My bags are packed, I’m ready to go. In a perfect world I would have been running around crazily at this point in time, packing my bag in preparation for my trip to Minneapolis.

About two weeks ago it was decided I would tour with the Sydney Convicts Bingham Cup defence squad. If we win again it will be the team’s third consecutive victory — a feat not achieved by any other side.

The team is a very determined group and they get things done and in a matter of weeks they had raised enough money to help fly me along … well, at least in a perfect world.

You see, I could feel the stress engulfing me. Trip preparations and working every night were exhausting and my body was telling me to slow down — a message I didn’t listen to.

Mid last week I started to feel a little funny, but pushed it aside and passed it off as excitement. By Friday, as I was about to embark on a huge weekend of work before flying out on the Monday, I’d developed a small rash on my forehead and another inside my eye. Spooked, I trotted off to the doctor.

“Have you been dealing with increased stress and being run down?” the doctor asked. I proceeded to explain the trip. She looked over her glasses: “So you have to go?”. She prescribed a pill and said if my eye got any worse I had to see her immediately.

After a full night of work — starting at the Colombian Hotel, then SSO’s 30th birthday at Arq — I started to feel worse. I could manage an hour at Arq before I felt so drained I had to find somewhere to lay my head.
I woke the next morning to find one side of my face had swollen up like the elephant man. I dialled the doctor. “Is it an emergency?” he asked.

It turns out I have shingles, a terrible stress-related ailment. I was advised to cancel my trip as it would put both my health and the health of those around me at risk.

I was disappointed — but health comes first. So instead of packing my bags I lie here at home, pumped up on bucketloads of medication, one eye slowly deciding to open, my cat and dog doing their best to look after me.

I know the Convicts are going to kick arse and I do wish I was there with them, but my body is saying it’s time to slow down and I am going to listen to it.

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