How to help a friend addicted to drugs

15th December 2015: Sydney, Australia

I am feeling extremely pleased to be anonymous, especially bearing in mind the topic of the post. Prior to continuing though, I must share my awareness of people possibly drawing some contradictions in my writing. Most notably, how I have detailed my beliefs about the benefits for people who with Cancer using Cannabis Oil. My reasoning results from seeing the divide caused within my small audience when writing about Cannabis. In response, I can only highlight the fact of not touching any Cannabis for over a decade before trailing it as a means to support my health whilst utilising it to eliminate the side effects associated with my chemotherapy. Basically, my use of Cannabis is solely centred upon supporting my quality of life and survival. In contrast, drugs such as ice take a person into a completely different direction.

I am not going to detail the circumstances for my friend or provide a case summary about his life. Instead, I want to share some thoughts, and hopefully receive some tips from others who are either experiencing similar matters or had encounters in the past that they feel will help someone else.

Naturally, the lives of my friend and I have shifted in different paths of late, and each time his name is raised, a cause of worry surfaces about his latest antics. The question has always been, what can be down to help him, especially if he does not wish to help himself. When reflecting on that statement, I wonder whether it is not signal of the circumstances being too hard too deal with? If true, it seems people, including myself have chosen to ignore the situation, placing his life in a context of ‘being out of sight out of mind’. Today, my thoughts have been about the type of friend I have been to him. Yes, he is addicted to an extremely dangerous drug, however, is it not these times for friends to rise in unity? Fortunately, another close friend in my social circle cares about our mutual friend, and arranged to meet last night. In all honesty. I am not sure whether it was helpful, however, a few small outcomes were achieved:
1. A show of willingness from old friends to support him.
2. The sharing of stories, highlighting the fact that a different life is possible.
3. Reconnection with a world outside addiction and crime.
4. Future planning to meet, showing a commitment to see him in the future.
5. Advice on some criminal matters he is involved in.

I am sure we can explore this topic in great depth, however, in accordance with keeping posts rather small, I hope the post can stimulate some thinking, and lead to some discussion on the matter.

How technology can support to illness and disabilty

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?

My own retreat!

6th August 2015: Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia

Yesterday, I made reference to my current dwellings resembling a retreat, and on reflection, an avoidance of initially labelling the place a retreat resulted from a modern interpretation of the meaning associated with the term. Namely, an exclusive and expensive place whereby your health is promoted via a range of differing options. Now, if we were to make a comparison from my current dwellings to anywhere else, I do not feel any more benefits could be obtained. In reality, my friends and I are on very our own retreat, and fortunately, the typically exorbitant costs associated with a retreat have been eliminated. We are secluded from the wider community; engrossed within a natural landscape; eating hand picked fruit and vegetables, and living a life operating on a pace whereby there is ample opportunity to safely explore the concept of “self”. In addition, the company of close friends has considerable advantages, especially bearing in mind my current need to have people supporting me.

The significance of having close friends should not be underestimated or categorised simply as a selfish need due to my limited mobility. Of course, it is extremely helpful to have support to ensure I do not over exert myself, however, the company of my friends play a vital role in assuring my family members that I am safe whilst importantly establishing a joyful and positive atmosphere for the entirety of the group. Furthermore, the complete independence and freedom allows the creation of an atmosphere where no time regulations or stress are placed upon us. I completely recognise the biased stance put forth, however, I honestly feel this place is the ultimate environment conducive for my current circumstances, and would most definitely opt for this place above and beyond any alternate available options.

The countdown is on…

6th July 2015: Sydney, Australia

The time till my hospital admission is rapidly approaching, and I must state that a very surreal feeling in relation to the connection with myself is being experienced. The positive attitude, bursts of energy, and an overwhelming sense of freedom seems ever present, yet, I can feel a creeping sensation that is extremely difficult to define. If an attempt was made to explain the sensation, I would say a slight degree of anxiety only felt at night in the sanctuary of my bed is slowly building in momentum. I understand this is obviously normal, and am confident of managing the impact of the anxiety, namely, a fear associated with what could eventuate over the coming days.

The reasoning behind my confidence is rooted in the belief held about my future. A future made possible by:
1. Family members who continue to amaze me with a level of understanding consistently on display. I actually find it ridiculous how much ease has been added to this whole process from the support provided by my family.
2. Wide group of friends spanning the world that seems to be best described as a combination between a vacuum and trampoline. I feel the support in my life sucks away any concerns through an array of means whilst conversely having the capacity to bounce me back to normality with constant laughter and joy.
3. Yoga and surfing, two activities enjoyed on a daily basis whereby my body is moving to alleviate stressors and allow blood to circulate around my body.
4. Rocky Balboa for providing a strong, vivid and emotive catchphrase that ensures an anchor exists within my life. When my thinking can switch into a destructive mode, all I need to remember is the opening phrase whereby he states, “life isn’t all about sunshine and rainbows”. Those few select words have a powerful effect in helping me realise the reality of the hardships to be encountered in life, and it is these moments that will define my strength.
5. Confidence in the medical team working towards the best possible outcome.
6. Miscellaneous factors also need a mention, they would be grouped as music I have been exposed to, memories of past times and the dreams of a happy and successful future awaiting me.
7. Total belief in my existence!

Showtime is approaching!

27th June 2015: Sydney, Australia

I have the biggest burst of energy flowing throughout my body and mind. It is magical yet so strange to be in such a state, especially upon hearing confirmation that the tumour is Cancerous. Moreover, it appeared the greedy self-indulgent bugger was lonely last time. Therefore, a few friends have decided to provide company, setting up camp on the the bottom of my right lung. In all seriousness though, I really experience a degree guilt to be feeling levels of elation when seeing the absolute horror on the faces of my parents. How can it be like this? It seems so unfair! I just wish to alleviate the stressors for my parents by overcoming the current obstacle to live a life abundant in love, success and happiness. The life I honestly feel is awaiting me!

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 😀

My Super Bowl

6th October 2014: Sydney, Australia

Yesterday was grand final day for the sport of Rugby League, a day my friends and I referred to in the past as a second Christmas Day. Maybe best comparable to Super Bowl day in the states or a World Cup final for football nations. Regardless of whether others share my passion for the game, it won’t often influence the positive feeling associated with this time as people typically get together for a BBQ, be it for the match or the long weekend and meet with family or friends, heading away for a weekend escape or choose to spend time at the beach/park/pool to celebrate the extra day without work. This year was to be both special and unusual for me, I had just returned to Australia after four years away, yet, a lot of changes were anticipated to how the occasion would unfold, particularly as the day was being hosted at my house.

When looking back, it can be seen as another learning curve in my journey. Similar to a lot of aspects of my life, it was no easy ride. Feeling of elations were intertwined with disappointment. The sun was burning, fun waves were to be had whilst surfing in the morning, a group of friends and family were getting together to feast over the food prepared. Feelings of disappointment surfaced came from the very moment of waking up, the culprit being the sore throat whom was again sending a strong reminder of it’s presence. My first thoughts were directed to the frustration at my slow recovery rather than the excellent times spent with my nephews the day before. Next, I became nauseous whilst surfing, taking away from the experience of enjoying the 32 degree weather whilst surfing fun waves. Such a combination is normally a remedy for everything! The day was starting to get away from me and the feelings of nausea lead to a fatigue, thus, it was decided to not pursue the plan of integrating yoga into my day and opt for some rest, food and an early dose of medication. I get the feeling all this can seen a little over dramatic, however, context is needed to look at the past feelings associated with the day and then the realisation of the changes for me.

Remarkably, a quick meditation whilst the artificial cortisol (medication) flowed through my body lead me to feeling much better. From that point on, I can’t recall a moment when not feeling unwell or unsettled, and had an amazing day surrounded by friends and family, plus was more than pleased with my ease and comfort at just occasionally sipping on two ciders throughout the duration of the eight hours. A duration of socialising I have definitely not been able to enjoy since the beginning of the year. So the learning from it? I firmly believe everything I face is trial and error. Some options may not work whilst others, like magic make me feel good, and are then seen to feature within my future thinking. The answer to why I started to feel better could simply be attached to the medication. A decision to ignore this pivotal point would be overlooking the mechanisms of the human body, however, looking at the day in greater depth would show the significance of many other factors contributing to sustained positive feelings. In advance, I had taken any stress out of the day by planning for healthy food to be served throughout the day, had support from my parents in setting everything up and the experience was shared by a circle of friends and family, including the visit of my little nephews whom always make me happy. An analysis of the situation would show I controlled my environment, was connected with family and friends, created an atmosphere whereby everyone was understanding of my needs with no pressure on me, was complying with medication, healthy food options were aplenty and in regards to mindfulness, the day finished with a meditation before drifting into a deep slumber. Evidence again of the principles enabling me to find a place for the Cancer, one whereby I am still able to enjoy my life.