Cancer is big business

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.

Let’s switch a negative

21st September 2015: Sydney, Australia

I am very conscious my writing has shifted in focus from detailing the associations of my personal Cancer experience to expressing the emotions involved in the battle my mum currently faces. I believe the emphasis placed on my mum accurately portrays the priorities held in my life, and it is rather intriguing to consider how fast the change occurred. Ultimately, I centred directly upon the experiences and impact of my Cancer diagnosis for a period over 12 months till I was confronted with the unexpected news about my mum. One point to draw from the immediacy of the switch is the unfortunate circumstances of experiencing Cancer at a young age from both a direct and indirect position. I will stand by my comments about the circumstances being unfortunate, however, an alternate term to be used can also be unique. I recognise many people are facing hardship in their lives, and empathise with their situation. Furthermore, I am not at all trying to place my position above others. I simply feel my position is unique, and can utilise my situation to better support my mum throughout the upcoming period whilst also serving a purpose in broadening my comprehension about the ways my behaviours, actions and adversities effect those close to me. To conclude, without any selfishness, I have an awareness of the importance of maintaining my wellbeing throughout this period, and the new arising challenge will be to equally balance attention on my personal goals whilst working through the guilt, fear and pain felt in relation to the struggle my mum is enduring.

 

A new test for my family

14th September 2015: Sydney, Australia

I have always referred to the widespread impact a singular Cancer can have on many, particularly those closest to a person, and unfortunately, it appears my initial worries have manifested. I heard the news when getting into my car after having my latest scan. It was my mum calling as usual, however, immediately I detected something different this time when she said, “I don’t want you to worry but”.

Information surrounding my mum has come to light with further testing, and she is scheduled to have a Cancer removed tomorrow. Personally, I see a correlation between the recent turn of events and the stress associated with the challenges endured over last 20 months. My reasoning derives from research read when first discovering I had Cancer. The exact findings of the paper are not remembered in full detail, however, a trend was noticed in a Cancer diagnosis leading to an increased risk of health concerns for significant others. I am not at all seeking sympathy from others, merely, attempting to highlight the importance of looking at Cancer on a larger scale, especially how loved ones need to make space in their lives to care for themselves whilst having positive, healthy and appropriate avenues to channel the stressors involved in the circumstances. Lastly, I wish to outline the very pivotal point of remembering what worked for me may not be the best for her. Therefore, I need to take myself out of the situation, and simply reciprocate the unconditional love and support shown to me.

Showtime is approaching!

27th June 2015: Sydney, Australia

I have the biggest burst of energy flowing throughout my body and mind. It is magical yet so strange to be in such a state, especially upon hearing confirmation that the tumour is Cancerous. Moreover, it appeared the greedy self-indulgent bugger was lonely last time. Therefore, a few friends have decided to provide company, setting up camp on the the bottom of my right lung. In all seriousness though, I really experience a degree guilt to be feeling levels of elation when seeing the absolute horror on the faces of my parents. How can it be like this? It seems so unfair! I just wish to alleviate the stressors for my parents by overcoming the current obstacle to live a life abundant in love, success and happiness. The life I honestly feel is awaiting me!

Arrogance or belief?

6th April 2015: Avoca Beach, Central Coast of New South Wales

Easter is a time of the year whereby I catch up with family, and has recently become a time for future options to be discussed. Particular periods on the calendar make comparisons of my circumstances from last year to now more defined. On reflection, it was interesting to relive some of the memories about my condition last year. For example, my weight, skin colour & intricacies of the surgery are some memorable examples of the discussion. Admittedly, the discussion elicits no negative emotion at all. Rather, the recollections only reinforces the progress I feel has been made thus far, and provides motivation to allow further progress to be made.

Naturally, conversation also shifts to future options, and again, a confidence is felt in expressing my thoughts and emotions. At present my plans are fairly brief. I will be going to Indonesia, hope to implement the designed programme later this year, and a return to work will occur next year. I understand the statement seems arrogant whilst also contradicting previous comments about setting timeframes upon myself, however, currently my chain of thought is firmly fixed on total recovery, and I have self-belief the points will come to fruition.

A walk down memory lane..

17th January 2015: Sydney, Australia

I had thought attention on my Cancer has been decreasing over time, and had hoped for this to continue throughout the many more prosperous years to follow. I still don’t think an example today needs to shift my future course, however, an event to possibly reconsider the situation in terms of the impact rather than the attention. A conversation with my mum yesterday brought me to this position. For the first time, my mum provided details of her feelings during the three days after receiving the phone call when I informed them that I had a tumour. On a personal level, I was happy in revisiting some of the decisions made, including the avoidance of going to full details with my parents over the phone, namely in relation to the size of the tumour. One specific moment was the initial contact made when holding a conversation with my dad, and to note, I knew the tumour was approximately 15cm, and was thought to be Cancerous. Parts of the conversation entailed:
Dad: Well how big is it?
Me: Pretty big
Dad: A grape?
Me: bigger
Dad: Orange?
Me: bigger
Dad: Grapefruit
Me: Yeah about that, it’s pretty big

Now, some may argue honesty was needed, however, I completely disagree. The main points were conveyed, namely, I had a Cancer, and secondly, it was fairly large. In addition, plans were exchanged about my care and when results would be available. The interesting and upsetting information for me was what followed. Mum said that Dad went to the city the next day and cried the whole day, then the following day, both mum and dad followed the same route as the day previous, yet this time they were both crying. For me, that right there is evidence of the impact of Cancer!

I also feel a chain of events directly caused by that conversation unfolded throughout the weeks and months to follow. Similar to any grieving process, evident negative events seemed to surface, and in this instance, an increase in stress and worry compounded by the drinking of alcohol seemed to have featured within the family home. I am not at all meaning to highlight the negative points. Simply, describe some of secondary factors associated with Cancer. On a positive note, the support that continues to be accessible seems unmatched, and the very factors in life that are invaluable and forever remembered. It must be noted that the focus are all internal descriptions, and I wonder what factors will be remembered and live on for my parents. I imagine, our memories will greatly vary!

Carer support

20th October 2014: Sydney Australia

In terms of how my body is feeling it has been another happy day! A few other areas of my life wouldn’t necessarily be deemed to be in a similar place, however, limited attention will be directed towards this as my focus is on remaining positive about the current level of health experienced. One of the days highlights consisted of a discussion with the an employee of the Australian Cancer Council whereby I touched upon the ideas surrounding the principles of The Sunflower Framework. The response was extremely encouraging, leaving me with a sense of satisfaction whilst also propelling me into the next stage of writing so the manuscript is in a position for others to read and provide feedback.

I made the call to Cancer Council to make inquires about what support is available for carers, with particular focus on my mum and capacity to maintain her well-being and strength in face of the stress and worry associated with my circumstances. Prior to making contact, I had a discussion with my mum requesting her to consider linking in with a support group for carers, and to my pleasure she was interesting in taking up the option. Surprisingly, there seems to be little support available to carers of people with Cancer. I am not at all undermining the need for support in other areas, I was just astonished to see the vast support network opportunities available for carers of people with dementia, mental health and disability in comparison to the little support available to people with Cancer. The three areas mentioned above are all extremely difficult, draining and stressful areas for carers, and it was positive to see the available options. I did just feel a little perplexed at the disparity of specialist support available for carers with Cancer, especially with the rise of Cancer within the population, and it made me think about the gap in service availability.