A short pause from sailing

Dear all,

Some of you are probably beginning to wonder why Capri is still lying on Martinique for the 4th week in a row. Are they having major repairs done?

No – There is nothing wrong with Capri – this time it is with its crew.

February 2, I woke up with a serious bladder infection and had blood in my urine. Fortunately, there was a good English speaking doctor nearby the marina. She prescribed some antibiotics, which helped immediately. But she wanted to be on the safe side and ensure I didn’t have any stones or polyps in my urinary tract, so she sent me for an ultrasound scanning the following week.

Here came the chock. My urinary tract was fine, but the radiologist discovered a tumor, 6.5 x 4.5 cm, on my uterus. I was examined completely just before we left Denmark 9 months ago and was normal. The French doctor was very concerned that a tumor that large could develop in just 9 months and suggested that I return to Denmark for treatment. She did not think that a tumor this size could be a fibrous growth and she was concerned it was cancer.

I flew back 3 days later and started treatment at Rigshospitalet, the university hospital in Copenhagen. Thankfully, a couple of my previous employees got me into the fast-track cancer diagnostic and treatment program, so everything started the day after I landed in Copenhagen. I was operated on Wednesday and they removed my uterus, ovarian tracts and 2 fibrous growths via a bikini cut (the growths were too large to remove laparoscopically). I went home after 24 hours. Fortunately, the doctors are fairly certain that the growths are fibrous, but we won’t know for 100% certain until the results come back from pathology in weeks.

It’s been 2 difficult weeks for me here in Copenhagen, where I’ve lived with uncertainty, and the angst for having cancer in my uterus or ovaries. Both those cancers have poor prognoses. Life comes to a standstill and you find out that you are neither untouchable nor immortal. As a circumnavigator, you are far away from Denmark.  It is a good thing we have kept an address in Denmark so I could get treatment here, and also a good thing it was discovered on Martinique, which has a good health care sector. Also, a good thing to have wonderful friends who say “my house is your house and stay as long as you want”.

Carsten flew back the week after I did. He had to sail Capri to a marina where she can lie safely and he had to pack her down and put her to bed, because we didn’t know how long we would be gone. I’ve made an agreement with the surgeon that I’ll stay here in Denmark for 4 weeks after the operation (mainly due to risk of infection). We haven’t spoken with our travel insurance company yet- but we hope they will agree to that and not insist on 3 months. So, for the moment our circumnavigation is on pause – but we will continue as soon and I am able to.

Yes, it was a huge scare. And yes – shit happens.

We expect to fly back to Capri on April 9 and continue our sailing, all indications are that the growths were benign.

Finally we want to thank all those who have written and expressed their empathy and wihed Vinni get well soon and especailly those friends that have thrown open their homes and said “our house is your house, stay as along as you want” and lent us cars and more.

Thank you is sometimes a poverty stricken expression – but here it is anyway –

Thank you.

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