I haven’t been a very active* listener to Jesse Case’s “Jessie Vs Cancer” podcast but have heard every episode and it has made a real impact. I first heard Jesse as a co-host on the “Probably Science” podcast but he started “Jesse Vs Cancer” to document life after being diagnosed with (in his words) “Stage IV arse cancer of the arse”.
He doesn’t hold back in these podcasts and somehow kept on recording them through the worst of surgery, chemo and radiation therapy (thankfully all successful so far). It’s been an incredible journey and I really admire Jesse for sharing it. For me it was also an interesting insight into someone facing a truly life threatening illness without having a religious faith for comfort.
Not long after my last birthday a strange package arrived in the post from the Waitakere District Health board. I’ve reached the age range to qualify for a free Bowel Cancer screening programme they are running (a trial prior to it becoming a national programme). It just involves collecting a small sample of poo on a probe (seen in their photo right) and posting** it back for analysis.
So that’s why one morning — on the way to work — I thought about Jesse as I popped the special envelope into the mail box. If the result had come back positive I might have done my own podcast. Happily, their reply means I won’t need to do that.***
* I have listened, RT’d or replied to a few of his tweets and donated but never got involved in the forums or email.
** They have a special packaging and permission to do this for the trial!
*** Although the usual mass screening caveats apply, single sample, potential false results etc mean even with a negative outcome you should still watch for symptoms and do follow up tests.
Late last week I got a strange dizzy feeling walking up the stairs at work. Thought a bit odd as had just eaten lunch, so not low blood sugar, but it was more puzzling than disabling. I occasionally get mildly congested sinus, from allergies, so thought might be that but this felt different.
After putting up with intermittent dizziness all weekend — not bad as could still bicycle and walk if didn’t shake my head too rapidly — it was off to the GP for a check-up. I knew it wasn’t an ear infection, have known that pain from surfing, but wondered if something else was going on in the inner ear.
After eliminating infection, and the other usual suspects, that my Doctor suggested a cure I really wasn't expecting: YouTube!
The actual treatment was an exercise to clear Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV), a mechanical problem in the balance mechanism. He gave me written instructions but recommended watching a demo on YouTube; so much easier to understand the angular head gyrations required!
Back A Dream in Honour of International Women’s Day
On March 8, millions of people worldwide will celebrate the 104th International Women’s Day. While many gains have been made, the dream of women’s equality is still far from reality. The truth. In the year 2015 inequality is still all around us. Opportunity is not equal. Education is not equal. Wealth is not equal.
In honour of International Women’s Day - and the days that follow - Kiva has launched Kiva.org/Dreams to spotlight the power of women to create sustainable change when everyday people lend their support.
By visiting Kiva.org/Dreams you can back a dream by choosing a woman that Kiva should lend $25 to. There is no cost to you. By choosing her, you help her to follow her dream of starting or growing her business, sending her children to school, and gaining financial independence.
Without access to resources to attend school or grow a business, their dreams are far too often out of reach. This affects us all. Women’s empowerment means economic growth for their families, communities and the world. A case in point: if women farmers had equal access to farming assets and finance, they could increase their crop yields up to 30% and 150 million people who go hungry every day would be able to eat.
Kiva.org is the world’s first and largest crowdfunding platform for social good with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Since 2005, more than 1.6 million people turned their dreams into reality because 1.3 million people backed their dream on Kiva. Together, more than $675 million in loans have been crowdfunded, with a 98% repayment rate.
By contributing to the success of an entrepreneurial woman who has overcome obstacles most of us cannot even truly imagine, we discover so much more about our own resiliency, possibility, and potential. Each of us has a part to play and together we can make dreams a reality for thousands of women around the world.
So, in honour of International Women’s Day and the power of women to create lasting change, back a dream at Kiva.org/Dreams.
As that trip came to a close there were discussions on what to do next. Having covered all the South Island, and Northland we are starting to run out of New Zealand. Perhaps inspired by a fine meal, and accompanying wine, the Hawkes Bay and a vineyard cycle tour was a real possibility.
Thus, I wasn’t really surprised to get a call from Bas mid 2013 wanting to talk cycling but was totally unprepared for the next bit…
What, from where to where?
Bas has talked me (and other returning clients) into a rather epic ride but I have until Sept 2014 to prepare. Just as well as it is going to be rather challenging and way outside my usual comfort zone. It is still guided/supported (led by Bas) but rather more basic than those I’ve done before, even some camping!
Overnight Everest Base Camp!?
The route from Lhasa (Tibet) to Kathmandu (Nepal) will probably have hills even Bas can’t get away with describing as ‘undulations’!
At a glance;
Day 1 ~ Arrive Kathmandu
Day 2 ~ Sightseeing Tour. Rest of day at leisure.
Day 3 ~ Fly Kathmandu To Lhasa Days 4-6 In Lhasa
Days 7-10 ~ From Lhasa To Gyantse (250 Km, up to 4900m)
Day 11 ~ From Gyantse To Shigatse (90 Km, flat) Yeah Right! - RC
Day 12 ~ In Shigatse
Days 13-15 ~ From Shigatse To Shegar (250 Km, 4500m up to 5200m)
Days 16-18 ~ From Shegar To Everest Base Camp (110 Km, ~5200m)
Days 19-21 ~ From Tingri To Zhangmu (200 Km, Note: From the summit of the Lalung La (5050m) to the Friendship bridge at 1500m involves a descent of 3500m - one of the steepest descents in the world. Gloves are a must!) I’d have thought brakes were even more of a must! - RC
Days 22-23 ~ Cross Border Into Nepal And Cycle To Kathmandu (115 Km, 1400m)
Day 24 ~ Contingency Day
Day 25 ~ Trip Concludes In Kathmandu
A tick off the bucket list?
I was a bit hesitant at first but decided it was a can’t miss opportunity. To be honest a bike ride across the Tibetan Plateau wasn’t on any list of mine but I’m really looking forward to it. Now I just have to get a lot fitter!
UPDATE 12/24/2013: I added some elevation info, and one funny comment from the trip notes, and found this blog post with some great photos of the route: