Not simply a new chapter, rather a new book

25th October 2015: Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia

A new dawn has arrived. Admittedly, it is rather vague entry, and hearing I am fatigued and battling a sore throat only seems to add a level of intrigue to how this can be deemed a new chapter in my life. If you are a little confused, then stay with me to hear my explanation.

Previously, an entry in these circumstances would have been saturated in a fear and worry about what these symptoms meant about my health. In contrast, I have been able to shift my interpretations of the symptoms to plainly seeing the sore throat and fatigue symbolising a return to the times of BC (Before Cancer). All throughout my teen and adulthood, a sore throat was the first sign of my body fighting an infection, and opposed to making a correlation between the sore throat and Cancer, I view the sore throat symbolising the beginning of the new narrative I frequently comment upon. In all honesty, I initially did switch into a mode whereby I automatically experienced concern, and of course, I could easily still be stuck in the destructive pattern. The driving motivation behind switching my thoughts derived from a belief in the need to approach my situation differently compared with how I lived after my first surgery. Really, if I am constantly worried and link every little symptom to Cancer, then how am I ever going to live a normal life? Lastly, I also think about the laws of attraction, and ponder whether so much mental energy placed on Cancer actually encourages it to resurface. Surely, it is far better to normalise my situation, and simply bring to fruition this new narrative I frequently reference.

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.

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.

Time for a retreat

5th August 2015: Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia

I am writing a brief entry from a farm approximately two hours north of Sydney. The 10 acreages is more reflective of a health retreat rather than a basic farm I imagine you first conjured in your mind. The main residence is beautifully designed, with each piece eclectically made by hand over the span of two decades. I feel very fortunate to have a friend who has allowed me and two others into the treasured jewel, the place his family call their home away from home. It seems it has been an ever evolving project whilst maintaining a degree of tranquility seemingly imprinted into the DNA of the structure. At present, there is no other placeĀ I would rather be. Constantly, my eyes alternate between discovering a unique design of the house and simply taking in the sprawling views of the property. It is actually unbelievable to be sitting adjacent to a fire, totally immobilised by the pain and restriction of the surgery whilst feelingcompletely disconnected from the stressors associated with life. In all honestly, I must say a hope is felt in the paradox existing between the distance felt with my experiences over the past month and how my circumstnaces will unfold over the coming years.

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.

Jess Ainscough, the wellness warrior

10th March 2015: Sydney Australia

I weighed myself today, showing I have gained 1.6kg over the past month. An indicator suggesting my body is recovering and thriving. A point of particular importance, especially when hearing the news of Jess Ainscough, aka, the wellness warrior has passed away. Her death both saddened and shocked me whilst bringing to surface the confronting potential of what could await in my life. Regularly, I speak of future plans, and see my current state as a temporary period I will overcome, yet, the fragility of life shown at certain times can easily cause a formation of cloud to hover around my consciousness. The reason for feeling as such for a person I have never encountered results from the reading of her book and the motivation sought from her story in prompting me into making better health decisions.

I acknowledge some of the information she is associated with does not align with my personal approach to health, however, I believe information obtained from her readings should not be discarded. One particular point from her story regards the duration of time I will remain on treatment. There is always going to be fierce debate on this topic, especially with the differing opinions received over the past year in relation to timeframes. In summary, the current information I have read shows no weight in the research that supports the use of Mitotane in the longterm to promote my survival. Admittedly, there is some evidence showing the effectiveness of the drug, however, many flaws exist in the research, and does not provide sufficient evidence to suggest the results will be applicable to my circumstances.

Thoughts go out to family and friends of Jess Ainscough x

Future vision for work

4th March 2015: Sydney, Australia

Recently, I have been thinking about a model to base a private consulting practice upon. The idea consists of having two separate arms, targeting both people with Cancer and others in the community with varying concerns. The two populations would be served by two separate theories. Namely, the Sunflower Framework for people with Cancer and the MESA principles, another model I devised to work with young people or adults with any number of concerns. The separation caters to a wide range of the community, with an underlying theme connecting the two principles together.

Obviously, a lot more work is required to bring the idea to fruition, with advertising, the creation of a website and other factors to be considered, however, it seems a realistic, achievable and feasible option to explore when I am ready to renter the workforce. I understand the theory has not been explained, and is untested. Therefore, further focus and attention is required on the matter, including the undertaking of a process (peer reviews and consultations with other professionals/academics) similar to the efforts involved in launching the Sunflower Framework.

Further updates will be provided as and when attention is directed to the matter.