How to find an imbalance in the daily grind

29th September 2015: Sydney, Australia

‘About a Boy’ is a British film starring Hugh Grant who plays a single man in his thirties who has enough wealth to sustain his lifestyle without the need for employment. Obviously, the story expands from this very extremely minute description of the film, however, the fact he is unemployed is crucial to the comparison about to be made with my life. Just to note, I am definitely not in the same financial position as the character.

An interesting point taken from the life of the character is the way he dissects his days. Each day consists of separate units forming a total number for the day. Clearly, a major difference to the typical day lived by many whereby the demands of a job/career/study provide the structure. Ok, just to be clear, another major difference is the fact that I wish to be working, however, am yet to be in a position whereby my health warrants a return to the workforce. So, basically, the only comparisons with the film are the fact we are both single men in our thirties, and separate our day into units.

I only started making the reference to units last week when telling a story to some friends, however, I see major benefits in applying the rule into my life. Admittedly, I do not have a rigid approach to each day, and would put an estimate of units in my day as totalling seven. For arguments sake, we can say a unit equals approximately an hour, or less if a task is demanding or stressful. I feel the concept may be more accessible if applied to my life, and will show how difficult or tough weeks can be balanced with positives to avoid becoming overly stressed. For instance, yesterday was very busy for my current life so I ensured a portion of my day in the afternoon was dedicated to simply hanging with a friend in the sun while we were chatting. I acknowledge it all may sound superficial, however, the social aspect of my life was not given sufficient attention after my initial surgery. Instead, all focus was directed internally, and consequently there was an impact on my social life and mental wellbeing. To others, I would recommend you think about the way time is spent throughout the week in an attempt to outline whether an existing imbalance needs to be focused upon 😄

 

Showtime is approaching!

27th June 2015: Sydney, Australia

I have the biggest burst of energy flowing throughout my body and mind. It is magical yet so strange to be in such a state, especially upon hearing confirmation that the tumour is Cancerous. Moreover, it appeared the greedy self-indulgent bugger was lonely last time. Therefore, a few friends have decided to provide company, setting up camp on the the bottom of my right lung. In all seriousness though, I really experience a degree guilt to be feeling levels of elation when seeing the absolute horror on the faces of my parents. How can it be like this? It seems so unfair! I just wish to alleviate the stressors for my parents by overcoming the current obstacle to live a life abundant in love, success and happiness. The life I honestly feel is awaiting me!

An activity designed to help others manage stressors in their lives

1st March 2015: Sydney, Australia

An ever constant doubt about the relationships in my life, future job prospects and my overall identity have resulted in the formation of a concept to help switch my mind into a mode whereby change is possible. A need to support my thinking resulted from an increasing amount of stress placed on my mind and body from the factors mentioned above. The idea is fairly basic, with the foundations based on a strategy where mental imagery is used in coordination with a directed focus of giving sufficient space to matters of importance so they can be processed rather than blocked into my subconscious. Application of the concept is relevant to the emotions involved in breaking up with my ex-girlfriend whilst also playing a role in managing the feelings associated in response to the knowledge of living on Chemotherapy due to the removal of the Cancerous tumour growing inside me.

A description of the concept entails centring upon the matter causing stress, then mental imagery is used to create a visualisation of my hands letting go of balloons as a means of signifying the release of the stress from my mind and body. I have found an increased size of balloon correlates directly with a greater intensity of thoughts. Furthermore, the idea has also expanded at peak periods whereby I need to actually physically open and release my hand to replicate a bunch of balloons flying away from my hands. Interestingly, the created image was not planned in advance. Rather, the use of balloons came to my consciousness whilst attempting to find acceptance in both situations and was seen to be a fitting image, especially with the symbolism connected to letting a bunch of balloons release from your hands. To conclude, I must add there is no research to support the proposed strategy, and it may not be useful for all, however, it has proved useful for circumstances, so I wished to share it with others.

A walk down memory lane..

17th January 2015: Sydney, Australia

I had thought attention on my Cancer has been decreasing over time, and had hoped for this to continue throughout the many more prosperous years to follow. I still don’t think an example today needs to shift my future course, however, an event to possibly reconsider the situation in terms of the impact rather than the attention. A conversation with my mum yesterday brought me to this position. For the first time, my mum provided details of her feelings during the three days after receiving the phone call when I informed them that I had a tumour. On a personal level, I was happy in revisiting some of the decisions made, including the avoidance of going to full details with my parents over the phone, namely in relation to the size of the tumour. One specific moment was the initial contact made when holding a conversation with my dad, and to note, I knew the tumour was approximately 15cm, and was thought to be Cancerous. Parts of the conversation entailed:
Dad: Well how big is it?
Me: Pretty big
Dad: A grape?
Me: bigger
Dad: Orange?
Me: bigger
Dad: Grapefruit
Me: Yeah about that, it’s pretty big

Now, some may argue honesty was needed, however, I completely disagree. The main points were conveyed, namely, I had a Cancer, and secondly, it was fairly large. In addition, plans were exchanged about my care and when results would be available. The interesting and upsetting information for me was what followed. Mum said that Dad went to the city the next day and cried the whole day, then the following day, both mum and dad followed the same route as the day previous, yet this time they were both crying. For me, that right there is evidence of the impact of Cancer!

I also feel a chain of events directly caused by that conversation unfolded throughout the weeks and months to follow. Similar to any grieving process, evident negative events seemed to surface, and in this instance, an increase in stress and worry compounded by the drinking of alcohol seemed to have featured within the family home. I am not at all meaning to highlight the negative points. Simply, describe some of secondary factors associated with Cancer. On a positive note, the support that continues to be accessible seems unmatched, and the very factors in life that are invaluable and forever remembered. It must be noted that the focus are all internal descriptions, and I wonder what factors will be remembered and live on for my parents. I imagine, our memories will greatly vary!

Is equal attention placed on stress compared to other areas in my life?

2nd December 2014: Sydney

The first point registered when sitting down to write was a reflection about a comment from the last week regarding the tone of entries seemingly overly negative. I have to question what was previously stated, adding the negativity is likely to derive from the extra motivation to write when not feeling the best, partly due to the process of writing relieving some of those feelings. In addition, it allows me to pour out the thoughts associated with my experiences. Therefore, thinking that I am always negative may be a misrepresentation of how as a whole I am actually feeling. Furthermore, my decision to write must be considered as I wish to avoid feeling like a constant burden on others or worse, the stem of their pain.

A point I find interesting, coming from a position without any medical knowledge is how completing similar tasks throughout a day can lead me to polar opposite places. For instance, my nutrition, level of rest or movement hasn’t changed today, and I know there are various other factors to be considered, including the sunshine, the happiness in my relationship and the satisfaction felt in completing my project. In addition, the reality of just periodically feeling unwell must not be overlooked. Finally, the elimination of stress is a point widely seen in literature relating to the necessary points in overcoming Cancer. I do need to measure whether sufficient or equal attention is placed on this area compared with what I deem to be my other core principles (or petals in my framework).

How is best communicate with doctors?

10th October 2014: Sydney, Australia

Yesterday was considered a day of rest, and the manuscript seems to have been followed as planned with almost 13 hours of sleep had last night. Unfortunately, a sour look still graced my face upon waking, leaving me thinking another quiet day is needed for my body to heal and recover.

I am still yet to have the 100% clearance from the radiographer, however, reassurance of being healthy was obtained by jointly reviewing the MRI results with my doctor immediately following the MRI scan. An example of a key factor contributing to furthering the doctor/patient relationship as a sense of control and care is evident. I know my outlook is not shared by all those around me. I guess, the phrase coming to mind is ‘choosing your battles to fight’. Although, I have never had to fight my cause, and admittedly I can be somewhat demanding at times of stress or concern. The example above provides insight into my approach on what matters are prioritised, and ultimately how I follow through certain concerns with my doctor whilst happily waiting for my doctor to make contact in relation to other matters deemed less important. Expansion on this concept highlights the emphasis on ensuring my doctor is not overloaded with requests. In this instance, I’m fairly confident the results will be positive, thus, I see little value in pushing the matter. I know it’s a fairly basic concept, however, it seems concerns, such as Cancer can lead people to become overly eager and demanding of their doctor. Ultimately, I believe such an approach can be counterproductive as constant pressure normalises each request, not marking the times when contact is essential and should be prioritised.

Rest

7th October 2014: Sydney, Australia

The MRI is scheduled for tomorrow! A few more days of waiting then I will be getting the next all clear from the doctor. The results will be both a relief plus a reassurance that all is progressing to plan, i.e. I will survive. Importantly, as previously mentioned, I will be able to approach future periods like the one just passed with a sense of normality. Hopefully when experiencing a sore throat, aches or sinus I will be able to just associate it with the flu.

Interestingly, today is the best I have felt since returning home, with plans established for the day including a reintroduction of physical exercise and some light yoga. I did manage to go for a surf, and again slight feelings of nausea surfaced. I attempted some meditation, but instead drifted into a deep sleep. Upon rising blurry eyed, knowing I had missed the chance to do some movement, planning shifted for at least completing a light session of yoga. The very thought process is reflective of my incapacity to value rest. Fortunately, in this instance, I was able to reason with myself, drawing on principles from the designed framework to simply rest.

The matter of resting is pivotal for all of us, and is almost seen as a weakness in the fast paced dominant cultures within both Australia and United Kingdom. Attitudes are influenced by a technological crazed population (I say this whilst typing on my tablet), and my experience of employment consisted of long-hours and weekend work viewed as badges of honour. Admittedly, I was a participating member of this fast paced way of life with limited rest planned into my weekends and the complacency adopted to working over and above requested hours. Obviously, my mind-state still requires attention in rewiring the outlook in relation to the importance of rest and the need to switch off from the internet or my phone. I do believe progress is being made, and responding appropriately to the two hours sleep today is evidence of a shift in mind-state. Obviously rest was needed, and to force myself through this would be putting stress onto my body, a factor completely undesired. and a key focus of my life I am trying to eliminate.