A couple of months ago I had to make the decision to mothball my bicycle ride across the Americas. It was a hard one to accept, but it was brought on by the unfortunate discovery, during a CT scan, of some pulmonary nodules lurking in my lungs. I’ve been struggling with a respiratory issues for a while now – since Mexico, in fact – and with the scan came a diagnosis of bronchiectasis and streptococcal pneumonia. However, it was the nodules that were more of a cause for worry.
The good news is that the subsequent PET scan came up negative, and the largest of these miscreants has now been removed. The operation went smoothly, and I was deemed sufficiently well to be released from hospital a couple of days ahead of schedule. For the last week, I’ve been lucky enough to heal up amongst the sprigs of wild flowers and aromatic herbs at a friend’s house in Provence, Southern France. No bike, no camera. Just a book and an ipod. I’m already feeling a whole lot better, and although I have yet to hear the results of my lung biopsy, I’m confident I’ll be back on two wheels soon.
From bad things come good, and at least this time has given me the chance to see friends and family, catch up with writing work and to recharge before delving deeper into the Andes. Unfortunately, this prolonged break has complicated my planned route weather-wise, so there’s some figuring out ahead if I’m to avoid getting soaked in yet another rainy season. Plus, there’s the added logistical challenge of dipping into cities along the way, to keep an eye on the remaining nodules as I ride.
Anyway, I’d like to send a huge thank you to my family for their amazing help and support. And to friends for their advice (and gifts), to Mr Dusnet (the surgeon, an avid cyclist, I was pleased to hear) and the beautiful Portuguese nurses, to Dr Johnson the respiratory specialist, to Chantal for her delicious cooking, and to David and his family for inviting me here, and sharing his idyllically situated roulotte. Incidentally, David runs some wonderful thai massage and osteopathy related classes. I couldn’t imagine a better spot to learn.
Thanks too for taking the time to check in to the blog during this period. Although it will be some time yet before I regain my full strength, I hope to be in the position of posting stories with more of a Latin American flavour before too long…