4 year all clear and the Atlantic Ocean
The results are in and it has now been four years since I was diagnosed with bowel cancer and I’m still cancer free! Boom!
Many of you will know what it’s like to go for those monthly and yearly check ups. I compare these check ups to standing on a fence where one side leads to the bottom of a very deep canyon and the other side leads to a little table with a pen and a piece of paper with a heading that simply says ‘things to do’.
I’m now off the fence and sitting at that very table with pen in hand and adding something to that list. That thing is to sail across the Atlantic Ocean in 2015! Yikes!
That lovely woman in the picture is the person who has gotten me into this madness!:) Her name is Kirsty and she contacted me a while ago to see if she could help me do some sailing. Kirsty lost her mum to cancer 3 years ago and found my website through our beautiful mutual friend Lisa who I used to work with.
It turns out that Lisa and Kirsty are part of a crew to sail across the Atlantic next year in the Transatlantic Race from the US to the UK and they asked if I would like to join them.
After weeks of emails and Skype conversations I got to meet Kirsty on Sunday before I caught train back to my folks house. Kirsty and I connected immediately in emails and it was lovely to also do the same in person.
I’ve never really sailed before and the organiser is slightly concerned that 2.5 weeks at sea may not be for me.
We had a chat on the phone the other day and he expressed his concern that I need to be sure what I’m letting myself in for. He said that he didn’t want it to be just another ‘notch on my bedpost’ and that I would need to do it for the right reasons.
I have many reasons for wanting to do this. The main one is that I want to prove to myself that I can do it because if I do complete this then it is yet another challenge where I can tell myself and others living with serious illness that anything is possible.
The second reason is that it is to raise money for a wonderful cause. The Ellen MacArthur cancer trust takes young people aged 8-24 out sailing to help them rebuild their confidence on their way to recovery from cancer. Much like the hole in the wall gang it also aims to bring young people who have had similar experiences together in a fun and safe environment where their troubles can be left behind for a few days.
The third reason is that I want to experience what it feels like in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean when I take over my shift at 3 o’clock in morning. What does the air smell like, how bright do those beautiful stars shine, how do the waves sound when you are so far away from land? I want to find out these things more than anything now.
In my former life I was a Crime Investigator for the metropolitan police. When there I set up an initiative called Project Scarlet and as a result my pals called me Captain Scarlet. The boat I’ll be sailing in is called the Scarlet Oyster! Surely another sign that I should do this…no?!:)
The next few weeks are now going to be spent hopping on and off different boats so I can get some sailing experience before I leave for Australia next month.
It will also give me the opportunity to see if I have the sea legs for a 2.5 week race or not. With a name like Trout surely I’ll be an expert!:)
So with the 4 year all clear in the bag and permission received from my doctors! It’s full sail ahead!
I’m feeling eternally grateful to still be here and to even contemplate a future let alone one which involves such an epic challenge such as this. For those of you who are not well at the moment, you’re time with that pen and paper is coming so get thinking about your list now!