7th October 2015: Sydney Australia
I am coming to understand a Cancer Diagnosis can have a similar function to a magnet. I do not wish to offend anyone, and am generally happy to talk with others about a Cancer experience, however, I do not always want to be surrounded by stories about Cancer. Seriously, it can be rather tiresome to constantly hear about that poor fellow or that lovely lady who suddenly found out they have Cancer. Yes, I feel for them and their loved ones, and at times would be more than happy to give the undivided attention needed to listen to the story people feel such a need to share with me, however, at other times, I simply do not have the energy or wish to know about the ever increasing tragic stories.
I hope not to have offended anyone. It is just a mood I am, partly due to the fact of the time not even being midday, and already I have heard two stories about Cancer. On reflection, maybe it is somewhat contradicting to be writing about my experiences whilst simultaneously developing a programme for people with Cancer, yet blocking myself from the stories of others.
I wonder how others manage if they encounter such situations?
18th September 2015: Sydney, Australia
I received confirmation my body is clear of any Cancer. A point to usually to celebrate, and admittedly, I am of course extremely pleased with the results, however, it does not feel like the time to be experiencing joy. Of course a focus needs to centre upon my health and wellbeing, and neglecting my own feelings will inevitably result in an imbalance within my body. It just seems so hard to be experiencing happiness knowing my mum is suffering. In saying that, I do recognise a place needs to be found whereby the emotions associated with my mum are better managed whilst also ensuring sufficient attention is placed on my personal growth and development. Furthermore, it is essential to think of the circumstances unfolding on a wider scale. No longer is it possible to solely focus on my journey as it now appears the futures of my mum and I are interconnected. Therefore, it is pivotal to support my mum in many ways, including the necessity of sharing my personal successes and strength. Ultimately, this strategy will ease her concern about my wellbeing, allowing her to focus more on herself, and importantly, will hopefully support the both of us to thrive in the future.
16th September 2015: Sydney, Australia
The tears have not been able to stop. At almost every moment, I just break out into tears, and find it hard to control myself. It seemed a climaxed whilst seeing my mum last night, becoming an absolute wreck. Both my brothers and dad were obviously upset, yet, holding themselves well, and there I am next to her bed, sobbing while holding her hand.
I have thought about the reasons for crying, and keep coming back to a level of guilt associated with the stressors I have placed on her whilst also thinking I may be crying for both of us. I know this sounds odd, however, my mum did not allow herself to cry throughout the past 20 months, and I feel my outburst of emotion reflects the pain she held in while also symbolising the commencement of the healing process for both my mum and I.
29th May 2015: Bali, Indonesia
The first day has come to a close, and to say I am pleased with the decision to proceed with the trip is an understatement. I am so content, happy and relaxed it actually astounds me to consider I have a Cancerous tumour residing within my body. I am writing this now in the surrounds of a peaceful backdrop, with sounds of the ocean playing joyfully with the black sand as it flows with the pace of the tide. Interestingly, I went out dancing last night, stayed up late, and although it goes against everything I said yesterday, I had such a fun time with a good friend from London that only feelings of happiness are experienced.
At one period in the day, I found myself surfing with no other people in the water. I felt completely isolated from the world, and as usual my mind started ticking over. Interestingly, it wasn’t a destructive chatter. Rather, positive feelings seemed to be flowing throughout my mind, and I see this resulting from the decision made to compartmentalise certain periods in my day to only think about my future. I see it as more beneficial than constantly blocking out thoughts about my Cancer. The moment of solitude in the water was also heightened by the actual contents of my thoughts. I recognise the disapproval of some may follow, however, the platform is designed to share, so I feel it is a point to be discussed. The idea stems from the entry yesterday about the percentage of my body that is healthy compared to the tumour growing inside of me. For some reason, I have felt the need to draw on sensations from the environment to support my strength and well-being. I achieved this today by taking a moment to simply breathe whilst attempting to seek power from the ocean, sun and trees to heal my body. It is agreed that maybe the levels of desperation are showing, however, I am seeing the attempt as another tool that will possibly result in my survival. Therefore, it may sound naive and laughable, but if I survival, then anything attempted definitely outweighs my death.
29th September 2014: Sydney, Australia
The drawing above symbolises the proposal I am creating, with the goal of operating facilitated educational groups for people with Cancer. Prior to commenting further, I recognise the details of my ‘Sunflower framework for Cancer’ is by no means revolutionary. On the contrary, many other existing frameworks about healthy living are composed of similar themes. So the question may be posed of why state a framework has been created if similar groups already operate? I would argue, many programmes regardless of the topic operate under fundamental principles to the specific area. I feel a crossover in some content may be present, however, the designed activities and homework tasks separate the programme from others, and importantly, would benefit those who participate The framework is a concrete model applied into my own life, a guidance of sorts, helping me to progress throughout my time thus far. Moreover, I feel it will be very helpful for others in a similar situation, especially should they adopt the model. In addition, the framework can act as a tool for increasing the understanding of others playing a supportive/caring role for a person with Cancer who is working on a plan to achieve longterm health and well-ness.
The Sunflower Framework consists of seven principles, all inseparable to ensure a complete and wholesome approach to Cancer is adopted. The sunflower is seen as the perfect visual representation for the principles. Similar to a sunflower and it’s petals, not all the principles have to be adopted for the flower (you) to exist, however, comparing a full thriving sunflower to one depleted of it’s petals can be reflective of the health of your body. Therefore, I am proposing that for you to be flourishing and living as healthy as possible, then all the principles need to be applied.
When breaking down certain aspects, the stem is of course an essential component of the sunflower. In this instance it can resemble the journey of Cancer. It is hoped that over time the stem becomes strong and gains in length, equating to you achieving strength and longevity. The sunflower is also seasonal, again comparable to the experience of Cancer, with a combination of days feeling significantly brighter than others. Lastly, the meaning of the sunflower is of importance. A google search showed, the sunflower’s petals have been likened to bright yellow rays of sunshine, which evoke feelings of warmth and happiness.
To expand upon the meaning of the sunflower and it’s relevance to Cancer immediately elicits a sense of health, life and survival. Moreover, the warmth is associated with a comfort in the knowledge of having a direction to work towards building the strength needed to find a place for the Cancer in your life. Finally, adoration is all about love, and Cancer has the capacity to build, renew or strengthen love in your life. A love and appreciation required to fully accomplish a sense of happiness, in whatever form love may manifest.
24th September 2014: Changi Airport, Singapore
How fast patterns can shift. It was only 12 weeks ago when I endured the 30 hours of transit time from Sydney to London. Over the course of the flight, I got up to stretch at least five times, was insistent on my dietary choices and regularly integrated mindfulness techniques into the journey. Now, I’m sitting at the airport only halfway through the flight with tired eyes and a stiff body compounded by an overactive mind stuck on thoughts about the excessive luggage charges that easily could have been avoided should I have adequately prepared. Furthermore, disillusioned feelings are being experienced about my bodies health due to the dietary choices made leading up the flight, and the compliance in eating the standard food when I previously placed an order for the vegan option. Why the vegan option when clearly my food journals contradict the vegan approach to diet and nutrition? My reasoning is that airline food isn’t usually the best, and an accidental introduction to a vegan airline box lead me realise the nutritional benefits of a vegan option compared with other available choices.
The apparent shift in focus is believed to exist as a direct consequence of the limited recent movement in my life. I believe a correlation is evident between a lack of movement and the limited journaling, increased stress, inability to meditate, poor dietary choices and lowered immune system. Furthermore, it has reinforced the need of an inseparable approach to health and well-being rather than an isolated and fragmented approach only targeting one specific area of your life. Just to note, when saying poor dietary choices, it’s not a case of eating junk, rather decisions not consistent with a belief in making health promoting choices at all times. In summary, yes I have noticed a shift, however, this has only normalised the process for me, demonstrating how easy it is for patterns to shift and importantly furthered my learning and understanding about how to be better equipped for when a future change occurs in my weekly schedule.