7th November 2015: Sydney, Australia
Personal development is all about progression in any identified area in your life. Typically, the process of establishing goals is seen as an essential step towards achieving your goals. Now, bearing this in mind, I am curious as to whether my recent chain of thoughts have been misdirected. Basically, the entirety of my focus was to remain alive. If we were to break down the meaning of that goal, I think it is actually a rather harmful state of mind. It is not like I am scrapping for food, in need of shelter or avoiding danger. Really, my goals seem to reflect an underlying vulnerability. A superior approach would have been to be more specific. For instance, what do I want from my ideas/career, how do I want relationships in my life to look, what type of lifestyle am I seeking, how do I want to be progressing in my physical/emotional rehabilitation, and what do I want to be fuelling my body with. On reflection, my goals were once structured in such a way with timeframes underpinning each goal, however, I allowed myself to drift into the abyss of confusion and uncertainty. Ultimately, placing me back to a state of mind not conducive to really make the intended changes in my life.
1st November 2015: Snapper Rocks, Queensland
I received a text from a friend containing a photo of me from when I was 24 years old, and almost immediately, I noticed a body I have become so unfamiliar with. The striking difference is of course a long forgotten flat abdomen region spanning across the entirety of my lower torso whilst further examination reminds me of the normal chest I had prior to starting the chemotherapy that caused my chest to be more akin to the body of a 14 year old girl. If a greater analysis was undertaken, then I can also connect with a completely carefree attitude evident in my face, however, I wish to keep all emphasis on the noticeable changes in my body resulting from the lasting impact of consecutive surgeries and the course of treatment tackled thus far.
There are many paths for this entry to lead down, and the singular route to be explored relates to the question about the importance of body image. Firstly, is it a reflection of my shallowness to even think about some scarring and an enlarged chest when taking into consideration the fact I am here, alive and smiling? Secondly, please consider the situations for many others, particularly women who some may argue lose some of their femininity when having a breast removed or have the need for a colostomy bag. Just to note, I do not hold this view about women, however, I have both heard and read this to be true, so wanted to widen the scope for discussion about the connection between Cancer and body image.
Ultimately, my current predicament is obviously preferred over death, and believe most others will hold the same position, however, a seemingly blanket view held from others about being superficial for placing emphasis on this topic is simply mirroring a misunderstanding about the impact of certain factors associated with Cancer. As noted in previous entries, I believe it can often be the secondary factors that haunt people who have experienced Cancer, and the only means for decreasing the impact is for educating the masses about some of the areas that may simply be overlooked by discarding these concerns by a belief that everyone should just be grateful to be alive.
13th October 2015: Sydney, Australia
How technology can enhance the social component of Cancer
I have frequently made references to the secondary factors associated with Cancer, especially the significant, and at times crippling impact these factors may have. By secondary factors I mean the impact of Cancer on relationships, career, housing circumstances and capacities. The following passage will focus on one area, namely, the social impact of Cancer.
Often isolation and vulnerability are labels attached to a person experiencing some hardship in their life, and it seems someone with Cancer definitely falls into this category. Similar to the themes of other posts, it would be likely to see a number of negatives outlined, however, I feel it it may be useful to complete an exercise whereby a story can be told about the switching of the topic from a negative to a positive. One means of achieving this is by placing emphasis on the benefits of technology to ensure you can still feel connected and partake within group activity regardless of your capacities. To anyone feeling any isolation, how about considering a review of how you can remain, repair or renew a social connection in your life, and then if comfortable share your brief story with others in the comments section?
8th October 2015: Sydney Australia
I like to think my narrative has shifted from the person with Cancer, however, constantly situations surface within my week, reinforcing the presence of this narrative in my life. I wonder when, and if I get to the stage whereby the story just becomes a feature of my past?
Alternatively, could the idea of multiple stories exist simultaneously in my life? A life where the Cancer story will ultimately always exist in the eyes of some people, however, others will see through this label, and share in the story I hold about myself.
15th September 2015: Sydney, Australia
I have just seen off my mum at the hospital, and honestly more tears have been shed over the past two days in comparison to the entirety of my experience with Cancer. The feelings attached to the circumstances unfolding for my mum highlight the point covered yesterday regarding the impact Cancer (or any illness/disability) can have on the loved ones of an individual.
Ironically, the experience with my mum has provided a renewed thirst for life. I can understand the absurdity in the above statement, so an explanation will be detailed. Firstly, I must say a level of guilt is felt surrounding the predicament my mum now faces, and I see this stemming from the stressors I am responsible for. The stressors started during my teen years with a range of adolescent behaviours, however, the climax was approximately 20 months ago when I informed my parents I had a tumour growing inside of me. From the point of that initial phone call, I know my mum has constantly worried about me. It is this worry and concern that gives me drive. Of course I am upset, and will continue to shed more tears over the coming weeks, however, I am determined to make her happy in the future whilst supporting her get to a place whereby she sees me living a fulfilling life with a loving and beautiful family of my own. Yes, again the hopeless romantic in me is on display, and in conclusion, I believe the power of love is needed to replace the cloud of worry and concern strangling my family at present.
4th September 2015: Sydney, Australia
I just reviewed my entry from yesterday, finding little to currently resonate with in my current state of mind. It makes me think how strange it is to witness my feelings fluctuate from one day to the next. Undoubtedly, the very condition of human nature is to be dynamic, responding in accordance to our surrounding environment, and the changing state of mind is not specific for the Cancer population (if I can label it as such). The feelings of all is bound to fluctuate depending on varying events and stressors in their lives, however, my personal experience makes me inclined to think people with Cancer or other mental and or chronic health concerns would feel the swings more frequently and intensely. The direct influence of fearing actual death is the key factor behind my reasoning. Admittedly, there are times like today whereby I am feeling positive and in a generally normal mind-state, however, as seen yesterday, an inherent fear is yet to be conquered.