Does a stigma actually exist?

27th September 2015: Sydney, Australia

I constantly perceive a certain stigma is attached to my Cancer diagnosis. Just to note, I am a single 31 year old man, living downstairs at the house of my parents, and am unemployed. Honestly, you would be right in thinking I am not really the best catch in the world, especially bearing in mind other factors associated with the Cancer I was diagnosed with, namely, the fact of remaining for an unknown period of time on Chemotherapy whilst having an anticipated limited life expectancy. For anyone thinking I am in need of sympathy is incorrect. I am not naive, and understand I am unable to predict the future, however, I have confidence in both my survival and continual progression in my life. In saying that, admittedly, a sense of loss is always easy to locate, particularly when reminiscing on the possible missed opportunities in my life. The question seeming to surface from writing is more a question about my fears stemming from a sense of loss, compounded by changes to my identity. Upon recognising this point, I believe the points just mentioned trump the opening comments about the stigma of Cancer, and simply it is my fears and sense of loss feeding into false projection about the stigma attached to my circumstances.

Misery continues..

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.

The many hats a Cancer can wear, especially one completely self-difected

9th November 2014: Sydney Australia

A very individualistic view of my circumstances has been portrayed within the entries thus far. The very point of of this fails to give sufficient attention to the widespread impact of Cancer on family, friends and loved ones. Admittedly, the concept of the journal was to consist of reflections, combined with personal accounts and general observations. It just seems imperative to also reflect in a selfless manner, placing those close to me at the focal point of particular entries. I do acknowledge the account is from my own perspective. Therefore, it will be jaded, and likely to not accurately capture the thoughts and experiences should my family, girlfriend and close friends be writing. Alternate entries from others may be an area explored in the future. At this stage though, a personal account seems like the best way to proceed, especially with no real idea of what the aims of the journal consist of.

I am confident previous entires have focused on the impact Cancer has on several people simultaneously, and today numerous points reinforced the potential collateral damage should the situation steer off the intended course, i.e, a reoccurrence or regression. The very matter of how it impacts others has recently been at the forefront of my thinking. Hence, the reasoning for making arrangements with my mum to undertake research on carer support options plus the request for my girlfriend to go speak with counsellor to express her feelings.

The two separate incidents today related to experiences with my mum and girlfriend. Firstly, the worried look on my mums face when learning of the prospect of me not having medication for tomorrow and an account told by my girlfriend about a discussion she had earlier that forced her to explain the reasons for us living on other sides from one another. Both incidents, albeit minor compared to past occasions touched a nerve, and as noted has kicked my mind into overdrive about the shared journey of cancer. In addition, it brought to surface the thought of loss, and when thinking about how loss would impact me, I can only describe it as waking alone through an empty cemetery, overwhelmed by complete sadness.

It seems easy to become self-indulgent, and consequently leads to a failure in my receptiveness to others around me. I think the timing of this very entry shows how distant I actually am from the experiences of others, and reinforces the need to adopt a more understanding outlook to others. Furthermore, the seeds of my selfishness may hide the unconditional feeling of gratitude and love for others around me. A point definitely needing to be rectified.