The mental strength needed to create a new future

 

 

27th October 2015: Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia

Writers block is a rather common phrase, and I am sure it will resonate with a few who are reading this. The typical association of writers block varies to the following content as I am using the phrase to express the difficulty encountered in creating my new life story I am desperately wanting to bring to fruition.

Since last writing, obstacles have definitely surfaced, and I was stuck in a cloud of thoughts questioning the reason why there is such a fear associated with Cancer. Why is every bodily symptom linked to a questioning of whether a looming nuclear destructive being will come to fight me again? The specific chain of thought stemmed from an incredibly tough period just passed. Honestly, I went to bed on Sunday at 9pm to wake up at 7am on Tuesday. Admittedly, sporadic periods occurred whereby I got out of bed to get some fruit, however, virtually the entire 34 hours were spent in a state of utter despair, with feelings of fatigue and bodily aches consistently experienced. In keeping with the theme from the previous post, I am trying to place this ordeal in a positive frame whereby a degree of normality has once again finally been obtained, however, it takes great mental strength to keep the demons away who persist on telling me the new narrative will never be achieved.

Does a stigma actually exist?

27th September 2015: Sydney, Australia

I constantly perceive a certain stigma is attached to my Cancer diagnosis. Just to note, I am a single 31 year old man, living downstairs at the house of my parents, and am unemployed. Honestly, you would be right in thinking I am not really the best catch in the world, especially bearing in mind other factors associated with the Cancer I was diagnosed with, namely, the fact of remaining for an unknown period of time on Chemotherapy whilst having an anticipated limited life expectancy. For anyone thinking I am in need of sympathy is incorrect. I am not naive, and understand I am unable to predict the future, however, I have confidence in both my survival and continual progression in my life. In saying that, admittedly, a sense of loss is always easy to locate, particularly when reminiscing on the possible missed opportunities in my life. The question seeming to surface from writing is more a question about my fears stemming from a sense of loss, compounded by changes to my identity. Upon recognising this point, I believe the points just mentioned trump the opening comments about the stigma of Cancer, and simply it is my fears and sense of loss feeding into false projection about the stigma attached to my circumstances.

Let’s switch a negative

21st September 2015: Sydney, Australia

I am very conscious my writing has shifted in focus from detailing the associations of my personal Cancer experience to expressing the emotions involved in the battle my mum currently faces. I believe the emphasis placed on my mum accurately portrays the priorities held in my life, and it is rather intriguing to consider how fast the change occurred. Ultimately, I centred directly upon the experiences and impact of my Cancer diagnosis for a period over 12 months till I was confronted with the unexpected news about my mum. One point to draw from the immediacy of the switch is the unfortunate circumstances of experiencing Cancer at a young age from both a direct and indirect position. I will stand by my comments about the circumstances being unfortunate, however, an alternate term to be used can also be unique. I recognise many people are facing hardship in their lives, and empathise with their situation. Furthermore, I am not at all trying to place my position above others. I simply feel my position is unique, and can utilise my situation to better support my mum throughout the upcoming period whilst also serving a purpose in broadening my comprehension about the ways my behaviours, actions and adversities effect those close to me. To conclude, without any selfishness, I have an awareness of the importance of maintaining my wellbeing throughout this period, and the new arising challenge will be to equally balance attention on my personal goals whilst working through the guilt, fear and pain felt in relation to the struggle my mum is enduring.

 

How to make better choices

30th August 2015: Sydney, Australia

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.

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.

Pathology results show all the margins were clear of any Cancer!

15th July 2015: Westmeed Hospital, Sydney, Australia

All the information I have been filling my brain with recently revolves in some way about success in life stemming from difficult and challenging experiences. The relevance of the information came to fruition upon hearing the pathology results this morning. I was informed the surgery appeared to capture all the Cancer, and it seems rather fitting, especially bearing in mind the constant within the past few entires. In hindsight, yeah some times were tough, annoying and painful, but I will no longer focus any attention on those matters. Instead, I will chose to relish the confirmation of the results whilst reflecting on the irony of the lucid dream I was stuck in moments before the doctors advised me of the news. I know it is all very vague, however, I am content at cherishing the happiness currently experienced, especially as the confirmation linked directly to the dream I was enjoying.

Miscommunication in the hospital system impacting patient care.

13th July 2015: Westmeed Hospital, Sydney, Australia

The entirety of the circumstances today has made me feel extremely unsatisfied with the overall level of care I have received since my admission. My surgeon is of course the exception to the rule. An incessant beeping for the past two hours has only heightened my feelings, particularly as the beeping indicates the necessary pain relief medication is unable to be administered.

A list of my eventful day would show:
– I was brought out of my sleep during the early hours of the morning by a nurse who pulled on my IV stand to wake me. Upon rising, I was advised the bed needing to be used, meaning I would be changing wards.
– Two nurses tried to convince me of having the same dosage of medicine required when my pain was scoring an eight opposed to a two (10 is the highest possible score).
– A doctor confirmed my name, however, thought the reason for my admission resulted from liver Cancer, and advised me all prior plans discussed with my surgeon were inaccurate. Just to note, no contact had ever been made with this person before.
– A second doctor reinforced the fact of my admission resulted from having Liver Cancer, and implied I must have been too sedated over the past three days to recall this information as numerous conversations had occurred. Just to add, my mum was in the room throughout this conversation, and I observed her nearly fall off the chair. My mum and I started to digest this new information only to be interrupted after 10 minutes by the same doctor who was apologetic in saying he was incorrect, and I did not have Liver Cancer.
– I was then in pain for over an hour left waiting for a scan to be completed, resulting from the nurse not informing the reception I had arrived nor handing over my notes.,
– Now the incessant beeping has once again commenced leaving me beyond a point frustrated enough to write any further. I am hoping the latest attempts actually bring this annoying sound to cease, and finally a place of respite is found.

Family and friends

12th June 2015: Bali, Indonesia

I am still in Bali with the dynamics shifting since the large groups of friends I was staying with decreased to four. Included within the four is my brother who booked tickets at the last minute to join for a week. I’m so happy he made the decision, and importantly, was able to surf quality waves with me whilst generally spending time together. Two of my other best friends come in on Wednesday, so after two days alone, there will be a return to constant laughter and good times with those close to me.

I am uncertain how to interpret my feelings at present, and the two days alone may be testing. The support my friends and brother have provided is outstanding, and the departure of all has become a point more pivotal since hearing news about my Chemotherapy levels. In summary, the therapeutic dose in my body should be between 14-20mg. Therefore, you can imagine the news was not well received when hearing last night that I should immediately stop taking the drugs due to the reading of 28.8mg places me at extreme risk of toxicity. Moreover, it should be remembered that I increased my dose before the last set of blood samples were collected. Ultimately, meaning the results were inaccurate, and I would actually be scoring higher than 28.8mg.

In response, I questioned my doctor why it has only been the most recent period whereby limited side-effects have been experienced. A point difficult to understand when levels deemed dangerous correlate with the resurfacing of a tumour. Personally, it only reinforces the previously proposed thought that now the Chemotherapy is attacking the tumour. Furthermore, with no disrespect to my doctor, it shows the limited knowledge the medical professionals have in treating this type of Cancer. Again, another point making me consider my options post Radiotherapy. Most notably, whether I will remain on Chemotherapy. Hopefully the arranged PET scan will be able to assist the understanding on the tumour, namely, whether it has increased during the five week period or disappeared completely as hoped. To conclude, as you can see, I completely don’t know what to think or how to interpret the situation, and I am just wantmg to continue feeling better than when last posting 😀

Misery continues..

19th April 2015: Sydney, Australia

The tide is yet to turn, and I am still stuck in a position of curiosity, wondering about the reason for the longevity of this illness. Stupidly, one of the underlying factors driving this unshifting state of mind is the inability to complete my exercises or surf. Fortunately, common sense prevailed this morning when an idea of heading to exercise came to mind. I guess a thought of “fuck it, what else can happen” flicked through my mind, and luckily my senses prevented me from pursuing the idea. The initial thought process reflects the degree of loss again experienced in my life. I acknowledge touching upon the area within my writing, however, it has not really been explored in depth. Admittedly, I am not in a position to give such details, however, a taste of how loss can be experienced was demonstrated whilst going for a brief walk today. As noted, my sense prevailed in stopping me from exercising, however, the idea of surrounding myself with nature whilst integrating some gentle movement into my life appeared a possible avenue to help alleviate some of the mixed emotions felt. Consequently, the total opposite effect was had. The walk only seemed to elicit a feeling of loss. It didn’t matter where I looked, almost every observation resulted in a wish for my normal life, the life lived two years ago to recommence. Honestly, the list could be endless, I could have viewed a guy spread out relaxing in the sun, someone about to surf, a couple, a young family or just a group of young people hanging about. To conclude, I am simply done with these feelings.

How to remain focused on my goals..

8th April 2015: Sydney, Australia

I view attention to rest as concrete evidence of the dawning of a new reality present in my life, particularly when bearing in mind the area was overlooked prior to being forced by the discovery of Cancer to review my behaviour and actions. A key point to highlight from the entirety of this Cancer journey is the opportunity to fully focus on myself, including the scheduling of rest into my life whilst also not allowing a stance to be adopted whereby the period is viewed with pity, regretfulness and loss. Admittedly, ample entires document the varying thoughts circulating throughout my mind, some far from positive, however, the fluctuating thoughts appear essential to create a narrative about the experiences I continually face.

Personally, the whole situation needs to be looked at with perspective, and most importantly, it is imperative to create new scripts to block old patterns from rearing a presence in my life again. I acknowledge many more challenges await, and similar to any other person, the obstacle for me entails remaining focused, driven and motivated on my goals. A factor holding more weight when the rigours and demands of everyday life demand greater attention. To conclude, I must say, with all the feelings and emotions attached to the circumstances endured, I would deem myself to be relatively happy. Therefore, my motivation, focus and drive needs to centre upon achieving greater happiness in all areas of my life, completely unrestricted by any diagnosis, fears or factors associated with having Cancer.