Tag Archives: South Africa

Pam’s Perspective – 3

29 Jun

So here we are, in the ‘plane, waiting to take off from O. R. Tambo airport to go home to Tel Aviv.  We have had a magical, well-nigh perfect 2 weeks in gorgeous South Africa… our friends and family enveloped us in love and kindness – we ate and ate and feasted our eyes on the most stunning beauty in the world, and day by day I felt myself restored.

But what, I wondered, as my feet hit the pristine sand of the Robberg beach, made me feel quite drunk with joy? So overwhelmed, in fact, that I started turning cartwheels by the surf, as if I was fifteen again.  Yes, the sky was sunny and bluer than blue; yes, the waves crashed gloriously over the dramatic rocks, and yes, the seagulls whirled and swooped playfully through the crisp, clean air.  But there are equally magnificent places elsewhere; what is it about Plettenberg Bay that makes my blood sing?

And then I realized as I strode along the beach, that this beauty is ‘mine’ somehow – the houses on the cliffs are houses we stayed in as kids, the clammy things crawling on the sand are the great-grandchildren of the creatures that tickled us as they squirmed on our arms; it’s ‘my’ warm Indian Ocean.  And, as I reconnected with my happy childhood memories of easier times – when everyone I loved was well and in the prime of life – I felt a great weight lift off my heart.

In the presence of such majestic loveliness it is difficult to feel sad … the waves sing that everything will be as it has to be, and the sky sighs that there is no point worrying.  And I realized that I have sort of been ill, too, for the past 20 months – sick with worry and dread and unhappiness.

And in South Africa I started to heal.  As the days passed my delight in the beauty grew and grew, but my need to get home to Israel and family and friends there, and the different beauty that we have come to love, and the outstanding medical care and top class research and the caring doctors, grew simultaneously.

And now we are going home.  And I’m happy that we got to enjoy this wonderful gift  of two weeks succored in such love and beauty, and I’m happy we’re going home, and I’m happy that Martin was almost entirely well while we were away.

And I’m trying to hold on to that as we start thinking about treatment on Monday … when we’ll have to start planning our next break.

Ketogenic in Cape Town

23 Jun

Is there a ketogenic challenge in Cape Town? My research started this week thanks to more hospitality from that indefatigable supply of Pam’s cousins. My writing skills took a back seat in the Western Cape while we were whisked through the rolling wine fields of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch. The backdrop was the rocky mountain peaks topped by a clear blue African sky. A feast for the eyes – but what about the stomach?

How fortunate that one of the only difficulties of being driven through this glorious countryside is the choice of restaurant or vineyard to visit. If ever one needed an incentive to keep up the pancreatic cancer fight – or for anyone, for that matter, wanting motivation in a mundane life – this is the place. However much time one has, it would seem inadequate even to scratch the surface of what this country has to offer.

What I’m wishing is that everyone would have the chance to witness this beauty – but I’ll try to be more practical and relate some of my experiences. Let’s start at the beginning – breakfast at the hotel. First problem – tempering the temptation. Long gone for me are the days of “Continental” or “Full English” breakfast. Someone has to come up with a new term. “New Improved Israeli” is probably not politically correct – but many might know what I mean. The Cape Town variety includes my allowable raspberries and strawberries with Cape gooseberries thrown in (they’re the size of a Malteezer but not as tasty). These can be covered, or smothered, or in my case totally immersed in clotted cream thicker than a London”pea-souper” (fog, for the uninitiated). The thickest cream carbs have ever evaded. This was the easier bit – especially as it’s self-service.

Lunch and dinner shouldn’t have been a problem either – as the choice of fresh fish and meat is mind-boggling. And service in this part of the world tries to be so friendly and helpful. But here’s the caveat – and it happened more than once. I explain carefully that my ketogenic diet means no carbs, suger, or fruit etc. Surprisingly enough, the word carbs was met with a blank until I give a few examples; no bread, potatoes, chips, – yes that includes boiled potatoes, etc.

Surprising enough my plain grilled fish comes majestically covered in bread crumbs. Maybe something was lost in the “translation” from my version of the Queen’s English to the local vernacular – but whatever, beware that your food requests have been properly understood; particularly for those for whom the ketogenic diet is as important as it is to me.

It’s a minute price to pay to for the miracle of being here. The pay-off comes from seeing Pam back in her element. Perhaps I’ll let her share her point of view with another of her perspectives. Perhaps when she’s “home” in Port Elizabeth tomorrow night.