Breaking Down Walls

In a sick sort of way, knowing someone with cancer is like being a parent. Both cancer and children are topics of conversation that form fast relationships through common understanding, interest and empathy. Children are certainly a blessing but so can cancer be. Quicker, deeper bonds are created, bonds we all want to form but don’t always know how. In general it seems we shuffle around our small talk, shyly hoping some common ground will inspire us, or relax us. The innocence of children and the horror of cancer can tear down walls.

I just chatted to three amazing ladies, all who have been touched by cancer.

The first had a father who passed from lung cancer. He broke it to her by telling her he was dying of cancer. He was given 4 months to live, did everything the doctor told him, and died 4 months later. His daughter desperately tried to encourage him to try alternative treatments but he wouldn’t. It was like he had decided to die, and nothing would shake him from that focus.

Our second lady has a mother who is battling stage 4 ovarian cancer – and winning so far. The mother had several rounds of chemo but also juiced, took turmeric capsules, was treated with Rieki and more. She has coped well with the chemo, and at present there is no sign of disease.

Our last lady knew someone – a woman – who had had bladder cancer – and fought it successfully with laughter! The woman and her partner rented every comedy they could think of and sat on the couch drinking wine and laughing for 3 months (I’m sure they had toilet breaks). Following this time period there was no sign of the cancer.

If we look at each case they are all very different, not just different types of cancer, but very different treatment methods. We have strictly conventional, holistic, and strictly alternative. I know statistics are greatly misleading at the best of times, but it is interesting to note that 2 out of the 3 cancers were treated “unconventially”, and that these were the two where the patient survived!

Everyone I speak to does not believe Nige will die. We all agree he doesn’t look sick. He is going to live. I love that we are surrounded by this unshaking faith.

I don’t hate the cancer. It is part of him “gone wrong”. Nige and I strive to bring his cancer cells back to their proper state. Homeostasis. We plan to make his immune system so healthy that the cancer cells stop dividing, or ceasing to die when they should. We do it peacefully. This makes me sound flaky but I’m not bothered. If I don’t believe Nige will get better how can I expect him to? And why shouldn’t he? The human body is made to fix itself. Others have done it. Through carrots, positive thinking, laughter, cannabis, Chinese medicine, enemas. But what do all these people have in common? The power of positive thinking. The power of mind over matter. The power of thought. All our reality is, is our perceptions. Our thoughts tell us how to process what is around us, or project out what is within us. What we think will be. Whatever way you look at it.

Yes many people who try alternative treatments die. Many people who try orthodox treatments also die. We don’t always know why. There is much that we don’t know. About death, about life, about our minds and bodies. The universe expands infinitely outwards into nothing, and as we look through microscopes it seems we could be made up of infinitely smaller and smaller parts. The more we know, the more there is to know. Will it ever end, or are our brains creating more and more mysteries to discover as we learn?

I try to delve down deeper and deeper into what can perhaps cure Nige’s cancer, searching the murky bottom for clues that someone may have missed. I analyze diet and treatment right down to the molecular levels of the body but then I call to the universe when I’m afraid and feeling weak. I search within, I search without. The more I search the more there is to know and discover. And the more I am brought back. To us.

I know what feels right to me. And that is trusting my instincts. I have rediscovered them after all these years. To many this probably sounds desperate, dangerous and crazy. But maybe it’s how we animals survive best. Without too much thought, with quiet, not noise.

I think a question that many people may find themselves asking is “what do I do?” What do I do when my partner gets sick, my child hates me, I’m angry at my mother, my job is destroying my soul, our debt is consuming us, the planet is screwed, I am unhappy with how I look, or am. What do I do?

And the answer is…….

Something different. Because as a wise man once said:

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Albert Einstein

So thank-you, to all the new friends entering our lives, who inspire us to try new things, and encourage us to keep the faith. And thank-you to the throngs of positive people that surround us, keeping us buoyed up in rough seas. Thank-you everyone for keeping your walls down, or at least your gates open, so that we may stay our course and trust in our decisions.

You are our reality, and you make the journey a little less daunting, and the chances of success seem that much more in reach.

xx

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I am a Control Freak

Hi, my name is Julia and I am a control freak. Apparently admitting it is the first step!

When I’m stressed I sometimes try to make my environment favourable by attempting to control the people in it. Not in a nasty evil puppet-master way – I don’t think, at least that is not my intention – I simply express it by giving people advice and then encouraging them to take it. Because I know better than them right? Ha Ha! The closer you are to me, the more strongly I’ll advise, so as you can imagine, my partner Nige sometimes figuratively has me standing on his chest force feeding ideas and remedies. It’s not a healthy habit, and one I have to fight hard against, but at least I’m aware of it so that’s a start! The good news is (?!), the more forceful I am with a person, the more I love them. Awwwwww.

The trouble is, I just hate to see a person suffer, and if I think I know what will help them, I want them to take action, and fast. But not everyone works at the same pace, in the same place, and fast and furious is not always the road to health and happiness. Yes I do it to animals too. Probably many a bird has inwardly screeched in fright as I scooped them into a box and took them home to nurse. Oops!

Maybe it’s also kind of selfish, as easing their suffering eases mine?

Because I am a highly sensitive person, I do pick up on other peoples moods perhaps a little more than most. And I analyse too much. It can be useful but tricky at the same time. For example, I know when an emotional storm is coming, sometimes before the person knows it themselves, so I can prepare and react accordingly (as long as I don’t have my own storm brewing). The downside is that I often pick up and take on other’s anxious or troublesome moods, and it can be hard to know if what I’m experiencing is their mood or mine! Quite a few times I have been feeling decidedly anxious, without rhyme or reason, only to discover that in fact Nige is feeling very stressed, and so I have been picking up on his mood rather than my own. Weird.

One of my biggest battles in life has been trying not to try so hard (do you see what I said there). I think we all want people to like us and things to go smoothly, and when it feels like life is giving you a rough deal and things are spiraling out of your control, the urge to draw everything in and back to something that feels safe and stable is difficult to resist. Now Nige is sick, some days I really struggle to hold back. The biggest issue? The kids. Their dad is sick. I would do anything to protect them, especially as I know what it is like to watch a parent suffer through a terminal illness.

But this isn’t my journey, it’s HIS. I can support, but I shouldn’t try to take over. And it’s SO HARD! I can see what needs to be done, and how, and why. But Nige is not a child or a robot (as far as I am aware), he is a human being with emotions and his own individual biological and psychological systems. And also (mumbles) I’m not always right. Maybe by stepping back at the right time I’m actually giving him a better chance of survival. (Aren’t you jealous of how my crazy mind works right now :))

So where am I going with this? Maybe I just needed to confess, as it’s not a trait I like too much in myself. Maybe I needed to put it out there in words to make it tangible, to exorcise it or something. Maybe I’m just confused. When is the right time to step in, and when do I need to back the hell off? An indication that I’m overdoing the “helping” could be when I feel an overwhelming desire to just force someone to do what I want. That is probably the point where I need to go away and have some “me” time. Because it may be that it is me that is out of control, not the situation or other people. Also someone blatantly telling me to rack off and leave them alone could be a subtle hint that I need to ease off. You decide.

So please, if you find yourself on the receiving end of my “extreme love” just smile and nod. And do whatever you please. I’ll get over it.

Interview with a Vampire (aka Nige)

Me:  How are you feeling today?

Nige:  I feel really good, better. More positive each day as I move further away from the chemo and towards improvement. It’s pretty amazing.

I’ve been thinking about how long this could go on for, I can’t just take a pill and be fixed in a week or two. Cancer is unpredictable, there is endless uncertainty. CT Scans every 3 months – what is the tumor doing during this time, growing, shrinking, spreading?

People ask what I do all day. It’s a routine of survival. It will go on and on and on until I am either dead or cured. Could be weeks, could be years. At first you think about time and how much or little you might have left, but after a while time becomes meaningless, because you don’t KNOW what’s going to happen. I could be dead in a few weeks (unlikely) or hold the cancer off for years. There is this daily grind, living day to day but also thinking ahead to hopes of improvement. Also you forget there are other ways in which you could die!

Sometimes I wonder if I am enjoying life enough, spending my time wisely. Should I be watching TV or climbing mountains? But I do enjoy my life.

Me:  What’s stopping you from achieving goals like climbing mountains etc? What are some of your goals?

Nige:  Money I guess. Travel is on top of the list, and we have already organised and been on some exciting trips. But more travel. I’d also like to learn the guitar.

I have no huge aspirations, I’ve had a good life.

Me: There are other things on Nige’s list but I can’t list them here 🙂

My list by comparison would be huge, is it a guy/girl thing? I guess Nige just wants to be happy and have an uncomplicated, comfortable life, travel included among other things, but nothing too complex. I want to try and achieve a million and one things, as well as have a happy life, and travel. I guess adventure is my biggest goal.

What is you biggest drive when it comes to living?

Nige:  You and the kids, the kids mostly (fair enough I’d be the same :)) Without that there is a basic will to live too. There have been fleeting thoughts of ending it all when things get rough, but they are just that, thoughts, they would never be acted upon.

Me:  I think we’ve all had thoughts like that once in our lives.

How far ahead do you look?

Nige:  About 2 years, I can’t see beyond that yet. It’s hard to believe I’ll live longer. There are so many unknowns. And cancer is so sneaky!

So many others are sick, you don’t know until you ask. People are holding their illnesses in and keeping them secret. M.S, Cancer, everywhere you look people are unwell. Do we have a sick society? But these people are fighting and not moping, they are strong and positive and just get on with it.

Me:  Do people value life like they used to?

Nige:  Perhaps not. There is so much depression, unemployment, overpopulation.

Me:  It’s hard to stay positive. Life is so stressful, why live? We can live longer these days, but should we and do we really want to? Are we emotionally ready to live such long lives? Maybe people tune out from their bodies, and ignore early symptoms of illness because they’re busy or scared?

Nige:  Maybe. But then if I’d found the cancer earlier, and had an operation and chemo, maybe the chemo would have killed me.

I feel like I’ve been set free to be more honest and I feel like people listen and respect me more since I’ve been diagnosed cancer. I’ve faced fears and got things off my chest. I feel lighter.

Me:  Nige was loved, listened to and respected before cancer, but maybe we don’t take the time to tell each other how we feel anymore. Instead we tell others what a great person so-and-so is, and they never get to hear it themselves.

Strangely, perhaps the game plan for a person living with illness, who believes they can be cured, doesn’t vary too much from how a well person should live their lives. Presume you are going to live forever and plan accordingly, but with the constant reminder that any of us could die at anytime, so appreciate each moment.

How do you feel after this interview?

Nige:  Overwhelmed, exhausted. I was made to think about how I feel. I’ve had enough now.