Celebrating 6 years since my double lung transplant at sea hoping for champagne, sweet treats & happy weather/winds. Well, one can hope - and not being sea sick again & bunk bound seeing no light at the end of a tunnel. So, that was the delight that faced me....
Leaving Ireland heading for Netherlands about 5-8 days max depending on sea/weather & knowing Leg 8 of this race almost closing. Stocked up this time with drink (juices) & goodies so a happy Jussie in the event foul tasting water & food stashed away as reserves. Nothing can be as bad as the Atlantic - especially reassuring as not like 15 or so days at sea.
So ...waving cheering smiling at the thousands of people supporting the Clipper yachts as one by one we depart. The Edinburgh inspiring Capital yacht I'm on with a crew wearing tartan kilts and the men with knee high socks too (very appealing and easy on the eyes ;) we shout back all enthused by the rapturous send off. Apparently, the best farewell response in all of the race departures so far (rumoured by most of the crew). It certainly was awe inspiring for me to witness and I was buzzing with excitement! Whoop whoop!
The buzz kinda stopped when watch systems kicked in & time to wear our sailing clothing instead of tartan fashions. Go!!!!!!!! The race HAS started!
I finished my duties at 6pm and went to sleep about 8-8.30pm - normal sleeping time now for me (since the 6am - 6pm watch introduced) requiring a 5.20 am wake up every day for breakfast & time to get dressed accordingly with life jacket + harness. Eek ooooh dear, feeling sick I rushed to get on deck without my foulie jacket & surprised by many as so early. Best wear my jacket as its cold I was told.....no chance if I go back below deck I knew I would be throwing up. My jacket was given to me & I sat in the cock pit taking off my life jacket, jacket on, life jacket back on.....harness...moving to low side and YES being sick overboard! so, best I get back below on my bunk lie vertical and wait for the feeling to pass.
Roll on 48 hours later, throwing up over myself, in the bucket by my bunk, infront of Piers (skipper). Making horrible reaching noises trying to empty my guts when there is nothing inside & bile/foam inside. Perhaps I was a rabies case foaming at the mouth....lol....not how I intended my 6 years and I'm alive transplant anniversary was supposed to pan out. At my lowest , asking now for plans to get me off the yacht, so near to Netherlands, yet any longer for me simply agony.
I really don't know how I master through, like other people with sea sickness. For those not having or knowing how it feels. Slight extreme, but imagine your guts being twisted & spun like in a washing machine. Your head like helicopter blades going at 100 miles per hour. Desperate to go to the toilet - but your body paralysed and too weak to move. Trying to take sips of water and knowing another washing machine motion & reach for the bucket shortly after.
My love of food - now the thought of hatred to eat.
Ok, you get the picture, and having experienced this already across the Atlantic Ocean.... It's true to say I'd had enough! GAME is OVER. The worry also missing taking my medications & throwing them back up. The immuno suppressants needed to protect my lungs - now further weakened as no protection around them. Susceptible to infections....
BUT....I did it....I managed to drag myself out of the lower hospital bunk and have some crew sing 'Happy Birthday' (lungs) and I managed a smile :) Jussie was turning that corner, a few more days to Holland and I WAS going to make it!!! Other crew saying 'Happy Anniversary'. Yay.... I can do this.
The next few days, I bounced back again - started to try and eat. It is difficult surprisingly - but, eventually the appetite does return and then like some more!!
Well hellooooo Netherlands and am I glad to be here. My time here has been fantastic seeing:- Amsterdam, Volendam, Alkmaar and Den Helder where staying. I spent time with Joachim who I met at the World Transplant Games (Sweden '11) - which was great. And I also met some other transplantees joining for a corporate sail the following day.
The hospitality, food, ambience has been fantastic!
Believe it or not - I have done no media as such here, just a photo shoot with the transplantees which no doubt will be used for some article (s). Actually nice to have more time for me, rest & exploration of holland. I have bought plenty food & Dutch cheese to take home :)
Well, I leave tomorrow and arrive back to Southampton on Sunday. I am ready to come home after 2 months away challenging myself and beating odds that almost ended my venture. Just a few more days to go. I guess I feel slightly anxious as know the weather/sea will be bad again for a short time. I don't want to be sea sick on the returns - but, it seems I struggle when it is like this. The only part of the race I've been well was the actual first part from New York to Halifax (calm seas and blissful sunshine). Well if I am, I will get through it as I always seem to do & regardless I'm coming home...so, that is MY light at the end of the tunnel.
I still have many more blogs to write up, obviously this last part of race....maybe a reflective/overview of the whole race, copy & paste blogs I wrote up on the Clipper website and a blog I wrote re: when it was the longest day (June or July I can't remember now)..lol, for some other website.
For now, I am sitting in a Dutch cafe with a cappuccino and slowly consuming a fresh cream cake with a banana flavour iced coating. For any weight I've lost, I've gained back on land very quickly ;) I am looking forward to the foods I eat and enjoy (that of a healthier one). Consume more fresh foods, salads, fruits, jacket potatoes...fish etc. I am done with overdoses of carbs, bread, tinned, space food, cakes & junk food throughout my 7 weeks. However, I wish I could say I was done with crisps...pah ;)
I do also still have to resume training for the British Transplant Games 4 weeks upon returning & rehearsing for a magic performance doing at the TX Games as well. I need rest, but that will be in another month. And next week, I'm back at hospital for a major check up of my lungs, heart, kidneys etc and I really hope all is well after my time away & how/what I've pushed/put my body through.
Hmmm....cake plate is now almost empty & one more cappuccino slurp left. Right folks best I stop writing and enjoy my last rest, packing, meal out & setting sail in the morning.
Lots of love & I'm 6 with my lungs....I just hope I get more multiples of 6 still xx and I hope my donor is proud of me xx