Bellingen and the ‘Promised Lands’

21st October 2015: Bellingen, New South Wales, Australia

Today, a moment occurred today whereby a thought came upon me, and has since stayed with me till the time of writing. I was at the ‘Promised Lands’, a place known for freshwater swimming pools existing in the area. My intention was to complete yoga on the banks before cooling off in the majestic natural baths. So, a secluded place was located, and in a typical manner I commenced preparing for some yoga, however, a feeling swept across me. A feeling only described as a sense in my body of a reluctance to proceed with the range of planned poses. On other occasions, I usually push through, and always reap the benefits of the practice, however, an overwhelming sense that my intentions were incorrect could not pass from my consciousness. Thankfully, I listened to my body, and ultimately stopped any further attempts. Instead, I simply sat and looked at the scenery. Honestly, it was a moment whereby the natural surroundings evoked total appreciation for my life, and the next two hours were spent interchanging between swimming in the freshwater and sitting on the rocks eating fresh fruit. On reflection, it was a necessary reminder of not always needing to rush or adhere to plans. Rather, the need to be connected with my body to at times have the capacity to just stop. Consequently, I passed on a yoga session on the banks of the water, but experienced complete and utter joy in my surrounding environment whilst returning to a childlike version of myself exploring the water and rocks.

My own retreat!

6th August 2015: Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia

Yesterday, I made reference to my current dwellings resembling a retreat, and on reflection, an avoidance of initially labelling the place a retreat resulted from a modern interpretation of the meaning associated with the term. Namely, an exclusive and expensive place whereby your health is promoted via a range of differing options. Now, if we were to make a comparison from my current dwellings to anywhere else, I do not feel any more benefits could be obtained. In reality, my friends and I are on very our own retreat, and fortunately, the typically exorbitant costs associated with a retreat have been eliminated. We are secluded from the wider community; engrossed within a natural landscape; eating hand picked fruit and vegetables, and living a life operating on a pace whereby there is ample opportunity to safely explore the concept of “self”. In addition, the company of close friends has considerable advantages, especially bearing in mind my current need to have people supporting me.

The significance of having close friends should not be underestimated or categorised simply as a selfish need due to my limited mobility. Of course, it is extremely helpful to have support to ensure I do not over exert myself, however, the company of my friends play a vital role in assuring my family members that I am safe whilst importantly establishing a joyful and positive atmosphere for the entirety of the group. Furthermore, the complete independence and freedom allows the creation of an atmosphere where no time regulations or stress are placed upon us. I completely recognise the biased stance put forth, however, I honestly feel this place is the ultimate environment conducive for my current circumstances, and would most definitely opt for this place above and beyond any alternate available options.

The healing power of the sun

3rd August 2015: Sydney, Australia

Conversations currently circulating within the community give weight to a summary seen in a past blog whereby the author described Australian’s as modern day Aztecs who worship the sun. It seems the short burst of weather has directly contributed to a vibrancy and happiness evident in most people. A fairly special point, bearing in mind we are in the middle of winter.

The advantages of unlimited access to the sun is clear for the majority of the population, and holds greater significance in my life. The healing benefits of natural Vitamin D are widely documented, and the past two days have further reinforced the need I now feel in my life for sunshine to feature on a regular basis. The slight obstacle facing me results from the current travel restrictions placed upon me by the Australian government. A bizarre decision, especially considering the recommendations of the Professor overseeing my care whereby he stated a warmer climate would me more conducive to my healing. As noted, it is a slight obstacle, meaning other alternatives can be sought. Most notably, exploration of places within Australia to seek the warmer weather. Admittedly, not the worst case, however, the finances incurred with the situation result in some options being less accessible. On reflection, possibly I should simply be happy having the capacity to make a decision to give me the best chance at healing.

Here and now

23rd June 2015: Sydney, Australia

I was extremely surprised with the ease of leaving my place in Bali to arrive home in Sydney. Obviously, I would have liked to be jumping off the plane after returning from another month surfing waves in Sumatra. In saying that, current circumstances are what they are, i.e, Current! Thus, unchangeable in the present moment. Moreover, questions of ‘what if’ in the context noted above will not change anything whilst symbolising a sense of loss, regret, and failure. All points not beneficial to my view of the upcoming period as another challenge, and importantly my pathway to greatness.

Why I travel…

19th June 2015: Bali, Indonesia

Yesterday, a moment occurred that will be forever remembered. The location of the moment was at a surfspot I have recently being surfing. The waves at the place break over shallow, sharp reef, and yesterday the size of surf significantly increased. A complexity is associated with the place due to the fear associated with falling into the sharp reef. I should note at this point a pivotal factor coming to surface on reflection. I have had the mentality throughout the trip of solely wanting things from the ocean. The entry will hopefully portray the understanding learned from the experience whilst also showing an overwhelming respect to the ocean.

So, a friend and I were intending on surfing together. Upon arriving at the place we saw the actual size of the larger waves running down the reef. It was an extremely low tide so we had to walk approximately 100 meters on the reef before attempting to challenge the ocean. My fried successfully managed to make his way out to the waves whilst I remained stuck on the reef throwing my board into the sky attempting to litigate the potential risks of the oncoming balls of fury breaking directly in front of me. Three consecutive waves rolled me along the reef, resulting in my sensing a message was being delivered about an imminent dangers should I continue. There definitely would have been a time when I would have reflected on this experience as a moment of weakness, however, my acceptance and submission lead me to respect the ocean whilst also allowing other opportunities to surface.

The outcomes of being rolled along the reef by three waves resulted in me drifting approximately 150 around the cliff. I noticed a patch of sand was exposed by the low tide forming a little bay, and I felt an overwhelming connection with the world around me. It seemed my fate was to submit to the ocean. Therefore, I decided to turn around to commence the journey back to the shore. Whilst paddling, I felt drawn to the exposed bay, and again felt I needed to follow my instincts. Once standing on the bay, I rested my board in some shade, and completed a powerful and emotive yoga session. I was surprised at how deep into the practice I became, and felt the three waves served the purpose of getting me to find strength in accepting my defeat. I fully acknowledge the criticism by some at the content, however, I can honestly say it is an accurate account of what I was experiencing at the time, and still believe the events are to hold some meaning in my life.

Is love the answer?

15th June 2015: Bali, Indonesia

A complete reversal from the previous day was experienced upon rising. I instinctively knew from the very moment of opening my eyes that a happy and enjoyable was approaching. Admittedly, the dancing undertaken in the bathroom after leaving my bed further reinforced this belief. It is interesting how the entry is the polar opposite to the last time I opted to write.

It is now 7pm, and the morning feeling has thus far provided accurate. In summary, a really fun time in the water was had in the morning, some delicious lunch, a sleep, and have just returned from competing yoga down on the forefront of the beach as the sun drifted off behind the ocean. To close, I must say it extremely hard to describe how I can feel such happiness, considering everything happening around me. The question begging me relates to the power of love, namely, whether outcomes may differ for some people experiencing hardship should sustained, accepted and reciprocated true love be present in the lives? Maybe I am a hopeless romantic, and it is likely I am, because I am holding onto as a truth.

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 😀

1, 2 or more drinks?

10th June 2015: Bali, Indonesia

The platform of writing these entries was designed to be honest, and so I must confess there is a contrast to the content from the last entry. The reasoning is due to waking up yesterday with a hangover. It was the first time in over eighteen months, and I realise why drinking alcohol to excess is typically avoided. I spent the majority of the day asleep, missing very good waves and feeling as one would expect when hungover. Admittedly though, do I feel bad? The answer coming to mind is no. I probably will not drink alcohol to such an extent for a very long time, however, to visually express my outlook is to think of the night as a wave missed in the ocean. There is no benefit in remaining in a prolonged state of annoyance or frustration as the event or the wave has passed, and will never again be possible to obtain. I agree, a similar wave or event may again occur, and hopefully a better choice is made, however, all this is out of my control so it appears best to wait for the next wave to pass through.

The mysterious powers of Bali?

8th June 2015: Bali, Indonesia

It has been over 18 months since physically feeling like I am at present. A point I find so intriguing, especially considering the scan undertaken just over a week ago showed a Cancerous tumour was growing inside of me. To say I baffled is an understatement. The only way of comprehending the circumstances is by believing the chemotherapy now has a target to direct the intended function of the drug, opposed to reckoning havoc on the entirety of my body. Obviously, I may be completely incorrect, and must admit, the climate, laughter, friendship, yoga and enjoyment from surfing simply may be enhancing my current feelings. I also cannot overlook the importance of constant company of close friends in keeping me elevated whilst also stopping any destructive thoughts entering my headspace. Lastly, there is also talk of mysterious powers associated with the island, could it be that I am on the way to recovery without any need for surgery or another example of my desperation and vulnerability.

Travel is a spiritual recharge

2nd June 2015: Bali, Indonesia

I am settled into my trip, and oddly there has been a level of ease at putting aside the future awaiting me. I feel a combination between the sunshine, good friends, laughter, activity and the mental exercises completed made this process possible. In all honesty, I have switched my focus from fighting to simply not remaining stuck on thinking about the situation. I still hold a strong belief of being well, and am hoping as stated previously that I am wanting a miracle to occur. If the miracle doesn’t unfold, then it may not be the immediate future, however, I am certain my future destiny is positive.

One of the main points about heading overseas was described perfectly to my friend yesterday. To paint a picture, we had just had a really enjoyable surf and were riding tandem on a motorbike, looking over rice patties and other tropical flora. I then stated to my friend that holidays were essential and were like a spiritual recharge. When thinking about my words, I believe it to be true, and see it as a necessity in anyones life to get away at least once a year. I actually am unable to express how content I feel. Seems a fairly interesting statement to make when bearing in mind the circumstances around me, however, the fact of not experiencing any side-effects for some time whilst being engrossed in such a place leads me to think of the magical powers of spending time in a state of happiness. In addition, my current capacity to enjoy life makes me wonder whether the Mitotane (chemotherapy) is now targeting the intended area. Of course this is all hypothetical, however, I am hopeful it now executes the intended function of killing off the tumour. Add in my surroundings and peace of mind, and hopefully there are positive results awaiting me on my return to Australia.