I am a week away from having my first scan since the disappearance of the tumour on my left lung, and admittedly, throughout the past two days, a negative thought pattern have resurfaced. It seems I have no control of the intrusive thoughts till recognising I am in the midst of a fatal fantasy about my death. Just to note, this is not the predominant thought process circulating in my mind. Rather, a shift in my recent thinking, especially bearing in mind these thoughts were not at all present over the past seven weeks. I can normalise the thoughts to some degree, linking them to a fear about dying, however, I am not comfortable in just normalising the occurrences. These very intrusive thoughts were targeted as areas to direct attention, and it seems overcoming and controlling these thoughts are an essential point to achieving an outcome different to last time. To conclude, I found myself in a predicament whereby I am incapable of visualising or consciously dreaming about the joys in life, and instead I easily drift into a world of doom and gloom. Obviously, I ponder on the underlying reason for not being able to conjure a pleasant future life in mind. Maybe I need more substance in my life, a greater degree of purpose or the creation of future plans to give myself a concrete reference point to direct my attention?
Obviously, a degree of happiness was bound to occur when surrounded by close friends and family when drawn together to celebrate, however, a heighten level of elation is felt when thinking about the entirety of the Saturday night. On reflection, I can honestly say the experience makes me inclined to believe I recently attended my own funeral. There was a particular point, involving approximately 15 close friends who were all standing in a small circle. Typically, such a scenario would involve testosterone charged banter exchanged to one another. A difference was in the air though. All in attendance were completely engaged in the random impromptu speeches being made about me. It was a fairly moving personal encounter, and was further evidence of the amazing support I have in my life. It was actually rather surreal when I had to listen to the words said by a number of people close to me, a situation only really seen at a funeral or wake. I am unable to fully recall all the comments, however, definitely have certain memories imprinted in my mind, and plan on integrating the stories into my evolving self-narrative. I should also note my wishes of hoping the speeches actually symbolise a death has occurred, namely, a complete extinction of any Cancerous cells, allowing me to again live freely.
I have been considering the events from last night, and can clearly identify how a few pivotal moments determine my future actions when in a social situation. The picture posted yesterday gives an indication of the celebration unfolding around me, and I am pleased to be able to associate positive feelings with the night, particularly in relation to the decisions made at specific stages. Most notably, those moments whereby the direction of the night can transform my night into a place I do not wish to be. Hopefully, the night can be used in future situations to assist me in continually making better choices in my life. Failure to learn from those moments will only lead me in a direction away from how I wish to be living my life.
Today, a celebration spilling out to my street was held to show my gratitude to all my family and friends who have played a key role over the past 18 months. I acknowledge the importance of support, and express my appreciation to those, however, felt a celebration was required. The picture above was one capturing a few of my friends enjoying the day 😄
Honestly, it seems a gigantic hole of worry and fear can take complete control of me when just the slightest pain or discomfort is experienced. For instance, I had a cup of Matcha Green tea this morning, and am currently writing this entry seven hours later, crouched over in agony from the stomach cramping endured throughout the day. I was totally unprepared for such a reaction, and have only made the connection between the tea and intense cramping when looking at the many online posts. Obviously, it doesn’t just stop with a thought of it deriving from the tea. The big ‘what if’ questions looms large within my thought process, and it is comparable to a fallen group of large boulders on a road whereby I can find now way of getting through the predicament. I acknowledge it is a massive overreaction, especially bearing in mind how well I have been recently progressing, however, it is clear evidence of how easily fear can surface within my consciousness.
My first attempt at exploring the area of fermenting foods is now in progress. The above picture shows my initial batch of homemade Kombutcha. Now, it is a matter of waiting till a week passes before I discover whether it was successful. If so, I can commence slowly adding the Kombutcha into my daily intake whilst proceeding to use the contents of the jar to make Kim Chi and Sauerkraut. Recent conversations based on the concept of both making and adding fermented foods into my diet has resulted in mixed responses. In many ways, it is very similar to how I first reacted when hearing about the method approximately a year ago. The question circulating through my thoughts relate to a hypothetical question of whether we were able to fast forward time to a year from now, and compare the responses of people then to now. My prediction would be for a lot more knowledge to exist on the area, and the introduction of fermented foods into menus and some forms or mass media are evidence of the momentum gaining on the area.
My day has not all been about fermenting foods, I have also found myself experiencing pain for the first time in a couple of weeks, and it seems to result from not adhering to the schedule of taking Cannabis Oil on a daily basis. I acknowledge the initial purpose was to work in collaboration with my body to kill any mutating cells should there be microscopic remains left, however, I was most definitely naive in overlooking the duel impact it was having. Most notably, the capacity of the oil to relieve the pain from the surgery. The reading on the oil before starting all seem to indicate I would not experience feelings commonly associated with consuming Cannabis. It is somewhat comical for this point to not be clearly reflected within the readings, and I feel this is essential for people to make informed decisions if they are to choose to explore this particular avenue. In saying that, I would like to finish the entry by asking people to place aside any preconceived ideas they may have about Cannabis, and solely focus on the benefits it appears to have in eliminating any nausea, fatigue or other side-effects associated with Chemotherapy. Points, I want others to not underestimate when hearing more in the future about the possible medicinal benefits of Cannabis, especially bearing in mind the openness many people have to all kinds of medicines in tablet form.
Research was completed into the claims heard by the young person yesterday who stated, ‘the chemotherapy I am taking is a pesticide’. For anyone wanting to cross reference the above information should note, the drug is called Mitotane, and it does seemingly appear to derive from a pesticide called DDT. For anyone not familiar with the pesticide DDT, should also be made aware of the fact it was banned for human consumption by the USA in 1972.
I am consciously aware of the limitations I have in interpreting the information surrounding how the drug was derived from the pesticide, and what possible implications could be associated with the continual use of the drug. Therefore, an email was sent to my Professor expressing an interest in discussing the matter at the next appointment. Basically, my intentions are to make an informed decision, weighing up the risks versus the advantages, especially considering the original form of the drug is now banned in most parts of the world. Furthermore, the limited research on the drug compounded by the fact of the reoccurrence makes me feel inclined to see no separation between the effectiveness of the drug in comparison to other options. Most notably, use of the Cannabis Oil on planned intervals throughout a year combined with an overhaul of my dietary and lifestyle choices. Obviously, I will not be making any rash decisions, however, my current thinking seems to be fairly evident within the writing thus far.
24th August 2015: Sydney, Australia
Today, I made contact with a young person who is also overseen by my Professor. The young person had a reoccurrence of Adrenal Cancer (ACC) that spread to his lungs, however, now, approximately five years since finishing a course of Mitotane (chemotherapy for ACC), he is completing his first year at University. It is excellent to hear he is pursuing his studies, especially after being forced to face the journey at such a young age.
Interestingly, the conversation left me more confused about what actions to pursue in the future, namely, whether the course of Mitotane should continue. The young person had strong negative views about the drug, labelling it as a pesticide. Honestly, there is no surprise about his views after hearing the difficulty he endured over the period of 18 months. In terms of my own body, it is a decision I need to make, and whilst seemingly appearing to continue living without major disturbances from any side-effects, there appears to be a safety net associated with taking the drug. There is some irony in seeing the drug as a safety net, especially when bearing in mind my levels were so high, they were actually within a range deemed toxic before the Cancer resurfaced. The question surely becomes why is it viewed a safety net, especially when little success was achieved? I believe the matter could be debated long and hard, particularly being aware a lot of people would proclaim the drugs may be detrimental to my immune system and overall capacity to heal. In response, the only point coming to mind is the thought of not giving myself every opportunity to life should the drugs discontinue.
The quote below leads me to wonder whether a truly happy and healthy life can be obtained whilst single. What do others think?
“Dating is fun and a necessary time of play and exploration. But once we have found the one love and said ‘yes’ to this love, we enter a common reality, the naked truth of who we are in ordinary life, with the potential of deep personal growth in this connection”.
Today, I once again had the feeling of my bare feet walking upon the heated gravel whilst the sun spread its warmth and glory upon my wet hair. It was a familiar walk, one completed for over twenty years, however, one aspect separating the walk from many other occasions was the pure joy experienced in knowing I had just completed my first swim in the saltwater since my operation. Honestly, on reflection, I believe the smile beaming from my face could have competed with anyone in the world.
The walk appears to have reinforced the reality of the circumstances unfolding around me, especially the progress made in six weeks. Limited restrictions were felt throughout the entirety of the swim, with a close only resulting from an intention of not wanting to push myself. In conclusion, I feel extremely fortunate to be back utilising the natural environment in the hot sun, and am filled with excitement of what awaits over the summer months.