Four years ago, I decided that I was going to take three months off and go to Thailand to train as a Thai Massage teacher. When I told people this, most thought I had gone a bit mad! Travelling on my own? To a country I have never been to?! Taking three whole months off?!
Yes. And it was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life!
Ever since that first trip, my passion for travel and adventure has been ignited, and I have definitely become something of a ‘Yes Man’ when an opportunity comes my way.
My next adventure begins on Monday, when I will be heading out to Vietnam for 3 weeks to spend time working at the National Cancer hospital in Hanoi. Back in February, I was getting itchy feet a month after my return from my latest Thailand trip. Still ringing in my ears were the words of an acupuncturist friend who lives in Chiang Mai, who had spent time working and training in Vietnam. I have had an interest in Massage for people living with Cancer since the very beginning of my career as a massage therapist and my friend suggested I look into the great work being done in the hospitals in Vietnam.
A quick Google search threw up an article about a lady called Mishka Cira, detailing her work in providing massage and massage training programs for patients, their families and the staff at the National Cancer Hospital in Hanoi. Instantly this caught my attention and I was keen to find out more. I sent a couple of emails, not expecting a quick response-if any! As it happened, within 12 hours, Mishka herself had emailed me, introduced me via email to Dr Linh, Breast Cancer Surgeon at K Hospital in Hanoi, and before I knew it, I was booking my flights and planning my trip!
In the past few months, Mishka has been endlessly helpful in providing information about her work in Hanoi and making introductions to the people I will be working with. I hope to build upon the wonderful work that Mishka started in 2011, delivering patient and caregiver massage workshops in Hanoi’s K2 Hospital based on an instructional DVD and Manual entitled “Touch, Caring and Cancer”, which was delevoped by William Collinge PhD in America. I also hope to spend time offering massage to patients in Palliative and Breast Cancer Care, as well as assisting with the fantastic work being done by the charity Sympameals, providing meal tokens to patients unable to pay for their own meals during their hospital stay.
Having completed training in Massage for People Living with Cancer with Gayle MacDonald, as well as a 5 day intensive Hospital course at Edinburgh’s Western General through the Iris Cancer Partnership, I have seen the far reaching benefits of massage to Cancer patients and their care-givers. I am keen to apply the things I have learned here and I know that this will be a massive learning curve for me.
Time has flown past since initially booking my trip and I am currently swinging between excitement and sheer panic about the journey I am about to make, both literally and emotionally. One thing is for sure though, it is going to be an unforgetable experience, and one that will teach me so very much. The kindness I have been shown by the people assisting me in the planning of my trip has been incredible, and I can’t wait to meet them in person.