Why time makes me want to morph into a bear to hibernate till everything is finished..

12th May 2015: Sydney Australia

My Professor and I discussed several points, including all the details surrounding my upcoming trip. The other matter discussed was the expected period of time on the Chemotherapy, and it seems I have become victim to my own beliefs. I have advocated from the very beginning of all this that no timeframes would be established for when my treatment would stop. Admittedly, since hearing I would be on the medication for a whole another year deflated my mood. Yes, it is only a few months more, and seems essential so will be adhering to the planning. It has just made me down, angry and somewhat frustrated. I recognise this chain of thought is unhealthy and needs to change, especially considering the current fantasies running through my mind. I would never follow through with such actions, however, in being honest, I am inclined to numb myself with prescription drugs to fall into a deep sleep like a bear to hibernate till it is all finished. I can see perspective is required, particularly in how fortunate I am in many ways, it just hard to take that on board at times.

Travel preparations when on Chemotherapy

11th May, 2014: Sydney, Australia

The two month trip to Indonesia is rapidly approaching, and a fair amount of planning is required. Previously, I would have packed my belongings, knowing some clothes, a passport, and bank card provided assurance the trip would run smoothly. How the situation differs. At present, I am working out the number of tablets needed over the course of two months, factoring in the additional levels of Cortisol required to boost my immune system. Moreover, I am liaising with my Professor surrounding whether specific intravenous training is needed for emergencies whilst trying to obtain a letter outlining a list of my all my prescribed medication. A point brought to the forefront of my thinking due to recent relations between the Australian and Indonesian governments, particularly as I will be taking in excess of 500 tablets into the country. Lastly, I am becoming accustomed with a wristband ordered from USA arrived last week. The sole purpose is to provide instructions on what my body requires if I am unable to communicate my needs in case of an emergency. Hopefully, when reflecting on the time away, the wristband is not used, and instead falls into the category of contingency planning!

The arrival of the wrist band reminded me of the moments when first needing to wear glasses. At the time, my thoughts would be best summarised by a projected perception of my description by others as, ‘that guy with glasses’. In this instance, the curious and wondering eye of others would notice I am now officially stamped with a medical condition. Luckily, I consider myself mature enough to overlook the perceived label associated with the wristband, a circumstance not comparable to my teen years when braces were virtually forced upon my teeth. In all honesty, it actually does act as a continual reinforcement to my predicament, however, I seem to be progressing well with my capacity of managing the array of factors associated with Cancer, and simply see the wristband as an insignificant adjustment to my appearance. Furthermore, the prospect of spending time in the sun, surfing quality waves in warm water with a range of good friends, then arriving to have approximately six more months before coming off my medication is extremely pleasing, and if a little comfort is provided to those close back home should I wear a wristband then so be it 😄

Tickets have been booked… Indonesia awaits!

31st March 2015: Sydney, Austrlia

Yesterday, I lowered my dose of Cortisol back to 70mg. I would be lying if reference was not made to thoughts relating to drop in Cortisol correlating with a return of feeling nauseous. To my relief, no form of nausea was experienced, and I actually had a peaceful sleep for the first night in many weeks. I am unqualified to suggest a link exists between the slight increase of Cortisol and difficulty with sleep, however, the patterns experienced would suggest the increase had an impact on my sleep. On the basis of this hypothesis, I am hopeful the period of time in Indonesia whereby an increased dosage will be required to maintain my immune system does not lead to difficulties with my sleeping, however, importantly, I need to be mindful of not dwelling on this matter approaching the time or it would be virtually inevitable for difficulty with my sleep to surface.

The booking has been made to Indonesia, and a combination of time with friends mixed with a month on my own is planned. It is inevitable to meet other people whilst there, however, my thinking leading into the time will be to concentrate mostly on time spent alone, balancing my time between surfing, yoga, reading and meditation. In addition, it is hoped the local area will be explored, attempting to gain some understanding of the life of people from the local area. Initially, there was a level of concern about the lengthy period on my own, however, it seems this is all apart of the process, and the combination of time with spent alone with periods with close friends seems perfect 😄

My Super Bowl

6th October 2014: Sydney, Australia

Yesterday was grand final day for the sport of Rugby League, a day my friends and I referred to in the past as a second Christmas Day. Maybe best comparable to Super Bowl day in the states or a World Cup final for football nations. Regardless of whether others share my passion for the game, it won’t often influence the positive feeling associated with this time as people typically get together for a BBQ, be it for the match or the long weekend and meet with family or friends, heading away for a weekend escape or choose to spend time at the beach/park/pool to celebrate the extra day without work. This year was to be both special and unusual for me, I had just returned to Australia after four years away, yet, a lot of changes were anticipated to how the occasion would unfold, particularly as the day was being hosted at my house.

When looking back, it can be seen as another learning curve in my journey. Similar to a lot of aspects of my life, it was no easy ride. Feeling of elations were intertwined with disappointment. The sun was burning, fun waves were to be had whilst surfing in the morning, a group of friends and family were getting together to feast over the food prepared. Feelings of disappointment surfaced came from the very moment of waking up, the culprit being the sore throat whom was again sending a strong reminder of it’s presence. My first thoughts were directed to the frustration at my slow recovery rather than the excellent times spent with my nephews the day before. Next, I became nauseous whilst surfing, taking away from the experience of enjoying the 32 degree weather whilst surfing fun waves. Such a combination is normally a remedy for everything! The day was starting to get away from me and the feelings of nausea lead to a fatigue, thus, it was decided to not pursue the plan of integrating yoga into my day and opt for some rest, food and an early dose of medication. I get the feeling all this can seen a little over dramatic, however, context is needed to look at the past feelings associated with the day and then the realisation of the changes for me.

Remarkably, a quick meditation whilst the artificial cortisol (medication) flowed through my body lead me to feeling much better. From that point on, I can’t recall a moment when not feeling unwell or unsettled, and had an amazing day surrounded by friends and family, plus was more than pleased with my ease and comfort at just occasionally sipping on two ciders throughout the duration of the eight hours. A duration of socialising I have definitely not been able to enjoy since the beginning of the year. So the learning from it? I firmly believe everything I face is trial and error. Some options may not work whilst others, like magic make me feel good, and are then seen to feature within my future thinking. The answer to why I started to feel better could simply be attached to the medication. A decision to ignore this pivotal point would be overlooking the mechanisms of the human body, however, looking at the day in greater depth would show the significance of many other factors contributing to sustained positive feelings. In advance, I had taken any stress out of the day by planning for healthy food to be served throughout the day, had support from my parents in setting everything up and the experience was shared by a circle of friends and family, including the visit of my little nephews whom always make me happy. An analysis of the situation would show I controlled my environment, was connected with family and friends, created an atmosphere whereby everyone was understanding of my needs with no pressure on me, was complying with medication, healthy food options were aplenty and in regards to mindfulness, the day finished with a meditation before drifting into a deep slumber. Evidence again of the principles enabling me to find a place for the Cancer, one whereby I am still able to enjoy my life.