'There is a large mass of six centimeters here', says the gynaecologist at the hospital in Quito. We have no idea what it means, but it does not sound good. Full of confidence we left for the hospital this morning for a check of the small cysts they discovered in Bolivia. Zoë was then prescribed a treatment and since then the menstrual cycles have returned to normal. We did not worry anymore and only thought about a positive result. "It can be different things," says the doctor, "but my device is not good enough to be sure. And you need a blood test to know if it is a cancer. " We do not yet realise what the consequences are, but are worried.
Later in the day we know that Zoë has a cyst dermoide, benign fortunately. But it has to be done, the doctor told us. With the physical efforts you do, the chance of torsion is great and you can lose an ovary. 'I do not want a surgery' Zoë says in tears, 'certainly not in my stomach'. Yet we do not worry that we will not reach Mexico in December, where we meet with Olivier's parents to celebrate Christmas. A surgery would be quick with a short recovery, that's what we thought. In Medellin, Colombia, we plan a new check-up and know the follow-up.
The two weeks after the message we are on the bicycle in a completely different way. It is hard to enjoy cycling and want to go to Medellin as quickly as possible. Zoë only thinks about one thing and is increasingly doubting about a surgery in Colombia. Finally we manage to call a gynaecologist from Belgium where Zoë can ask all her questions. 'I'm going home' Zoë bursts into tears after the phone call. There is a real risk of complications which makes the simple laparoscopy suddenly an laparotomy where they have to open the abdominal. We do not want to take that risk. The cultural differences in hospitals in South America differ enormously with the Netherlands and Belgium, so Zoë doesn't feel comfortable at all. Finding a reliable doctor with enough experience, with whom you have to communicate in Spanish. It all plays a part in the decision, but we do not doubt anymore. The decision is certain, we are going home!
We do not want to interrupt our journey, our line on the map, the trip to Mexico with Olivier's parents, cycling through Central America. "It's all my fault," Zoë says with tears in her eyes. 'I understand that that thing is just there, but it is my choice'. But gradually we accept our decision and change our minds. It is great to see family and friends, eat fries, chocolate mousse and old cheese. We cycle the last days with a double feeling through Colombia. Are these really the last cycling days in South America? We do not realise that we will be in the Netherlands soon.
In Medellin we get the confirmation that the cyst is stable and benign. It can not wait until after our trip so the surgery is necessary. The travel insurance reimburses the repatriation to the Netherlands and suddenly it goes very quickly. In a few days we will be on the plane and we will be back on Dutch soil more than two years after our departure. The trip to Mexico with Olivier's parents can not continue, but Christmas will be with the entire family this year. We are confident that the surgery and the recovery will go well so that we can enjoy being at home. We stay until New Year and then continue our journey. Where do we start again? We do not know yet because we have to pay the return journey ourselves, so the flight ticket determines whether it will be Colombia, Panama or perhaps Mexico. That is for later, first we are hoping for a successful surgery.