Archive for February, 2016

An unwelcome milestone

imageWe buried the cat this week.

It was an unwelcome reminder of mortality and all that, especially since there was a time back in 2009 as I faced surgery to combat prostate cancer when it seemed he might outlast me.

Macavity’s kidneys let him down in the end and he went off to the big vet-aided sleep aged 16. I don’t feel bad about outliving him, of course, but I’ll miss the little bugger.

For some reason I re-read My Cancer Story on this blog last night, and there he was in a photo, tucked under my chin while I snoozed after one of my first days back at work following the operation (as the photo above shows, he also liked to sleep on Lin’s shoulder).

Digging a hole in the garden for him and planting a commemorative rhododendron – the kind of sentimental stuff us humans do when we lose a beloved pet – set me thinking again about how lucky I am to be alive.

I haven’t done that for a long time, as the memory of my brush with prostate cancer faded and I gradually resumed “life as usual”.

I even missed my annual PSA test recently. The doc forgot to add it to the usual cholesterol and god-knows-what-else indicators he orders for my yearly trip to the lab.

But, oh well, next year will do. It’s been seven years and so far nothing shows. I know, I know…this ignores all the frantic advice I was wont to give in the earlier days of the blog. It taks a decade to be clear, and all that.

Why am I being so blase? I don’t know. Maybe it’s simply a matter of moving on. I turned 69 last week, so perhaps there is some unacknowledged instinct that says I’m on the final run, so why worry? 


Reading the blog again after several years of putting it aside was a revelation in some ways. Talk about intense. Did I really mean to reveal so much private stuff? It seemed to go down pretty well with you all, if the comments are any guide, but I wonder now.

All that introspection in the later chapters about hitting the road like a gypsy and living a stress-free life seems misplaced. Especially now that Lin and I have abandoned caravan dwelling and are putting ourselves through the immense stress of buying and renovating a house in our old hometown, New Plymouth.

I’m supposed to be retired. I quit the job in Wellington running the journalism school in 2013. But life is busier than ever – writing books and articles, and getting into a fascinating project to produce a phone app for people wanting to visit the battle sites of the 19th century land wars that began here in Taranaki.

As for my health, it’s never been better. The joints and the back act up after a day on my knees laying paving stones, but no more than you’d expect in your 70th year. The blood pressure pills have been halved and the cholesterol seems to be staying down (when I stay off the pies – all that physical labour makes for an enormous appetite).

The 18-year-old pee stream (was that some kind of obsession or what) has diminished, but it’s still a good flow. Orgasms have never been so intense (those nerves really did get joined up again).

So that’s about it. I’m good, thanks. Best of luck to those of you still on the journey.



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