Shrinking World

Just over two weeks ago we were enjoying life on the equator and soaking up the sun on Diani Beach, South of Mombasa in Kenya and visiting Nairobi.


I had just accepted the role of Head of ICT at International School Seychelles in the middle of the Indian Ocean – we were moving there in August. The place is a paradise on earth and I was very excited.

The pay was going to be good and we would be able to build up our savings again (Tanzania has not paid well though we have had some great experiences at very low cost). Life was looking to be moving on the up. Our decision to leave the U.K. work a series of temporary contracts (1-2 years at a time renewing as and when) was bearing fruit – this was our new life!

I signed the contract and scanned it off. I needed to have a full medical before formally being given the permit, but this would be a formality.

However, I was not well in Kenya – the whole time I was there I rested a lot. battled nausea and my shoulder hurt – hence the visit to Nairobi and all the subsequent events.

On the Friday morning in M.E.A.U it became very clear as I met with the Haematology consultant that this dream was dead.

The initial Myeloma treatment would take months – well beyond the the three months I needed to be ready for Seychelles. Furthermore the treatment involving my own stem cells would only be possible in the UK or at best Europe without there being a significant extra cost and enormous insurance premiums.

Suddenly my world had shrunk. My first task was to contact my new school and withdraw my acceptance- this was the toughest thing I have had to do and brings home the reality of what is coming.

The school have been excellent about it and even asked me to let them know when I was better but Inface new challenges.

Schools are crowded places, full of bugs and diseases and poor hygiene ( I taught for  28 years and teenagers are not good at these things). My susceptibility to infections is going to be high and in remission phases I may still be vulnerable. I may have to completely rethink my career and I’ve never done anything else!

In the short term I must find a sixth form for my daughter and realistically that means Lincoln or the region for two years – certainly not overseas. Anita needs to get a job – easier here in the U.K. than overseas as she does not yet have her degree. That has to pay sufficiently to support us while I don’t work. When I work, it will need to be flexible or part time. The wage will be a lot tighter whatever we do and renting will cost when we get to that stage.

My world has shrunk and the outlook is definitely bleaker. These thoughts more than the disease occupy my thoughts at this time – I trust the doctors and nurses and know I will get better.  My one other solace is my faith – I am a Christian an believe God has a plan – though discerning it is going to be the challenge.

Humanly, I must admit to extreme disappointment at the severe change of fortune.

On Monday I was transferred to Haematology. Now on a much quieter sideward I hoped to get more rest than on  M.E.A.U.  Of course my world has shrunk here too confined to a single room (albeit with an en-suite).


Tests have included the taking of lots of blood (it is Haematology after all), a 90 minute MRI of my Spine /Shoulder (the claustrophobia was a little intense towards the end)

The various consultants from Renal, Orthopaedic and Haematology are visiting regularly and for while I am in a sling as the worry about the amount of decay in my upper arm.

I continue to be on Heparin as a safe blood thinner to keep the clot at bay but am moving to Warfarin – for now both.

The major concern remains my kidney function which is slowly improving. I won’t be leaving this part of my Shrinking World until it does and it’s about to take a turn for the worse!

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