It is hard to surpass the joy of Christmas morning with a kid in the household and these photos of bliss say it all. We feel our Christmas Break in California has been a very rewarding travel experience on many levels. Having been gone for 6 years, traveling the world as a family, it's been almost like re-exploring a new place. Quality time with family has been priceless.
I loved this Dr. Dean Ornish quote I recently came upon:
"we sometimes view the time we spend relaxing, meditating, and hanging out with our friends and family as luxuries that we do only after the important stuff in our lives is done...studies make it clear that this IS the important stuff."
My prolonged travel health crisis has certainly made this view absolutely clear. I can see in perfect 20/20 hindsight that keeping up with this blog and social media ( even when I had a paralyzed arm for over a year) added more stress to my life than I probably should have.
Type A person that I am, I have had to learn the hard way that at almost 60, I need to do less and spend even more time relaxing and being unplugged. It still amazes me that after I retired early, I still found ways to work too hard. There is a reason why few blogs, especially constantly-on-the-move, family travel blogs are not as old as ours. We are ancient in blog terms...more so even in the travel realm that just keeps exploding ( and almost nobody makes any money on it). The problem with being online, is there is always more to do, sitting appears to be a lethal activity and no matter how much I do, I always feel behind because life happens at a faster pace than one can write about it.
I enjoy the process and adore my readers, but I am just not going to work that hard any more, especially battling very slow internet on the move and the stress that adds. Photo blogs with lots of links are time intensive undertakings, creates the most stress in my life and I have been doing this non-stop..despite the many challenges, since 2006. I am outnumbered and my email alone, is all but impossible to keep up with.
I can tell you that 2012 for me...a dragon in a dragon year in Asia...( kidlet is a dragon too in Chinese astrology terms and funnily the description fits us) ...will be dedicated to me getting healthier than I have ever been and losing my excess weight. Asia is a perfect place for that and works well with our goal for kidlet to increase her Mandarin fluency. This illness has been a great wake up call to what my priorities are. I love helping others by sharing our experiences, but the blog has been stealing too much of my precious time, so I will do things differently with the focus on my health first. My body simply refuses to sit for hours any more, getting a simple post like this up. I must find a new way.
Alas, I still don't have a diagnosis for this ongoing mysterious health problem that continues to plague me despite going to tons of MD's and alternative healers. It has been quite an amazing journey in itself and I will be writing more about all that I have learned as time goes on.
We have a long-ago-booked flight to Asia this coming Monday. But, we have decided that we should probably not go to Asia until I at least have a diagnosis or more information about what is going on. The hospitals seem okay in Penang, but I don't have my highest confidence in them for a life and death matter. ( The Indonesians love the Penang hospitals which are far superior to theirs, but some westerners complain about their experiences). There is a private hospital in Bangkok that I have more confidence in because I know many who have personally used it and rave about it. Certainly the hospital prices are much better in Asia than America.
The problem is that Bangkok is a 7 to 10 hour train away or short flight away and since my condition often flips on a dime to a level 10 pain ( on a scale of 1 to 10 and 10 being dying) I don't feel confident enough to even take a 23 hour flight or be in a place where I don't fully trust the hospitals close by.
So we have decided to do some more tests here like an MRI to hopefully get more information. I've also just started quite a radical ( but easy) natural approach to healing my pancreas and that has helped my pain considerably, so I will continue to pursue that which is easier done in California than in Asia. I am cautiously optimistic and grateful to Dr. Jeff McComb for his generous help and wisdom.
The good news is my body seems to respond very well to holistic health approaches, but thus far nothing has been sustainable ( pain returns) and I think part of the problem is no diagnosis ( despite so many tests). Thus, it seems clear that to move forward, we need to know what I am dealing with so we can treat it correctly, instead of guessing. Finding the diagnosis has been frustrating to say the least and my medical file is beginning to look huge.
Our plan is still to get to Asia as soon as possible, but it does look doubtful at this point that we will make our Monday flight. This brings up a whole can of worms because her school starts then and now we have to rearrange all our plans and renew our special health insurance that we get for the USA. BUT, you got to do what you have to do and this seems like our logical next step.
Hope your Christmas was Divine and wishing you an exciting, prosperous, healthy New Year!!