For my 60th birthday in December 2016 I had the most amazing time in Belize, Central America. Joining the party were my family from Australia and my little sister and nephew from New Zealand. Belize holds a special place in my heart as it is where I lived between the ages of 9 and 12. It is a diver’s paradise as it has the second largest coral reef in the world (Australia obviously maintaining top spot) and is still relatively unspoilt.
Over many different Happy Hour Cocktails (mainly ‘Panty Rippers’ which are a delicious concoction of coconut rum, pineapple juice, ice and lime) my husband and I spoke of our plans for retirement and heading off round the Big Lap in November 2017. Finishing up my social work career in March 2017 was not, in the end, such a great wrench especially since the UK government introduced new tax laws in April that made independent contracting much less financially viable. It felt wonderful to know I had 8 months clear to sort everything out before hitting the road.
Having time on my hands I thought I best make a doctor’s appointment and just check out some small scaly lesions I’d been aware of on my forehead, shin and bridge of my nose. As I suspected, they were diagnosed as BCCs or Basal Cell Carcinomas and although very slow growing and non cancerous, these little suckers (which probably were the result of growing up in the tropics), needed to be removed. I am a real supporter of the NHS but unfortunately it is under a lot of strain and my non urgent treatment could not be scheduled before October 2017 for the ones on my forehead, shin and back (I didn’t know about that one) and January 2018 for the more delicate operation near my eye.
Thankfully all operations have been carried out successfully and the only tell tale signs are some skin pigmentation differences and a delay to our travel plans. Originally we had planned to come back to the UK half way through our trip to help my Dad celebrate his 95th birthday on 4th July. With all the various medical appointments we decided it best to wait until after the 4th July before heading off but we would do a pre-planning visit to Australia meantime that tied in with my daughter’s album launch in Manly on the 23rd February. This exciting four week visit is the subject of my next blog!