, vendors carrying their tomatoes and other crops to market and, of course, the ubiquitous tourists. Strangely we see similar birds that are common to Southern Africa, like fork-tailed drongos and squacco herons! Continue reading