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…
Hi Cass, hope you’ll have a speedy recovery. I find myself in a semilair situation. Last week I was told that a PT scan of my right Kidney had shown a possible maligment tumor. Not sure I want to have the Op just yet as I was also planning a cycling trip (a bit closer to home then yours though). The fact that you continued you trip in South America regardless, is quite a thing. I can relate. Well wishes,
Stijn, I hope everything is ok. It was certainly a stressful experience for me, particularly at the beginning, and made me re-evaluate many things. Keeping riding proved be the best way to relax though, and was a good escape from it all.
All the best, Cass.
Heal well & swiftly Cass.
I came across your blog while searching for some information on Honduras and I’ve been pretty transfixed ever since. Someone who has conquered the sort of terrain you have can overcome anything. Get well soon! I want to read more soon 🙂
Best wishes Cass, hope all goes well – the French health system is amazing, take full advantage of it while you can! I can’t think of anywhere nice to recuperate than a French vineyard (so long as you aren’t recovering from liver damage of course)
Wishing you all the best as you recover, from this hiccup Cass. Nowhere more relaxing than the S of France. I see in spite of you writing you didn’t take your camera or bike you still produced these little gems! I’m having my bunion job done at a local hospital tomorrow and will be in plaster for two months (I’m told) as it more complicated than usual. I’m not good with clipped wings but hey ho I’m alive and enjoying the dramatic monsoon rains. I have missed your last updates as I have been away but will check on them soon while in recovery! Look forward to more good health reports followed by your stunning photos (which SO inspire me) I hope you’re back on your saddle very soon. A huge warm hug for you… and enjoy those pizzas while you can… you’ll soon be back on the refried beans! Ahhh! X Susie X
Best wishes and a speedy recovery. I hope your back on your bike soon! I have been following your blog since the beginning and it is both inspiring and a great read.
Hope your enjoying your recuperation in the south of France!
I hope your recovery continues at a swift pace & that your results are all good.
Sorry to hear about the health issues. Sounds like you’re healing well though. Good vibes & looking forward to hearing more from the Americas.
It has been lovely having you home…albeit with worrying times. But, i’m glad to hear you’re recovering well, and enjoying a well-deserved rest in France!
Looking forward to reading more of your more exoctic travel stories soon!
Sorry to hear of your illness Cass, I hope you have a speedy recovery and get back on the road soon! All the best.
Damn, that doesn’t sound good. Glad to hear you are on the mend. Get well soon!
Hi Cass, good to hear you are recovering. A few years ago I had a very rare nerve entrapment problem in my right pelvis (the same problem that was causing me pain on the Sach Pass trip), ultimately due to simple tight hamstrings tugging on a junction of the nerve. This spiraled out of control because no one knew what the problem was and the exercises and doctors were making it much worse (they were tearing my femoral nerve apart). I was bedridden and in agony for half a year. Then when I figured this problem out I immediately fixed the issue, and it took only a few months for the nerve to heal, a couple years to completely heal which is recently, but the atrophy led to severe patellar tendonitis in my knee when I resumed activity and riding too quickly. This put me out for another year or so and it’s been a slow grind getting back up to strength. But now my recovery seems to be going exponentially well, I’m climbing local mountains twice a week now and I should be up to 100% in a few short months, provided I don’t push it too hard too fast. Then I’ll be back out touring again when I can find the time…
Just a little story to help with the positive outlook.
Cass, I’m glad it turned out to not be too serious and that you’ll be back on the bike again soon. I hope our paths can cross again in South America. Enjoy your recuperation period. Looks like a lovely place to be.
I wish you the best and that you may be rolling again soon!
We’re rooting for you over here in the Yukon, Canada. We’re heading off ourselves on a year+ road trip, sold the house and everything! Older boys are doing their own thing, and Niko, Marlynn and I are off to see the world and share what we do in music, consciousness and art.
See you again out there somewhere maybe!
Sorry to hear of your pulmonary troubles. Your blog speaks well of your ability to make the right decisions and cope with adversity, and I know that you will come out of this better than ever.
Thanks for all the comments. I went on my first mountain bike yesterday, albeit a gentle one. Felt good!
best of wishes with the recovery and time off cass. so glad you are able to make/take the time to heal yourself. i’ve been doing the same, to say the least. we plan to return to the road in feb. be well and sending thoughts… kelly and kurt
hope all goes well with recovery cass take it easy
Wishing you a speedy recovery.
Best of luck in healing and getting on the road. We’ve been planning an expedition of our own for years and we finally hit the road from Alaska to Argentina. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery and you’ll see our Troll build is very similar to yours.
Best of luck in getting on the road again and maybe our paths can cross some day soon. We’d love to swap photography and stories. We’re in the Yukon/BC and on our way south!
hey Cass, just logged on from the Hebrides for first time in ages…. just wanted to wish you all the best, I’m sure you’ll be back on the road again soon 🙂
Just saw your blog entry, yes I’m slow. Glad to hear that all is going well with the recovery – bloody nodules get everywhere. Looking forward to seeing continuing positive updates.
And while we are at – Rohloff the way to go isn’t it bollox to those dérailleurs??
Just need a conformation to my thoughts on my way to Thorn now.
all the best Mark
Sorry to hear about your illness, hoping for a speedy recovery and back on the sth american trail. be wishes
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Cass, sorry to hear an illness took you down for a bit! I know it is now 3 years after the fact, but kudos for not letting it sidetrack you for too long and for getting back in the saddle and on with your adventures. Looking forward to following the rest of your adventures!
Cheers Sean. I’ve just a few scars left as memory. Lungs are fully functional!