19th December 2014: Sydney. Australia

I had a meeting with an Associate Professor from Sydney University today in the hope of making progress with the planning of my Sunflower Framework. Overall, the outcomes seemed positive with details of other researches provided, feedback on the proposal provided and an arrangement to meet again in January to further discuss the matter. I am hopeful a positive result awaits, and need my motivation to continue, especially with the road ahead still seeming a long way till confirmation is obtained stating research and or operation of framework can commence.

Just to note, there was a considerable amount of difficulty experienced in preparing for the meeting. Yesterday, fleeting thoughts passed through my mind surrounding doubts in attending the meeting plus my overall mental and physical state seemed to complicate all the tasks involved in appropriately equipping myself. It is hard to define my actual state, it’s not a feeling of nausea or exhaustion from the cold over the past two weeks. Rather, an overall subdued feeling, making daily tasks seem almost overwhelming. The effort needed to continue currently write an entry definitely meets this criteria. I feel some change is required, and consequently I am inclined to review the daily logs from the past year to compare the foods consumed around the period of April/June compared to now. The goal is to assess whether a degree of complacency has crept itself into my daily life, possibly having a correlation with this prolonged feeling. I guess May/June will provide a good bearing as it was at the time when I was extensively reading and listening to information about food and nutrition. Another area of my life missing will be the difference in undertaking yoga on a daily basis at a centre compared to completing my poses at home. I had information from my doctor today advising me I had climbed into the therapeutic window for my treatment, meaning the amount of chemotherapy circulating throughout my body has increased rather significantly prior to the period of April/June. Therefore, an explanation of these changes could simply derive from this increase, a very likely possibility, however, it will still be useful to see how else I combat the feelings I have to return to a better stage of health within my mind and body.

Will Cancer always be like a fin in the ocean, and I need to wait to discover whether a shark or dolphin is in my prescence?

17th December 2014: Sydney, Australia

I seem to have developed the capacity to constantly draw meaning from the surrounding environment to my personal circumstances. The event leading to these chain of thoughts was again located within the ocean whilst surfing, and has acted as a reminder of how important it is to connect with nature, especially the ocean. The difficulty immediately coming to mind is the upcoming future decision to be made in regards to my long distance relationship. It may be argued whether a connection with the ocean is a necessity in my life, however, I must not overlook the appeal the ocean has on me, particularly how calming it can be; it’s natural beauty; the occurrences that seem to bring certain thinking to surface, and importantly the enjoyment and overall feeling of joy associated with the times spent either swimming, surfing or gazing into the horizon. In addition, my life has virtually revolved around the ocean since birth, eliciting an emptiness at the thought of this not featuring in my future life. I do acknowledge all the wonders brought to my life by my relationship, and therefore lies the very complex problem of what decision is to be made.

The circumstances today were experienced alone, a somewhat rare occasion, especially when in the summer months of Australia. To place content in the event, it should be noted that I was in a slightly elevated state of anxiety due to recent shark sightings over consecutive weekends. So, when my eyesight saw a pair of dolphins jumping through the water, thoughts of what were accompanying the dolphins initially blocked my ability to completely bask in the majestic beauty of the playfulness occurring directly in front of me. A few moments later, a fin was seen cruising approximately 50 meters from where I saw the dolphins. Instinctively, I knew it was just the dolphins, however, the thought was reinforced of whether a shark was trailing the dolphins. A break in this chain of thought resulted from a number of similar fins accompanying this lone fin, reassuring me of the fact that I was surrounded by a group of dolphins gently playing in the surrounding water.

The question thought at a later stage centred upon the significance of knowing it was dolphins. If there was no knowledge about dolphins, then it is highly likely I would have been extremely scared of the prospect of what damage a shark could inflict upon me, and whether I would have gone in the water at the same time again. Therefore, I need to ask, what if the Cancer inside of me was the fin? If so, can the feeling ever be replicated whereby I sigh at a relief of knowing I am not in any sort of danger, or alternatively, will I forever initially feel a degree of anxiety and fear in varying situations throughout my life?

The narratives in my life..

15th December 20114: Sydney, Australia

I have been contemplating the correlation between the decision to pay so much attention to not feeling well and the prolonged period whereby I was actually feeling unwell. It seems two interchanging approaches are applied in my life. Firstly, the desired approach consisting of implementing mental exercises to harvest physical improvements in my life, and an overall narrative based around self improvement. In contrast, a varying focus exists, one specifically based on getting better whilst an ever present frustration looms at the thought of being unwell. Therefore, when dissecting the differences, the latter approach seems to only cement a state of stress combined with the physical components of feeling unwell whilst the former, provides motivation to improve in all areas of my life. The task is to recognise my outlook may shift according to my circumstances, however, my overall narrative must not diverge from progression to a debilitating incapacity.

If happy, maybe consider not reading :)

13th December 2014: Sydney, Australia

I am drawing similarities between my life and driving a car. The example coming to mind is when you are driving endlessly when a growing excitement is felt at the realisation that the turnoff to a destination becomes visible only be struck by road works causing a temporary road closure. As the passage attempts to suggest, improvements in my life were appearing to come to fruition. Instead, I felt worse than before with a severe bout of nausea combined with cold/flu symptoms relentlessly smashing me into a horizontal for most of the day. To say a smile was at all shown throughout the day would be lying. It seems I am only finding humour now in the absurdity of my thinking.

Then, I think about the prospect of a good night sleep after three hours rest already had during the day. What a happy place I seem to be in…

Well your health is all clear at the moment so everything is fine… Or is it?

12th December 2014: Sydney, Australia

I am fairly settled at home, albeit there is no job featuring in my life, however, I have been here long enough now for a sense of normality to have kicked in. The stark reality is that the normality I was so accustomed to is no longer in existence. It is of course an inevitable part of life, with people evolving and growing with their individual journeys. It is a rather blatant statement to make but the adjustment phase, if it can be labelled as such would have been a smoother process without the lifestyle changes I have made, namely, the virtual ceasing of drinking alcohol. Consequently, options to socialise during the night have become limited, especially when bearing in mind the non-committal stance shown in regards to social occasions resulting from my side-effects and to some degree the lingering psychological effects of my whole situation. I am not being down on myself, however, the reality of the situation is that the expectations of my friends would be fairly well established prior to spending a night with me. In addition, the age and life decisions usually being made by someone of my age, relates to planning with a partner, a point outlining what I deem the secondary effects of experiencing Cancer and having such uncertainty in my life. It is now nearing the end of the year, and I have absolutely no idea what next year holds for me. The situation can definitely be framed in two positions. Firstly, a sense of worry regrading relationships and future employment or a positive reframe to look at the year full of opportunities previously not within my outlook at the time. Interestingly, no mention of my health came to my mind, again, it was the secondary factors associated with such a circumstance taking priority, and I feel this point is pivotal to other people developing an understanding of the experience of Cancer. I feel it could be a case of, “well your health is all clear at the moment so everything is fine”. To some degree, that in fact is the case as the secondary factors wouldn’t be mentioned should my health deteriorate, however, am I just going to stagnate at 30 years old, being content with reduced social, employment and monetary aspects in my life? Of course not. I don’t think there is any easy solution. Rather, I feel it is going to be adjusting in all areas of my life, and when having this mindset there is little separation from me to many others with or without health concerns.

My ever active mind was benched, witnessing the wonders of the body on display

11th December 2014: Sydney

In the morning, I was completing a yoga routine with supposed benefits for people experiencing cold/flu symptoms. It consists of seven restorative floor based poses, and it has actually been successful over the past few days in relieving some of the sinus. A sequence unfolded throughout the routine resulting in a completely varied series of movements unconsciously becoming integrated into the routine. I must note, there was no thinking or planning behind the actions of my body to bend into varying poses, it just seemed my body was enhancing the routine with additional poses. The experience appeared to be a case whereby my body rather than my mind was in control. Almost like my body was making decisions based on a knowledge of an improved state of health whilst armoured with an understanding of how much it was able diverge from the planned routine.

I believe the events from this morning demonstrate a time where my body was in complete control, with my ever active mind being relegated to the superiority of the wonders of the body. In summary, the experience reinforced the need to create an environment that allows another unanswered agreement between my mind and body to occur. One final point would be to make reference to the mental components associated with the experience because upon concluding the full routine, my mind felt so fresh and alter. Thus, leading me to believe that a return to full health has occurred, and the odd yet extremely powerful connection between my mind and body became evident.

Is change coming…

10th December 2014: Sydney Australia

The road may be changing, well at least it feels like it is, and I am hoping upon waking up tomorrow morning signals further changes from how I currently feel. It simply can be labelled another day of rest, I did manage a surf and added some extra movement into my gentle relaxing yoga routine, however, overall it was a very quiet and uneventful day. It seems the idea of attempting to discover a somewhat miracle cure to future illnesses was a little unrealistic, in reality, nature has taken it’s course, and now I am starting to feel better. There would be inconclusive evidence to prove any of my actions has helped my circumstances and were a better choice than opting for either no changes in my life or opting for use of medicine. I guess, the attention placed on recovering faster can reinforce a belief about the capacity of my body to heal. Alternatively, as was showed yesterday, my mood can become deflated.

Another matter brought to my awareness over the past few days is the aroused curiosity on the reasoning for two colds striking within three months, bearing in mind no ill-health was experienced since the operation. The last blood results revealed no striking abnormality in regards to my white blood cells, dismissing the potential of the chemotherapy causing a weakened immunity. Again, I may be reporting very flawed information due to my lack of medical knowledge, and am basing this on my seemingly limited understanding of the body, however, it interesting, and hopefully is just a case of having sequential colds opposed to a matter much more severe.

Like Gollum I am drawn to something…

9th December 2014: Sydney, Australia

I will persist with this theme till I rid my body of this cold/flu. An emergence of a deflated mood and associated thoughts has surfaced. Perspective is most definitely needed on my circumstances, and I refuse to spiral down the depths of my thought process for such normal occurrences. Instead, the matter was just needing to be mentioned, adding my clear intentions to move on. The question posed though is how do I just describe my feelings and move on? Instantly, I seem drawn to negative aspects that seems apparent within my thinking, similar to the insatiable desire Gollum has to once again obtain the ring. My limited knowledge of The Lord of the Rings needs to be raised, and admittedly the comparison may not have truly represented the lack of motivation and negative overall outlook on life seemingly evident within my thinking. The incapacity to exercise, complete yoga or surf appears to be an antecedent to a certain chain of thoughts, however, interestingly, the process of writing, albeit brief has already relived some of the destructive patterns circulating throughout my mind.

The relevance of exercise in my life most definitely stems from the narrative created about the need to progress and evolve in every-way possible. Again, focus is on the physical aspects of my life, yet, it stretches far wider. For example, the lack of motivation to either write a journal entry or commence preparation for the imminent meeting at Sydney University for my group proposal shows I am not completely dedicated to progressing in all areas of my life. In addition, if we were to look at my social connections you would see a detachment from those around me, and finally, the renewed focus on meditation has again limited with it difficult to obtain a state within my body and mind allowing me to direct attention. I feel a counter argument is to follow, and in essence the basis of the argument relates to how a cold/flu effects other people. It would not be inaccurate to suggest similar changes would be noticed when others are not feeling the best. Although, I recognise this, I am still unable to separate myself from the need and importance I place on trying to excel in my life. Whether this is actually being implemented or not is obviously debatable, and external feedback would only be the real way of quantifying this neurotic and maybe delusion view on my life. I wonder what degree of neuroticism would actually exist in my life if I did seek this external feedback.

Meditation and my influences…

8th December 2014: Sydney, Australia

The saga continues. My day thus far included two sleeps, a gentle yoga session, and three periods of meditation. In addition, more time in the sun, a repeat of the cleanse in the salt water and the added element of laughter. Interestingly, a point overlooked yesterday was the unexpected social encounter with a friend whilst swimming. The time spent chuckling with a friend should have featured, particularly when considering the power of laughter and social connection on our well-being. In terms of measuring the trajectory of this flu. Overall, I would seem to be feeling better, namely, with the sore throat appearing to have disappeared, and hopefully this signals further progress tomorrow with a return to full heath very shortly.

A point I am wanting to get across is for the need to develop and maintain a routine when meditating to support my body switch from the ever present mode of thinking into one more at peace and conducive to healing. Currently, the following phrase has been repeated in my mind before bowing my head to kiss my hands, “I have strength, I have power, I will progress, I will become more intelligent and I am hoping for good health for all my loved ones”. I then focus on five main points within my body, those points being my middle eye and symmetrical points in both my hands and feet. I have never planned for such a routine, and the influences coming to my attention appear to derive from a combination of readings about the power of frontal lobe, i.e. the middle eye and a Jeudo/Christian image of Christ. Surprisingly, I have no connection with a religion so am unsure of how an image of Christ has appeared into my consciousness, possibly just a classic case of the subtle effects of priming, and the power of tapping into the unconscious mind to influence behaviour and thinking. On this matter, it is my knowledge, that the five points are included in an Eastern Approach to medicine for their potential healing powers, leading me to deduce another unknown influence that has surfaced into my subconscious mind. Lastly, I am aware my process has evolved since first being exposed to the connection between the mind and body, and may be exported in greater depth in a later entry to portray my personal journey thus far.