2006 was the year I was diagnosed with advanced incurable cancer. I thought cancer was all I was to fight. Reflecting on events during the past twelve years, has shown my fight proved to be not just on a medical level of restricted beliefs. I found the incurable diagnosis impacts on the belief framework we have in our society. I became exposed to people and their limited belief systems which didn’t harbour the possibility of surviving a medical incurable diagnosis. They did not spare a conscious thought to any other conceivable options.
When the PET scan showed the cancer had metastasized into the bones and my vertebrae, broke in two places due to the swelling from the tumours. The pain experienced when combined with no hope prognosis, catapulted into fear and terror. Fear of the unknown in my life, which until then was filled with checklists and goals to accomplish. All the successful people did these things, and I proved to be no different. The experience of terror came from not wanting to sleep at night. I didn't want to die; I felt I was a person with so much more to accomplish in life.
To survive cancer is hard enough, but the no hope situation, from the medical experts when repeatedly told I would die, proved mentally crippling.
Now I challenge people’s preconceived ideas about an incurable disease. Giving a voice to what it is like to survive an ‘unsurvivable’ diagnosis.
My life changed dramatically once the diagnosis became known in my social and work circles. My world crumbled and changed, never to be the same.
It was in this darkest depths of despair I learnt how to fight. I learnt about willpower and about not caring what other people thought of me, or of their negative vibes on surviving long term. This was a gut-wrenching realization and was what is often described in many philosophy books as the dark night of the soul.
I learnt about resilience. I learnt about endurance and, importantly, came to the realization it was the medical system and people in that industry who didn’t have the answers for cancer. It didn’t mean the answers couldn’t be found elsewhere.
The impact and repercussions since the diagnosis took away my hope, trust and challenged every established belief, which underpinned my perceptions and outlook on life. As a result, I became a recluse for about nine years.
My book due for purchase from the 15th May 2018 tells my story.