How to define me as an Australian?

26th September 2015: Sydney, Australia
A quote I have recently been able to connect with stated, “Australians are modern day Aztecs who worship the sun”. Admittedly, it is a fairly superficial and individualistic means of expressing my connection with my current of origin, however, it perfectly summarises the attraction to the powers of the sun. Furthermore, the specific focus shows some disconnection with mainstream attitudes and beliefs seemingly predominant within Australia. If refocusing on the sun, there is honestly a significant disparity in my overall outlook and energy when the sun is shining compared to consecutive days where it is cold, wet and dire. The pull towards direct sunlight makes me revise my thinking about this insatiable appetite, and I believe this desire stems from past readings about the proposed healing benefits of receiving natural Vitamin D.

The topic also leads to a questioning of whether living in London for almost four years influenced this longing for the sun. I definitely recall times when I missed the sun, however, the novelty of the experience, combined with the many cultural and social activities kept me occupied. The emerging point from a rather trivial topic is how my priorities have changed over the course of the past 20 months. Furthermore, the chain of thoughts leave me in a place doubtful about my capacity of adapting to such an environment again, even if that means loosing the opportunity of living in one of the most interesting and vibrant cities in the world. In conclusion, it is known that life does not exist without the sun, obviously I am stretching the application of this belief, however, my life seems to depend on the sun, ocean, family and friends. I life definitely wished to live for many years to come.

Thoughts about the Management of Cancer

16th June 2015: Bali, Indonesia

Management of Cancer was a key point discussed at the last appointment with my doctor. The very concept has a direct connection to the reality of having Cancer for the rest of my life whilst placing speculation around the actual amount of more years ahead. If true, my focus needs to shift from an acceptance of the feelings associated when placed in a state of prolonged uncertainty to accepting a Cancer will remain inside me till I pass away. Undoubtedly, the question now looms as to whether I will accept this new reality. Well, it is simple. No fucking way!

I will not succumb to just accepting defeat. Instead, I will draw on all the learning from the first time, and ensure my capacity is at the optimum state to overcome the current predicament. I plan to use the content from the programme I designed to review a number of key areas in my life, including the way I communicate with medical staff. Most notably, I will now the focus on living, opposed to engrossing myself in research papers or becoming dragged down by statistics or percentages about my chance of survival. Lastly, a wide range of alternate avenues will be explored to promote my wellness. A whole other post will be required to give clarity on the latter remark.

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.

The narratives in my life..

15th December 20114: Sydney, Australia

I have been contemplating the correlation between the decision to pay so much attention to not feeling well and the prolonged period whereby I was actually feeling unwell. It seems two interchanging approaches are applied in my life. Firstly, the desired approach consisting of implementing mental exercises to harvest physical improvements in my life, and an overall narrative based around self improvement. In contrast, a varying focus exists, one specifically based on getting better whilst an ever present frustration looms at the thought of being unwell. Therefore, when dissecting the differences, the latter approach seems to only cement a state of stress combined with the physical components of feeling unwell whilst the former, provides motivation to improve in all areas of my life. The task is to recognise my outlook may shift according to my circumstances, however, my overall narrative must not diverge from progression to a debilitating incapacity.

My personal remedy to overcome the flu while avoiding anti-biotics…

6th December 2014: Sydney

The very initial thought upon opening my eyes was the decision to cancel any prior arrangements. The same throat scratching at the back of my throat was sufficient information to know the battle had commenced. Sleep, rest and a healthy intake of nutrients were to be key. Thus, breakfast included berries, and varying seeds, i.e. Flax seeds and Chia seeds plus an Orange to boost my Vitamin C levels. A return to bed was made straight away. After another four hours sleep I woke up, heading to the beach for some sun and the attempt to cleanse my system in the salt water. I opted for a very spicy Thai vegetable and chicken stir fry for lunch before attempting some meditation. I say attempting as my mind felt so heavy, fleeting thoughts kept passing through my consciousness making it very difficult to arrive at a desired state. I decided to refer to my yoga book to undertaken a guided gentle routine, designed specifically to open my chest and sinuses. I then jumped in the bath before eating gourmet sausages with potatoe, kumura and carrot mash, with a side of raw kale and tomatoes.

I am now settling into a movie before having an early night, hoping that the sore throat passes when rising tomorrow. Finally, just to mention, I am aware ample other options could have been included into my day, however, for some reason, the tasks noted above were obviously the ones with most priority for me, and consequently hopefully result in an earlier return to normal health.

Can I find the secret to healing myself from the flu???

4th December 2014: Sydney

I had a feeling of coming down with an overwhelming feeling of fatigue, and now it appears with the feelings continuing that a flu is approaching. It seems strange to be coming down with a flu at this time of year, especially with the recent weather ravishing the city. Due to such feelings, heightened by an absolute loathing of the flu, I tried to shape my day in a way, enabling my body to recover in the fastest amount of time. Regardless of whether it is just today, continues tomorrow or even spans over a period of time, it will be useful to track my day in the attempt to discover a formula to assist my body recover in the future. Undoubtedly, there will never be any certainty to discover if any of the points help my body to heal, however, if successful, then it may be used as a guide to hopefully limit future periods when not feeling well.

Why did I think I was born in Krypton?????

26th November 2014: Sydney, Australia

I went to bed feeling nauseous, and eventually reflected on past feelings, particularly a moment leading up to being placed on Chemotherapy. I recall progress in terms of my physical recovery from the operation was being incorporated into my daily life and I was starting to feel relatively normal again. It was always known that the date for commencing my mediation was approaching. Prior conversations with my doctor had established a timetable for a starting date, before the dosage levels would increase. At the time, I was rather naive, wishing to skip the gradual increments and take on a full dose from the very beginning. The mindset seems to link back to the former self-belief built upon a story of enduring hardship/pain. Since then, this system of belief has been challenged, evolving into a narrative based upon love, an appreciation for life, strength and progress. Overall, it appears interesting to consider my feelings of indestructibility, compared to how fragile now can be.

Preparation for my fast/cleanse

19th October 2014: Sydney Australia

Plans have been made to commence the two day cleanse/fast on Tuesday. I don’t know whether it would actually be deemed a fast as I don’t foresee actually getting hungry. A combinations of soups, smoothies and juices will suffice be consumed over the two period. Plus, it is only two days!

My parents and close friends have been made aware of my intentions in advance to eliminate any food stressors within this period and to give everyone notice I will not be attending any social events over this period. The plan consists off having a smoothie in the morning, followed by soup at dinner and lunch. If required, a juice or smoothie will be slotted into afternoon or post dinner. The particular method will ensure my body receives the necessary nutrients whilst giving my body the opportunity to not worry about breaking down any food. Therefore, attention can be directed completely to repairing and restoring. I found it essential in explaining my reasoning to my parents and how I was to approach the two days as their support is vital to a successful period of no stress. In addition, an approach was needed whereby I was not going to experience hunger or deprived myself from the necessary nutrients my body requires. My reasoning is specifically related to my personal experiences and has been learned over the period of having my chemotherapy. I’m not certain whether it has been covered in previous sections, however, failure to eat or allowing a level of hunger to have an effect on my body sends me on a fast downward spiral. So the idea of just replacing solids out of my eating approach for two days does not seem like it will have a detrimental impact on my functioning whilst allowing my body the chance to not have to direct energy to breaking down solid foods. To conclude, I must stress the importance of having my mum on board who has prepared batches of homemade fresh soup ready for both lunch and dinner times over the two days.

Patient vs Professional control

26th September 2014: Sydney, Australia

A visit with my GP was completed today. Whilst there, I explained my recent symptoms, was then checked for less than five minutes and walked out with a precautionary prescription of antibiotics. When thinking about the appointment, I am mindful of the context surrounding the appointment. Firstly, both the doctor and I had an understanding that the purpose of the appointment was a means to pursuing a financial claim rather than seeking actual medical attention/advice. Secondly, the doctor is fully aware that the Cancer I had removed in February effects approximately 1:1000,000 people, with a specialist involved in the management of my care. Therefore, a degree responsibility is removed from his duty of care. Finally, I imagine the rarity of the circumstances evokes a degree of caution stemming from a limited understanding about the Cancer and the proposed treatment. The fact of the specific type of chemotherapy not registering on his database is evidence to support this.

My intention is to not place criticism on general practitioners, rather highlight the need for others to take control of their treatment whilst encouraging people to educate themselves prior to appointments and use specific planned questions when having face to face contact. In addition, the point of seeking alternate modes towards health promotion can’t be stressed enough. The above example demonstrates the complete attention directed to pharmaceutical interventions rather than factors such as diet, movement, stress, etc. It has already been noted that the context surrounding each appointment has created a diminished responsibility for the doctor, however, I left feeling reassured that a self-directed strategy to work towards my long-term plan of health and wellness is essential. The feelings stem from a simple questioning of whether it was really that unexpected for my immune system to be weakened, allowing my sore throat to persevere when I had not been living by my key principles? The answer is straight forward. Of course a reduction in regular movement compounded by reduced sunlight, a flight from Europe to Australia, increased stress, insufficient sleep and a slip in my eating approach is going to leave my body weakened. It may sound bizarre, however, with the exception of the nausea and fatigue, my mind and body have never felt as good as they have this year. I believe this all results from the adopted approach to life whereby a recreated a body and mind is more resilient to infection whilst I continuously strive for self-imporvement. Therefore, when some, if not all these factors are stripped away isn’t it inevitable that my body is going to negatively react, allowing an infection to surface? To conclude, a deserved rest for the body and mind is needed to get me back on track, and the steps are already in motion to achieve this. For example, I have recently sourced information to further my knowledge base about maintaining my health, my eating has improved, I am continuing plans for a detox, have been able to direct greater attention to the area of mindfulness, am getting direct sunlight and am slowly integrating movement back into my life. I speak with a confidence that the prescription will not be necessary when I am writing next week with a renewed healthy and focused mindset towards both my current circumstances and future prospects.

Confusion with food

14th September 2014: London, United Kingdom

The choice this morning to order breakfast without bread lead a conversation with my old housemate down an avenue focused on changes made in my life. The first question, clearly a reaction to the noticed shift in my dietary choices made me consider how the seemingly now normal patterns within my life symbolise a difference in the choices made in regards to numerous lifestyle related factors. I agree these changes would be evident, particular for friends in London who have not seen me in six months, i.e, diet, alcohol consumption, social engagement, etc.

My response overlooked the noticeable shifts as I think they were fairy explicit, especially considering I have been in London for almost nine weeks and haven’t been for a drink with him, and was now ordering a breakfast without bread. Instead, the less obvious factors were shared, the points I view as more significant changes made in my life. For instance, a reduced pace in life, an increased motivation to learn, an introduction to the area of mindfulness, a greater motivation to explore possible ideas to improve my health and an overall better approach to my health and well-being. Maybe to some, this may not be significant areas of change, however, when placed in a context whereby comparisons are made to the life lived before, the changes are very clear. In addition, I explained to my friend that at the beginning the changes were constantly in my mind, however, now there seems to be little thought towards certain decision as the patterns are already well established, meaning I no longer internally quarrel about what to eat, whether I can have a beer, how to reduce stressors from my life and whether I am keeping to my designed scheduled. The example below describes a period when making changes were not as easy, and my mind did not automatically shift without needing to concentrate on the decisions and choices made.

I have told this story to many people, and it involves a scenario I encountered with food when first starting to read about nutrition. I was visiting a market at The Rocks in Sydney, and an abundance of delicious food was at reach of my eager taste buds. In my mind, thoughts were circulating about the newly obtained information. Thoughts such as the need to cut meat, gluten, sugar and varying oils from my diet. Consequently, I left the market, upset and hungry because the decision made was one whereby I did not eat anything. You may think I’m preaching the old saying ‘eat anything in moderation’. I’m not. I’m saying crate a plan that works for you, and live the best you can. If you happens to slip up, well, don’t get down on yourself, think back to the reason for making the change, and simply enjoy the food. Just to note, during these periods, use of a tracking system or diary can put everything into perspective, possibly helping to reduce any guilt or mixed emotions experienced. I stated above that I know I eat a nutrient rich diet, however, I recognise there would be loads of people lining up to voice their criticism when looking at my food journal. The stark contrast in the opinion of eating habits and nutrition is what I believe causes so much confusion and uncertainty, especially in relation to the most optimal diet in order for people to promote their health. The example I told resulted from the vast array of information I was processing during that period. Should I cut carbs, how much sugar is in this, I wonder what oils they use, and is red meat going to see a Tumour return again. You get the picture! To conclude, I would suggest complete your reading, track your foods and work out a plan and after time, no longer will the changes become a matter to consciously think about. Rather, an automatic pattern will have been created that will keep you fit, healthy and give your body the best chance of maintaining a level of wellness or the needed immunity to fight invading infections.