Today, I once again had the feeling of my bare feet walking upon the heated gravel whilst the sun spread its warmth and glory upon my wet hair. It was a familiar walk, one completed for over twenty years, however, one aspect separating the walk from many other occasions was the pure joy experienced in knowing I had just completed my first swim in the saltwater since my operation. Honestly, on reflection, I believe the smile beaming from my face could have competed with anyone in the world.
The walk appears to have reinforced the reality of the circumstances unfolding around me, especially the progress made in six weeks. Limited restrictions were felt throughout the entirety of the swim, with a close only resulting from an intention of not wanting to push myself. In conclusion, I feel extremely fortunate to be back utilising the natural environment in the hot sun, and am filled with excitement of what awaits over the summer months.
Conversations currently circulating within the community give weight to a summary seen in a past blog whereby the author described Australian’s as modern day Aztecs who worship the sun. It seems the short burst of weather has directly contributed to a vibrancy and happiness evident in most people. A fairly special point, bearing in mind we are in the middle of winter.
The advantages of unlimited access to the sun is clear for the majority of the population, and holds greater significance in my life. The healing benefits of natural Vitamin D are widely documented, and the past two days have further reinforced the need I now feel in my life for sunshine to feature on a regular basis. The slight obstacle facing me results from the current travel restrictions placed upon me by the Australian government. A bizarre decision, especially considering the recommendations of the Professor overseeing my care whereby he stated a warmer climate would me more conducive to my healing. As noted, it is a slight obstacle, meaning other alternatives can be sought. Most notably, exploration of places within Australia to seek the warmer weather. Admittedly, not the worst case, however, the finances incurred with the situation result in some options being less accessible. On reflection, possibly I should simply be happy having the capacity to make a decision to give me the best chance at healing.
Medicinal marijuana is currently extremely topical within the area of health. Any dispute about these claims should be brought to a close by glancing at the cover shot of the June National Geographic. Undoubtedly, imminent changes in Australia are to be expected. The following examples demonstrate the growing support from the public, private and government sectors. The points include:
1. New legislation announced by the NSW State Government allows the use of medical marijuana to be used as a form of treatment for specific health concerns.
2. $33 million was recently granted to Sydney University, making NSW one of the world leaders in using the plant for medicinal purposes.
3. Norfolk Island Health Minister has signed an agreement with AusCann, an Australian company who will be the first organisational to legally grow medicinal marijuana in Australia.
I acknowledge there may be some contention and confusion surrounding the matter. Therefore, I should state the purpose of the post is to share some of my knowledge on the topic to hopefully start a conversation. In addition, I also recognise medicinal marijuana is a proposed treatment for several health concerns, however, I am focusing entirely on the connection with Cancer, and this results from recently sourcing a three month supply of cannabis oil (CBD oil) for personal use. My knowledge of the medicinal functions associated with the plant entail two different chemical compounds, CBD and THC. CBD appears to currently be the lesser known compound in the world of Cannabis, and in my opinion this results from the well known recreational effects associated with THC. In saying that, it seems both compounds play a role in providing supposed health benefits to people. Firstly, CBD is thought to support the body destruct any mutating cells whereas THC is associated with reducing nausea and increasing an appetite for people taking Chemotherapy.
Similar to many areas within the health sector, a lot of misconceptions appear to surround the benefits of someone using Cannabis. If in fact, actual benefits exist. It seems necessary to discuss in more detail the reasoning for adopting this specific and potentially controversial avenue. Basically, I am in a position whereby numerous forms of alternative treatments used in combination with Chemotherapy ultimately failed to prevent a reoccurrence. Therefore, I wish to further explore other avenues to hopefully provide me with a life free from Cancer on a permanent basis. To conclude, I am aware the information provided is limited, and the reasoning was to proved an introduction to the area whilst shedding some insight into my thinking on the matter. If you wish to obtain further information, there are varying options available on the internet. Finally, I feel the need to state that I am a non-smoker of Cannabis, and am trailing the use of the treatment in collaboration with my Chemotherapy to support my longevity.
In approximately eight hours I will be Cancer Free! Yes, your read it correctly. I am currently waiting to be called to have the the final procedure completed on my left lung. Admittedly, fairly aggressive and evasive treatments have been used, however, purely taking an outcomes approach to reflect on the treatment received leave me in a comfortable position. The next step is to further expand on my existing goals to support my body reach a level of optimum health, enabling me and my loved ones to not again encounters such circumstances.
I surfaced from the comfort of my own bed knowing the morning routine of blood sampling, scaling questions and the overload of information were not to follow. Instead, I peacefully rested in bed, feeling happy with my situation whilst firmly focusing on just resting throughout the next few weeks.
I need to stay content with the concept of rest, and although it may sound moronic at such a stage within my recovery, I know attention on the matter is required to ensure rest plays a dominant role in my life over the coming weeks. Failure to focus on rest will only make me curious about integrating a degree of exercise into my life, and the consequences of completing any exercise at this stage would be ridiculous. Furthermore, there is no way my body is in a position to exercise so any thought directed to the area is extremely moronic. The motivation to start moving again stems from the personal beleif of exercise keeping me focused in life whilst providing obvious physical and mental advantages. Therefore, it is really simple, should I wish to once again feel I am progressing in my life, then I need to see the stage of rest as important as actually completing any exercsie.
22nd July 2015: Westmeed Hospital, Sydney, Australia
I am awaiting the call for another X-ray before having confirmation I can finally leave. Well, it will be more of a temporary hiatus at home before coming back for the final procedure in just over a week. Overall, the time has been successful, and in all honesty, I am easily able to overlook some of the frustrations when weighed against the actual outcomes obtained thus far. A similar outcome next week will be a fitting end to this entire ordeal, leaving me then in a position to direct my attention on recovery and continual progression towards existing life goals. On the matter of existing goals, my personal goals are to strive towards working to optimal health and well-being. In addition, I have had received interest in regards to the framework I designed for people with Cancer. Therefore, it seems a platform is established to launch the programme in partnership with a reputable national organisation in the attempt to seek positive outcomes for those who attend. To conclude, I must state that I am fairly happy with the awaiting options, and feel this minor slip will only further benefit my knowledge and capacity at managing the many future life obstacles to be encountered.
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.
12th July 2015: Westmeed Hospital, Sydney, Australia
I am writing in a dazed and confused state from the events endured last night. The circumstances seem evidence of the obstacles to be faced over the coming period. It commenced at approximately 10pm when a sensation of being utterly lost in a cloud of opiates became overwhelming. Consequently, a negative mindset surfaced whereby I felt extremely vulnerable, and when reflecting it is difficult to describe, however, basically my pain increased to an almost intolerable degree, and it was not till 5am when my medication was changed, knocking me asleep.
I am now awake, have had blood collected twice, feel heavily dazed, and not in a position to do anything except lie in bed focusing on past quotes to keep me balanced. The feeling is a perfect example of what I have been trying to explain to staff members about the need to find the balance between having the capacity that allows me to engage in activities whilst keeping the pain away. Hopefully, someone will soon understand this predicament!
11th July 2015: Westmeed Hospital, Sydney Australia
It has been two days since surgery, and honestly there is no comparison to the healing process post-surgery last time. An overview of my circumstances demonstrates an increased mobility, awareness and energy whilst having an appetite. Furthermore, my bodily functions have already reconnected, meaning there is no need for any concern about a possible future enema 😄
So, some details about the procedure and the planning will assist in grasping the current situation. Firstly, two similarities exist between the recent surgery and the previous surgery 18 months ago. Namely, the expected waiting time for my family exceeding the estimation by approximately eighth hours. Secondary, the epidural did not work, meaning a fair bit of pain was experienced when the anaesthetic wore off. In addition, the news I later received was that the operation was reminiscent of a scene from a Quentin Tarantino film with blood bursting out everywhere. My doctor actually stated, ‘the outcome seemed positive, it just reminded me of how surgery was completed 20 years ago’. Upon hearing the news caused little bother, the reassurance the surgery was successful nullified any concern for how the procedure was completed. In summary, I am very outcomes based, so am extremely happy hearing the end result seemed positive, regardless of the amount of blood spurting from my body. The next steps include, two more procedures under local anaesthetic to remove the spread of the little buggers to both my lungs. I have said it once, and believe the latest antics only demonstrate my previous thoughts about Cancer being quite the narcissistic character!
One more sleep separates my current life to the new normality awaiting me. I feel as prepared as possible for surgery, with my mindset playing a crucial role in maintaining overall homeostasis, however, the surrealism of the entire experience is still difficult to comprehend. Namely, the actual details of the reality awaiting me. I must mention, my predictions entail rising from surgery heavily sedated, with weeks to follow stuck within this incapacitated state, however, ultimately I have no idea of what they may find or whether any complications are associated with th surgery. Admittedly, my intentions were to reference tomorrow as D-Day, however, when thinking about the connotations, I did not see the tittle as fitting to the day ahead. Yes, I will have a procedure, and will be experiencing temporary pain, however, on a permanent basis, I have belief in being stronger in a physical, mental and emotional sense. Therefore, tomorrow is not D-Day. Instead, just another day, and the beginning of my new normal.