19th April 2015: Sydney, Australia
The tide is yet to turn, and I am still stuck in a position of curiosity, wondering about the reason for the longevity of this illness. Stupidly, one of the underlying factors driving this unshifting state of mind is the inability to complete my exercises or surf. Fortunately, common sense prevailed this morning when an idea of heading to exercise came to mind. I guess a thought of “fuck it, what else can happen” flicked through my mind, and luckily my senses prevented me from pursuing the idea. The initial thought process reflects the degree of loss again experienced in my life. I acknowledge touching upon the area within my writing, however, it has not really been explored in depth. Admittedly, I am not in a position to give such details, however, a taste of how loss can be experienced was demonstrated whilst going for a brief walk today. As noted, my sense prevailed in stopping me from exercising, however, the idea of surrounding myself with nature whilst integrating some gentle movement into my life appeared a possible avenue to help alleviate some of the mixed emotions felt. Consequently, the total opposite effect was had. The walk only seemed to elicit a feeling of loss. It didn’t matter where I looked, almost every observation resulted in a wish for my normal life, the life lived two years ago to recommence. Honestly, the list could be endless, I could have viewed a guy spread out relaxing in the sun, someone about to surf, a couple, a young family or just a group of young people hanging about. To conclude, I am simply done with these feelings.
20th February 2015: Sydney Australia
An element of ‘being at home’ appears to continually provide a level of comfort and security to my overall well-being and mental state, and I would add, this feeling has most definitely grown over the past year, especially bearing in mind past travel and time spent working overseas. If I were to pinpoint the reasoning for the change, I would simply associate a degree of ease felt when returning home. An ease with a place is fairly vague statement, especially considering the completely relaxed surroundings I was immersed within during the past week. The difference though is the absolute comfort in knowing all, or the majority of my basic human needs can be readily met without any effort. I guess a criticism could easily make reference to a reliance on the support, namely my parents seeming evident, and for a now 31 year man this is surely not desirable. My response is fairly untypical of comments made in the past, and in no way am I playing the victim, however, the reality is I had Cancer and am now routinely feelings the side-effects of Chemotherapy. I must note my recognition for the difficulties others endure, many who experience a higher degree of discomfort or pain, however, the impact the overall experience has had on me is still severe enough to cause evident changes to my seemingly apparent vulnerability.
I believe further unfolding events are certain to follow, even after the conclusion of the treatment. Already, financial, career, interpersonal and personal aspects of my life have been effected, and yes, some of these points can be balanced against gains incorporated into my life, but, in reality I am in my infancy with my experience, and future unknown challenges surrounding the aftermath of treatment are inevitable. In saying that, a level of caution is required to ensure I remain grounded within the norms of life. It needs to be remembered that all people will face future challenges of some degree in their life, regardless of whether they have endured Cancer. Therefore, attention needs to centre on the present moment, and a step towards achieving that would be to recognise I am in the comforts of my home with no stress in any way placed on me. A point seeming more important in my life as time passes on.
24th January 2015: Sydney
This time last year I would be sleeping in my bed for the last time before packing up my life in London. I vividly recall the moments of the entirety of events fairly vivid. I was advised on a Thursday in a meeting after approximately two weeks later testing that it was very probable the large tumour inside of me was cancerous. As noted in past entires, this message in no way hit me as hard as initially discovering a tumour was growing inside me. The moment was actually rather jovial, with complete focus on recovery, and I sense of knowing I would be ok. Possibly my approach to everything over the past year can be linked back to this meeting. After the meeting I remember thinking, “why am I not crying, I have just been told I have Cancer”. Also to note, I had already made a decision to return to Australia, with flights booked for two days later. Therefore, I had one day to pack up all my belongings, come back to the hospital to obtain all the necessary certificates and say my goodbyes.
A number of goodbyes were had with varying people. On one occasion, I went out for dinner with a few people, and called my parents noticing a stark difference in their approach. No longer were they seeming to be asking questions, rather a very practical conversation unfolded about getting me home. It was definitely a type of conversation needed. The next day I hurriedly attempted to finish off some outstanding work to ensure my cases were left with some direction to follow and then pack all my belongings. The day was coming to a close, and I was now package all my clothes with a giant appetite growing. It was at this very moment whereby the longing for home was ever so strong. My recollections consist of walking to the local Tesco in a snow jacket, with my hood pulled over my head to avoid the trickling of rain. The point, nagging at me was the thought of walking in this weather on my last night to firstly shop at a Tesco before cooking food. I would have left straight away if given the opportunity, and walked into a warm plate ready at home. Instead, a cooked some meal and went to sleep. In the morning, goodbyes were said to my housemates who were excellent throughout the period, and a goodbye kiss was had with my girlfriend on the doorstep. I had to drop my belongings at a friends house, who had prepared a fresh juice and a Cumberland Sausage sandwich in advance. I then walked down to Highbury Station to catch the tube to Heathrow Airport, and also met a friend along the way whereby further goodbyes were said. Next, I was loaded with my scans and medication whilst wearing ridiculous stockings to avoid clotting on the plane and held back the tears when watching a documentary on a snowboarder called Keven Pearce. I must have drifted off to sleep for a while because my memory is hearing the ever comforting announcement of almost touching down in Sydney. Finally I am home.