9th December 2015: Sydney, Australia
Does anyone else have feelings where they are intent on entering a 100 metre sprint, but instead find you are actually at the starting blocks of the hurdles with many obstacles ahead? My reasoning for the above question stems from the disappointment encountered when visiting my Professor today. Prior to the appointment, I was focused on having discussions based around the timeframes for my chemotherapy to finish, inevitably placing me in a position whereby I am capable of re-entering the workforce in the new year. How circumstances can change. I walked out of the hospital with another two month supply of chemotherapy whilst weighed down by future predictions about how I can support a future family and find satisfaction in my choice of employment if needing to stay on chemotherapy for an indefinite period of time. Admittedly, I may be a little over dramatic, and should note my appreciation for life, especially in the short term, however, at times it seems the cloud of uncertainty hovering over me can temporary blind me to the love and gratitude I currently have for my life.
3rd December 2015: Sydney, Australia
Results of my scans have been shared, and I am both fortunate and happy to say it was all clear. Ultimately, I can finally use the results to my benefit whereby I am able to normalise future scenarios, and hopefully not have such a fear associated with the results. Now, focus will shift to the frequency of scans, especially with one doctor being of the opinion that scans only add to the anxiety of the situation, possibly causing unnecessary stress. Personally, upon hearing news similar to this morning alleviate all stress. Therefore, I completely disagree with the advice of my doctor, and hope my other doctor sees my reasoning before deciding to schedule in the next scan.
I do acknowledge a major step to overcome is the comfort in not having regular scans, however, I am yet to be in such a position. A lot can happen in a year, so let’s see where I am this time next year 😄
2nd December 2015: Sydney, Australia
As much as I would like to write about other topics, my attention is centred firmly on obtaining the results from the most recent scans completed. I strongly believe there may be a chance of acquiring the necessary information, but that would mean breaking my pact to learn of the outcomes of the scan. If so, does a weakness correlate with my thinking? I need strength, I need to be healthy, I need to continue playing the waiting game.
30th November 2015: Sydney, Australia
I want to walk away from this life of Cancer, actually a more apt description would entail me running away with only one destination insight. Interestingly, my intentions seem to be clear about moving on from this chapter in my life, however, I still hold onto parts of the narrative. For instance, my scans were completed today, and many of my close friends were notified about this in the preceding weeks. The question circulating throughout my mind centres upon disparity in my intentions and actions. If I really wished to move on from this, then would I still be telling people close to me about the upcoming scan? Would it not be similar to attending a dentist for an appointment! Obviously, differences exist, and I am looking forward to celebrating the positive news at the end of the week, however, I feel next time, no mention of the scan will be made.
18th November 2015: Sydney, Australia
I am unable to comprehend how the support provided to my mum in certain situations is the exact opposite to what I would be wanting if the roles were reversed. The thinking behind the entry stems from the circumstances I currently find myself within. At present, I am sitting in a chair adjacent to my mum whom is receiving her second round of Chemotherapy. I would love to be more supportive, showing even half the level of support shown to me throughout the many months, however, it seems a total loathing of the setting makes me switch into a mode whereby I close myself off from the world around me. Strangely, the setting is all very modern with attentive staff and a relatively pleasant atmosphere, however, I am unable to overcome the feelings and attitudes held towards the place. The reasoning behind my attitudes may either be the desire to move away on a personal level from the world of Cancer or whether the whole place, including the flight attendant smiles plastered on the face of the nurses combined with the free wifi evoke thoughts about the amount of money made from Cancer. Admittedly, another reason could be identified, namely, the completely cynical stance seemingly emerging within my mindset when thinking about Cancer.
1st November 2015: Snapper Rocks, Queensland
I received a text from a friend containing a photo of me from when I was 24 years old, and almost immediately, I noticed a body I have become so unfamiliar with. The striking difference is of course a long forgotten flat abdomen region spanning across the entirety of my lower torso whilst further examination reminds me of the normal chest I had prior to starting the chemotherapy that caused my chest to be more akin to the body of a 14 year old girl. If a greater analysis was undertaken, then I can also connect with a completely carefree attitude evident in my face, however, I wish to keep all emphasis on the noticeable changes in my body resulting from the lasting impact of consecutive surgeries and the course of treatment tackled thus far.
There are many paths for this entry to lead down, and the singular route to be explored relates to the question about the importance of body image. Firstly, is it a reflection of my shallowness to even think about some scarring and an enlarged chest when taking into consideration the fact I am here, alive and smiling? Secondly, please consider the situations for many others, particularly women who some may argue lose some of their femininity when having a breast removed or have the need for a colostomy bag. Just to note, I do not hold this view about women, however, I have both heard and read this to be true, so wanted to widen the scope for discussion about the connection between Cancer and body image.
Ultimately, my current predicament is obviously preferred over death, and believe most others will hold the same position, however, a seemingly blanket view held from others about being superficial for placing emphasis on this topic is simply mirroring a misunderstanding about the impact of certain factors associated with Cancer. As noted in previous entries, I believe it can often be the secondary factors that haunt people who have experienced Cancer, and the only means for decreasing the impact is for educating the masses about some of the areas that may simply be overlooked by discarding these concerns by a belief that everyone should just be grateful to be alive.
28th October 2015: Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia
Ill symptoms recently experienced have questioned my overall existence, and I descended into a place not frequently visited. Admittedly, the place is dark, and it is where I entertain destructive thoughts about my my life. It wasn’t till hearing a quote just moments ago that enabled me to block the destructive thoughts and instead focus completely on my long, loving life awaiting me. For those still reading, I encourage you to not see me attaching to anything to give me hope, but alternatively question whether something greater is supporting me throughout this process. It may sound weird at first, and again possibly another juncture for some to stop reading at, however, it seems the quote was heard at the very right moment to refuel my defence system.
Upon dissecting the events, an observer could simply say it was a case of listening to lyrics in a song whilst driving home. Again, I encourage those to not think of coincidences, and instead consider all the minute details forming at the exact moment to make me open to connecting with the lyrics of the song. Honestly, it has had a significant impact and will form the basis of a mental exercise to be completed to support my thinking.
The quote is “they say the darkest hour is before dawn”.
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.
13th October 2015: Sydney, Australia
How technology can enhance the social component of Cancer
I have frequently made references to the secondary factors associated with Cancer, especially the significant, and at times crippling impact these factors may have. By secondary factors I mean the impact of Cancer on relationships, career, housing circumstances and capacities. The following passage will focus on one area, namely, the social impact of Cancer.
Often isolation and vulnerability are labels attached to a person experiencing some hardship in their life, and it seems someone with Cancer definitely falls into this category. Similar to the themes of other posts, it would be likely to see a number of negatives outlined, however, I feel it it may be useful to complete an exercise whereby a story can be told about the switching of the topic from a negative to a positive. One means of achieving this is by placing emphasis on the benefits of technology to ensure you can still feel connected and partake within group activity regardless of your capacities. To anyone feeling any isolation, how about considering a review of how you can remain, repair or renew a social connection in your life, and then if comfortable share your brief story with others in the comments section?
7th October 2015: Sydney Australia
I am coming to understand a Cancer Diagnosis can have a similar function to a magnet. I do not wish to offend anyone, and am generally happy to talk with others about a Cancer experience, however, I do not always want to be surrounded by stories about Cancer. Seriously, it can be rather tiresome to constantly hear about that poor fellow or that lovely lady who suddenly found out they have Cancer. Yes, I feel for them and their loved ones, and at times would be more than happy to give the undivided attention needed to listen to the story people feel such a need to share with me, however, at other times, I simply do not have the energy or wish to know about the ever increasing tragic stories.
I hope not to have offended anyone. It is just a mood I am, partly due to the fact of the time not even being midday, and already I have heard two stories about Cancer. On reflection, maybe it is somewhat contradicting to be writing about my experiences whilst simultaneously developing a programme for people with Cancer, yet blocking myself from the stories of others.
I wonder how others manage if they encounter such situations?