… upside down

Its been quite a while since I last wrote. Between being a father of a newborn baby and running a business, there  hasn’t been a lot of time left during the day to write. Its Saturday mornings like these when my wife tries to catch up on her lost sleep and I have given my baby his first morning bottle of milk, played with him for a while and put him down for his morning nap, that I actually have a few brief moments to myself to think, write and recollect on some thoughts.

So much has happened these last weeks. In terms of my cancer, I have been doing physical therapy which I question if it is making a difference, but I attend nonetheless. Its three times a week during the mornings and I use it almost as a form of meditation, to remind myself of all of this and to understand what this all means and still try to learn somehow, something. Every day I am still trying to figure it out. I see a lot of people during treatment around me that are dealing with cancer, many worse off than me, all trying to pick up the pieces and move along with life. Its a true battle for some. I have seen people who have lost their tongue and in turn lost their speech, lose their leg but still manage a smile and greet you.

To be honest, it has taken some time for me to understand all of this. I still think I don’t understand it. It is slowly dawning on me that I was dealing with something a lot more serious than what I gave credit for. Almost, like I brushed past a really deep canyon and miraculously didn’t slip in to it while walking past it. Looking back at the path that I came along, I can see that the canyon looks treacherous and seriously scary. Looking at it from a distance, I actually start to understand how naive I was going through it and how lucky I am to have got to the other side.

Maybe the naivety was a way to deal with it at that particular moment, to downplay it so that you psyche yourself up and believe you will overcome it. Strangely though, considering that I came out of this path unscathed, I should be rejoicing but instead I have a feeling of sadness and emptiness. That seriously annoys me since I have health, the best wife I could imagine and the most amazing baby boy. I keep telling myself I shouldn’t feel this, but I do. Just last night I arrived home from my first trip since being a father where I was away for a week. Just holding my babies tiny body in my arms at the airport and squeezing him close to me is something unexplainable. How fortunate I am to have this unconditional love from my wife and my sons innocent smile, happy to see me again.

So I have all of this and on the same note, I feel tired , I feel defeated, sad, disappointed, depressed (I guess) ….just feel like giving up. A part of me is saying that its stupidity. I should be celebrating and rejoicing that I overcame cancer, that I got rid of it early and life is perfect which cancer taught me to appreciate. So what is missing? Why I am feeling so helpless, with an overwhelming feeling of anxiety, with a sense of fear, where simple tasks seem to be colossal and when all of this is taking a good chunk of just being able to chill, be happy, rejoice and enjoy the moment. What a paradox, that cancer taught me that these are the things worth celebrating, but I lack the skills to do them? I am missing something?

In part, I think cancer flipped my world and turned it upside down. It taught me that life is fragile. It disappointed me by telling me that I am not an invincible and indestructible military armoured tank like I thought I was, that everything would bounce off my thick skin, that I would die old and that life would always be perfect.

Cancer taught me that I don’t know what will happen tomorrow. It taught me that there is a lot of horrible shit out there that I never even knew existed. While in Venice this week on work when I was away I saw a program on CNN – “Vital Signs by Sanjay Gupta”, about an athlete Gabriele Grunewald that had a rare cancer and football player Jake Olson who at only 8 months was diagnosed with cancer in his eye! How is an 8 month old baby supposed to have cancer? How does a parent consent to removing your babies eye in order to save his life? Excuse my language, but this is just to screwed up! I was tying my shoe laces in my hotel room while watching this and my jaw was down on the floor! I don’t have words to describe what I feel when I see things like this. I feel outrage, angry, disbelief…feel like screaming. I knew these things existed,  but now having gone through cancer and having been a father, there is a new level on how I can relate to this. In the past, I always thought these things would be someone else’s story until it happened to me. Unconsciously I think I am afraid that the secret shield I thought I always had to protect me was actually never there. Life feels so much more vulnerable


Subconsciously the world has turned into a scary place. I feel more fragile, more tired and with less gutso to fight back. I have been going through this life changing experience while also sailing through a storm of my toughest financial year while in my business. I closed last year at a 30% loss in comparison to previous years. I have no idea how I will get my business out of more than a 130K of debt. I have thought about how to restructure my business but still have no clue on how to do that. I thought about awarding partnerships to staff, but they haven’t found the idea of becoming a partner with a company that is in turmoil a good idea. I somehow need to find the energy to turn things around….but  have no idea how to do it.

I think I also feeling a little low because prior to being away on business, my foot started hurting and it worsened to a point that I can hardly put it on the ground. I have been limping most of the week and its been really difficult to walk….it may seem insignificant, but it’s demoralising to have the ability to walk properly and to run to be taken away from you! I had go head back to the hotel early and missed out on going with my group of architect friends to an opening that evening because the pain in my foot was unbearable. I remind myself, that my colleague at physiotherapy doesn’t have a leg and I shouldn’t bitch so much and be more grateful….but it feels like shit, limping through the hotel lobby feeling like I am 95 year old instead of 45

While in Venice, where I limped around for most of the week, I was reminded by just how much my life has changed. Being alone on a business trip, away from my family and feeling fragile maybe emphasised less positive feelings. I just feel so disappointed with life. Its not suppose to be like this. Tough. Where babies lose their eyes. Let me go back to my oblivious life before I had cancer, where I just never noticed any of this.

Cancer has been a cruise missile that flew right through my thick (inexistent) armour and turned my perception of life upside down.

I need to muster the energy (which is in hiding). Life is to short to dwell on sorrow. I need to be strong, where lately all I have felt is weakness. I need to believe when lately all I have felt is despair.

I truly need to believe again,

….what a tough challenge.


I took this picture while in Venice using a pool of water’s reflection to capture a shot. A metaphor of life upside down.

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