Thursday, February 21, 2008

47. Ripe Old Age

Photos: Me and Birthday Boy Ouso; Reaching the Peak of Beinn Narnain; The Boys Walking Down; Steep Hill; Chloe in her new Denim Dress; Sunday Walk in the Sun with the Prams; Walking in the Country Park...
How life changes! I’m not sure if it’s my impending 30th birthday, but lately I’ve been thinking, and having a laugh, at how life changes as you move through the years. I’m loving this feeling of being able to clutch tightly at still being in my 20’s, even though I probably look way too old to still mix it with the young fellas.
The first year of your twenties is a bizarre feeling; I still remember a lady telling her child to “ask that man”. As a kid who spent a fair bit of time in my teens with a combed mullet, a nice pair of Reebok pumps and a pair of age-defying acid wash jeans, being called a man was a pretty big step!

Before you know it, you find yourself celebrating your 21st birthday; this is usually accompanied with plenty of booze, partying, hanging out with your mates and then displaying an uncanny ability to wake up feeling fresh as a daisy the next morning.
The next few years are fine, although I distinctly remember my feeling of turning 24. That sounded like I was old and ready to sort myself with a steady job and buy a house. I knew I was never that right person, so I threw in my job and headed overseas on my first international adventure. No surprises to hear that Scotland was the destination.

Mid-twenties was a fun time - more money seemed to be coming in the pay-packet, clothes got better, hair got thinner, the nights out were still a necessity but places that were a little less loud and easier to have conversations started to take precedence over the nightclubs. More time was spent with my lady friend than with my mates, as were most people who were steadily moving from courting (do they still use this word?), to dating, and then to taking the plunge and moving in with each other. The big step!

Then it’s time for late twenties. You’ve probably lost contact with a lot of people you went to school with and then picked up new ones from uni, sporting clubs and jobs. Kas and I got together when I was 24 years old; I then got engaged at 26, married at 27 and a father at 29. Not a bad pace I’ve set.

I’ve also spent the last two and a half years of my life living with Leukaemia. I’ve certainly loved my twenties and there’s nothing I would have changed – I’ve got my two girls by my side! Now, it’s almost time to continue living with Leukaemia in my 30’s… not dying from it.

I’ve only been into see my Doctor once since Christmas and that to me is a great feeling. We get along great at the consultations but there’s such a feeling of freedom to know that my appointments are getting further apart. On the flip side of this, it also makes the actual appointment day a pretty bit deal. Much bigger than it ever used to be! The day at the Oncology Ward feels so far away from what I’ve been getting used to lately. A huge emphasis is placed to ask the right questions, check the right results, organise the next PCR and keep up to date on any medical issues I should know about. My next PCR will be taken in two weeks time and it’s one I’m having mixed feelings about. The last two have been moving in the correct direction (1.7% then 0.7%); the sign of the medication working in my body is to have three consecutive tests heading the same way. I’ve got my fingers well and truly crossed for another great result but it’s also a scary feeling to know what I’m about to face. I’ve never been one to place too much emphasis on any particular test but the more time I spend with Chloe and Kas, it makes me twice as determined to beat this. I guess only time will tell.

The training for our upcoming 3 Peaks Challenge is going very well, so far. A few mates and I set upon conquering Beinn Narnain on the Scottish west coast highlands last weekend and it turned out to be a decent challenge. Not one to be scoffed at. It was only when we were taking on the final assault on the peak. We were there for my mate Ouso’s birthday. I started thinking that this mountain was only at a fraction of the height of Ben Nevis, Scotland tallest peak, and the first mountain to be climbed in our challenge this June. We need to get training hard and get our bodies in some form of shape that would be able to endure the 24 hour event that climbs well over 11,000 feet and takes place in 3 countries. Bring on the stair-climber at the gym…

Chloe continues to thrive which is great to see. She’s been snoozing the whole night long for the past five or six weeks and we’re probably getting more sleep now than we’ve ever had. I’m only saying that as it makes a huge difference when dealing with an oral chemotherapy every day; the meds can make you a bit drowsy, so that’s why I take it at night. Her whole body keeps growing and I can see a change in her every day – new things she can do, like rolling over and giggling. I know I’m probably a boring, doting dad but I just love this time with her. I can imagine it goes from being quite nice, to running around after them and making sure they don’t get into everything. I’ll savour this part for the time being anyway.

Thanks for the emails and messages, wish me luck for my PCR test and keep in mind that I’ll be turning the ripe old age of 30 in about six weeks.

We’ll be kicking off our official 3 Peaks Challenge Fundraiser in a week’s time, so please don’t forget to sponsor us on the link at the top-right of this page! It’s for a great cause – the new Paul O’Gorman Leukaemia Research Building in Scotland.