Gut health, and how it shows my progression

16th August 2015: Melbourne, Australia

I have walked away from the two day Wellness Summit focused on researching the benefits of improving the health of my gut through the use of fermenting foods and traditional broths. The information absorbed throughout the time has introduced me to the microbiome specific within all of us. My reading this morning only reinforces the seemingly build of momentum on the topic within the world of health. Basically, the limited knowledge I have suggests the microbiome is a collection of biomes that drive genetic expression to either turn genes on or off depending on which microbes are present. Therefore, the use of fermented foods and traditional broths will hopefully both combat and restore the havoc caused by antibiotics, chemotherapy and other chemicals exposed to in the environment.

Admittedly, the health of the gut was an area I overlooked till now. In the past, my main emphasis was directed to the broad areas of nutrition, movement, and a shift followed to centre upon my mind. On reflection, the expansion into the area of the gut appears to be the very reflection of an organic evolution into my wellness journey, and fortunately, I had the opportunity of being completely immersed in an environment to facilitate such growth. Furthermore, possibly I was more inclined to focus on making changes to my nutrition and movement, namely, due to the familiarity I have in these areas compared to other more complex matters. Similar to other areas, it seems more advantageous to reach an end point from building blocks at a starting point where some connection can initially made. Otherwise, a compete and utter sense of being overwhelmed could easily cause a halt to any progression. As noted, the starting point for me were the areas of nutrition and movement, and honestly, some fairly difficult times are still experienced in these areas, however, a greater understanding of these areas has allowed the space in my mind to expand into other matters relating to my health and wellness journey.

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Questions about life

14th August 2015: Melbourne, Australia

I am currently in Melbourne for a two day summit hosted by the creators of a podcast called, The Wellness Guys. There is no guessing what the theme is based upon, and honestly, the timing could not be more apt. A lack of writing over the last week resulted from a questioning about the direction in my life. Admittedly, it may sound rather strange if reading the last post, and it should be noted I was in a very tranquil state when away, however, the mood quickly shifted upon returning home. All week an emphasis on my narrative was at the forefront of my consciousness, and I can truthfully say a belief surfaced about the need for a change in my life. An overwhelming sense of simply stagnating in a hole of limbo with limited prospects currently available in my life was present. Importantly, the whole system of thoughts and worries stemmed for an emphasis on a narrative about my life. I have personally seen my story recently based on strength, positive changes and personal growth, however, I questioned what evidence supports this. Some may argue I am overly hard on myself. In response, I would say this is a favourable explanation, and in no way represents a narrative based on strength and overall progression.

How best to heal

7th August 2015: Sydney, Australia

The idea of weening myself off pain-medication seems like an achievable goal, however, leave the thought with me for a little longer, and my intentions become skewed. Consequently, the wound starts to throb, and I end up taking pills.

One intriguing point regarding the pain-relief medication occurred at the farm yesterday, adding weight to my position of the place being seen as a retreat. For instance, bearing in mind I have taken three tablets today, the amount consumed yesterday only totalled one. Many factors could contribute to the drop in usage, including the fresh country air, tranquil surroundings, reduced bodily output due to continual support from friends or simply a case of my mind being distracted from the pain due to constant company or the captivating natural environment. The disparity in usage could be categorised as a normal fluctuating phenomenon associated with pain. Alternatively, attention can be directed to the supposed health and healing benefits found in nature, and this very concept has further aroused my interest in spending the period of October and November basked in the far northern NSW sunlight whilst encapsulated by the neighbouring mountain range and ocean. I am unable to think of a better plan conducive to my recovery and healing.

My own retreat!

6th August 2015: Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia

Yesterday, I made reference to my current dwellings resembling a retreat, and on reflection, an avoidance of initially labelling the place a retreat resulted from a modern interpretation of the meaning associated with the term. Namely, an exclusive and expensive place whereby your health is promoted via a range of differing options. Now, if we were to make a comparison from my current dwellings to anywhere else, I do not feel any more benefits could be obtained. In reality, my friends and I are on very our own retreat, and fortunately, the typically exorbitant costs associated with a retreat have been eliminated. We are secluded from the wider community; engrossed within a natural landscape; eating hand picked fruit and vegetables, and living a life operating on a pace whereby there is ample opportunity to safely explore the concept of “self”. In addition, the company of close friends has considerable advantages, especially bearing in mind my current need to have people supporting me.

The significance of having close friends should not be underestimated or categorised simply as a selfish need due to my limited mobility. Of course, it is extremely helpful to have support to ensure I do not over exert myself, however, the company of my friends play a vital role in assuring my family members that I am safe whilst importantly establishing a joyful and positive atmosphere for the entirety of the group. Furthermore, the complete independence and freedom allows the creation of an atmosphere where no time regulations or stress are placed upon us. I completely recognise the biased stance put forth, however, I honestly feel this place is the ultimate environment conducive for my current circumstances, and would most definitely opt for this place above and beyond any alternate available options.

Time for a retreat

5th August 2015: Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia

I am writing a brief entry from a farm approximately two hours north of Sydney. The 10 acreages is more reflective of a health retreat rather than a basic farm I imagine you first conjured in your mind. The main residence is beautifully designed, with each piece eclectically made by hand over the span of two decades. I feel very fortunate to have a friend who has allowed me and two others into the treasured jewel, the place his family call their home away from home. It seems it has been an ever evolving project whilst maintaining a degree of tranquility seemingly imprinted into the DNA of the structure. At present, there is no other placeĀ I would rather be. Constantly, my eyes alternate between discovering a unique design of the house and simply taking in the sprawling views of the property. It is actually unbelievable to be sitting adjacent to a fire, totally immobilised by the pain and restriction of the surgery whilst feelingcompletely disconnected from the stressors associated with life. In all honestly, I must say a hope is felt in the paradox existing between the distance felt with my experiences over the past month and how my circumstnaces will unfold over the coming years.

Can the antioxidants in red wine be helpful for Cancer?

4th August 2015: Sydney, Australia

Two days ago the topic was Cannabis oil, yesterday we touched upon sunshine, so it is rather fitting to make red wine the focal point of discussion today. Upon first waking up this morning, I was researching about the varying types. Obviously, my intention was not to awkwardly shuffle my way to a bottle shop in order to purchase some wine for the day. Rather, further explore the supposed health benefits associated with red wine, and decide whether a glass of red wine aligns more with my future planning compared to say, a cider as was being consumed prior to finding out the tumour had regrown. In all honesty, I would be really stretching the meaning attached to ‘thatsortofhealthyguy’ if the first thought I had when waking up revolved around ways to obtain some alcohol!

My initial interest in opting for a glass of red wine over a beer commenced when first making lifestyle changes following the initial surgery. Supposed health benefits of red wine are commonly thought to be accurate, and my interest sparked when reading about specific options, particularly, the anticancer properties associated with certain wines from different regions around the world. The interest did not last long, mainly due to a feeling of acidity within my stomach when drinking a glass. Ultimately, I chose to virtually stop drinking, before a cider or two gradually began to feature within my social life.

I am now at the stage of revisiting the topic of red wine for future planning, and a review of the information saved from my previous research lead me into purchasing a bottle of Malbec. I actually enjoyed the wine, experienced no side-effects, and will be looking to buy another in the future. The information I have read suggests red wine, especially Malbec from Mendoza in Argentina or Madiran from the Gers region in Southwest France has some of the highest concentrate of Oligomeric Proanthocyanidin (OPC), making it a better choice of alcohol for my situation. To my understanding, OPC is derived from grape seed extract, and is alleged to be the most powerful known antioxidant. It is thought to reduce tissue damage, strengthens blood vessels, improves blood circulation, reduces inflammation, detoxifies the body, multiplies the effects of Vitamin C and other agents, protects and brain and nerves, and forces Cancer cells to commit suicide.

I should note, it is naive to consider a glass of red wine as a magical cure, however, when weighed against other options if opting to drink, then it does seem to be the better option. My hope is some people much more knowledgable than me in this area read this blog, and add some comments to help me and others make more informed choices in the future.

The healing power of the sun

3rd August 2015: Sydney, Australia

Conversations currently circulating within the community give weight to a summary seen in a past blog whereby the author described Australian’s as modern day Aztecs who worship the sun. It seems the short burst of weather has directly contributed to a vibrancy and happiness evident in most people. A fairly special point, bearing in mind we are in the middle of winter.

The advantages of unlimited access to the sun is clear for the majority of the population, and holds greater significance in my life. The healing benefits of natural Vitamin D are widely documented, and the past two days have further reinforced the need I now feel in my life for sunshine to feature on a regular basis. The slight obstacle facing me results from the current travel restrictions placed upon me by the Australian government. A bizarre decision, especially considering the recommendations of the Professor overseeing my care whereby he stated a warmer climate would me more conducive to my healing. As noted, it is a slight obstacle, meaning other alternatives can be sought. Most notably, exploration of places within Australia to seek the warmer weather. Admittedly, not the worst case, however, the finances incurred with the situation result in some options being less accessible. On reflection, possibly I should simply be happy having the capacity to make a decision to give me the best chance at healing.