I had originally planned to post this just before Christmas. Life intervened with events(Christmas for example), visits, drinks and other factors that prevented me getting around to it. It just wasn’t much of a priority to post this. I did a few quick updates to what I had written when I remembered to complete this task.
Well, 2016 is starting to enter the final days. The Facebook posts about everyone complaining about what a horrible year it has been have already started.
I am a person who is mostly just happy to still be here, fighting the good fight. I have lost friends and family this year, but I don’t know if I am going to call this my worst year. I think the year that is listed after the dash on my tombstone will likely be the one I consider the worst. I am also confident that 2017 won’t be much better. Like the old joke – the only thing sure in life is death and taxes.
I started 2016 with a post about mental health, and so I find it fitting to end my post by talking about mental health. I came up with most of this post during a float at Beyond Buoyancy recent. I have meant to talk about my floating experience for quite some time – I guess now is the time.
Floating is a unique experience. Floating is the term that is used to make it sound more friendly. Sensory Deprivation Tank is a more accurate term to describe it, and some websites do describe it that way. Many companies have a long list of benefits that range from pain relief to behaviour modification. I will only speak to the benefits that I have found, and they are mostly in the mental health realm.
On the concept of sensory deprivation, I am alone. I can only hear the ringing in my ears. It is dark and I can see nothing.
The air and water are the same temperature as my body. It is hard to tell how much of my body is immersed or not… I can feel the water level around my face/ears, but that is all. The water is buoyant, like the dead sea.
When I lie still, by body finds its most natural position when the muscles are truly relaxed. You can move your arms or legs to a specific position, but you realize that it takes energy to hold them there. You relax the muscles and your joints find their most natural position.
When you lie still long enough, you feel your heartbeat. You might hear it too, as sound travels better in water – but I don’t think its louder than the ringing in my ears. I feel my heartbeat because it causes every so slight waves that you can feel as they bounce off your face.
Every so often, you think you feel your toe touch the edge. You try to wiggle your toes but it sends you across the tank – but it takes 5 minutes. You might feel your hair touch the edge – but you can’t be sure.
For me the best thing about it is the ability to organize my brain. I have made many jokes that I feel like my brain is the constant barrage of a single service employee at a warehouse desk, with a lineup of people wanting something, so a brain cell wanders off from the desk to go look for something, only to be constantly called back to the desk for some non-emergency, and not being able to fill the orders. While floating, there is no lineup (or external stimulation), and the employee can wander the warehouse aisles to find things that it brings out to the front desk to be dealt with. So, for those 90 minutes of relaxation, my brain finds something in the back of the warehouse that needs to be brought to the front desk. Then it can be thought about without distraction.
With all the limbo and uncertainty in my future, it is good to get some time for my brain to deal with these things without the standard distractions of life.
Now, many of you are stating – a good bath, comfortable bed can do those things. To a point, I don’t disagree, but next time you are lying in bed, start to catalogue what you see and hear. Sirens in the distance, light bleeding through from streetlights, car engines revving as some dork with a big lifted truck, or fast and furious-mobile, needs to floor it off the stoplight to impress himself or herself. Take away those sensory inputs and you start to get what floating might be like.
Now there are other features and benefits to floating – the near “weightlessness”. Muscle relaxation goes to a whole new level. Your body is supported everywhere – so to don’t have points of contact via your back, butt, or anywhere else you might be supported if you lay in the tub or in bed.
I come out of a float feeling refreshed, body relaxed and of clear focus.
As I enter the next round of treatments – just had one 23 Dec, and repeat again on 30 Dec, and 6 Jan. This means that we have intentionally planned on not doing anything overly active, time-consuming, time critical, or commitment dependant over the holidays. If anyone wants to come here for a visit or a drink – the odds of us being home are very, very, good. Call first, and I can let you know what mix is needed.
Now that we have made it through a large BCG shortage, Canada’s only producer of it has decided to cease production. This doesn’t play on the minds of patients at all (sarcasm font needed here). Nobody knows where this will go, but I know that people are quite concerned.
My 3 month scope will likely happen in February. I normally only get 2 to 3 weeks advance notice. I hope to be able to plan some travel around this schedule.
So, as mentioned, the short-term future is the treatments. Which have started well, and I am happy with my reaction on day 1 of this session.
I have some big ideas for website/blog changes, which will make for substantial adjustments (layout etc) on 2 or 3 January.
I am still looking for a better name for my Cancer Sucks, Lets Ride YouTube channel. Feel free to drop me a line to discuss your ideas. Nothing is too weird… some of my ideas are downright bizarre. I can tell you some of them if you are really interested. I have some content ideas that will be fun to do (I think). Wait and see I guess. Subscribe to the channel if you want to see them as they launch.
Anyway, I hope that everyone has a good Christmas, and I wish everyone the best in 2017.
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Please click on this LINK anyway if you haven’t clicked on a link already. Nothing bad will happen. Just a statistical test.