It’s a New Moon Honey – Bali Part 1

Hi everyone, last time I wrote Nige and I were about to embark on our trip to Bali. It was the first time there for both of us, and we certainly encountered a lot of firsts while there! I am struggling to know where to even begin, we learnt and experienced so much. It almost feels rude putting it down on “paper” as a lot of what we lived through can never be expressed completely. As it is said, you kind of had to be there. But this is part of our current journey, and so it is both my privilege and my duty to try. As each day was so full, I have decided to split my Bali blogs into more edible portions, so be warned there may be a few! I always strive to be honest, so expect to hear about the bad times as well as the good. It wasn’t all relaxation and fun. But I wouldn’t change a thing.

I don’t know how many of you have been to Bali (show of hands please), and of those how many have stayed in Ubud (keep your hands raised). But I would really like to know if it changed your lives as it has changed ours.

As soon as we arrived in Ubud and began speeding through the crazy streets, both Nige and I felt the incredible energy. All around us was activity; the people, huge statues, shops, and carvings all giving us a sense of the depth of this culture. On the way to the resort our shuttle driver sneakily tried to take us to see his “mates” and sell us silver, sensing our newness and exhaustion – we were easy prey. Yes it annoyed us, but it’s all part of the crazy scene in Bali, where everyone is scrambling to make a living. It’s the same everywhere isn’t it? Just different packaging. As we left the airport at Denpasar and began winding up into the hills of Ubud, the landscape became more rural and the roads narrowed. For me it was like finally living in one of my beloved Indiana Jones movies. Adventure! I loved the jungle interspersed with concrete statues and temples, intricately carved and brimming with what we learnt was the standard offering in Bali, a small woven leaf basket containing mostly flowers, leaves and strangely, crackers! The ever present scent of incense is what provides most of Bali’s odour, which may be a good thing considering the sewerage system. The sidewalks are either undulating or non-existent. It is a constant battle: Gaping and ogling at the amazing surroundings, whilst insuring you keep your footing on the consistently uneven footpath. Holes would open up randomly, giving you views of water-filled drains enticing you to drop in for a visit.

When we reached our resort just north of the Ubud town centre, I felt the most amazing sense of peace. Our resort – Wapa Di Ume – was a combination of the fascinating statues, temples and vistas we had encountered on the way, and so felt very authentic. This was enhanced by the casual views over nearby rice paddies, complete with workers in conical hats, and we were told, fire-flies once darkness fell. The air was humid, the temperature comfortable, like slipping into a warm pool.

A girl from the resort welcomed us and gave us a quick tour of the resort on the way to our room (we were offered a ride in the golf buggy but decided to walk!) Her presence was addictive and contagious. We were impressed that she could be so relaxed and friendly, cool, calm, natural, and comfortable in her own skin at such a young age.

Our room was amazing, with a huge bed complete with canopy, massive bathroom, day bed, outside seating area, and its own pool! The resort had even made a petal heart on the bed and later on they brought us a “Happy Honeymoon” cake. Very OTT but very sweet.

Later we went up to one of the resort’s restaurants for dinner. This one overlooked the rice paddies, where we watched White Herons, other unrecognizable birds, and finally as dusk fell, bats, swooping around. The menu was incredible, especially for those on a strict healthy diet. It was so nice to open it up and see dozens of things we could eat, rather than just one or two. I got most excited when I saw the drinks menu, which included concoctions such as Turmeric, lime, and coconut water or carrot, orange and ginger. After all the juicing we have done over the past few months it was so luxurious to pick and choose and have someone else make one for you. Unfortunately Nige was not feeling well by this stage, and couldn’t really enjoy his meal – a reminder that this would be a honeymoon with a difference. We had been worried that this might happen before we even arrived, as Nige often suffers from nausea and a lack of appetite whilst away from his normal medications and routine. Vomiting and weight loss usually ensues. 

Nige managed to get some fruit down and we walked back to our room, sharing the path with tiny frogs, to find the petal heart removed, the bed turned down and a bath strewn with Frangipani and rose petals drawn. Did we really have to go home in a week’s time?

The next day we had a session booked with a Shaman healer called Tino, which we were both very excited and nervous about. We had arrived for our Honeymoon on a new moon – was this trip about to bring about new beginnings?

Bali was about to unleash her healing powers upon us, but of this we were unaware as we slept soundly through our first night.


California Dreaming

California Dreaming

As many of you probably already know, my partner Nige and I recently returned from a trip to Las Vegas to get married! Yay! It was so much fun. Going to the U.S and getting married in Vegas were things that Nige really wanted to do, and why should he deny himself anything at this point in time? But it wasn’t all plain flying.

I do wonder how many people with stage IV cancer travel, especially to a place like the U.S where if you don’t have insurance it can cost US$2500 just to extract a splinter! As you can imagine, a pre-existing condition like cancer is not insurable, so if anything related to your disease crops up you are in it deep.  Luckily we went through a travel agency that has an insurer that will insure terminal travellers for everything except their pre-existing condition. Some agencies point blank refuse sick people any travel insurance at all, which I find unbelievably horrible. What would be one of the main items on your bucket list? Having that insurance gave us a lot of reassurance, but there was still the obvious concern that something cancer related could occur. Again with the cancer, so any unknowns, a secretive little disease hiding away inside. Who knows what it’s up to?

As it turned out, it didn’t get up to too much at all while we were away. But it could have turned out very differently. We believe the reason for this was that we were in a place where an amazing medicine that can fight cancer is available. A medicine that is illegal here in NZ. Medical Marijuana (MM).

There have been many scientific studies conducted on marijuana and its effects on cancer, with brilliant results. Sadly no human trials have yet been completed, only In Vitro (in the lab) and animal testing have shown that it works. But if you do some Googling, there are many human testimonials that show great promise. MM not only alleviates some of the nasty side effects of cancer such as nausea and anxiety, but administered in the correct way, it may also kill cancer cells and stop their spread. You have likely seen MM in the media a lot lately regarding its ability to greatly decrease incidences of seizures in children with epilepsy.

MM really can be a lifesaving drug, and countries like the U.S have finally realised this. Sadly New Zealand is far behind in this way of thinking. Now I am dead against the recreational use of Marijuana, but after extensive research it is clear the MM needs to be made legal, and that many, many people suffering from anything from terminal cancer to arthritis could benefit greatly from this amazing plant.

The MM situation California is incredible. It’s very tricky for international travellers, but residents can easily get the okay from a doctor to head to a MM dispensary and purchase whatever they need, from edible sweets to the harvested product itself. The great thing about it is that you know exactly how much THC and CBD is in the end product, as well as suggested doses (CBD and THC are the two main cannabinoid compounds in marijuana). This is very important, as different cancers respond very differently to particular ratios of THC and CBD. It seems THC and CBD alone cannot kill cancer, but that they work in tandem to protect healthy cells, kill cancer cells, stimulate appetite, reduce pain, and lower anxiety levels. This is obviously a very simplified explanation, but there are plenty of scientific studies out there if further detail is required.

THC is the part of the plant that produces the “high”. The trouble is that enormous amounts of THC are required, especially if cancer is advanced and/or aggressive. There are ways around this, but they are not for the faint hearted – basically you can administer the MM rectally, or via the “backdoor”. This way the THC is absorbed into the blood prior to reaching the stomach and liver. When the THC is metabolised by the liver a “high” is produced, which is generally something to be avoided when consuming doses of the size required to heal cancer! There is also some thought that the backdoor method is more effective in healing lung cancer in particular. In Chinese medicine the large intestine and lungs are supposedly linked, so medication administered anally should theoretically go straight where it is needed, similarly to the description above. Sadly more research is needed into this method, as there is no firm proof that it works when using MM.

Nige felt great while taking the MM. His nausea mostly disappeared, he had a great appetite, and it helped him to sleep. It also made him less anxious. This is very important as a calm body and relaxed breathing enables cells to reach homeostasis, which in turn allows the immune system to work on healing the cancer. The lack of nausea and increased appetite are essential conditions too, as a body without nutrients cannot perform to it’s ultimate potential. A calm, nourished body always allows for a better sleep, and most healing takes place during sleep. You can see how it all fits together!

There were a couple of rough days. Lack of sleep on the plane, on the go constantly, jet lag, time differences, lots of walking, hard to get decent food on time, pollution, stress, alcohol, bad food, etc. Nige coped so well. His mood was certainly better than mine, I had a meltdown at Disneyland “the happiest place in the world”. Apparently “no-one can have a bad day at Disneyland” but sadly, I managed to. By the time we got to our last day in Vegas I was so strung out I had lost all self-control and sense of caring what people thought. I cringe a little looking back, but really it’s not surprising and quite funny. It takes so long to get anything done in Vegas. The place is huge, the crowds all-consuming. A short stroll to get breakfast can end in an hour long trek of the casinos (yup been there). The poor woman at the buffet may never recover from my outburst. Vegas is super fun, but poisonous. The lovely lady who did my make-up for the wedding (bless her she was amazing) told me they pump oxygen into the casinos to keep everyone alert and wanting to gamble. This explains the headaches, dehydration, and bloody noses we experienced!

I know something about myself. I was reminded about it while away. I cope really well in a crisis, I cope and I cope and I cope. But once things start to die down and get better, all my pent up stress comes out, and once the adrenaline disperses I find myself exhausted and at the end of my tether. I had forgotten that the last time I had travelled it was as one of two, with no kids, and no partners cancer diagnosis hanging over my head. I needed to take care of myself, ground, and get healthy, but all the fun of being in the States made it easy for me to deny myself these essentials. And I paid for it. Would I do it again? Probably, I am only human and I love a good time. But next time I would try to make more sensible, easier choices that leave less room for chaos. Having said that it was only 2 days out of 10, the rest of the holiday was simply incredible, and I have no regrets. Being imperfect is all part of being a living, learning person, and I have forgiven myself for my moments of weakness. It was also a reminder for me not to judge others for their human qualities, most people really are doing their best in life, and I would hate for someone to think of me entirely as that crazy person they saw for a moment in time. (My close friends and family know I can be very crazy, but they are too so it’s all good – sorry guys you know it’s true hehe 🙂 ).

Overall I believe travel was very therapeutic for Nige, myself and the kids. We were distracted from thinking about cancer constantly. We were away from the environment where all the medicating and tears took place, giving us a chance to heal and believe in a future of possibilities. The kids came back full of confidence and love of life, which warmed all our hearts. Obviously many cancer sufferers are too sick to travel far, but I believe any positive change in scenery is a great way to gain perspective, and escape from the daily grind of pills and rules. What we experienced was the trip of a lifetime, and we arrived back positive and ready to live the rest of our lives. More travel is definitely on the cards, Nige and I both caught the travel bug! Much nicer than many other bugs you can catch :).

Once again we are compelled to thank all of you that help our dreams to become reality. In your own way, each and every person has contributed to the past few months of exceptional living for Nige, myself and our children. You rock.

On Sunday we are off to Bali for our honeymoon, a very different environment I’m sure. I am so looking forward to some great food, yoga and lots of healing. We will report all when we get back!

Take care out there, and remember to change your scenery when you can, even if it’s just a walk in rain drenched bush or a wintry stroll on a windy beach. We must view life from all angles to truly grasp and appreciate it.

References: – backdoor method – MM and cancer – link between lung and intestine shown