Light at the end of the tunnel

22nd July 2015: Westmeed Hospital, Sydney, Australia

I am awaiting the call for another X-ray before having confirmation I can finally leave. Well, it will be more of a temporary hiatus at home before coming back for the final procedure in just over a week. Overall, the time has been successful, and in all honesty, I am easily able to overlook some of the frustrations when weighed against the actual outcomes obtained thus far. A similar outcome next week will be a fitting end to this entire ordeal, leaving me then in a position to direct my attention on recovery and continual progression towards existing life goals. On the matter of existing goals, my personal goals are to strive towards working to optimal health and well-being. In addition, I have had received interest in regards to the framework I designed for people with Cancer. Therefore, it seems a platform is established to launch the programme in partnership with a reputable national organisation in the attempt to seek positive outcomes for those who attend. To conclude, I must state that I am fairly happy with the awaiting options, and feel this minor slip will only further benefit my knowledge and capacity at managing the many future life obstacles to be encountered.

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What is pain?

20th July 2015: Westmeed Hospital, Sydney, Australia

I am writing this entry, awaiting to be called for my first scheduled operation on my right lung. I am nil by mouth, a factor possibly contributing to my seemingly intensified medicated state. To my advantage, the medication is both managing the pain from the two procedures completed thus far whilst stopping any invasive or worrying thoughts affecting my outlook. The day at a close will be rather eventful, particularly when bearing in mind the story below.

At this moment, I should have had only one procedure, however, two drains adjacent to my wound were required three days ago to release a build up of liquid caused by an infection. Samples since taken have showed the procedure was successful, leading to the removal of the drains this morning. Prior to removing the drains, the nursing staff advised me the specific drain typically causes a degree of pain during the removal process. Interestingly though, the whole process was completed with a level of ease, and it was made possible by identifying with the concept of fear. On reflection, it seems I gained an understanding of the correlation between fear and anticipated pain. The term, anticipated pain was used to separate pain into two domains. One whereby obviously it is anticipated and another type of pain, namely, when it results from a sudden or unexpected event. Basically, I came to conclude if there was no fear, then the body would not be preparing itself for pain in the moments leading up to the expected event. Upon applying this theory, I was able to recognise the information provided by the nurses sent me into a state of fear, and therefore, I was expecting to feel pain. Once this was identified, I was able to draw on an inspirational story of Mick Fanning, a surfer who today was able to escape a shark attack unscathed. I envisioned what he must have been feeling before his encounter compared to the removal of two drains. The mental exercise enabled me to place the upcoming events in context, resulting in a distraction/blockage in my mind. In summary, I was not focused on the anticipated/expected feeling in my body, and consequently, any degree of fear dissipated whilst also leading to a removal of pain when the drains were withdrawn.