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Tales of the travels, trials and triumphs as we explore Australia in a converted bus

Motorhome Travels - Janurary 2010


Happy new year all!
If you have just stumbled onto this page hoping to read something really interesting about travelling Australia or living in a motorhome ... first let me say that you are NOT in the wrong place. We do normally live in a motorhome! We do normally travel Australia. Right now we have been forced to take a radically different road. Here is a quick summary of the last few weeks...

One of our favourite camp areas , Victoria, Aus - [Click for a Larger Image]
One of our favourite camp areas ,
Victoria, Aus


Mid November last year (while we were happily deciding how we would spend our 6th Christmas living in the bus), Tracey visited an optometrist to talk about some issues she had been having with her vision. The optometrist did a few tests and agreed that things were not looking as they should (pun intended). A referral was given to an opthomologist (eye doctor). The eye doctor referred Tracey to have an MRI indicating the symptoms were suggestive of a tumour. The MRI was completed and the results showed a large tumour deep within Tracey's brain had grown to a size where it was putting pressure on her optic nerves. This was causing the vision issues that she had been noticing for the last 6 months or so - it was also likely that the tumour was the cause of her almost constant headaches. We were advised that urgent action would be required if further vision loss was to be avoided. After much discussion and research, we decided to fly to Auckland (our home town (kind of)) to have the surgical team at Auckland hospital treat or remove the tumour.

On the 3rd of December (Tracey's 42nd birthday) she underwent a major brain operation to remove the tumour that was growing on her pituitary gland.

The operation was, for the most part, a success. The majority of the tumour was removed and in particular the part that was causing her loss of vision. Unfortunately, most of the pituitary gland was also removed and part of the tumour could not be separated from important parts of the brain. She also suffered a leak of the spinal-cerebral fluid that caused us some concern. We had been briefed on all and prepared for that by the surgical team prior to the operation.

The first few days were very scary. Tracey looked and felt like she had been run over by an engine and every carriage of a south bound train. However, once recovery began it seemed that she improved a little each day.

She was discharged from hospital on the 11th of December. She had her eyesight tested on the 19th and we were told that her vision had returned to almost normal. It was quite a celebration when we moved from Auckland to the farm where Tracey's parents live, 3 hours south of the city.

While we are pineing to return to our travelling life in the bus, we still have some way to go. Because some of the tumour remains and because part of the pituitary gland is missing, further medical treatment is required. In contrast to the rapid, life saving surgical intervention that took place before Christmas, this is a long, slow process. We do not yet know how long we will remain in New Zealand, but at this stage it may be for 3 or 4 more months.

Tracey and family - Christmas day , NZ - [Click for a Larger Image]
Tracey and family - Christmas day ,

On February the 8th I will fly back to Perth for a few weeks to deal with some of our belongings that are in storage (been putting that off for too long now) and to move the bus to a more suitable storage location.

To all the people that emailed, phoned and sent text messages wishing Tracey well - we both say "thank you very much". It has been a very difficult time, made easier by the help and support of friends and family.

While this part of our journey is not yet over, we are well down the road and the thought of returning to our nomadic motorhoming lifestyle in our adopted home of Australia sustains us while we wait.

In my next blog entry I would like to share some of our favourite parts of Australia including some amazing places to camp.

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