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.

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What is Mitotane

25th August 2015: Sydney, Australia

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.

Desicions about chemotherapy

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.

1, 2 or more drinks?

10th June 2015: Bali, Indonesia

The platform of writing these entries was designed to be honest, and so I must confess there is a contrast to the content from the last entry. The reasoning is due to waking up yesterday with a hangover. It was the first time in over eighteen months, and I realise why drinking alcohol to excess is typically avoided. I spent the majority of the day asleep, missing very good waves and feeling as one would expect when hungover. Admittedly though, do I feel bad? The answer coming to mind is no. I probably will not drink alcohol to such an extent for a very long time, however, to visually express my outlook is to think of the night as a wave missed in the ocean. There is no benefit in remaining in a prolonged state of annoyance or frustration as the event or the wave has passed, and will never again be possible to obtain. I agree, a similar wave or event may again occur, and hopefully a better choice is made, however, all this is out of my control so it appears best to wait for the next wave to pass through.

Medicinal Cannabis…..

14th May 2015: Sydney, Australia

Last year a friend introduced me to a documentary called, ‘Run from the Cure’. The story is follows a Canadian by the name of Rick Simpson who promotes the use of Cannabis oil for treating ailments, including Cancer. I currently do not have a stance about the matter, however, am increasingly seeing the area gain traction in all forms of mass media, and interestingly the NSW Sate Government of Australia has recently passed legislation in order to conduct trials.

I watched the documentary, and explored other material on the matter to become better informed about the option. The quarrel in using the oil stems from the limited research on the matter, a fear of whether side-effects would be experienced and the implications involved in using the oil. Namely, using the oil would suggest I see myself as unhealthy, and needing the oil to kill Cancer. Obviously, a belief I do not hold. Now, I can understand taking Chemotherapy is somewhat similar, and honestly when thinking about it, I am yet to come up with a strong argument for taking the Chemotherapy above the oil, particularly in my circumstances because there is no evidence to support the type of Chemotherapy I take. So unfortunately, I will need to leave it here for the moment and revisit the topic over the coming months.

Plan to succeed

4th May 2015: Sydney, Australia

I have come to realise a saying taught many years ago within a professional context is easily transferable to other areas, including your personal development. The intentions of applying the rule ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’ was to highlight the responsibility l had in ensuring thorough groundwork was completed prior to meeting with a family or individual to complete a therapeutic session. As noted, I see benefits of applying the rule into our lives, and my writing, if used effectively can provide the platform to hopefully build success, opposed to failure.

Yesterday was a clear example of my writing acting as the very means to plan ahead in preparation to approach a situation to the best of my capacity. It was actually ironic in some ways to consider I had put together an entry about the very topic on the day before the question was asked. It was not something major, simply a conversation within a social environment relating to my lifestyle choices. On reflection, if I had not taken the time to sit down and write about my thoughts, then the execution of my answer would not have accurately captured my feelings towards the situation. In summary, my writing can be useful when I am able to avoid becoming stuck in a hole of despair, and at such times, many similarities exist with the preparation undertaken for a job interview whereby you have had the time and space to gain clarity in your thoughts before needing to share with others. To conclude, I must acknowledge my fluctuating feelings on the matter, however, overall, a journal would be encouraged for all people experiencing Cancer to ensure any difficult circumstances or encounters can be hopefully prepared for in advance.

My first Christmas…

24th December 2014: Sydney, Australia

I am approaching my first Christmas at home in five years, and of course it is inevitable that changes are to occur over such a period, however, I doubt it would have been anticipated that such changes have would been thought as a possibility. Tomorrow is going to be my first major full day of celebration since my operation, yes, there have been occasions whereby I have been with my others to celebrate varying occasions. Christmas is something else though, and it is the first of several times over the coming week whereby these changes will be evident. The obvious point in mention relate to my lifestyle and attitudes to such events. Undoubtedly, I am extremely excited about the coming week, yet, admittedly, there is some discomfort lingering in my mind about how the days will unfold, especially in regards to my fatigue, nausea and overall mental preparation. I guess this derives from both family/social norms about how the festival season is celebrated, and the way I have approached this time in the past.

It seems to always come back to two main points for me, namely, the elimination of alcohol from my life and the comfort about the prospect of placing fatigue on my body from insufficient rest. Both points directly relate to social situations, and I am unsure of whether I will return to a place within my mind when these thoughts dissipate, leaving me to just enjoy the celebrations without any invasive thoughts. The interesting point is that no direct connection is made between the thought process and the Cancer that was inside me or a fear of reoccurrence, it just seems to have left a huge stain upon me. I do recognise this as a relatively normal response to such circumstances, however, am wondering whether the stain is permanent or will fade, and eventually disappear over time?

Again, it seems a negative undertow surrounds my thinking, and in some ways it doesn’t really reflect how I am feeling. These words just flow when I start typing. Possibly it is normal to be focusing on such issues, especially approaching moments such as my first Christmas since the surgery or it might just be the case that it is easier to write or be attracted to certain issues discussed in my entries compared to times of joy, love and life.