Posted on March 21, 2016
Well, it’s not 45 quite yet, and I probably should hang on to 44 as long as I can, eh? But ah, what’s a few days between friends?
As you all know, this was the birthday I was not supposed to have. My 44th birthday party, as I think I have mentioned before, involved several visits from palliative care in the week leading up to it, 2 on the actual DAY of my party, including leaving the last of my guests at 1am to get tucked into bed by the nurse and another of her syringes. It was pretty shithouse, everyone thought they were saying goodbye (including me), and someone even referred to it as a birthday wake. They weren’t wrong.
Yesterday, I told my assembled family and friends a rather astonishing tale. A tale about how I have been on slow release opiate medication for about the last six months, to control moderate and persistent liver pain. About how in the last couple of weeks I have completely come off that daily slow release oxycontin. We’ve still got endone on hand for “attacks”, but I am more likely to reach for the nurofen. If I know anything, it’s that as you move further through the months and years with stage 4 cancer, you don’t really expect to get “better”, and yet I am so much more well within myself today than I was this time a year ago, it is quite hard to put it into words. I will always be grateful…stunned…..amazed, overjoyed.
Known this great friend for over 20 years now, and his wife Ruth, who is definitely one of the nicest people on the planet for nearly as long:
I worked out that I celebrated my 25th birthday in the private room at the back of Tolarno, the St Kilda restaurant that Huey owned at the time. Yep, used to prop the bar up there quite a bit. Yesterday, I celebrated my 45th with Huey and Ruth and a bunch of my friends and family at Big Hueys Diner, their more recent venture. It’s our favourite place to go and they are two of our fave people, so it seemed fitting.
It was SUCH a special day, and one of incredible triumph over the odds….something well and truly worth celebrating. I had a little more to drink than I have had since I was diagnosed, and this morning I could finally say the fateful words that I have missed (or not)…”I’m never drinking again!” What was so breathtaking was the amount of love in the room for me. My friend Bekkii and her band were playing, and she played Songbird for Gaz as I asked her to, but the bugger made up get up and dance! Neither of us are dancers, but it was a special moment, and a great giggle when I was holding Gaz and he was looking over my shoulder, and he said “if you just keep me in this position, I can keep watching the Grand Prix”! Ahh, a hopeless romantic. Then Bekkii got me up to stand with her and snuggled me as she sang Eva Cassidy’s “I know you by heart” to me. She sang the same song for me the day we met There were lots of teary moments from pretty much everyone involved over the course of the day, but they were good tears, happy tears. I looked around at all those who were there because they loved me, and of course my family always has, but for many years I had few friends, because I kept people at arms length. It pays dividends to open your heart to people, because for the most part they are good. Sure, you risk getting hurt, but the benefits outweigh any of the risks, and you will likely find yourself richly rewarded. Try it
I feel the best I have in weeks today, physically and mentally. I have got a bit done around the house, started thinking about packing for QLD, as we leave on Wednesday for a week and I haven’t done anything!
I got these flowers yesterday for my birthday:
For some reason they seem like a metaphor for the way I want my life to be focused on from now one. Focus on what is beautiful in life, add more beauty to life, really really try not to let the small things get me down. The biggest beauty in my life, my Gaz, my girls, my pug, my lovely bright home. But definitely talking literally as well as metaphorically. I can’t afford to be buying fresh flowers all the time, I am sure most of us can’t, but bugger it, if there is a nice looking bunch on clearance at Woolies, I’m going to grab them and whack them in a vase! You should too – we’re worth it. And when we tell ourselves that, and show ourselves that, we instantly brighten in most cases.
The day started out a little sad. My friend Danni came and got the kids as I was super tired this morning after only getting about an hours sleep. I asked all the kids if they were ready for when she arrived to get them and they assured me that they were. Then she got here, and they all started running around getting things, they weren’t ready at all. Indi spoke to me in a way that I didn’t really like on limited sleep, and I lost my shit and yelled at her. I felt so bad about it, my reaction was an over-reaction, and she was so sad. Luckily I was able to get her on Danni’s mobile before she got to school and apologise to her, and she was fine. I know we all fuck up from time to time, but I don’t want this to be their memories of me, shouting at them. I can’t blame this on cancer, it is my personality, I am reactive, quick to anger, quick to get over it, then the guilt trip starts. Any tips on doing better? I’d love to hear them.
Love and hope to all who need it, I know a lot of my friends are doing it so tough at the moment and you are all in my heart.