Wow. I can’t believe that we have hit entry twenty already. Who’d have thought I had that much babble inside of me itching to spew out on to the internet for your reading pleasure? I’m hoping my readers are all travelling along OK. Don’t forget to use the comments, it does make me aware that someone is reading, and keeps my literary libido in tip top shape. Yesterday was a good day. Super Derby County put Manchester United out of the league cup, in one of the most entertaining games I have seen in a long while. The nervousness of the penalty shoot-out ruined by a phone call from the hospital wishing to book me a CT scan. Why? I did not know. I remember the doctors mentioning “staging”, which essentially tells us all at what stage is your cancer. Is it localised or has it spread? I assumed that as it was hard enough to find it on the MRI scan, it must be localised, and thus not too much to worry about. My happy go lucky balloon, that had seen me through the journey so far, popped somewhat with this phone call. They are looking for more cancer. They want to know if I’m a lost cause before the operation. Nurse knowledge tingling like Peter Parker’s spidey sense. Maybe I would be blissfully unaware should I not work in the field. It would be just a formality, perhaps. For some reason that phone call cut deep. It has brought things closer, nearer, more tangible, the fear and nervousness now starting to show, the extra glass of red on an evening taking the edge off, thoughts never too far away from “the decision”. The decision that, as we talked about before, is not really a decision.
Maybe I should do a poll on here. What would you do? What choice do you have really? My youngest is just 11, my mum died when he was three months old. Thinking back on it, that must have been a difficult time to get through- a three year old, a one year old, a newborn, and my mums quick decline and demise to witness and deal with. Life is tough eh? My kids were already robbed of one set of grandparents, and so is it fair on my kids to go fast and go hard? Is that the selfish option? But then again, that gives you the license to live your life as you wish, breaking the shackles of conformity, gaining permission almost, to live the life true to yourself, not what others expect of you. We should all do that anyway, but we don’t. It shouldn’t take a death sentence to force your hand. We only try to seek what is really important when we have a brush with death. It’s an extreme form of the traditional middle aged crisis. A realisation of your own mortality, that drives you to action. I’ve just sold my motorbike. Maybe I should have bought a new one instead.
The alternative, to dance with the reaper and run away. Discard the diseased part, and carry on without it, safe in the knowledge that you’ll be checked on for the rest of your life, cured but with the Sword of Damocles still hanging over you, waiting for the potential “I’m sorry” again. A mental map of every toilet facility within 100 metres of your current location, no light coloured trousers in your wardrobe any more, and no belly laughs or sneezes without the subsequent downstairs delivery. But more importantly, the possible damage to your loving relationship with your spouse, and the resulting fall out when the strains become cracks, and the cracks become rifts, and the rifts become splits. It happens for some. We have a strong relationship. I hope we will be fine. I hope.
People tell me that my family will prefer me neutered and dribbling piss, rather than not all at all. After all, that’s what I get with my doggy, and we love him, and even he manages a dry hump once in a while. But will I become a cranky, frustrated, angry man, forever missing a component part of manliness? I’m not the most manly man as it is. Can’t really grow a beard, and have a distinct lack of body hair. A Mexican Hairless. That’s me. With a girls job. So not too masculine. It’s not all bad, there’s no bald patch and no hairy back, so every cloud…. My point being, who would want to live with the cranky, frustrated, angry, neutered man? Suddenly the life insurance lump sum, mortgage free existence, and occasional tinder swiping, is selling itself again to those left behind…
This entry’s is proving to be a bit of a downer. Still, better out my head and on to the page. A problem shared…and all that. Ha ha, you can all lose the sleep too. Let’s have a joke.
A lady goes to the doctor. She has chest pain.
The doctor says ”you have acute angina”
The lady says “why thank you doctor, my tits aren’t bad either”.
Work. I kind of liked most of my jobs, but there were undesirable elements that I was happy to leave each time I changed, usually after a few years. The job I have now, I love. I have gone part-time, and the balance is fantastic. I’m very busy all day long. I kind of work about three days a week over two long days. I don’t get to pick the days as I job share with a lovely lady, who has reduced her own hours in order to help her own work life balance, but that’s fine by me. Cancer messes with your job. Because mine is a temporary arrangement, likely to go for a few years, but still temporary, I have to apply for it every now and again. When you say you have to take time off for cancer treatment, your employability for said job goes down somewhat. There’s a risk that someone else will do it better than you, and you will lose it. Busted back down to my substantive position that is actually a lot more stressful, simply because of the expectation of you being an expert in so many areas, that it’s impossible to keep your expertise in all these areas, simply because you are covering too many of these areas, and that was part of the problem back in entry 7 or 8. I was just about keeping it all together, then BANG! Cancer on the horizon, keeping it together skills rapidly diminishing… Yes, I have sick leave, and yes, I am lucky to be able to tag on some long service leave at the end of the sick leave, so I can at least attempt to get back in to the best shape before I return to work. Plus hopefully I can spend some quality time with the family beforehand. Not too sure what effect dad having cancer on them is having, but it can’t be made worse by having him around for a bit over the school holidays. Anyway, continuing the babble. I try my best to be a good employee. I am proud of the fact that I haven’t taken a sick leave day this year, despite having a dozen hospital appointments. I did have to leave early one day, but I was able to claim some time back for that. The problem with trying to do the right thing is that you have to be careful not to come across as “it’s all about me”. I’m trying to illustrate the difficulties that cancer patients have with trying to keep things going normally in your home and work life, rather than gain sympathy here. I have been given a date, by telephone, for my surgery, but have yet to receive paperwork to confirm this. Trying to give notice to your employer of when you likely to be off, is about on par with cat herding. I worked out that the hospital sees people within their designated categories, so I knew they had to see me by the first week in November, but one of the doctors told me they were usually ahead. I picked a date to work towards from the end of October. One day, a while ago, they told me it was the 11th October, so I sent my emails to everyone to say so, and that I would have to make my leaving day earlier. 24 hours later, it had a call saying that it needed to be changed to the 18th October. Another flurry of emails, sorry for the confusion, blah blah blah, new leave forms submitted etc. Payroll, notoriously shit on a good day, are going to be so confused by this that I stand to make my first million, or be evicted due to mortgage default in the weeks after the operation.
As the operation draws nearer, work becomes less of a worry to me, a distraction, but not enough of a distraction clear the mind, release the knot in the stomach, ease the slight tremor of my hands at rest. After all, I have bigger fish to fry. I have three more days to work through, trying to get everything in some sort of order, and hand a few bits over to my equally capable colleagues, who have all been lovely about my predicament. And then we start the countdown…it’s two weeks on Thursday.