People with Cancer and Cancer Survivors in the same group?

22nd May 2015, Sydney Australia

I am in the car outside the hospital awaiting my next MRI scan. Honestly, there was no stress or thought directed to the outcomes prior to sleeping last night. I can only think and hope that overtime, the procedure is comparable to routine visits with the dentist. Usually, not deemed a favourite place to attend, yet, essential to ensuring everything is ok.

Strangely, a conversation from the initial consulting stage of my project has just come to mind involving an Associate Professor from Sydney University. The relevance of the discussion to my current circumstances links with the planning whereby I toyed with the idea of having people with Cancer and Cancer Survivors in the same group. My reasoning was that both groups could benefit from the exchanges, namely, the creation of group dynamics where survivors are made to feel empowered through their journey whilst the other group can learn and be equipped by the shared stories. Logic prevailed on the matter, realising a separation of the groups was a better option, and this point is only strengthened by days when visiting the hospital for the MRI scan. Admittedly, I am still on treatment and had surgery 15 months ago, however, wish to put this chapter of life behind me, and feel that time passes this period will be seen as a key moment in my life, however, not a moment I hold onto for ever. Therefore, the decision to focus on one particular group was made, and currently being pursued.

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Cancer, chemo and a return date to work

19th May 2015: Sydney, Australia

It appears my body has fought off the infection calling a return to usual activity. I am confident of saying the early symptoms were detected on Thursday morning before heading to the park to complete the calisthenic training I have been doing recently. The question is two fold. Would a day of rest prevented the symptoms from eventuating? If so, was the period more tolerable knowing my training schedule for the week was not impacted, with the two planned sessions already completed?

I am unable to accurately answer the initial question, however, in response to the latter point, I can definitely state the period was much more tolerable knowing my exercise schedule for the week had been implemented according to the plan. In fact, measuring the level of stress placed on my mind and body should I have not chosen to train last Thursday morning weighed against training is not comparable. I can understand the response contradicts previous entires whereby the importance of rest is highlighted. I think context is required though, especially bearing in mind the learning undertaking over the past 18 months in discovering what works best for my mind and body. Furthermore, it is evident that rest is seen as a pivotal part of my planning. The scheduled period into each of my ten week plans and the fact of allowing my body to completely rest for the remainder of the week demonstrates the attention placed on the area.

I recognise many may not share my opinion, however, movement is at the core of my health. Regardless of whether I am on treatment or when the time arrives for it to conclude, movement/physical exercise will always play a crucial role in my life. I think it is reasonable to suggest some people may suggest if I am capable of moving in a park, surfing or completing yoga, then I would be fit for work. I disagree completely, and would strongly voice my opinion to those who wish to draw flaws in my argument. In the first instance, the fluctuating side-effects experienced would be mentioned, then I would support my point of view with reference to the increasing amount of literature highlighting the importance of moving for people who are receiving treatment. Furthermore, factoring in the pressure and stressors involved in work compound all the points to make me physically, emotionally and mentally incapable of performing to the best of my ability at work. To conclude, I only see a detrimental outcome of entering work too early, and a total separation between moving for the better of my health and having the energy to undertake all the tasks involved in a job.