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 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 reduce time of recovery period

27th July 2015: Sydney, Australia

An undeniable disparity exists between the time taken to obtain the current level of mobility compared to the period post-surgery 18 months ago. I strongly believe the difference contributes to the maintenance of my overall health since making changes to my lifestyle. I recognise many may disagree, citing a belief that a second procedure on the same area on the body is less demanding. Admittedly, I can the logic in this stave, however, will stand firmly in believing the major changes derive from the mindset created leading up to the surgery, compounded by a reduction in stress surrounding the entire process. In addition, the focus placed on nutrition and movement over the past year has surely placed my body in the very best position to heal and recover in such a short period of time.

The factors mentioned above reinforce the need to invest further on varying aspects within my life, including an emphasis on fuelling my body wholly with real food. I must note that again I will not subscribe to any diet. Instead, the belief of promoting my health through eating whist placing the least amount of stress on my body will be continued.

For those interested, please message for details of a typical approach to food adopted on a daily basis for those interested.

Inspirational quote

25th July 2015: Sydney, Australia

Throughout the coming weeks, I will be sharing quotes that continually anchor me to my life, goals and dreama. The first one is extremely brief, yet, speaks volumes. It is so subjective, and my hope is for others to find relevance and adapt into their own circumstances. There quote simply states, “there will be no Plan B in my life”.

What is pain?

20th July 2015: Westmeed Hospital, Sydney, Australia

I am writing this entry, awaiting to be called for my first scheduled operation on my right lung. I am nil by mouth, a factor possibly contributing to my seemingly intensified medicated state. To my advantage, the medication is both managing the pain from the two procedures completed thus far whilst stopping any invasive or worrying thoughts affecting my outlook. The day at a close will be rather eventful, particularly when bearing in mind the story below.

At this moment, I should have had only one procedure, however, two drains adjacent to my wound were required three days ago to release a build up of liquid caused by an infection. Samples since taken have showed the procedure was successful, leading to the removal of the drains this morning. Prior to removing the drains, the nursing staff advised me the specific drain typically causes a degree of pain during the removal process. Interestingly though, the whole process was completed with a level of ease, and it was made possible by identifying with the concept of fear. On reflection, it seems I gained an understanding of the correlation between fear and anticipated pain. The term, anticipated pain was used to separate pain into two domains. One whereby obviously it is anticipated and another type of pain, namely, when it results from a sudden or unexpected event. Basically, I came to conclude if there was no fear, then the body would not be preparing itself for pain in the moments leading up to the expected event. Upon applying this theory, I was able to recognise the information provided by the nurses sent me into a state of fear, and therefore, I was expecting to feel pain. Once this was identified, I was able to draw on an inspirational story of Mick Fanning, a surfer who today was able to escape a shark attack unscathed. I envisioned what he must have been feeling before his encounter compared to the removal of two drains. The mental exercise enabled me to place the upcoming events in context, resulting in a distraction/blockage in my mind. In summary, I was not focused on the anticipated/expected feeling in my body, and consequently, any degree of fear dissipated whilst also leading to a removal of pain when the drains were withdrawn.

Motivation

1st July 2015: Sydney, Australia

I have commenced watching motivational clips virtually everyday, and it seems to have helped make positive shifts when comparing my mindset at present to how I was functioning prior to my previous surgery. Currently, I feel an overwhelming sense of finality, as this being the final stage of the process. I can completely understand how absurd it sounds, especially upon hearing the Cancer has also appeared on my lungs, however, my belief in my longterm health and wellness is not comparable to anytime in my past. There are many areas to contribute where these positive feelings derive from, and at the top end of my list would be the range of motivational videos being watched on a daily basis. The positive feelings and lasting thoughts anchored into my consciousness are the very reason for deciding to dedicate an entire wall in my room to motivational quotes and pictures. I am currently in the process of collating images and will show updates throughout the stages of development.

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!

Jessica Ainscough vs Bella Gibson

9th April, 2015: Sydney, Australia

Two extremely topical identities associated with Cancer and the area of wellness have recently been placed at the forefront of societies consciousness. A past entry expressed my feelings towards one of these individuals, Jessica Ainscough. The other individual, Bella Gibson, was last week deemed a successful entrepreneur for her endeavours in creating an app based upon her capacity of naturally fighting her Cancer. As a disclaimer, I must note her complete story is unknown, and the only information seemingly available indicates she fabricated her experiences of Cancer. Interestingly, the two individuals are being grouped together, and on a personal level, I find it completely unfair towards Jessica Ainscough.

Many people have made their views very clear about the decisions Jessica made within her life. Again, I must note, no contact had ever been made with her, and the basis for my writing results from a negatively shown towards her since passing away. At present, I believe a clear distinction needs to be made between Jessica, a person who opted to pursue an alternative approach to treating the Cancer within her body and Bella Gibson, who it seems has made financial successes out of her dishonesty. As mentioned in the very first paragraph, the topic will surely raise opposing opinions on the matter, and frankly, I am happy to put my thoughts forward, especially when taking the perspective of a person who had Cancer and now receives chemotherapy. The major difference between the two individuals can be highlighted by the facts of Jessica having Cancer, and it seemingly appears more evident that Bella did not. Therefore, I am astounded to see the inspiration provided to many by Jessica possibly being tarnished by making such comparisons. Furthermore, does her death need to correlate with statements alluding to deceit or a failure? It appears everyone is forgetting one very important fact relating to the scandalous story existing about Jesssica. Most notably, Cancer kills a lot of people around the world, including those who have followed all the information advised by medical professionals.

I am aware of the bias reflected in my writing, and regardless of the information reported on the decisions made by Jessica, it seems indisputable to suggest she did not inspire or give hope to many people. I recognise a major criticism directed at her was the strong position taken in advocating the Gerkin’s Diet, and consequently the number of vulnerable people she may have possibly influenced to follow her actions. Firstly, I am not qualified in this area, however, I guess a question we could all ask is whether she would be alive, and living the quality of life she wished if she decided to follow instructions all those years ago by amputating her arm in the hope the Cancer would not spread. On a person level, I must admit the thought of trialling an alternative therapy resonates significantly, especially if there are claims attached to the proposal increasing your survival.

I see her death can act in a way that continually influences people to seek a combination of sources to support each specific journey, and I have no idea whether Jessica would have agreed on this matter, however, her circumstances can be used to equip people about the challenges they are to face with their individual Cancer experiences. In addition, the amount of research currently directed towards the possible links between dietary and lifestyle factors associated with Cancer surely reinforces the messages promoted by Jessica. A major point, many people are willing to openly forget.