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 😄
16th November 2015: Sydney, Australia
I will say it straight out. We all know the importance of connection with others, particularly as we are deemed to be social beings, however, does anyone else wonder about the difference on our wellbeing compared between being single and having a healthy, supportive and loving intimate other in our lives? I have breached this topic in the past, and have since taken on board the comments from others, but wish to reach the topic again, particularly observing the life lived by many in this modern day world. A life driven by deadlines, social media notifications and distractions.
I do not wish to be misinterpreted on the matter, and in no way advocate for people settling or remaining unhappy in harmful relationships. In addition, am not naive in thinking some people can simply be happier when single, however, is the focus on always seeking something better restricting our heart from experience true love? If so, are we then not able to reach optimal health and wellbeing? Alternatively, is this entry just me taking a moment to spill my feelings all over my screen whilst I type away????
14th November 2015: Sydney, Australia
It is strange to consider a week has passed without a post added, especially considering the attention placed on writing throughout the past 18 months. I have definitely had a lot on my mind, and typically have used this platform to share my thoughts, however, it appears I have come to the position of seeing my writing as directly correlating with the need to seek support from others I connect with online. As noted, it has been extremely helpful, particularly in processing past feelings, fears and emotions, but I now feel changes are needed in my life. Consequently, meaning a change in my writing may be needed to facilitate this change. Yes, I will continue to write, however, hopefully a different focus will be evident. A focus, not saturated in despair and the questioning of every little detail of life. Rather, a more balanced blog that will lead to an evolution in my actual life 😄
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.
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.
16th October 2015: Sydney, Australia
Firstly, I should note, I am writing this post without a specific population in mind, however, feel the content may resonate to those in process of achieving a particular goal. Also, prior to continuing, I must acknowledge that many similar messages are widely available on the Internet. So, obviously I am by no means claiming to be writing anything revolutionary. In contrast, the message is extremely basic, and in the most simple format, it can be introduced by sharing a comment recently directed towards me. The comment has repetitively been heard over the past 20 months, and it is typically structured in such a way that suggests I should be resting more and not over-exerting my body. Therefore, in an attempt to understand the reasoning behind the comments, I pose a number of points. Do people think comments such as the one mentioned or other similar messages directed towards you stem from:
a. Concern for your welfare?
b. Fear for the success you can achieve?
c. Jealousy of the drive and commitment had to achieving in your goal?
d. Other (please comment).
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?
18th September 2015: Sydney, Australia
I received confirmation my body is clear of any Cancer. A point to usually to celebrate, and admittedly, I am of course extremely pleased with the results, however, it does not feel like the time to be experiencing joy. Of course a focus needs to centre upon my health and wellbeing, and neglecting my own feelings will inevitably result in an imbalance within my body. It just seems so hard to be experiencing happiness knowing my mum is suffering. In saying that, I do recognise a place needs to be found whereby the emotions associated with my mum are better managed whilst also ensuring sufficient attention is placed on my personal growth and development. Furthermore, it is essential to think of the circumstances unfolding on a wider scale. No longer is it possible to solely focus on my journey as it now appears the futures of my mum and I are interconnected. Therefore, it is pivotal to support my mum in many ways, including the necessity of sharing my personal successes and strength. Ultimately, this strategy will ease her concern about my wellbeing, allowing her to focus more on herself, and importantly, will hopefully support the both of us to thrive in the future.
16th September 2015: Sydney, Australia
The tears have not been able to stop. At almost every moment, I just break out into tears, and find it hard to control myself. It seemed a climaxed whilst seeing my mum last night, becoming an absolute wreck. Both my brothers and dad were obviously upset, yet, holding themselves well, and there I am next to her bed, sobbing while holding her hand.
I have thought about the reasons for crying, and keep coming back to a level of guilt associated with the stressors I have placed on her whilst also thinking I may be crying for both of us. I know this sounds odd, however, my mum did not allow herself to cry throughout the past 20 months, and I feel my outburst of emotion reflects the pain she held in while also symbolising the commencement of the healing process for both my mum and I.