I am sitting at the coffee shop in the Christie Hospital (Manchester, UK) between my 21st radiotherapy treatment (of the 33 course treatment) and a support group to prepare me for ‘life after treatment’. I’ve been setting up this website for past few weeks when ever I have spare time, but I am not trying to set timelines to get it done so that I can focus on relaxing, recovering and living in the moment. This was one of the several tips I was given by a new friend, Julian Huxley. Julian is a former professional rugby union player in Australia who was diagnosed with a similar brain tumour in 2008, and an ambassador of The Cancer Council NSW (New South Wales, Australia). Click ‘Continue Reading’ below…
The main piece’s of advice Julian gave me was firstly to be prepared/embraced for the worst so that you can mentally digest the information when it is given to you – whilst hoping for the best information possible. Anything better than what you were prepared for is then a gift, a bonus and something which you appreciate being given. If you are not prepared for the worst, for example when you have a bad scan (MRI, CT scans etc), a diagnosis which you may not be ready for may devastate you and make it harder to cope. You need to be prepared mentally for what life can throw at you.
Another piece of advice Julian gave me was to live in the moment. The stresses of life before and after treatment will be the same as everyday life. During the diagnosis, recovery and treatment you need to live in the moment and enjoy life and appreciate everyday. I am thankful that the company I work for, Deloitte UK and the Innovation (R&D) Tax team, have been so supportive of me through this tough time. This allows me to focus on recovering and to live in each day, not stressing about the past and what may happen in the future. Live every day as it comes to me through my treatment and recovery!
Another key message which I took away was not to overburden myself when you need to focus on recovering. I didn’t want to put pressure on myself by ensuring this website was set up by a certain date. My approach was to use this website to fill in time, to keep my mind active and help my cognitive recovery to read and write/type rather than sitting on the couch all day. I try to listen to my body when its fatigued (something which I have never done well at), to keep as healthy as possible to help myself fight through this and to recover, and to keep my mind active and help to reform the lost neural connections in my brain and retrain the memory and cognitive processes.
I should also note that the attached photo in this blog is Terry, my mate from Sydney who flew over to support me. We were in the same kindergarten class when we were 4 years old and grew up together in Sydney and have been mates ever since. At the news of being diagnosed, he and my family flew over to Manchester in the UK as soon as possible to support me through the experience!!!