Travel preparations when on Chemotherapy

11th May, 2014: Sydney, Australia

The two month trip to Indonesia is rapidly approaching, and a fair amount of planning is required. Previously, I would have packed my belongings, knowing some clothes, a passport, and bank card provided assurance the trip would run smoothly. How the situation differs. At present, I am working out the number of tablets needed over the course of two months, factoring in the additional levels of Cortisol required to boost my immune system. Moreover, I am liaising with my Professor surrounding whether specific intravenous training is needed for emergencies whilst trying to obtain a letter outlining a list of my all my prescribed medication. A point brought to the forefront of my thinking due to recent relations between the Australian and Indonesian governments, particularly as I will be taking in excess of 500 tablets into the country. Lastly, I am becoming accustomed with a wristband ordered from USA arrived last week. The sole purpose is to provide instructions on what my body requires if I am unable to communicate my needs in case of an emergency. Hopefully, when reflecting on the time away, the wristband is not used, and instead falls into the category of contingency planning!

The arrival of the wrist band reminded me of the moments when first needing to wear glasses. At the time, my thoughts would be best summarised by a projected perception of my description by others as, ‘that guy with glasses’. In this instance, the curious and wondering eye of others would notice I am now officially stamped with a medical condition. Luckily, I consider myself mature enough to overlook the perceived label associated with the wristband, a circumstance not comparable to my teen years when braces were virtually forced upon my teeth. In all honesty, it actually does act as a continual reinforcement to my predicament, however, I seem to be progressing well with my capacity of managing the array of factors associated with Cancer, and simply see the wristband as an insignificant adjustment to my appearance. Furthermore, the prospect of spending time in the sun, surfing quality waves in warm water with a range of good friends, then arriving to have approximately six more months before coming off my medication is extremely pleasing, and if a little comfort is provided to those close back home should I wear a wristband then so be it 😄

Time to switch my thinking and preparation..

22nd April 2015: Sydney, Australia

Another photo was taken today to coincide with my plans to track my recovery in pictures. The shot highlights the need for an increase in sunshine, and the changing of seasons from summer into winter. I was surprised to see the vast difference in my skin colour across the months, and it seems a greater level of physical health correlates with exposure to sunshine. The photos from July and December support these claims. Another noticeable change is the reappearance of the slant within my posture. A correction in my body thought to be fixed.

Interestingly, I have almost been writing for a year, and have plans to review the entires whilst travelling solo. One point coming to my mind is the actual benefits obtained in writing, and being more specific, I would say whether the process of writing makes me think more negatively? For instance, I was not writing at the corresponding time last year before heading to the UK, and consequently, I doubt a comparable level of concern would have been experienced regarding my health, and how my body would respond whilst away. On reflection, factors need to be considered, namely, the increase of Mitotane being administered, the familiarity of London and the prospect of living with my girlfriend at the time. All points possibly explain the differences in my preparation, however, the point of concern and worry needs to be focused upon regarding my upcoming trip. In reality, it seems I am more inclined to write about potential mishaps, compared to the prospect of spending two months in the sun, surfing magical waves and visiting Ubud to emerge myself within yoga for a period of time. It seems these latter points need to be at the forefront of my thinking when having doubts, especially when considering the hypothesis posed in the first paragraph about a greater level of health appears to correlate with an increase in sunshine. To conclude, it appears the solution has surfaced. It is really simple, basically I just need to get my head in the right frame of mind, not be so dour about everything, and imagine the fun times to be had!

Holiday time…

2nd March 2015: Sydney, Australia

I have had great doubt in regards to spending time away over the winter months. It is such a new phenomenon, and with much regret I admit the concerns derive from a fear resulting of being alone for a significant period of time whilst thinking about how I would cope when a bout of nausea arises.

Thoughts about being unwell can either be seen as a realistic outlook based on experiences from the last year or a future script determining how my body will react. Admittedly, I think the latter explanation holds greater weight, and is reflective of the fear governing my life. A commonality of fear also exists in relation to being alone, and is completely new terrain for me. Previous travel has seen me leave my country of residence without any hesitation. An assurance of having a passport and cash would be sufficient preparation to book a train or flight overseas. An example coming immediately to mind is when I walked from my house to St Pancras station in London, and ended up travelling through Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovenia for a two week period.

The change in my mindset and overall approach to living is interesting, particularly when considering how a degree of fear has managed to creep into my life. Fortunately, I have been able to recognise these changes, and an incident today reinforced the need to face this challenge. As touched upon, it appeared the decision was made to not undertake the planned holiday, however, a moment whereby I was walking up the beach on an overcast day made me really question the narrative created for myself about being lonely whilst reaffirming my complete apprehension towards cold weather. Consequently, airing these points has made the decision a lot easier. Firstly, I know the same amount of pleasure will not be found in winter here compared to the life lived in South East Asia, and secondly, this whole created narrative about being unwell and how I will cope needs to be shattered. Therefore, I have arrived at a place, confident in knowing the best solution to overcome both points is to just book the flights with the rest of the planning simply falling into place. Lastly, I need to both recall and implement a saying used over the past year. In varying circumstances, I have described my circumstances as being time rich, yet money poor. Surely, I have to truly live out this belief rather than regretting a lost opportunity at a later stage, especially when bearing in mind my intentions of returning to work next year.