Despite my best efforts of not only catching up on work but even getting ahead and getting some personal work done, I'm now further behind than ever. There are a few reasons for this.
One reason is I have a very dear friend fighting for his life. Yes, the Big C strikes again. About the time I was freeing up space to catch up on work was when he was first diagnosed. I covered his classes in the hope he would soon be returning to work. That was wishful thinking. It's been a roller coaster ride for him and not a fun one. Good news and hope one minute, back in hospital with doctors shrugging their shoulders the next. I've tried to be available to help in whatever way I can. There's nothing makes you feel more hopeless than watching someone go through this level of suffering.
I had work in Qld to do. When I left him he was doing ok (ish). Soon after I got to Qld he was back in Hospital. Home for two days and then back in again. By the time I got back to Melbourne they didn't know what was going on but it wasn't looking good. This is not how things were supposed to work out. The new drug trial he was on was giving positive results (hell side affects but it was working). But now, well, when palliative care is mentioned, you have to check your expectations.
Last week I had a couple of clear days put aside to get work done. Instead I chose to spend it with my friend. In between all this I had been planning an escape to Uluru. The bucket list, ya know. I considered cancelling it. But then I thought, if cancer teaches you nothing else, surely it's to take the moments when you can, because you never know when you won't get the chance. So I went. And the day I landed in Yulara I got sick. Nothing life threatening. 'Just' a cold. Personally, I think it might have been a strain of 'man flu' because I sure felt like I was dying. I was travelling on my own, sleeping in a shared dorm room, trying not to cough all night and keep others awake. Forcing myself to at least achieve one thing each day thanks to the assistance of modern drugs. It was a struggle, but I am glad to say I have been to the big, red rock and it is wonderful. Even more awesome was the amount of wildflowers there were. When I'm better and caught up on work, I'll share more photos.
And now I'm home. And my head and my chest hurt so much I can hardly think. The work is banking up, deadlines are looming. I can't visit my friend until I get better. The cold is affecting my thinking and everything seems monumentally hard.
But I keep thinking of a conversation I had with my Aunty Avis many years ago. She had terminal cancer at the time. I asked her for some life wisdom to share. She said that even though she vaguely knew the term 'don't sweat the small stuff' throughout her life, she really understood it's relevance once she was staring death down. I'm trying to adopt that philosophy. I know you can't live each day as if it could be your last, because if it's not, you then have to deal with the next day. But striking that balance between dealing with what is important and what can wait and not stressing about it, that seems to be the goal.
So if you're waiting on me, to get a print to you or reply to an email, or make a decision, I'm working on it. Work with immovable deadlines has my priority. The other stuff will happen when it happens. I hope you understand.
And if you know someone with the dreaded lurgy, make or buy them some chicken soup and deliver it. I'm sure they'll be grateful. And if you know someone with cancer, maybe give them a foot massage.
PS. I've lost my voice so can't answer the phone. I can't even call to get an update on my friend in hospital. Last I heard though, some of the worst symptoms were easing and he was slowly improving. We're still planning a trip to Bryce Canyon next year.
In the meantime, here's one shot from Uluru. Front row seat at sunset.