Houston, We’ve got a problem!

11th June 2015: Bali, Indonesia

I hate when people tell me everything will be ok.
I hate when people just don’t listen
I hate to think of the worry I have caused my family.
I hate having to decide who to tell my story with.
I hate even having to think about what my story is.
I hate to think I am writing this.

I hate that I hate.

A reoccurrence of Cancer

25th May 2015: Sydney Australia

It seems the scene has been established for a rematch. The opponent once again facing me in the ring, appears to be my now arch nemesis who wants a second attempt after the hiding I handed out last year. The stakes are different though, with my opponent not having the weight compared to last time. Another positive note is the assurance knowing my supporters are once again already supporting me, an important factor considering my eyes have already overflown when both hearing and processing the news.

I was only informed of the fight about two hours ago by my manager, who as always is in my corner ready for action. In preparation, he has cleared his schedule tomorrow to talk tactics. Regardless of the outcome, I will still be going to my training camp in Indonesia. Albeit, for a shorter time. Upon my return, I will face the opponent in the ring. Even though I am confident, it would be very pleasing to discover the opponent is in fact an amateur rather than a heavyweight who does not wish to take the matter any further. Either way, I will physically, emotionally and mentally prepare for whatever awaits me.

Do photos really show if we are happy?

29th April 2015: Sydney

I found myself locating, then reviewing photos from the past few years. One striking feature was a smile always on sprayed across my face. Consequently, I was left wondering whether I was happier in the past, and if so, does my current state of perceived unhappiness derive from a complete change in living circumstances; health; relationships; experiences; available finances, and employment status? Or alternatively, does the question need to be posed of whether happiness can actually be gauged from looking at photos?

If we were to break down the function of a photo, in the most basic format it captures moments, and some would suggest, only moments to cherish (honestly, how many selfies are posted on the first take). Therefore, the possibility surfaces of becoming drawn to consider past happiness as triumphing over my current state, especially when reviewing pictures when not the feeling the best. Really, who goes looking for photos when happy! In all seriousness, and with little surprise, I am inclined to think I have been happier in the past compared with now. Inevitably, a number of factors could support a basis for the change, and this is definitely not a path I will walk down for sympathy. Instead, I propose that surely a greater level of happiness can be obtained in my current and future life, and firstly this position needs to be truly believed in my mind before it can eventuate.

So, you may ask how a shift in direction will occur? Obviously many areas of my life need to be explored, however, honestly the process of exploring my mind and feelings through these entries helps to put topics into perspective, namely, the compartmentalisation of my Cancer experience into a certain place whereby I once again I can see the smile dominating my face.

Does writing about Cancer and the feelings attached actually help?

28th April 2015: Sydney, Australia

The avoidance of writing about my ever fluctuating mental states seems necessary. My reasoning derives back to an earlier entry relating to an acceptance of my circumstances, and true acceptance entails an absolute submission to experiencing both the highs and lows associated with Cancer. Inevitably, down days are going to occur, and the process of documenting these days only seems to imprint a negative impact on my overall well-being. At times, a feeling of becoming stuck within a hole of despair is the predominant thought embedded within my subconscious, and consequently, my consciousness then allows these thoughts to sift into my everyday feelings and future outlook. It is somewhat paradoxical to refrain from writing about these times, however, it is a decision made to encourage a true acceptance of my circumstances whilst making a more conscious attempt at furthering my growth.

Another mask to wear, this time it is was to hide the tears.

27th March 2015: Sydney, Australia

An appointment with my Professor two days ago resulted in an overwhelming feeling of normality sweeping throughout my mind and body. In extremely untypical circumstances, I had to hold myself together, ensuring my tears remained dormant for another day. Discussion on the very matter of holding back my years is whole another entry in itself, and on reflection, the reasoning for restricting my emotions is due in part to the facade deemed essential in showing a strength to the outside world whilst also attempting to decrease the emotional load on my mum who was present. It must be noted that my main concern regarding this entire process is the impact on my loved ones, especially my mum. Therefore, the point of having a facade is ironic as the main point from the appointment was summarised in the words of my Professor when stating he couldn’t see my trajectory being any better, and instead of showing joy, an outpouring of emotional overcame me. An experience in a medical setting comparable to the very first appointment when I was informed my life expectancy was no greater than six months should surgery not be opted for. Possibly, the simple reasoning derives from the reality of light at the end of tunnel approaching. Maybe a point worthy of tears.

Instability masked as a question about life..

26th February 2015: Sydney, Australia

I was sitting in the surf considering the entry yesterday, and thought an alternate view should be proposed to the seemingly apparent dependency I have on drugs. The question I pose is whether my day actually revolves around a reliance on pills or do they simply provide the capacity to live a life whereby yoga; surfing; my writing; attention on fitness, and healthy eating can constantly feature?

In response, it is undeniable that drugs feature within my life, however, it appears the proposal of an alternate view serves a greater purpose. One whereby a clearer demonstration of the very fabrics governing my life is displayed, namely, the ever shifting feelings encountered on a daily basis, and regardless of the topic of drugs, the major point brought to attention is the inability to just put forth one view, and standby the words scribed when my feelings fluctuate the following day. A matter seemingly more strenuous when writing in the midst of a battle against the night monsters who seem to terrorise my consciousness when my head hits the pillow compared to a more stable chain of thoughts experienced during day light hours.

The masks we wear to disguise ourselves..

17th November 2014: Sydney Australia

My eyes lock to a figure walking about fifty meters ahead. Instantly, the figure is identified, and I am able to work out from the leisurely pace that in approximately 20 seconds we would be crossing paths. Immediately, my first reaction is to stall, dropping back the pace to an almost creeping speed or looking at my surroundings to see if there is anything of interest to spend a few minutes focusing upon. Unfortunately, not many options are available on the daily walk from the beach with just my surfboard, so bending down to tie up my shoes is out of the question. Also, the unnecessary phone call to someone is unable to be made. I estimate the change of pace only lasted at most ten steps before my escape had to be aborted. So, off I went, again taking the walk at normal pace and making contact right on about 50 metres.

Why the thoughts of avoidance? Well, it’s simple, I knew from the very moment of working out the basic calculations of meeting the person at that time would eventuate in a line of questioning, consisting of: so how are you, you still taking chemo, good you still got your hair, etc. I can understand the questions are coming from both a caring and friendly place, and is probably the reason for deciding to opt with the neighbourly decision of remaining at such a pace to receive the bundle of expected questions. I also felt the conversation pushed me to act in a way aligned with my outlook on life, opposed to advocating the advantages of living in a friendly community yet actively behaving in such an opposing manner.

I am not sure if it was just the expected questions or whether thoughts of avoidance derived from the need to falsely put on a mask disguising my actual feelings, however, I think it is fairly accurate in hypothesising that the comments are coming from a good place, and the observation of me walking home from a surf would also provide an indication of me feeling well. I ponder the social laws governing these situations and how it would be scaled should a true portrayal of my feelings and thought process be provided? Maybe it is just me, and I should have just honestly explained that generally I am feeling very positive, however, I am actually not doing so well today. I also reflect on whether my resistance to honesty results from the desire of not wanting to burden others with my bouts of misery or just a plain discomfort in expressing my feelings? Alternatively, it could be the attempt to uphold a strong, positive and energetic outward showing of my ability at moving on from the Cancer. A strategy combatting the common perceived narrative about being a person who had or has Cancer, i.e. that poor guy, how sad it is to hear the news about him/her.

On all accounts, I think the right decision was made. My reasoning includes the fact and privilege of living in a community where people bump into each other to talk are some of the foundations of a cohesive and caring society. Finally, the choice of not delving into detail about how I was actually feeling was the correct decision. I believe there are certain people in our lives to share these certain feelings with, and a little less detailed story is more appropriate for others. Therefore, in summing up the points, it seems I may need to shop for some more masks for future days 🙂