Blindfold yoga

25th November 2015: Sydney, Australia

The recent decision to trial varying yoga teaches and styles has resulted in the sense of needing to share a specific experience with others. Last night, I arrived as usual to the studio, prepared with some brief stretches before being informed the class would proceed without use of our predominant sense. Obviously, there was an option to discard the blindfold, however, I was not going to pass on this moment. Immediately, an excitement, intrigue and overall enthusiasm was felt at this foreign prospect. Honestly, no hesitations were present within my thinking. Instead, a receptive, curious and awaiting mind was centred upon the next hour.

At the most basic level, eliminating our sight could link to thoughts about an unsteadiness, and of course, I imagine differences would have been evident if the many times I had my vision were compared with yesterday. However, solely focusing on a physical unsteadiness overlooks the deeper awareness allowed to open when a shift occurs in the way we reliance on our senses. Honestly, the class facilitated a deeper connection in regards to the relationship between my body and the space around me whilst also making me feel attuned to what was happening inside my mind. Furthermore, the act of temporarily taking away the sight from everyone in the room allowed a true freedom to exist. A freedom whereby everyone could move without a worry about how they looked.

Misdirect goal setting

7th November 2015: Sydney, Australia

Personal development is all about progression in any identified area in your life. Typically, the process of establishing goals is seen as an essential step towards achieving your goals. Now, bearing this in mind, I am curious as to whether my recent chain of thoughts have been misdirected. Basically, the entirety of my focus was to remain alive. If we were to break down the meaning of that goal, I think it is actually a rather harmful state of mind. It is not like I am scrapping for food, in need of shelter or avoiding danger. Really, my goals seem to reflect an underlying vulnerability. A superior approach would have been to be more specific. For instance, what do I want from my ideas/career, how do I want relationships in my life to look, what type of lifestyle am I seeking, how do I want to be progressing in my physical/emotional rehabilitation, and what do I want to be fuelling my body with. On reflection, my goals were once structured in such a way with timeframes underpinning each goal, however, I allowed myself to drift into the abyss of confusion and uncertainty. Ultimately, placing me back to a state of mind not conducive to really make the intended changes in my life.

The mental strength needed to create a new future

 

 

27th October 2015: Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia

Writers block is a rather common phrase, and I am sure it will resonate with a few who are reading this. The typical association of writers block varies to the following content as I am using the phrase to express the difficulty encountered in creating my new life story I am desperately wanting to bring to fruition.

Since last writing, obstacles have definitely surfaced, and I was stuck in a cloud of thoughts questioning the reason why there is such a fear associated with Cancer. Why is every bodily symptom linked to a questioning of whether a looming nuclear destructive being will come to fight me again? The specific chain of thought stemmed from an incredibly tough period just passed. Honestly, I went to bed on Sunday at 9pm to wake up at 7am on Tuesday. Admittedly, sporadic periods occurred whereby I got out of bed to get some fruit, however, virtually the entire 34 hours were spent in a state of utter despair, with feelings of fatigue and bodily aches consistently experienced. In keeping with the theme from the previous post, I am trying to place this ordeal in a positive frame whereby a degree of normality has once again finally been obtained, however, it takes great mental strength to keep the demons away who persist on telling me the new narrative will never be achieved.

Importance of rehabilitation

22nd October 2015: Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia

Two weeks ago, I briefly talked about a form of exercise called Tabata. My opinion on the type of exercise has not changed, and it was proving to be extremely beneficial till deciding to modify the routine. The decision to make changes stemmed from a desire to further intensify the range of exercises, however, it appeared my body was not prepared for the additional load. Consequently, I had to have a week of rest, and was sent for an ultrasound to see whether I had damaged my abdomen. Fortunately, the results were positive, meaning there was no serious damage. Instead, I had placed a significant amount of stress on the abdominal region of my body without it being in a position to take such a load. At a very basic level, I can easily look back on the situation with regret, feeling the decision to intensify the exercise was premature. Some may agree with this explanation, however, I believe my body would have been ready for the changes if I followed my rehabilitation plan from last surgery. On reflection, it seems I was naively under the impression of seeing myself as progressing much faster than last time. Admittedly, many areas may superficially support this position, however, the key point being overlooked was a misdirection in my focus. The best way to articulate my point is to make comparisons at varying stages throughout my two recoveries.

So, after the second surgery I started swimming at six weeks before adding yoga, tabata and surfing into the schedule. I gradually starting swimming faster and a greater distance, and mentally felt better than last time. Now, at 14 weeks, a disparity exists between where was I was last time compared to my current position, and it results entirely from being totally blinded by my objectives. Last time, each step was concentrated on based on what was required at that time. This time, I wanted to pass all the steps in favour of recommencing the belief held about the goals of rebuilding my body still being incomplete. Consequently, I am now needing to work backwards, and it reinforces the imperativeness of thoroughly adhering to a rehabilitation plan.

You should swim

17th October 2015: Sydney, Australia

The content about to be delivered is entirety captured in the title. Simply, I believe swimming or some form of activity in the water should form part of your exercise routine. Just to note, I am writing this knowing some people will already click away, and maybe there is something greater occurring in the thinking behind the actions of those seconds away from deleting this post from their minds. Most notably, whether a correlation exists between the reason for clicking away and the reluctance to follow the advice provided. To state it as simply as possible, for some, I believe the thought of swimming is too hard or not something you enjoy. I must acknowledge, the only group of people excluded from the post are those with no accessibility to a pool or place to swim. To everyone else, I challenge you to commit to swimming within the next week. Obviously, if modifications need to be made, due to varying capacities, then modify as required. To the rest of you. Swim!

Food labels

14th October 2015: Sydney, Australia

You know the feeling when returning from the shops only to discover a vital ingredient had been forgotten. The next thought seems to appear like you have bumped your head as the mental processing begins, consisting of a sequence whereby you need to reluctantly drag yourself back to the shops to collect that one item. Are you getting the picture? Well, the situation described was a review of what happened to me, however, I was fortunate enough to get my dad to collect some canned tomatoes for me. The conversation with my dad to arrange collection turned out to be rather interesting, due completely to the specific request of purchasing tomatoes with no preservatives or additives. It brought to attention the focus I have on reading food labels, and later a curiosity emerged about how many others read the actual content of their foods.

It would be interesting to try get a bit of a gauge in how many people read food labels before buying most purchases? Any comments?

How do you see me?

8th October 2015: Sydney Australia

I like to think my narrative has shifted from the person with Cancer, however, constantly situations surface within my week, reinforcing the presence of this narrative in my life. I wonder when, and if I get to the stage whereby the story just becomes a feature of my past?

Alternatively, could the idea of multiple stories exist simultaneously in my life? A life where the Cancer story will ultimately always exist in the eyes of some people, however, others will see through this label, and share in the story I hold about myself.

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.

Does Cannabis actually benefit people on chemotherapy

22nd September 2015: Sydney, Australia

I feel the need to express my attitudes towards people on chemotherapy taking Cannabis to control common side-effects, including nausea, fatigue, appetite and the general mindset of the individual. It seems a disclaimer is needed to ensure I am not misinterpreted. Firstly, I am basing the entry from a completely personal experience, and am not suggesting it will suit all, however, do advocate for it to be trailed in combination with chemotherapy to limit the common crippling side-effects. Secondly, I have been fortunate enough to secure Cannabis oil, meaning it is less harmful for my body compared with smoking the plant. Finally, the Cannabis I used was all grown outside completely unaided by any fertiliser or other item to promote rapid growth or potency.

As noted, I am in favour of the use of medicine Cannabis, especially in the oil format, however, I have felt a reluctance to advise certain people about using Cannabis for fear of their response. It seems there is still a section of the population who simply view medicinal Cannabis as means for people to get high or an avenue for regular smokers to lobby government in an attempt for legalisation. A point found extremely interesting is the trust people have for pharmaceutical products compared to a natural plant that has clearly proved so effective in relieving any side-effects associated with my treatment. Personally, the matter is straight forward, and the 20 months of diary entries can demonstrate how use of the oil directly correlated with a removal of all side-effects from my life. A discussion with my Professor provides an accurate synopsis of my experience. To simply summarise the content of the discussion, I noted a removal of rancid odours from my body, an increase in energy and a return to a normal palate. In addition, the constant endless nausea has now been replaced by feelings of relaxation throughout my body prior to sleeping whilst also a little a jovial. Lastly, and importantly, I have finally been able to feel a degree of normality in my life. A feature missing for 20 months, and a point not to be underestimated. Now, considering these experiences, I would be very interested to hear from others, and to note, I simply wish to open dialogue so am open to all opinions.

 

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.