Family and friends

12th June 2015: Bali, Indonesia

I am still in Bali with the dynamics shifting since the large groups of friends I was staying with decreased to four. Included within the four is my brother who booked tickets at the last minute to join for a week. I’m so happy he made the decision, and importantly, was able to surf quality waves with me whilst generally spending time together. Two of my other best friends come in on Wednesday, so after two days alone, there will be a return to constant laughter and good times with those close to me.

I am uncertain how to interpret my feelings at present, and the two days alone may be testing. The support my friends and brother have provided is outstanding, and the departure of all has become a point more pivotal since hearing news about my Chemotherapy levels. In summary, the therapeutic dose in my body should be between 14-20mg. Therefore, you can imagine the news was not well received when hearing last night that I should immediately stop taking the drugs due to the reading of 28.8mg places me at extreme risk of toxicity. Moreover, it should be remembered that I increased my dose before the last set of blood samples were collected. Ultimately, meaning the results were inaccurate, and I would actually be scoring higher than 28.8mg.

In response, I questioned my doctor why it has only been the most recent period whereby limited side-effects have been experienced. A point difficult to understand when levels deemed dangerous correlate with the resurfacing of a tumour. Personally, it only reinforces the previously proposed thought that now the Chemotherapy is attacking the tumour. Furthermore, with no disrespect to my doctor, it shows the limited knowledge the medical professionals have in treating this type of Cancer. Again, another point making me consider my options post Radiotherapy. Most notably, whether I will remain on Chemotherapy. Hopefully the arranged PET scan will be able to assist the understanding on the tumour, namely, whether it has increased during the five week period or disappeared completely as hoped. To conclude, as you can see, I completely don’t know what to think or how to interpret the situation, and I am just wantmg to continue feeling better than when last posting 😀

Should all Cancer’s be viewed as negative?

2nd September 2014: London, United Kingdom

A conversation was had today reinforcing the need to consider how I voice my opinions about Cancer. I guess the very nature of writing is about me reflecting on my thoughts and gaining an understanding of what is happening for me, however, if it is used or read by someone else then a level of respect is needed for others. Moreover, greater explanation of what my thinking is based on so people, if they do read and disagree, can at least see what I base my perspective upon.

The conversation today started in a very similar fashion to how other conversations have unfolded since people learned I had a cancerous tumour removed. There doesn’t appear to be any phased introduction. Instead, their Cancer story, whether that be their own individual Cancer experience or that of someone they love or care for starts to be told. Today, the story was shared by a colleague whom is a mother of a child who had Leukaemia. At present, the young boy is doing well, and has come off his medication so it seems like a very successful and positive story. Still, I think for both parties, tears were held back at varying stages of the conversation. I doubt many exchanges would exist between two people who have experienced Cancer whereby some emotions are not shown. If this is true, then how appropriate would it be to voice opinions about Cancer, especially if those opinions were to query why all Cancers should be viewed in such negative terms? Additionally, let’s say I was suggest that Cancer may be necessary in some instances to force individuals to make needed changes in their lives. The level of appropriateness is simple, it’s not appropriate at all. The reasoning for it not being appropriate was demonsrated in the example above, particularly bearing in mind the resilience of the family and the little boy who has overcome such a rough hand at an early stage. Surely, the years of continual hardship and devastation experienced by the mother can ever be justified?

The process of the writing a journal somewhat compelles me to revisit my own thinking about the matter, however, I do believe, and wish to make clear that I agree Cancer can be an awfully, unjust and painful experience by those who have directly or indirectly experienced it. Alternatively, in some cases it can be the change needed in someone’s life, and the theme of these entries is to find a place for the Cancer in your life and that doesn’t always need to be painful and negative experience, rather a significant life changing event for the better. Furthermore, it is hoped that if this is ever read by anyone, then the collection of thoughts and examples will provide an individual who is either experiencing or has experienced Cancer with some ideas to reshape their personal narrative and relationship with their Cancer. Lastly, the information is hoped to contribute to the wide range of information already existing for carers, family and friends to act as a source of information that may give them a bit of understanding into the behaviours, actions, fears or decisions made by someone they know who has Cancer.