Food labels

14th October 2015: Sydney, Australia

You know the feeling when returning from the shops only to discover a vital ingredient had been forgotten. The next thought seems to appear like you have bumped your head as the mental processing begins, consisting of a sequence whereby you need to reluctantly drag yourself back to the shops to collect that one item. Are you getting the picture? Well, the situation described was a review of what happened to me, however, I was fortunate enough to get my dad to collect some canned tomatoes for me. The conversation with my dad to arrange collection turned out to be rather interesting, due completely to the specific request of purchasing tomatoes with no preservatives or additives. It brought to attention the focus I have on reading food labels, and later a curiosity emerged about how many others read the actual content of their foods.

It would be interesting to try get a bit of a gauge in how many people read food labels before buying most purchases? Any comments?

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?

How do you see me?

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.

Cannabis vs Chemotherapy

6th October 2015: Sydney Australia

I have spoken extensively about this topic, so the basis of the entry is for others to share their views. Basically, the question relates to why people are so receptive and understanding to the use of Chemotherapy whilst opposing the use of Medicinal Cannabis. Personally, the introduction of Medicinal Cannabis has alleviated ALL SIDE-EFFECTS associated with Chemotherapy whilst also hopefully (no evidence currently supports this) working to support my body to heal. Honestly, I frequently need to provide an in-depth description about the benefits of using Medicinal Cannabis due to suggestions people make about my decision to trial the option. Interestingly, it is rare to be questioned about the use of Chemotherapy, and even rarer to stimulate a giggle when telling people I am putting such a toxic drug into my body.

I do recognise the bias position put forth, however, hopefully educate and inform others about the potential benefits of choosing to use Medicinal Cannabis when faced with a Cancer experience. It is a topic discussed in the past, and seems to have split my small audience. Therefore, it suggests to represent the opinion of the wider community. Please share your comments if reading, whether you are pro, against or undecided about the use of Medical Cannabis.

Questions about the timeframes for my body to heal all

5th October 2015: Sydney, Australia

It is extremely difficult to compare the progression of my physical capacity from my first surgery to how I am after three months since my second surgery. The point was not previously registering, and only came to my attention today when a pain was felt during the completion of a fairly basic movement. Prior to this moment, I was under the false impression of believing the period of recovery was much faster.

Upon looking back at my calendar, it is evident that a period of almost four months passed till I was in the position of having the ability to properly exercise again. At present, I have been slowly adding further degrees of movement into my life, however, obstacles continue to be faced on each attempt. The surprising point about the incident today was the fact of knowing I could have completed the movement at the same amount of weeks last year. Just to note, I am not overly stressed, and know my body will heal. It is more a curiosity surrounding why my body is not making better progression, especially when other tasks have been easy to reimplement into my life. In summary, a positive can be drawn from the waiting process, namely, the motivation to start implementing my full planned routine. A routine designed to land me in a position of reaching a level of optimal health.

How to find an imbalance in the daily grind

29th September 2015: Sydney, Australia

‘About a Boy’ is a British film starring Hugh Grant who plays a single man in his thirties who has enough wealth to sustain his lifestyle without the need for employment. Obviously, the story expands from this very extremely minute description of the film, however, the fact he is unemployed is crucial to the comparison about to be made with my life. Just to note, I am definitely not in the same financial position as the character.

An interesting point taken from the life of the character is the way he dissects his days. Each day consists of separate units forming a total number for the day. Clearly, a major difference to the typical day lived by many whereby the demands of a job/career/study provide the structure. Ok, just to be clear, another major difference is the fact that I wish to be working, however, am yet to be in a position whereby my health warrants a return to the workforce. So, basically, the only comparisons with the film are the fact we are both single men in our thirties, and separate our day into units.

I only started making the reference to units last week when telling a story to some friends, however, I see major benefits in applying the rule into my life. Admittedly, I do not have a rigid approach to each day, and would put an estimate of units in my day as totalling seven. For arguments sake, we can say a unit equals approximately an hour, or less if a task is demanding or stressful. I feel the concept may be more accessible if applied to my life, and will show how difficult or tough weeks can be balanced with positives to avoid becoming overly stressed. For instance, yesterday was very busy for my current life so I ensured a portion of my day in the afternoon was dedicated to simply hanging with a friend in the sun while we were chatting. I acknowledge it all may sound superficial, however, the social aspect of my life was not given sufficient attention after my initial surgery. Instead, all focus was directed internally, and consequently there was an impact on my social life and mental wellbeing. To others, I would recommend you think about the way time is spent throughout the week in an attempt to outline whether an existing imbalance needs to be focused upon 😄

 

How to define me as an Australian?

26th September 2015: Sydney, Australia
A quote I have recently been able to connect with stated, “Australians are modern day Aztecs who worship the sun”. Admittedly, it is a fairly superficial and individualistic means of expressing my connection with my current of origin, however, it perfectly summarises the attraction to the powers of the sun. Furthermore, the specific focus shows some disconnection with mainstream attitudes and beliefs seemingly predominant within Australia. If refocusing on the sun, there is honestly a significant disparity in my overall outlook and energy when the sun is shining compared to consecutive days where it is cold, wet and dire. The pull towards direct sunlight makes me revise my thinking about this insatiable appetite, and I believe this desire stems from past readings about the proposed healing benefits of receiving natural Vitamin D.

The topic also leads to a questioning of whether living in London for almost four years influenced this longing for the sun. I definitely recall times when I missed the sun, however, the novelty of the experience, combined with the many cultural and social activities kept me occupied. The emerging point from a rather trivial topic is how my priorities have changed over the course of the past 20 months. Furthermore, the chain of thoughts leave me in a place doubtful about my capacity of adapting to such an environment again, even if that means loosing the opportunity of living in one of the most interesting and vibrant cities in the world. In conclusion, it is known that life does not exist without the sun, obviously I am stretching the application of this belief, however, my life seems to depend on the sun, ocean, family and friends. I life definitely wished to live for many years to come.

Does Cannabis actually benefit people on chemotherapy

22nd September 2015: Sydney, Australia

I feel the need to express my attitudes towards people on chemotherapy taking Cannabis to control common side-effects, including nausea, fatigue, appetite and the general mindset of the individual. It seems a disclaimer is needed to ensure I am not misinterpreted. Firstly, I am basing the entry from a completely personal experience, and am not suggesting it will suit all, however, do advocate for it to be trailed in combination with chemotherapy to limit the common crippling side-effects. Secondly, I have been fortunate enough to secure Cannabis oil, meaning it is less harmful for my body compared with smoking the plant. Finally, the Cannabis I used was all grown outside completely unaided by any fertiliser or other item to promote rapid growth or potency.

As noted, I am in favour of the use of medicine Cannabis, especially in the oil format, however, I have felt a reluctance to advise certain people about using Cannabis for fear of their response. It seems there is still a section of the population who simply view medicinal Cannabis as means for people to get high or an avenue for regular smokers to lobby government in an attempt for legalisation. A point found extremely interesting is the trust people have for pharmaceutical products compared to a natural plant that has clearly proved so effective in relieving any side-effects associated with my treatment. Personally, the matter is straight forward, and the 20 months of diary entries can demonstrate how use of the oil directly correlated with a removal of all side-effects from my life. A discussion with my Professor provides an accurate synopsis of my experience. To simply summarise the content of the discussion, I noted a removal of rancid odours from my body, an increase in energy and a return to a normal palate. In addition, the constant endless nausea has now been replaced by feelings of relaxation throughout my body prior to sleeping whilst also a little a jovial. Lastly, and importantly, I have finally been able to feel a degree of normality in my life. A feature missing for 20 months, and a point not to be underestimated. Now, considering these experiences, I would be very interested to hear from others, and to note, I simply wish to open dialogue so am open to all opinions.

 

An inseparable future for two people

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.

When tears symbolise hope

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.