There has been momentous changes in the political landscape and the eyes of the world are focused on Turkey, Syria and the Kurdish issue. But apart from the rarely seen refugees and the drop in tourist numbers, life here in Fethiye remains much the same. Building development proceeds at breakneck speed, the traffic is more insane and cars ever more luxurious, businesses open and close with bewildering speed and prices are rising exponentially.
Well it’s been quite a while! Where do I begin? I suppose with where I left off nearly two years ago. I was given the all clear after 20 weeks of chemotherapy ( protocol Folfox 4 ) which followed six weeks of combined radiotherapy and chemo for 5 days a week up in Antalya, What with the driving and the side effects it wasn’t a pleasant time.
That brings us to January 2015 when I had an operation to reverse my colostomy and six months of recovery and every reason to be optimistic.
Then, in June the doctors found that the cancer had come back. This time it’s in my liver. For an active, fit, teetotal, non-smoker, to say I was shocked and dismayed is an understatement. The current position is that my condition is inoperable and I need chemotherapy every two weeks to manage the cancer. Luckily, I can get this treatment here in Fethiye under the exceptional Dr. Ugur and I have had 20 treatments to date and I’m still standing! Gina has been brilliant. loving, thoughtful, generous with her care and ever present. I will never be able to thank her enough.
Despite the recent setbacks, I’m restarting this blog as I want to get back in touch with you all and pass on my observations on life here in Fethiye. In that way I plan to get motivated to paint a bit more often. For obvious reasons I won’t be posting as frequently.
As you will have noticed, I’ve not been blogging for the last 3 months. Unfortunately, I’m not quite as well as I could be just now. I was diagnosed with colon cancer in January and had a colectomy a couple of weeks later. The prognosis is good, I’m happy to say and I have just completed half of a 6 week course of radiotherapy and chemo at the brilliant Antalya Akdeniz University hospital. After that, I have to attend chemo one day every two weeks for four months. We stay in a great hotel weekdays so thats a bonus and the treatment here is state of the art. I also get on really well with the three department professors, to the extent of having their mobile phone numbers! So, despite a colostomy, the 250 mile round trip to the hospital and having half a litre of toxic chemicals hanging round my neck, things are looking up. The worse part is the drive, it’s dangerous, nerve wracking and exhausting.
Oh, I ought to mention I nearly died from pneumonia and an ecoli infection contracted after the op. The initial treatment was complicated by an serious allergic reaction to the antibiotic, Ciprocin. That was a very scary time!
Gina has been fantastic and her mum, Margaret, has been in Fethiye, house and dog-sitting for the whole time without complaint. My sister came over from the uk and we’ve also had loads of help and care from many of our new friends here. So, I’m living in limbo. I have managed to paint occasionally but I’ve not been out on the bike, the boat or in the hills and although quite hectic, 2014 has been a bit of a write off so far. it’s about time I made an effort to continue this project but it’s not easy to find the inspiration for daily painting
Because of the treatment schedule and it’s side effects, I won’t be doing much on here for a few months but life will be getting back to a normal again soon, I promise!
Although my post of the 28th December anticipated a rise in bank rate I never expected the 100% increase announced last week. Hopefully, this will stem the catastrophic decline in the value of the Lire and put a lid on inflation, fuel prices in particular are astronomical. The good news is the sun is warm and forecast to keep shining for two weeks and I can munch on this juicy mandalina I just painted.
The sun was shining as I took a walk from here to Calis along the promenade today and things are moving. The new marina already has 50 or so, small motor boats sparkling as they bobbed about in the breeze. Workmen were laying more roads and pavements and you can now walk or cycle for an uninterupted 3.7 Kilometres from Fethiye ferry pier. The intrepid can, with suitable footwear, continue along to the newly created Duck Islands. There’s a lot more development to come, including a vast area of former marshland, opposite the Devlet Hospital that was drained and is being raised and levelled. A few of the new restaurants have already closed for lack of trade, others are expanding and it’s fascinating to watch how much changes on a daily basis.
Lots of things are conspiring to keep me away from the easel at the moment and I’ll write about them when time allows. I did manage to complete a preliminary sketch of our new Yorkies towards creating the full work requested by the boss for her belated Xmas present. I am really pleased to have captured their different personalities at this early stage.
“Facial expression requires no study from you, you think; it comes by nature to you to know enough about it, and you are not to be taken in. I confess, for my part, that I have been taken in, over and over again. I have been taken in by acquaintances, and I have been taken in (of course) by friends; far oftener by friends than by any other class of persons. How came I to be so deceived? Had I quite misread their faces? No. Believe me, my first impression of those people, founded on face and manner alone, was invariably true. My mistake was in suffering them to come nearer to me and explain themselves away.”
Charles Dickens. Hunted Down: the detective stories of Charles Dickens
This quote is taken from a little known short story by Charles Dickens that I am reading at the moment. So a round robin email, forwarded to me by a friend this morning, has given me a bit of a shock. I won’t reprint the opinions expressed in this “letter to a British Daily Newspaper” as the contents lack humanity, are stupid and ill informed and are positioned well to the right of Nazi ideas of freedom and justice……so I have a problem. Does my friend agree with this shit or has he sent it as a wind up? Does he expect me to forward it to my friends or treat it as a sick joke? He does have a great sense of humour but I may have been blind to a major aspect of his personality. Should I just ignore it or do I have no alternative but to ask him to his face when he gets back to Turkey next month? Any comments, please?
It seems that Turkey has become a MINT! Like the more familiar acronym BRIC, Turkey has joined with Mexico, Indonesia and Nigeria to become one of the future powerhouses of the world economy. A strange selection of bedfellows, methinks, but read more here or you can listen to the programme on the BBC Radio iPlayer.
I’m not really one for making resolutions at New Year as I tend to make them all year round. You know, must paint more, aim to lose a couple of kilos, see more of Turkey and so on. This way even if I break them I’m guilt free. All I need to do is set updated ones and aim at fresh targets. A New Year doesn’t have the exclusive right to host self criticism, life just isn’t like that. I don’t say “I must spend more time in the studio” on the 1st January…..I say it every bloody day!
The political problems here are escalating as various factions try to protect or take advantage of the exposure of scurrilous behaviour by some of the governing heirarchy and their families. There are many newspapers here all of which seem to be aligned to, if not actually printed by, the parties concerned. My long serving ex pat friends tell me they have seen it all before but sadly, my Turkish is nowhere good enough to seek out the wood for the trees, so we wait nervously as the Turkish Lire and the Stock Market collapse and anticipate raging inflation and high interest rates after the March elections.