I am going overseas, so just rip the tooth out!!

9th March 2015: Sydney, Australia

I was correct about the over-reaction to the pain from Thursday. Scans revealed the source of the pain was a swelling of my gums around one of my remaining wisdom teeth. Initially, attempts were made to apply gel to the region, however, three days of pain resulted in the decision to just booking an extraction of the tooth. My thinking was based on two ideas. Firstly, if I am in pain, it is preferable to be in pain knowing the tooth has gone, and secondly, it is far better eliminating potential concerns before travelling overseas during the winter months.

One of the points associated with this process was the delay in getting the tooth extracted, and this derives from the concerns held about the treatment I am receiving. Obviously, it is essential point to be considered, and in all honesty, my Professor made a fairly swift response. It was just another factor reinforcing the restrictions on planning due to my circumstances. Two examples come immediately to mind in regards to this topic. The waiting period as mentioned is one such factor, and the other being the need to be fully equipped for the planned overseas travel to Indonesia over the months of June/July. Factors to consider include a heightened awareness of the food eaten due to concerns and implications with my Cortisol levels should I become ill, the exploration of travel insurance options excluding any Cancer related concerns plus future decisions regarding use of injections and medications whilst away. On reflection, all points should really be factored into travel, so possibly on my behalf it’s more a lack of vigilance in the past.

To conclude, I am completely content with the prospect of being in a pain for another week. My reasoning, I have the knowledge it is simply a tooth ache 😄

Drama, over-reaction and a whole heap of stress!!

6th March 2015: Sydney, Australia

I write this in a Endone haze, en-route to the dentist. At 5am last night, I woke to a throbbing agony coming from my mouth. I was only able to endure roughly five minutes of pain prior to taking 5ml of an opiate based medicine called Endone. Another five minutes past before a consecutive tablet was consumed. Subconsciously, I think a comparison to the last time I woke in agony from my sleep triggered the decision to take the tablets, and I honestly believe the pain-relief has eased some anxiety linked to a fear of whether the pain is a new Cancer. In addition, the decision acted in accordance with the recommendation of the Anaesthetist when last in hospital whereby I was informed it was better to get on top of the pain before it escalates rather than waiting till it gets stronger.

On reflection, my response this morning was probably over dramatic, causing unnecessary stress for my parents, and situations as such are still an area I am yet to conquer. In typical circumstances an ache from my mouth would have been associated with a need for dental appointment, and when taking the time to sit back to analyse the situation, it seems probable of this outcome proving to be accurate. The difficultly is the slight niggle of wondering whether it is Cancer related. Therefore, a sequence of highly rushed events follow, leaving a trail of destruction around me, including panic, stress and associated expenses. If one point was to be highlighted it would be a vulnerability evident in my life, and it appears at these certain times, a crack in my armour can easily be be made, resulting in an over-reaction. As mentioned, it is an area I am yet to conquer, and very similar to the incident whereby I called the ambulance due to the blood coming out of my mouth whilst brushing my teeth. There is an irony of the paradox existing in the attempt to support others implement a plan in their lives for similar moments, yet, it is the very area I am yet to have confidence in applying myself.

I am hopeful it is just an ache associated with my teeth, and a massive over-reaction, however, it reinforces a number of keys points. Most notably, my reliance on the support from parents; the immediate seeking of attention from the Professor overseeing my care for advise when struck with a cause of concern; the negative effects of Endone after consuming the tablets, and the reality of the Cancer experience still heavily effecting my life. The positive to draw from these points is the fact that the Sunflower Framework covers all these topics, and although I am aware no script for all people can be devised, it seems probable others would experience similar concerns. Therefore, a strength in the content seems to shine, and hopefully an opportunity is provided for a pilot to be operated over the coming year to truly test the benefits for other people with Cancer.

Future vision for work

4th March 2015: Sydney, Australia

Recently, I have been thinking about a model to base a private consulting practice upon. The idea consists of having two separate arms, targeting both people with Cancer and others in the community with varying concerns. The two populations would be served by two separate theories. Namely, the Sunflower Framework for people with Cancer and the MESA principles, another model I devised to work with young people or adults with any number of concerns. The separation caters to a wide range of the community, with an underlying theme connecting the two principles together.

Obviously, a lot more work is required to bring the idea to fruition, with advertising, the creation of a website and other factors to be considered, however, it seems a realistic, achievable and feasible option to explore when I am ready to renter the workforce. I understand the theory has not been explained, and is untested. Therefore, further focus and attention is required on the matter, including the undertaking of a process (peer reviews and consultations with other professionals/academics) similar to the efforts involved in launching the Sunflower Framework.

Further updates will be provided as and when attention is directed to the matter.

Holiday time…

2nd March 2015: Sydney, Australia

I have had great doubt in regards to spending time away over the winter months. It is such a new phenomenon, and with much regret I admit the concerns derive from a fear resulting of being alone for a significant period of time whilst thinking about how I would cope when a bout of nausea arises.

Thoughts about being unwell can either be seen as a realistic outlook based on experiences from the last year or a future script determining how my body will react. Admittedly, I think the latter explanation holds greater weight, and is reflective of the fear governing my life. A commonality of fear also exists in relation to being alone, and is completely new terrain for me. Previous travel has seen me leave my country of residence without any hesitation. An assurance of having a passport and cash would be sufficient preparation to book a train or flight overseas. An example coming immediately to mind is when I walked from my house to St Pancras station in London, and ended up travelling through Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovenia for a two week period.

The change in my mindset and overall approach to living is interesting, particularly when considering how a degree of fear has managed to creep into my life. Fortunately, I have been able to recognise these changes, and an incident today reinforced the need to face this challenge. As touched upon, it appeared the decision was made to not undertake the planned holiday, however, a moment whereby I was walking up the beach on an overcast day made me really question the narrative created for myself about being lonely whilst reaffirming my complete apprehension towards cold weather. Consequently, airing these points has made the decision a lot easier. Firstly, I know the same amount of pleasure will not be found in winter here compared to the life lived in South East Asia, and secondly, this whole created narrative about being unwell and how I will cope needs to be shattered. Therefore, I have arrived at a place, confident in knowing the best solution to overcome both points is to just book the flights with the rest of the planning simply falling into place. Lastly, I need to both recall and implement a saying used over the past year. In varying circumstances, I have described my circumstances as being time rich, yet money poor. Surely, I have to truly live out this belief rather than regretting a lost opportunity at a later stage, especially when bearing in mind my intentions of returning to work next year.

An activity designed to help others manage stressors in their lives

1st March 2015: Sydney, Australia

An ever constant doubt about the relationships in my life, future job prospects and my overall identity have resulted in the formation of a concept to help switch my mind into a mode whereby change is possible. A need to support my thinking resulted from an increasing amount of stress placed on my mind and body from the factors mentioned above. The idea is fairly basic, with the foundations based on a strategy where mental imagery is used in coordination with a directed focus of giving sufficient space to matters of importance so they can be processed rather than blocked into my subconscious. Application of the concept is relevant to the emotions involved in breaking up with my ex-girlfriend whilst also playing a role in managing the feelings associated in response to the knowledge of living on Chemotherapy due to the removal of the Cancerous tumour growing inside me.

A description of the concept entails centring upon the matter causing stress, then mental imagery is used to create a visualisation of my hands letting go of balloons as a means of signifying the release of the stress from my mind and body. I have found an increased size of balloon correlates directly with a greater intensity of thoughts. Furthermore, the idea has also expanded at peak periods whereby I need to actually physically open and release my hand to replicate a bunch of balloons flying away from my hands. Interestingly, the created image was not planned in advance. Rather, the use of balloons came to my consciousness whilst attempting to find acceptance in both situations and was seen to be a fitting image, especially with the symbolism connected to letting a bunch of balloons release from your hands. To conclude, I must add there is no research to support the proposed strategy, and it may not be useful for all, however, it has proved useful for circumstances, so I wished to share it with others.

Instability masked as a question about life..

26th February 2015: Sydney, Australia

I was sitting in the surf considering the entry yesterday, and thought an alternate view should be proposed to the seemingly apparent dependency I have on drugs. The question I pose is whether my day actually revolves around a reliance on pills or do they simply provide the capacity to live a life whereby yoga; surfing; my writing; attention on fitness, and healthy eating can constantly feature?

In response, it is undeniable that drugs feature within my life, however, it appears the proposal of an alternate view serves a greater purpose. One whereby a clearer demonstration of the very fabrics governing my life is displayed, namely, the ever shifting feelings encountered on a daily basis, and regardless of the topic of drugs, the major point brought to attention is the inability to just put forth one view, and standby the words scribed when my feelings fluctuate the following day. A matter seemingly more strenuous when writing in the midst of a battle against the night monsters who seem to terrorise my consciousness when my head hits the pillow compared to a more stable chain of thoughts experienced during day light hours.

Am I drug addict or just reliant on drugs to survive?

25th February, 2015: Sydney Australia

Prior to sleeping last night, a chain of thinking brought to surface a reality in my life about a perceived reliance and newly formed rigidity resulting from the need for pills to be consumed at set intervals throughout the day.

Interestingly, a link to this perceived reliance stems to the corresponding period last year whereby the drug Endone, an opium based pain-relief medicine was essential in managing the period following my surgery. A number of vivid images come to mind when thinking of the time when I was taking Endone, most notably, the ability of the drug to quickly take away the intense throbbing pain associated with the weeping wound. For many weeks post discharge, a typical day would commence at approximately 3am whereby I would painfully reach over to the tablets next to my bed before going back to sleep. The next moment of pain were experienced in the morning when a dishevelled version of myself would be seen to walk upstairs with a sour look on my face. At the time, it seems the face signalled a chain of events to occur, starting with my mum immediately giving me the necessary pills whilst also starting a massage on my back to help reduce any pain. It should be noted that a husky grunt or groan were the only noises heard till I was able to verbally communicate. Usually, the primitive form of communication would last forty minutes till any sort of food would be considered, and just like now, planning would then centre around the timing for having my next set of pills whilst in complete contradiction a battle was ongoing in my mind based on timeframes for when I would no longer be taking any drugs.

I opt for the term reliance, due specifically to both a physical and mental need to consume my current prescription of drugs. Personal observations have brought to mind the switch when recognising I am late taking the pills. It is apparent a psychosomatic reaction is triggered, particularly in relation to the required dose of Cortisol. For instance, any sign of fatigue or nausea is always represented to be directly caused from not adhering to the scheduling of my tablets. Consequently, a sense of urgency rushes throughout my thinking till I have consumed the drugs. I do see some merit in my reaction, especially as my body only obtains the necessary Cortisol in an artificial form, however, I have difficulty accepting the concept of the seemingly adept ability of my body to perform at a usual level till it registers that I am late taking the dose, and that very knowledge places me in the position whereby I see my life revolving around a routine of drugs. A point I do not wish to feature for the rest of my life.

Ok, we have split! Now let the post-breakup clean out commence…

23rd February 2015: Sydney, Australia

The cleanup of my relationship has commenced. I am fully aware the decision was made only approximately a month ago, so doubts constantly occur whether a cleanup is too premature, particularly when a picture, song or one of the many reminders in my life leads me to a place mixed with nostalgia and a desire for the situation to be varied. It seems I romanticise on all the good times enjoyed together, with no capacity to recall any of the times we argued. Interestingly, it was the very the same incapacity when breaking up with my last girlfriend, who I must add, was the complete opposite, and was able to conjure all kinds of reasons for not being together. Obviously, the right decision was previously made right?

An expansion of the cleanup process is most probably needed. I have not gone to the extremes of burning photos and letters. Rather, making subtle changes so I am no longer getting constant memories triggered by the wide range of methods available. A point seeming more apt in the times of social media. In addition, the modifications to my lifestyle result in me actually needing to confront the stark realities of the situation, and it appears I am constantly deploying a level of restraint to target the range of temptations experienced. Frequently times occur when a message, call or just a look to see how she has been doing can be a dominant thought, and it is the application of mental exercises that have ensured such actions haven’t been followed.

The cleanup process links directly to an acceptance of the situation, and similarities in tactics can be drawn from the learning associated with thoughts relating to the tumour inside of me last year. I could easily fall into a dark headspace with my feelings, however, use of mental exercises, integration of movement into my life and other factors have helped me work to a place whereby I can process the feelings of the breakup whilst applying blockers in place that restrict me from becoming obsessive about the circumstances, and falling completely off track in my life. One final point is how evident the breakup has been in proving to be a distraction from my health concerns. Not by any means the best distraction, however, a clear shift, demonstrating the opportunity for other stories to take priority in my life. A trend I wish to continue for many years to follow.

Why feeling at home is more comforting as time passes..

20th February 2015: Sydney Australia

An element of ‘being at home’ appears to continually provide a level of comfort and security to my overall well-being and mental state, and I would add, this feeling has most definitely grown over the past year, especially bearing in mind past travel and time spent working overseas. If I were to pinpoint the reasoning for the change, I would simply associate a degree of ease felt when returning home. An ease with a place is fairly vague statement, especially considering the completely relaxed surroundings I was immersed within during the past week. The difference though is the absolute comfort in knowing all, or the majority of my basic human needs can be readily met without any effort. I guess a criticism could easily make reference to a reliance on the support, namely my parents seeming evident, and for a now 31 year man this is surely not desirable. My response is fairly untypical of comments made in the past, and in no way am I playing the victim, however, the reality is I had Cancer and am now routinely feelings the side-effects of Chemotherapy. I must note my recognition for the difficulties others endure, many who experience a higher degree of discomfort or pain, however, the impact the overall experience has had on me is still severe enough to cause evident changes to my seemingly apparent vulnerability.

I believe further unfolding events are certain to follow, even after the conclusion of the treatment. Already, financial, career, interpersonal and personal aspects of my life have been effected, and yes, some of these points can be balanced against gains incorporated into my life, but, in reality I am in my infancy with my experience, and future unknown challenges surrounding the aftermath of treatment are inevitable. In saying that, a level of caution is required to ensure I remain grounded within the norms of life. It needs to be remembered that all people will face future challenges of some degree in their life, regardless of whether they have endured Cancer. Therefore, attention needs to centre on the present moment, and a step towards achieving that would be to recognise I am in the comforts of my home with no stress in any way placed on me. A point seeming more important in my life as time passes on.

Questions about who I am..

18th February 2015: Depot Beach (New South Wales East Coast)

It seems an important aspect of removing myself from Sydney with a good friend to such a quiet location has facilitated the process to concentrate and later discuss in confidence a number of matters that have been at the forefront of my thinking. Namely, my relationship and place in life, and not just in a context of a person recently single after my breakup, however, my relationship with the story that defines me as a person who is on treatment for Cancer.

I must acknowledge, there are times whereby doubts about future prospects are ever present, and consequently I am left to live between paradoxical states. I also recognise, it is impossible to just define my relationship with Cancer in an instant. Admittedly, I do feel opportunities, such as the life lived in the current surroundings greatly promote a deeper understanding of the connection had with myself, and lastly, the option of just allowing my body and mind to drift into the tranquility, slow pace and peace available on offer in my current environment acts comparably to a spiritual retreat whereby every chance is available to both seek and receive many questions relating to who I am as a person.