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I am thankful I went on my cruise before the cruise companies decided to cancel future cruises for six weeks or more. I could have missed that time of exploration and relaxation. I am having another operation next week so I thought I would do a "before" blog and an "after"blog. I am feeling fine, I went to my doctor today and all of the conditions he was worried about have  marginally improved so he was no longer anxious to get me on all sorts of medication. This is good as at the beginning of last month he was somewhat lyrical about all the things wrong with me. So maybe going on a cruise  was magical after all. Our ancestors took to the coast to improve their health didn't they, so maybe actually if you go out to sea it is even better. Whatever the reason I am apparently not too bad for my age. Hopefully after this operation I will be even better!

The cruise to New Zealand with the scheduled visit to six east coast ports was put to me by an old family friend. He and his wife had done many cruises and loved them however his wife now had the beginnings of dementia and needed an eye kept on her. He had approached his sister to come with them but she needed someone to share with so as the ideal companion I said "yes" to going too. I had been wanting to do a cruise and New Zealand was on my bucket list so this was ain excellent opportunity. Well probably not perfect timing because of the corona virus but as long as you don't mind putting anti-bac wash on your hands every move you make it is not a problem.

I really enjoyed the cruise but the Ruby Princess is a big ship and was fairly crowded as many people who had booked on Asian cruises had been diverted to this cruise when the Asian cruises were taken off the schedule. I met many lovely American  couples who were on the cruise for that reason. As a single woman I was a "share" for evening meals in the restaurant so enjoyed the company of seven table companions each sitting. Some people I shared with more than once. I have redefined my definition of a couple. On a cruise ship a couple may be a lot of different combinations. As well as the traditional partnerships I met sisters, sisters-in-laws, grandparent and grandchild, neighbour widows, groups of similar Interest groups, nurses and other ex work colleagues enjoying a reunion , and people like Theresa and I who had paired up for convenience.

Theresa and I did agree that it was good to get together at the end of the day and have someone to talk the day's  events over with. As a single lady she comes home as I do to an empty house so it was good to debrief or just pass on interesting snippets of the day. We had different likes and dislikes and spent a lot of time apart. She spent a lot of time with her brother and his wife, more than I did but I was welcome to join their group whenever I wanted to. I am not a drinker but did spend my evenings in a "piano bar". As my mother played the piano most of my childhood it was pleasant to sit in the semi-dark and listen to music at the end of the day. I went to one of the extravaganzas in the main theatre once but found I do enjoy the quieter entertainment more.

Is cruising for me? I don't think so but haven't struck it off my list. I can't fly far because of the lymphodema so cruising is an option for travelling as is coach and train, so, I will see what life brings. The future is fuzzy for a while as I don't know what the recuperation time is for my operation and the warm weather may be over by the time I recover but there is still travelling north to warmer weather if winter gets too much for me. I did learn more about myself. I can go to a bar to get a drink, excuse myself from a group when I have to leave the table early, always a difficult thing for me as I always had to wait till me elders got up when I wa a child and somehow had still got that ideain my head. It is surprising what old fashioned ideas still cling to me and I assume to others too. I ate breakfast and lunch sometimes with the others and sometimes alone and that didn't seem to matter.

I enjoyed all the ports we visited and have some interesting stories to tell about each one. Sometimes Theresa and I wandered around together, sometimes I just went by myself. I also had friends from my Stroke Recovery group on board so sometimes went out with them. Bill and Jill are a delightful couple, Bill had a brain stem stroke many years ago so had his own scooter on board. A brain stem stroke robbed him of balance and impeded his movements but his brain is as sharp as ever and so is his sense of humour so we all had a lot of fun together. Jill is an ex nurse so very capable of looking after him. We have been friends since I joined WAGS (Working Age Group for Stroke Survivors and their Carers) in 2006. Bill was a friend of Ray's and still mentions him in conversations which is great as so few people do now. They were partly the reason I had a great time.

So I now have the weekend and then the hospital stay and then a week without driving and I am not thinking further ahead than that. Whatever the future holds I know I will have to adapt to it. After all that is what I have done in the past and somehow it has worked out. So here's hoping that's what happens this time as well.

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Comment by only1sue on March 19, 2020 at 2:22pm

I am not as brave as people seem to think. I do the same panicking everyone else does but I guess those lessons taught by my mother and father who came through the Depression and WW2 that we just "soldier on" applies to this situation. I am scared for my children and grandchildren, for the elderly I normally help with and those I know who have already had conditions that make them vulnerable but there is nothing I can do about it. I hope we all come unscathed through this period in our lives. Be well my friends.

Comment by laurajay on March 17, 2020 at 6:11pm

Sue-  Your  attitude is  admirable!  My  gosh  woman,  courage  and  bravery  not  many have  the  way  you  do....thank  you  for  sharing...things here  are  very  scary...not  chancing  being  near  my  grands  is  so  hard.  They  alone  have  helped  me  to  thrive  and  now  abandonment feels  so  real.  I  marvel  in  how  you  keep  going.  God  bless  you  as  you  continue  your   journey  and  thanks  again  for  sharing.       I'm  scared  tonight.  8th  yr  anniversary at the  end of  this  month....sad.                                      lj

Comment by only1sue on March 17, 2020 at 5:34pm

Had the thyroid op two days ago, only in hospital overnights. The surgeon only took the right side out and the sentinel node, that is the node that will show if there is cancer present. If there is we have another operation to go. So far it feels okay, sleeping sitting up is a problem but it is only for a few more days. With the corona virus scare staying at home isn't a problem, it is what everyone else is doing anyway.

Comment by Callie2 on March 15, 2020 at 12:43pm

Such an uplifting blog.  With all you’ve been through these past few years, it hasn’t held you back—good for you!  Hoping all goes well with your upcoming surgery.

Comment by laurajay on March 12, 2020 at 10:36pm

Once  again  my   widowed  friend  I  will  put  you in  my  prayers  for  a  successful  surgery  and  speedy  recovery.  God  be  with  you.   hugs   lj

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