Welcome to My Roaring Forties. I document what I’m thinking about, what I’ve learnt and what I’m trying to achieve

T-18 More than just a calf-tastrophe

T-18 More than just a calf-tastrophe


It’s been 3 weeks since we last spoke….and stuff has happened. But stuff that’s a little hard to write about.

When I first thought I might seriously blog about the months between conception and realisation of a goal, I asked a couple of friends if they would find anything I might write remotely interesting. One of them kindly, and probably untruthfully, said yes and also said that it would be a great way of staying accountable. It turns out she was right about the accountability part. And it also turns out that I’ve been hiding from the accountability for the last couple of weeks. For good reasons but hiding nonetheless.

Things always seem to happen in threes and it has been a trifecta of obstacles that I’m having to find ways through.

Zee Calf goes Pop

Possibly the easiest to work through, ironically, has been a little bit of physical drama. We had a friend come to stay two weekends ago and she came with me on my usual Sunday run. The route was selected, appropriate cold weather clothing donned and Rocky was hustled into the car and off we set for Williamstown. It was a fiendishly cold day and our Williamstown route took us along the waterfront into the wind and through the rain. I’ve graduated to 14mins of running 1 min of walking and it was all going terribly well - I was holding a running pace around 7:30min/km AND talking at the same time. We were having a fabulous conversation about the merits, or otherwise, of democracy and capitalism so it was actual conversational talking not huffing yes or no replies. At about 34mins I mentioned that my left calf was a little tight and I wished it would sort itself out. Literally 30seconds later, sort itself out it duly did. I was like someone had flicked a rubber band and it was curtains for any further running. It was a sober walk/hobble back to the car, a week of limping and a visit to the physiotherapist. The cure is more foam rolling, more stretching, a weekly bath in epsom salts and normal calf operation has resumed.


And now for the hard part. We had to let our little Phoebe go and it has been really hard. When I left for the aforementioned run she was completely fine and about an hour after I got home she had a little vomit. We’d made homemade pasta the night before and she was her usual scavenging self on kitchen duties so we weren’t unduly worried as we thought she was paying the price of her greed. However she didn’t eat her dinner and by morning she was still not eating and lethargic. Ant stayed home from work with her and he rang me around midday to say she needed to go to the vet. We were at the vet a couple of hours later and we were referred us straight to the University of Melbourne Vet Hospital. By this point, Phoebe was not well at all and she was put straight on a drip and they started taking hourly bloods and trying to stabilise her. Around 6, she’d had 2 ultrasounds and been seen by an oncologist and we had a diagnosis of a large tumour on her liver that was non-survivable. She had been for her annual check up and vaccinations 3 months earlier which had included a full blood screen with no issues identified so the diagnosis was a shock. We had some choices - they would try and stabilise her overnight and if possible, do exploratory surgery to assess our palliative care options or we could let her go. So we made a really tough decision not to put her through invasive surgery that had only a very small chance of helping her and just after 7 she left us. She was the boss of our little family and it’s a horrible hole in our lives.

Bad habits of avoidance in work

And just like that, I fell straight back into my familiar habits of burying myself in work. I had the perfect excuse - my first campaign in my new role was going live this week so there was ample opportunity for me to emotionally hide from the fall out of Phoebe and fill every waking hour. I’m annoyed with myself about this because when I left Sensis nearly two years ago, I specifically went contracting so that I could figure out how to have more balance between work and life. I thought I had this sorted, that I’d found and established successful habits. Turns out that they weren’t established as I thought and I sunk right back into a very familiar and comfortable set of habits. I’ve had a couple of days to wallow in my disappointment with myself - there was a lot to wallow in - and write my way through it so thank you for reading my catharsis. I’m ready to pick up my dropped baton and get back into this adventure.


Quote of the week

We're never alone. As soon as we step outside the campfire glow, our Muse lights on our shoulder like a butterfly. The act of courage calls for infallibly that deeper part of ourselves that supports and sustains us.

Steven Pressfield, The War of Art


T-21 Perception is Reality

T-21 Perception is Reality