The waiting game

2nd December 2015: Sydney, Australia

As much as I would like to write about other topics, my attention is centred firmly on obtaining the results from the most recent scans completed. I strongly believe there may be a chance of acquiring the necessary information, but that would mean breaking my pact to learn of the outcomes of the scan. If so, does a weakness correlate with my thinking? I need strength, I need to be healthy, I need to continue playing the waiting game.

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 😄

 

If our watches were truly accurate the only thing they would ever say is now

30th June 2015: Sydney, Australia

I have found the following quote extremely useful in helping find a place for my actions and behaviours over the weekend. I must also add, it makes me also appreciate this exact moment, and not be burdened by perceived past failings or potential future fears.

The quote was made by Damien Echols, a member of infamous ‘The Memphis Three’. Echols stated, “The thing I like most about time is that it’s not real. It’s all in the head. Sure, it’s a useful trick if you wanna meet someone at a specific place in the universe to have tea or coffee. But that’s all it is, a trick. There’s no such thing as the past, it exists only in the memory. There’s no such thing as the future, it exists only in our imagination. If our watches were truly accurate the only thing they would ever say is now”.

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.

Why feeling at home is more comforting as time passes..

20th February 2015: Sydney Australia

An element of ‘being at home’ appears to continually provide a level of comfort and security to my overall well-being and mental state, and I would add, this feeling has most definitely grown over the past year, especially bearing in mind past travel and time spent working overseas. If I were to pinpoint the reasoning for the change, I would simply associate a degree of ease felt when returning home. An ease with a place is fairly vague statement, especially considering the completely relaxed surroundings I was immersed within during the past week. The difference though is the absolute comfort in knowing all, or the majority of my basic human needs can be readily met without any effort. I guess a criticism could easily make reference to a reliance on the support, namely my parents seeming evident, and for a now 31 year man this is surely not desirable. My response is fairly untypical of comments made in the past, and in no way am I playing the victim, however, the reality is I had Cancer and am now routinely feelings the side-effects of Chemotherapy. I must note my recognition for the difficulties others endure, many who experience a higher degree of discomfort or pain, however, the impact the overall experience has had on me is still severe enough to cause evident changes to my seemingly apparent vulnerability.

I believe further unfolding events are certain to follow, even after the conclusion of the treatment. Already, financial, career, interpersonal and personal aspects of my life have been effected, and yes, some of these points can be balanced against gains incorporated into my life, but, in reality I am in my infancy with my experience, and future unknown challenges surrounding the aftermath of treatment are inevitable. In saying that, a level of caution is required to ensure I remain grounded within the norms of life. It needs to be remembered that all people will face future challenges of some degree in their life, regardless of whether they have endured Cancer. Therefore, attention needs to centre on the present moment, and a step towards achieving that would be to recognise I am in the comforts of my home with no stress in any way placed on me. A point seeming more important in my life as time passes on.

How a garden can draw similarities to Cancer

21st November 2014: Sydney, Australia

I took a picture of my garden exactly three weeks ago before any plants were grown, and now after three weeks, most if not all vegetables and herbs have rapidly grown. Admittedly, the bean sprouts were the only actual item grown from seeds, with the remaining being tiny seedlings. The point made, is the entirety of the patch currently thriving. It is no surprise. The soil had been proven to a past success, ample exposure from the sun is on offer and the levels of water have been changed according to the heat, i.e. more water on days when temperature reaches thirty degrees. In addition, the chicken wire has so far withheld an anticipated invasion from the many creatures in the area, particularly the possums who are thought to be salivating at the prospect of seeing a new garden patch appear on the street.

I understand the entries may have slightly digressed over the past few days, and from the very onset it was established no set structure would govern the writing, however, just writing about a garden over three weeks seems a tad off topic right? Opinions may differ, some may draw on the supposed therapeutic benefits of having a garden. Benefits including, the accomplishment in seeing the growth of the herbs and vegetables into edible items; the sense of purpose obtained in maintaining the garden; the connection with nature, and the structure provided into your daily routine. I agree with all the above points, and could easily write specifically about the garden, especially the matter of maintenance, a factor seemingly not given sufficient attention in the planning and preparation stage. One point I failed to fully consider was the comparable growth of weeds with the vegetables and herbs.

On a personal level, the process with the garden has brought about similarities to my experience with Cancer, particularly, with attention on the attention placed on planning, however, my narrowed focused resulting in me overlooking an essential and blatant point of the whole process. Maintenance!
One would expect a person with any intention of starting a garden would be considering maintenance, and in some ways this had been a feature of my thinking. Again though, a narrowed vision lead me to solely focus on my priority of making the garden organic by not using pesticides. Ultimately, this limited my thinking about the importance of weeding. Hence, the similarities drawn with my Cancer experience. I definitely had a plan, vision and priorities established from the beginning, yet, the matter of longterm maintenance was not given equal thought. Yes, I had a belief in my approach being sustainable overtime, and a belief is of course a necessity. The question I ask myself though, is how strong will that belief remain overtime and whether if indeed it is sustainable, especially when the needs of focusing on my health slide from the top of my priorities list. I acknowledge the early stages of my Cancer experience are currently being endured, and I could easily be criticised for making such remarks at such a novel stage within my longterm journey. I think the likely unfolding scenario is bound to happen whereby family, work, financial commitments and an array other life stressors will raise in priority as time passes. Undoubtedly, there will always be a place for Cancer in my life, however, I do not foresee it not holding the same significance overtime. In saying that implicitly draws attention back to the matter of maintenance, especially when introducing the topic and relevance of complacency.

I recognise a slight change in approach (i.e. less attention on certain areas) already after 11 months, leading me feel further changes are bound to occur. I would like to think the changes have resulted from deploying the very strategies I propose in my Sunflower Framework, however, there have been times, very recently where I had to think about what is important to be implementing for my wellbeing and what is missing compared to what was featuring in my life during the periods of March or April of this year. Is that not a clear example of complacency creeping into my life? Particularly after 11 months! I am not at all suggesting, a direct focus on Cancer needs to be present for the entirety of your life as this could be counterproductive. I am reinforcing my belief about a place needing to be made for Cancer, inclusive of markings ingrained into your life to ensure you are making health promoting decisions throughout the entirety of your life. To conclude, I do not see this in a negative manner or in some ways a reflection of living a life in fear. In contrast, the promotion of general well-being and healthy living, a point I believe should remain consistent throughout all our lives, regardless of living through Cancer or not.