Archive for February, 2010

Restless – Collabor:8

February 26, 2010 2 comments
On Tuesday, 5 days after my last chemotherapy infusion, I was restless. Chemo manages to suck your energy into oblivion, yet leaving you wishing you could do something beyond lying on a couch. In the midst of this tug-of-war between activity and lethargy I decided to get out and take some photos. I like this one because I think it captures how I felt on the day. Looking at it gives me the feeling of restlessness, a sense of unease that the world I’m looking at is not quite how the world actually is, a subtle distortion on reality.
Its almost hard to put into words the way chemo can distort your world…. maybe a photo might do it better….

Shutter 1/4s, f/20, ISO 100. Focal length: 24mm (18-35mm Lens), ND and Circular polarising filters used.

Posted via email from Collabor:8 Project

Categories: Photography Tags:

Chemo 5.0

February 23, 2010 2 comments

Well, round 5 chemo has been and gone, and tomorrow I head back into the ‘real’ world. This round has been a mixture of improving and worsening side effects. On the improve was the nausea, no where near as bad this time round. I lay the blame for that on a new anti-emetic that I have been given, which, interestingly, I also blame for a worsening in my fatigue. Nozinan, is an anti-psychotic, part of the same family as haloperidol, which is used to treat psychoses in schizophrenia or mania. I am on 1/4 of a 25mg tablet twice a day, which means I’m not on enough to get the anti-psychotic effects, but enough that its anti-emetic effects work. The unfortunate trade off is that is a fairly sedating drug. So my tiredness could well be due to the new medication, or it could just be due the cumulative effect of chemotherapy slowly wearing down my body.

Nothing is ever simple….

This round also saw Hannah in Christchurch for the weekend doing a course in advanced paediatric life support, so she got to miss the miserable me, and my parents got have me instead.

A special shout out goes to Luke Malcolm whom last night came through on a tweet appeal for some food. With no energy and no appetite, its tough trying to sort out dinner for yourself, so I appreciated Luke coming round with dinner to keep me going.

Tomorrow I relaunch my career in psychiatry at north shore hospital, only to be put on hold again in 9 days time.

I shall enjoy my well-time while I can.

Categories: Cancer Update Tags: ,

Battle Scars – Collabor:8

February 18, 2010 1 comment
Photographs should tell a story. That’s what they say anyway. This one sums up nicely my life as it is at the moment. The scar on the left (my right) is from a hemicolectomy surgery 14 months ago. This was when I was told I had cancer, and the fragility of life became apparent. This scar is a visual reminder of the life I have lived since, dominated by chemotherapy, the evolution of a hopeful prognosis to a terminal one, and the embracing of what life I have left.
On the right (my left) is a bruise. I have to inject myself with clexane every day in order to stop my portacath from clotting over. You can see the small dot where the needle went in. This injection was a ‘bleeder’, and since I had a nice white business shirt on, I stuck a small plaster over it. Oddly, the square patch of gauze caused this weird area of no bruising, where surrounding it a bruise developed over the course of the day. My medical knowledge cant quite explain that phenomena.
The photo is not technically great, the depth of field was probably to narrow…. but it tells a story.
Shutter: 1/500 f/2.0 ISO 400. Lens 50mm f/1.8. Post processing – B+W with yellow filter and vignetting.
Categories: Photography Tags: , ,

Care Package

February 17, 2010 1 comment

This post goes out to Jess Shields, who send me up this care package that arrived today. As you can see, its full of tasty tasty treats that I will enjoy over the next few days.

Its random acts like this that get the most appreciation. Jess has clearly put some thought and effort into this and it was quite a nice treat to get today.

A lot of people ask me what they can do to help, and I generally answer with not much. However, as has been established today, its the random acts of kindness that never go unnoticed. When I buy Hannah flowers, its the flowers I get for no particular reason that is appreciated more than the flowers on Valentines day or birthdays.

So be unexpected to someone today :-).

Good on ya Jess :-).

Categories: Blog Tags: , , ,

Chemo 4.0

February 10, 2010 Leave a comment

So the 4th round of chemotherapy is all but over.

This round was a lot tougher than previous rounds, it took a lot more out of me, and took longer to recover. The cumulative nature of the constant bombardment means that this is to be expected. However, the reality of living with it is a lot less fun that just talking about it.

This time the nausea stepped up a notch, and tiredness did the same. Interestingly the diarhoea did the opposite. Hair continues to fall out, the lining of my mouth continues to ulcerate, and my patience with it all runs a little thinner.

Today marked the first day back at work again, which I managed okay with, and tomorrow will be even better. I’m going to enjoy my 9 days of sanity before the next round of chemo hits :-).

So that was chemo round 4.0, ’till next time…..

Categories: Cancer Update Tags: ,

Full Moon – Collabor:8

February 10, 2010 Leave a comment
This shot is simple, yet I like it because it makes the moon seem so more accessible, so much more touchable that it usually does. This picture can easily be found with any google image search, but what I like here is the fact that I took this one. The moon went from being a distant object in the sky, to this amazing orb of texture, contrast and detail. And all achieved with a 250mm Lens :-).
I found it amazing just how much detail can be seen seen with the smallest bit of magnification when compared to the naked eye. It makes you wonder how much other detail in life we miss if only we took the time to examine just a little bit closer.
Shutter: 1/50 f/14 ISO 100, focal length 250mm.
Categories: Photography Tags: ,

I Just Want Normality.

February 9, 2010 5 comments

Currently my life is cyclical. It fluctuates in a 2-weekly pattern between well and unwell, between normality and nausea. In the well times, it is easy to pretend there is nothing wrong. It’s easy to pretend that life continues as normal, with power bills, rent and cooking. And then, just as normality feels as though it might last forever, it comes crashing to the ground with more chemo.

Chemo is a two weekly ordeal for me this time round. It is the punctuation mark at the end of the normal week, just to serve emphasis that normality is not a given, but a priviledge. Its fortnightly cycle comes around too soon to make you forget. But that is exactly what I wish I could do…. forget.

I want to forget that I have cancer. I want to forget that death is running me down faster than it should be. I want to forget that I will be putting friends, family and Hannah through so much heartache. I want to forget that whatever suffering that this world serves up is an indiscriminate force that choses no one in particular, but is as arbitrary as the direction of the wind.

And then I feel well again, beginning to feel like what life used be like for me. Pretending that normality is the way my life is going, that I am well, that Hannah and I will have family.

… Shattered by the next round of chemo….


The flip side of this desire for normality is of course, once we have it, we are never satisfied with it. Humans want more than normality. For me normality has become a commodity that is in rare supply, for most of you reading this, normality is the beige that keeps life from being one of extra-ordinary significance.

I covet normality, but normality just puts me with the masses. No more different that the next person.

This is what makes me want to strive for more than normality. Yes, I want the comfort that normality provides, but my circumstances are such that I will never have that. And so I strive for something bigger, something greater.

I strive for a life of significance.

Significance reaches out beyond our normality, it reaches beyond our suffering, and it makes a difference in the world. Significance is embracing the fact that each of us have the capability to change the world, regardless of our brokenness. Changing the world doesnt have to be on the scale of Ghandi or Nelson Mandella…. but it might be.

Changing the world is stepping outside of ourselves to reach out to those around us, to other people living normality. It demonstrates that life is something to be celebrated, and not a chore. It shows that brokenness is in fact a vessel to wholeness, its demonstrating that Christ’s love goes greater than any of our misgivings, any of our insecurities and to the core of who we are, redeeming us to something extra-ordinary, something significant.

I want normality in my life, because it is scarce. But I know normality is a pipe dream.

What I crave more than normality is significance, something that reaches beyond normalness and into the lives and hearts of those around me. I want the world to be a better place because I was here….. even if it is fleeting. I want the world to know that God’s plans are bigger than any we could ever concieve of for ourselves.

Bigger than normality.

…And then I have more chemo…

Thanks for Listening.

*NB The Gingerbread men were made by the lovely Jill Andrews. 🙂