Yoga is the best form of rehabilitation

8th September 2015: Sydney, Australia

The reintroduction of yoga could not have come at a better time. Honestly, it feels like my body was sending messages to my brain, alerting it to an increased capacity to do more than just rest and recover each day. Admittedly, yoga only lasts an hour, however, it provides a sense of purpose, focus and stimulation in my life. In addition, it reinforces the reality of the restrictions in my current movement. An overall awareness is also associated with yoga, namely, the need to focus on where your body is willing to allow you to move, a seemingly pivotal point during the the early stages of rehabilitation. Failure to be attuned with your body could easily result in temporary or permanent damage, and it is only through total awareness whereby you will instinctively know when and how much you can push yourself through each pose.

Matcha Green Tea = ?

28th August 2015: Sydney, Australia

Honestly, it seems a gigantic hole of worry and fear can take complete control of me when just the slightest pain or discomfort is experienced. For instance, I had a cup of Matcha Green tea this morning, and am currently writing this entry seven hours later, crouched over in agony from the stomach cramping endured throughout the day. I was totally unprepared for such a reaction, and have only made the connection between the tea and intense cramping when looking at the many online posts. Obviously, it doesn’t just stop with a thought of it deriving from the tea. The big ‘what if’ questions looms large within my thought process, and it is comparable to a fallen group of large boulders on a road whereby I can find now way of getting through the predicament. I acknowledge it is a massive overreaction, especially bearing in mind how well I have been recently progressing, however, it is clear evidence of how easily fear can surface within my consciousness.

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.

How a garden can draw similarities to Cancer

21st November 2014: Sydney, Australia

I took a picture of my garden exactly three weeks ago before any plants were grown, and now after three weeks, most if not all vegetables and herbs have rapidly grown. Admittedly, the bean sprouts were the only actual item grown from seeds, with the remaining being tiny seedlings. The point made, is the entirety of the patch currently thriving. It is no surprise. The soil had been proven to a past success, ample exposure from the sun is on offer and the levels of water have been changed according to the heat, i.e. more water on days when temperature reaches thirty degrees. In addition, the chicken wire has so far withheld an anticipated invasion from the many creatures in the area, particularly the possums who are thought to be salivating at the prospect of seeing a new garden patch appear on the street.

I understand the entries may have slightly digressed over the past few days, and from the very onset it was established no set structure would govern the writing, however, just writing about a garden over three weeks seems a tad off topic right? Opinions may differ, some may draw on the supposed therapeutic benefits of having a garden. Benefits including, the accomplishment in seeing the growth of the herbs and vegetables into edible items; the sense of purpose obtained in maintaining the garden; the connection with nature, and the structure provided into your daily routine. I agree with all the above points, and could easily write specifically about the garden, especially the matter of maintenance, a factor seemingly not given sufficient attention in the planning and preparation stage. One point I failed to fully consider was the comparable growth of weeds with the vegetables and herbs.

On a personal level, the process with the garden has brought about similarities to my experience with Cancer, particularly, with attention on the attention placed on planning, however, my narrowed focused resulting in me overlooking an essential and blatant point of the whole process. Maintenance!
One would expect a person with any intention of starting a garden would be considering maintenance, and in some ways this had been a feature of my thinking. Again though, a narrowed vision lead me to solely focus on my priority of making the garden organic by not using pesticides. Ultimately, this limited my thinking about the importance of weeding. Hence, the similarities drawn with my Cancer experience. I definitely had a plan, vision and priorities established from the beginning, yet, the matter of longterm maintenance was not given equal thought. Yes, I had a belief in my approach being sustainable overtime, and a belief is of course a necessity. The question I ask myself though, is how strong will that belief remain overtime and whether if indeed it is sustainable, especially when the needs of focusing on my health slide from the top of my priorities list. I acknowledge the early stages of my Cancer experience are currently being endured, and I could easily be criticised for making such remarks at such a novel stage within my longterm journey. I think the likely unfolding scenario is bound to happen whereby family, work, financial commitments and an array other life stressors will raise in priority as time passes. Undoubtedly, there will always be a place for Cancer in my life, however, I do not foresee it not holding the same significance overtime. In saying that implicitly draws attention back to the matter of maintenance, especially when introducing the topic and relevance of complacency.

I recognise a slight change in approach (i.e. less attention on certain areas) already after 11 months, leading me feel further changes are bound to occur. I would like to think the changes have resulted from deploying the very strategies I propose in my Sunflower Framework, however, there have been times, very recently where I had to think about what is important to be implementing for my wellbeing and what is missing compared to what was featuring in my life during the periods of March or April of this year. Is that not a clear example of complacency creeping into my life? Particularly after 11 months! I am not at all suggesting, a direct focus on Cancer needs to be present for the entirety of your life as this could be counterproductive. I am reinforcing my belief about a place needing to be made for Cancer, inclusive of markings ingrained into your life to ensure you are making health promoting decisions throughout the entirety of your life. To conclude, I do not see this in a negative manner or in some ways a reflection of living a life in fear. In contrast, the promotion of general well-being and healthy living, a point I believe should remain consistent throughout all our lives, regardless of living through Cancer or not.