Tuesday 31 May 2011

Bittersweet Hope

     "Gotta kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight."
                                                        -Bruce Cockburn

     I'm overweight, short, balding and going grey simultaneously, damn near blind as a bat and not as limber as I was when I was 20...
    And I am so very, very lucky.

    I have gotten a lot of good sailing and boat advice on the forums at www.sailnet.com over the years, and occasionally some much needed perspective.

   A frequent provider of good advice is a catamaran cruiser named John, with the handle "Imagine2Frolic."  He and his wife Melanie set sail last year from Florida through the Panama canal and beyond.  Then life decided to kick John's ass.

     As he tells it...

     "...My friends would ask if I am afraid at times, and I would answer, yes. What scares me most would be to miss out on what cruising has to offer. When you are with people who share the same dream you will find tons of help, and friendliness.

Last year we had to leave Imagine in Panama. I was physically fit, and looking so forward to the sail to Hawaii. The day we left I started to get a pain behind my ear. Like any pain I have always pushed through it, and eventually the body would take care of itself. This was different for 3 days without sleep it grew worse, and began to wrap around my brain. On the fourth day I could not stay awake, and I confessed to Melanie my situation. We turned back for Panama, and flew to the states.

I have never been shy about who I am, where I am, and what I am doing. This has been a difficult decision to make, but I have made it for multiple reasons. I have made some promises to myself, and to others. Also I want to pound into those on the fence to get it together, and go. Enjoy life while you have your health. That doesn't mean to just up, and leave. Get your sailing skills together, your finances , boat, and do as Zee types in her signature. Life is an adventure meant to be lived! You don't need the biggest boat out there just the heart to go!

I was told 6 weeks of treatment, and a month of healing, and I could return to Imagine. It did not turn out that way. After nearly 8 months of treatment being probed, cooked alive, poisoned, and losing nearly 60lbs of mostly muscle. I refused anymore treatment until it was modified. Eventually the last treatment I took I was told if I did not respond then I need to think about where I want to take my last breath. I didn't respond, and I was not going to be a science project. I made the decision I would live my life, and not let science wither me away until my last breath.

So, Melanie, my little brown love, and I have returned to Imagine. I refuse to let her sit here, and rot while I myself rot in S.F. Ca. We will sail to Hawaii where I can place my father's ashes as I promised to him. Then we will sail home to the S.F. Bay Area where we will eventually sell Imagine. She is our home, and when we sell her will depend on the timing of my life. I promised her family to return her to her country, and to care for her. The sale of Imagine will insure our return to the Phils, and to be finacially ok. The economy was not good to us. That's not a complaint, but a fact.

Imagine has had some issues from sitting in the tropics, but we are sorting those out. We had Spot tracker when we left Florida last year for S.F., and we will continue to have it. It is mostly by Mel, and her thoughts about our past life with Imagine, and our current situation. I have also added a blog titled SAILING with CANCER, ONE MAN's race against TIME! I am not a writer, but I will drift around describiing our past, our current, and our future adventures with Imagine. There will be some beautiful pics, and a few grizzly photos of my health early this year in both sites.

I know this is kind of depressing, but there is some good news. Since I have quit treatment I have put on about 20lbs. I could not hold a pencil in Feb, and now I am carrying water jugs, batteries, and what ever is needed to make Imagine fit. I don't have a lot of stamina, and all my strength. What I do have is a wonderful friend, mentor to sailing, who is flying in for the sail to Hawaii.

There will be updates while we prepare Imagine with photos of our progress. Hopefully we will get our hands on a sat phone of somekind to have updates across the Pacific. Hopefully you will find my writing entertaining, and you will follow us on our race against time......."

I found John's words to be humbling, moving and inspiring.  I wish him and Melanie all the best on their journey, and will be following along here:

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