Giddy up

It’s a lovely sunny day, and I’ve just returned from a visit to BBQs Galore to pick up some fixings for the coming barbecue season – firelighters, briquets, a rub and some metal skewers. Nothing speaks of summer more than that. As a bonus – for me – it’s also a great sign of getting back to normality.

I didn’t have a barbecue all last season because my ability to eat was compromised, as were my taste buds. I still have some challenges, though not nearly as many as before. As for my taste?

For a while, everything tasted awful. I reckon it wasn’t until February/March that my tastebuds recovered to something like before. It’s not the same, unfortunately, but it’s not far off. Things like chocolate taste different, and generally, I miss out on the rich flavours. I’ve been making favourite dishes all through winter, and they’ve tasted different to me – not as good.

For a while, I wondered if it was my cooking, but I accept now that it’s my ability to taste. I used to wonder at people who weren’t into food. How could that be? I would wonder. Food is one of the great pleasures of life. I understand better now. I don’t get the same pleasure from food as I did before, but it’s still pretty good. I realise that people taste things differently – it is, in fact, subjective.

Still, I reckon a nice char-grilled steak will get me salivating once I get the barbie fired up, which may be as soon as this weekend. Life can’t be too bad when you’re cooking good food over a flame, and the sun is shining.

Time passes

Restless in spirit today, if not in body. I feel slightly off – physically, I mean, a tightness in my head and around my eye. It’s so quiet otherwise, like in the aftermath of some fantastic event. It feels as if time has paused, or slowed at the very least. It will come in a rush tomorrow.

All of this has combined to make me feel a trifle discombobulated. I’m not sure what to do, or what I want to do, though there are plenty of things to be done. At the top of the list, normally, would be to sit at my desk and write. It’s something I look forward to, even if I wasn’t impelled to do it. But not today. I don’t think I could. My head’s a mess.

I woke this morning having slept well, but with many dreams. The dreams were interesting: thought provoking. I remember little now, but that a friend I haven’t seen for many years featured prominently. The question it provoked is why I let him slide from my life. I thought there was significance to the memory – as if in my past there were things worth revisiting and, perhaps, reclaiming.

Yesterday was a big day in Melbourne: grand final day. I reluctantly attended a function in South Yarra. I knew hardly anyone, and half the people I met had no interest in the game. That’s not unusual. The event is a great excuse to party.

The other half were mostly vocal Geelong supporters. They won the day handsomely, so they had plenty to crow about, and crow they did. I was with a Swans supporting friend who had a harder time of it. He was gracious about it in his self- effacing way.

Sitting there I felt a little outside of things and it seemed in many ways a contrived and artificial occasion. It probably is. There were probably Romans in their togas partying hard after a big day at the Colosseum a couple of millennia ago, and it’s been happening ever since.

Tomorrow is a workday again, after four days off. It’s been pleasant, and I managed to get things done, though not in the way of writing. I’ve been cleaning out the garage – sorting things out, throwing out some, repacking others. I’ve invested in tubs to make it more orderly, and can admit to a secret passion for storage items.

It’s dull now, very much a Sunday. Tomorrow is work, though I’ll be here still. Then more time passes.

Forward planning

When I was on holiday, I spent several hours over a few days constructing a complex set of spreadsheets to map out my financial situation and project into the future. I’m at the stage, particularly given my recent illness, where I have to consider how I live in retirement.

I mapped out several different options based on income, with variable factors such as the annual return on my superannuation, CPI, and standard of living.

To a degree, I was pleasantly surprised, though there are plenty of caveats on that.

To start with, I’ve accepted that I have to work for the next 10 years at least to build up my super balance. To be safe, I’ll need to develop a side hustle I can continue into retirement – I’m looking at $10K annually, but hopefully much more.

I’m lucky to be with a super fund with the highest growth over many years. That has a huge bearing on the outcome – more so than gross salary. They’ve averaged over 9% returns over the last 10 years, and that’s despite virtually zero growth over the previous financial year. The difference between 8% and 10% of annual growth equates to years of income when I’m retired.

I’m not sure generally how the pension factors into this. As someone with few assets, I’ll likely qualify, though I’m unsure to what extent. It’s changing all the time, regardless. For the moment, I’ve left it off. Anything I get from it will be a bonus.

It’s hard to see myself becoming a homeowner in the next few years, so I’ve assumed I’ll continue on as a renter. That’s a bummer. I want to live reasonably well and have factored in a decent holiday overseas every three years.

As for expenditure, I’ve mapped out what is likely to be the major capital items I’ll need to buy – a new (preferably electric) car, a replacement TV, washing machine and fridge, all of which are over a dozen years old currently. In addition, I need a new couch, and I’ll look to replace the current TV unit and coffee table – big, heavy items in solid wood – with something lighter and smaller. There will be other bits and pieces, including a dog, which I want sooner rather than later. What I know is that these are purchases I need to make before I retire and while I’m still earning a salary. That’s where the salary becomes essential.

I’ve projected my lifestyle and savings based on my current salary, a midpoint about 20% higher (which I should be able to achieve and which I should be entitled to currently) and 50% higher, CPI adjusted. It sounds like a lot, but I’ve earned that much before and, in fact, much more. I know it’s possible to achieve that, but I wonder if I want the responsibility to go with it.

I finished the novel I’ve been writing while I was away. The next step is to get it professionally edited and look at getting it published. Worse comes to worst, I’ll self-publish to Amazon as an ebook. I think it’s pretty good, however, as do others, so I’m hoping for more than that. I look at any income I get from it as a bonus, though it probably won’t amount to much more than beer money – which is okay. I like beer, and I might even earn enough to afford champagne instead.

I’ll shortly move on to writing my second novel, for which I’ve already completed the first draft. Writing is hard but easy if that makes sense, and I have plenty of ideas. I expect I’ll never stop doing it, and maybe that’s where the $10K will come from. I’m considering setting up a Patreon account, though I’m wary of it. It feels too much like charity.

I visited the office yesterday, which was a novel event and cause for reflection. The offices have been renovated and re-opened, and there was an air of celebration.

I’ve been thinking about work a lot, obviously. My intentions remain unchanged. I hope I make it through to January when I qualify for long service leave. If I depart then with that, and about 7 weeks of accrued annual leave cashed in, I’ll have a handy cash amount to alleviate some of my liquidity issues. I may even manage to sneak a holiday – though, thanks to the eye surgery I need, I’ve downgraded that from 6-8 weeks in Europe, as I hoped, to maybe two weeks in Japan. Europe can come later.

Ideally, I will find another, better-paying job. I don’t know how prospective employers view cancer survivors, but the market remains buoyant. I get a lot of enquiries, though mostly for project management roles, which I hate. Now is not the time, though, neither because of my LSL nor my health, which I want properly stabilised before I take on another role.

I was asked yesterday by a supporter of my work what I want from my job if I were to continue. The easy part of that is a fair salary. I despise them for their pragmatic cheapness. But when I thought about it further, other things came to mind.

I’ve proposed an ambitious roadmap for development over the next 18-24 months. The recommendation is to move from the on-prem to a cloud application, with a list of functions to be configured within it over that period. In terms of salary, I’m a minion, but I’m also the sole architect of what will be a transformative business project if approved. The person I spoke to yesterday is the advocate for it, taking it to the steering committee. I provide the IP, and she does the sales job.

I realised that if the proposal was rejected, I couldn’t continue. I’m chips-in on a new, cloud-based platform. By comparison, the current platform is a dog (no offence Rex). To continue unchanged when the benefits of shifting are so stark would make my position untenable. For the record, I expect it to be approved, more or less, despite conservative apathy.

Then, though I said nothing, I thought I couldn’t continue in the current structure as it is. I need to get away from my TL, who seems more like a duffer every day. In any case, what I do doesn’t logically fit in his team, and it shows. I was always the guru at this – live chat and chatbot – and I brought it with me when I took the role in his team.

The problem is that he knows a fraction of it but ultimately can decide what we do with it. I need separation and autonomy. He’s already stuffed it up enough and has been clagging up attempts to develop it. They’re my three conditions if I was to remain.

It’s probably 50/50 if I do stay. A new manager started yesterday, and a re-structure is very much on the cards. And I have some influential supporters and advocates. I was off 6 months with cancer and returned part-time, yet I gained some gloss with stakeholders because I managed to save something from what had become a bin-fire of a project commenced when I was away.

There are a lot of ifs, buts and maybes. That’s life, I guess. How my health – cancer – plays out is another question mark. As I tell my friends, I’ve got to figure another 30 years at least.

For the moment, unfortunately, I’ve had to cancel my cataract surgery because I can’t afford it. It’s situations like that I have to get beyond.

Before the fact

Tonight, I can’t sleep. It’s just on 1am, and I’ve just turned on the light after more than an hour of lying in the dark. I slept wonderfully well when I was away. There was probably a range of reasons for that – fresh air, plenty of exercise, a good bed, not to mention a psychological relaxation at just being away from home.

For all that, I’ve slept well since my return also. Until tonight.

I visited the ophthalmologist this morning to get the lowdown on my cataract. There were no surprises. At the end of the session, I paid just under $500 and had been booked for surgery in October.

I need the surgery and am glad to have it organised, but I’d much rather it had never become necessary. A month ago, I had no idea I had a cataract. I was planning the annual upgrade of my glasses when quite abruptly, I realised my eyesight had markedly declined. That’s continued; even with my glasses on, everything is becoming fuzzy.

I have no real options but to get this done. The cataract is growing quickly. I don’t know if I’ll be able to drive in a month. But it’s just another thing I have to deal with. Another thing taking me away from the hope of some return to normality.

Now it’s keeping me awake. It’s not fear or trepidation or anything like that. After all I’ve been through, a small procedure on my eye seems almost minor. It might seem a bit crass, but it’s the financial impact that concerns me.

Last week it was confirmed that I must pay about $1900 to the ATO by March next year. My car is currently with the mechanic, and I expect a bill of around a grand (actual $1683). Now, this. I don’t know what it will cost yet, but I expect it will be many thousands. I will get much of it back through Medicare, but I still expect to be out of pocket by over a thousand ($3,500), and quite likely more.

I can afford bits and pieces, but it’s getting a bit rich for me in combination. Add to that the climbing cost of medication – that’s heading towards a thousand for the year also – and I fear I’ll never get ahead. And it seems such a waste.

I’m frustrated and weary. I have to stump up the cash somehow, and I’m sure I’ll manage somehow, but it doesn’t keep me from stressing over it. It’s the sense of helplessness that’s most challenging, but that’s a common feeling when you have a severe illness. I just hoped I would be past that by now.

The good news is that afterwards, I can ditch my glasses. Maybe I should focus on that – though focussing on anything at the moment with my eyes like this is a tall order.

What it means most crucially is that my concept of what ‘regular’ life is put on hold. I envy people who go about their lives with barely a care. I was one of them once. I don’t know when I’ll get back to that or ever will.

I did a lot of productive thinking while I was away. It occurred to me that this was the first time in many years that no one was waiting for me to return home. I missed that, even if it was ‘only’ a dog previously.

Part of regular life for me is having a dog around the house. I realised I had to get onto that, but it’s unlikely now, if not impossible, until sometime next year. I have to endure longer. It seems the mantra of the times. I just have to do it and somehow find a way. You don’t know how tiring it is to keep at that day after day, week after week. But that’s the deal.

I wish people understood. I think that most know who know me think I’m wickedly resilient. I get lauded for my supposed strength. And maybe it’s true – but it takes a lot of effort, and that’s what they don’t see. They see the outside. That’s H, they think; he’s a survivor. In a way, it absolves them of any responsibility.

I shouldn’t complain. I’ve made it my life’s work to be independent. I’ve pushed people away, unwilling to admit to need. I’ve proudly proclaimed my self-reliance. In the end, it becomes habitual, and when people see you, that’s all they see.

I’m having a moan, I know. I want it both ways and can’t. I want to be independent and be seen to be independent, but I also want people to understand it’s not as easy as it looks. I’ll accept help to a certain point, but no more – but then will feel aggrieved when no more is offered. We are complex beings.

I write because it makes it easier for me to manage these things. Writing slows me down. It brings clarity, insight, and perhaps some raw self-awareness. These are the things that allow me to continue – not the brute strength that others might imagine.

Ultimately, I have to manage and deal with a set of conditions. It’s easier when you know what they are. I’m lucky that way – I’m honest and can see. It’s the sort of honesty I could be more open with if I were smarter.

I’ve survived. I’ve come through. I think back to last year when I was in a bad way and marvel at how I did it alone. I know now that I probably needed a carer, but I made it without one. It’s easier now. Not over yet, and maybe not for a while, but I’ve dealt with worse. That’s what will happen now. I’ll deal with these challenges one way or another, and in a year, I’ll look back and wonder what the big deal was. Perspective. It comes easier after the fact.

Now it’s 1.41am, and time to have another shot at sleep.

P.S. The morning after. I got the quote. I can’t afford the surgery. I’m doing my sums and looking at other options, and I’ve told them that I’ll confirm by Tuesday, but unless I pull a rabbit out of my hat, it won’t happen.

Where it started

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been busy tidying, reorganising and downsizing. I’ve got a garage full of boxes and other paraphernalia I’ve wanted to consolidate, and slowly I’ve whittled it down.

I’ve replaced some things with smaller, lighter versions – my old dining table that seated 8-10 has been replaced by a table seating 4-6, for example, and the old table sold. I did similar with a desk. Other things have been sold off – a bedside table, a punching bag I barely used, other odds and sods.

I’ve emptied about a dozen boxes. About 7 boxes of books have been relocated into bookcases. Other boxes, I’ve reviewed and rid myself of stuff I didn’t need anymore, rehousing what remained into fewer boxes. Other stuff – mainly dining-related – I’ve placed where it belongs, into the buffet unit (though the buffet unit sits in my office because there’s no room for it elsewhere).

Some stuff I have to keep but in storage. I’m looking to shift those things from random boxes into more permanent and accessible storage solutions. For example, I’ve got a bunch of hand-written journals covering about 20 years preceding this blog. Yep, there’s more.

I’ve shifted them from a tatty old box into a proper container with a lid that I’ll label. I’ll be doing the same for other things. By the end of this process, I hope not to have anything extraneous and a garage I can navigate.

Regarding the journals, some of the stuff in them is cringeworthy. I started writing when I was about 19, and it has a lot of callow stuff. I was a typical boy in a lot of ways. I had extravagant expectations and was no stranger to hyperbole. There are bits in there describing – in excruciating detail – my first experiences of love and a regular litany of lustful goings on. There are also detailed descriptions of sporting events I attended or watched.

Occasionally, there are reflective sections and parts where I comment, much as I do these days, though my thinking wasn’t as developed or sophisticated then.

I can’t bring myself to read much of it, though I’ll probably get around to it one day. Otherwise, it’s rich and embarrassing material for any biographer to latch onto. Oh, well, to get here, you have to go through that first. It’s the journey.

Where to? How?

Last night I lay in bed with my head hurting and my breathing laboured, unable to sleep. Eventually I got up. I took a pill with a glass of water. As I stood by the sink my eyes went to the digital device on the kitchen bench, on which rotated some of my favourite snaps. The picture was of Rigby, and I stood there looking at it until it changed to something else.

For about 10 minutes I sat in the recliner in the living room, just resting. It’s where I sit to read sometimes or have a cup of tea. Mostly, before, Rigby would sprawl on the floor in front of me. I looked at the place as if he was there still. Sometimes, he would come and rest his head in the space beside my leg, looking up at me. My hand went to him.

I was in a bad way. I’m utterly worn out, physically and emotionally. I’ve got little life outside of home because I’m not up to it. I’m back working and doing my best, but I’ve lost all faith in the people there, and rouse little interest in the work I’m doing. And, Rigby is gone.

I wouldn’t feel that so keenly if my life was happier. I always had him, at least, and now I don’t even have him.

It’s funny how you still expect him, if only momentarily. I get out of bed and I look to him, knowing that he will follow – but he’s not there. Struggling as I was to sleep last night, I might have reached out and found some comfort knowing he was there. I miss his companionship obviously, and his love for me, and the love he created in me.

This is not about him though. I miss him terribly, but he’s a symptom of my current state, not the cause of it.

I need to find something to believe in. It’s hard. Physically, I’m not right. Work has failed me and the life I had before seems far distant. And Rigby, who could always make bad things better, is gone.

I’m doing things because I don’t know what else to do. And because I need to. I don’t want to fail. But what comes next? When? And why?

I need to find a way out of this mess but have to do it alone.

It’s mid-morning. I’m still in bed. I feel better than last night, but not great. I woke from an ugly sleep at about 9. I feel exhausted. I wish I knew more. For once, I feel incapable of navigating a way forward. What is right? What is wrong? I don’t think I can go on like this unless I have a sudden upturn in my health. But even then – what does it mean? There remain many unanswered questions.

Pushing on

I’ve just got off the phone from the office, having tentatively agreed to return to work in February on a part-time basis.

I don’t know if my physical state is much advanced on what it was a couple of months ago – perhaps I’m a bit stronger? – but as our esteemed PM keeps telling us, we have to learn to live with it. At this point, I’ve said I can do three hours a day/15 weekly. All going well that can be increased in March. Given the limited hours, I’ll be focussing on specific tasks rather than general.

I’m curious to see how I go. I’ve spoken before of how I have no interest or motivation for work, having faced down death. I expect that will pass, but it’s a real thing for now.

What’s real also is that I don’t have the energy or enterprise generally, which is a bit disturbing. I’m tired, I’m in pain, I’m deaf in one ear and walk with a limp, so perhaps it’s unsurprising that I don’t have that drive. And, I still don’t know if I’ve made it through the woods – whether I’ll survive this or not. Still, it feels foreign and unwelcome. I’m used to doing things. Used to striving for something. It was a part of my identity, but with so much of my identity disrupted – most likely permanently – it makes sense that my sense of purpose has diminished also.

The best way to illustrate that is this blog and how rarely I post anything. These days it’s a chore, something I have to do, whereas before it was a vital means of expression for me. Then, I bubbled over with ideas and words. Not now, though I still have strong opinions (which I can’t be bothered sharing).

As someone who has been working on writing a couple of novels in his spare time over the last few years, you might think this was a great opportunity to put more time into those. But no. I’ve written nary a word. It’s not that I’ve lost interest – what I’ve lost is the sense of enterprise and discovery. I feel mentally spent, with nothing left for acts of creation.

Surely some of that is physical and presumably will change with time. However, I also think that having a serious illness has changed my perspective and the nature of my creative thought.

In my situation, you tend to live day by day. There’s little sense of the future and little point to it, really when you’re not even sure if you’ll be around for it and what state you’ll be in, presuming you are. It’s very confused. You deal with the circumstances of the moment, resting as you need to, taking painkillers 24/7 and attending medical appointments. You drift. Until you feel well again and get the all-clear, all bets are off.

My imagination feels like an indulgence in this situation and has slipped down the list of priorities. If I forced myself, I’m sure I could be just as creative as ever, but I don’t have the energy for it.

This is one reason I’ve started being more proactive in my recovery process. I need a sense of control. I hate being passive. I’ve had a physio appointment and have referrals for a psychologist and hearing specialist. And now I’ve organised a return to work. That’s where it’s at, I feel: I need to force things.

I still don’t know what lies ahead, but I’m through with relying on hope. It’s easy to do nothing, but that makes me aimless. The world doesn’t stop, nor should I.

All the same

I wonder sometimes if I’m getting better at all. I’m a little stronger perhaps because I’m eating better, but otherwise I don’t feel much different to a couple of months ago. I take more painkillers these days, so perhaps I feel worse.

Because of my condition, and covid, my days are quiet. I barely go out, and only because I must.

I had a visit the other day from someone from the office. He’s the first and only. I was grateful for the effort. He brought me a book by Eckhart Tolle.

The rest of the time I’ve been watching the cricket. A friend comes each afternoon to watch it with me. In times between, I read. Earlier in the month I was getting through a book every day and a half.

My favourite time of day is the evening. I allow myself to take one of the heavier painkillers, which takes the edge off. I watch pay-TV, enjoying the distraction. I’ll go to bed between 9.30 – 10, and read for up to an hour. Often I’ll take a sleeping tablet.

I look forward to lights out because with unconsciousness comes relief. In the morning, I wake slowly. Often I’ll feel a second wave of tiredness afflict me. It recurs throughout the day to the point I can barely keep my eyes open. It could be the humid weather. I thought I had passed that stage.

I have another day like that ahead of me, and for the foreseeable future, until I really do start to feel better. The only variation is that I’m going out to see a movie tomorrow. Otherwise, it all seems the same.

Venturing out

For the first time in months, I went out over the weekend – and what I mean by out is that I went to places where I could sit with other people and be served. I had a brief taste of it a few weeks ago, but this was the real thing.

Both days were sunny. On Saturday, Donna came over for the first time since I moved. We walked down the road and sat in the sunshine, having coffee and tea and picking at a muffin I couldn’t enjoy. Afterwards, we walked by the beach.

One of the best things about it was having a meaningful conversation, and not just the practical, passing conversations I’ve had for most of my time in isolation.

Yesterday, another friend came over, and we drove towards Mordialloc. We sat in the sunshine again. He had lunch. I ate a few fries for the carbs, not the taste. When the clock ticked over to two, we ordered some gin from the dispensary there – first a cocktail, then a blood orange gin with tonic.

I didn’t know what to expect of this. I haven’t had an alcoholic drink since July. I’m much out of practice. Plus, I’ve lost all this weight since. But, no problem – except, because of my taste buds, I didn’t experience the complete enjoyment of the moment. I could taste about 40%, but no matter, the moment was symbolic.

It was good to get out, and if I pushed the limits a little, that’s okay. I pulled up well.

I’ve decided the time has come for me to push it a little more. I know most of my friends think it’s premature, but I feel as if I’ll never get ahead unless I begin to test myself. The simplest things have made me breathless. I have to push the envelope.

I’m still fatigued. I’ve spoken how I can sleep so easily. I’ve resisted it to a degree, though I realise I need it to heel. I feel a bit of a slop sleeping during the day, but if there’s any time I can be a slob, then surely it’s when I have cancer?

It’s all a bit of a balancing act. Exercise is good, but it burns up calories, which I struggle to get in. I can’t be silly.

Previously, I averaged about 1500 paces daily, which is fuck all (it was around 9,000 when I was healthy). I’m going to push the average up to 2000, then 3000, and so on.

I’m encouraged in doing this as the situation with my taste buds is improving. I need to explain this.

It’s my theory only that two factors were affecting my taste buds. The first was the backwash of all the cells killed by my treatment, flooding my nose, my mouth, my stomach (making me nauseous). This is pretty nasty and made practically everything inedible. The overwhelming taste was salty, smoky, bitter.

The second factor relates directly to chemo, which makes things taste metallic. These two overlaid each other. Now I’ve stopped treatment, the backwash has diminished, though a remnant remains. It makes eating easier, though – thanks to chemo – everything tastes metallic.

I’m testing the limits regarding food also. Nothing is enjoyable, though some things go down easier than others – sweeter things and some fruit flavours.

As always, it’s a day by day proposition. I’ll be in a much better place when there’s no more backwash, and my nose is cleared, and when I can taste truly. I can hope for part of that in the next 2-3 weeks, I think, as for the rest, it could be anytime now, or in months.

Over to you, big fella

Things I haven’t written about I’d have loved writing about:

Euro 2020. I didn’t watch it all but followed it closely, and it was a point of constant discussion with my mates. I’m glad Italy won.

Ash Barty winning Wimbledon. This was big news and a very popular victory in Oz, and I sense, in other places, too. I didn’t watch it – I was in bed asleep – but it’s so nice to have her win.

Then there are random footy matches, the Boomers beating the USA in a trial match ahead of the Olympics (I watched that), and the NBA finals too, which I’ve watched all the way, though. Then there’s the Sydney ‘lockdown’ and the incompetence of Gladys, and ingoing shitshow, which is the federal government and the vaccine rollout – and even the lockdown we find ourselves in from today, for the fifth time, thanks to the NSW shambles.

All of that has been crowded out by my health, but it doesn’t mean my mind doesn’t touch on other things, that my curiosity and interest isn’t piqued by other events. In fact, I’ve made a vow to myself to stay engaged, no matter what the prognosis is.

I should get the prognosis next week. I’m preparing for the worst, though it doesn’t alter my attitude. I’ll fight it every inch of the way, by whatever means. It doesn’t feel right to simply accept the fate they map out for me. That’s too meek, and the struggle is an essential part of this. And I think it’s what I do best: fight.

In actual fact, I’ve been feeling better the last couple of days. I was wary of it initially: what could it mean? I wondered if it was a sign that the cancer had gone deeper into me. I considered that the recent signs weren’t so positive and that the biopsy may have livened up the cancer. That’s the danger of being an overthinker. In the end, I twigged. It was because the cold I’d been carrying for months – which seemed wrapped up in the carcinoma – had gone. Seemed strange but welcome nonetheless because it eases the pressure, and therefore the pain.

I published something to Facebook announcing my situation, and the response has been incredible, both online and off. I’ve had so many messages of support and help that it’s really quite humbling. Everyone is rallying around, to the point that some of the concerns I had now seem irrelevant.

I also spoke extensively with work, both to the senior manager and HR. I’m going to run out of money long before my treatment ends, and so we’re exploring options to take up the income protection insurance I have on my superannuation account. There’ll still be a gap, and it only pays 75%, but it’s better than nil income.

The other day, speaking to a mate, I commented on God, using the other C-word (both are in common parlance lately). He said, be careful, now’s not the time to pisss him off – though I figure he’s long been pissed off at me given all the shit he’s dumped my way.

Last night, we got to talking about Job in quite a playful way. I have a long sympathy for Job as I once wrote an essay on him when I was in love with a Jewish lady – that’s another story. I know the story well, how he’s treated like a plaything, miserably taunted by God in a running bet with the devil. He cops most of it, but in the end, he spits the dummy. Why the fuck have you done this to me he demands of God?

It’s all a test, which is a bit cruel, but ultimately he has restored to him everything that was taken.

I have a grudging respect for the Old Testament God, though he’s an unashamed prick at times. He comes off as a much kindlier figure in the sequel.

Anyway, I’m kind of hoping something similar happens to me. I’ve been tested up the wazoo – but I could do with a miracle and get back everything I lost and more.