... in my brain actually. My very own brain tumour

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Strategies for getting quick emotional control

Arising from the hot cross bun incident in the previous diary entry in my diary, it is clear that I need a way of getting quick emotional control when necessary. The emphasis is on "quick". The hot cross bun incident is in many ways trivial and unusual because it was caused largely by the emotional lability induced by my treatment. This should be an important learning experience for me because its scale was not large and I don't think any damage was done beyond breaking a plate. Quite how much it upset my dear little granddaughter I don't know, but I think I have set that right and she seems sto have forgiven me. I have already gone through an exercise of redefining many of my beliefs. That was a huge exercise for me and one which was very vauable, but it did not give me the tools I need to get quick emotional control.

Here is what I have done to achieve that objective. It is based on good old Pavlovian conditioned reflexes as far as I can see. Firstly, I have defined 7 things that give me trouble in my daily operations with the real world. They are
  1. Being confidently resourceful in approaching and solving immdeiate problems
  2. Being fearlessly decisive in making good decisions quickly
  3. Having the ability to relax quickly in a stressful situation
  4. Needing a quick, positive boost of energy to overcome an immediate problem
  5. Surrounding myself with good protection from personal abuse quickly
  6. Abiliy to be flexible in a stressful real time situation quickly
  7. Ability to shrink my personal problems to realistic proportions quickly and immediately.
The hot cross bun incident was caused by my losing control of items 1,2,3,6 and 7. This detailed analysis of a trivial incident may sound ridiculous to many people, but I want to get the technique right on a trivial incident before I apply it to more complex incidents.

To have a detailed look at how he techniques work go to the Practical Exercises page of this blog or click here.

An update on my condition and treatment:

I have about another 2 weeks of radiotherapy and chemotherapy before we assess what next to do about the tumour in my head. We are slowly reducing the dose of steroids that accompanies treatment and this makes me really happy. The reason is that the steroids have caused a proximal weakness in my limbs. This means that I am as weak as a baby. I have to lift my legs with my hands to get them into a car, and I am always the last up a flight of steps. It isn't fun at all. I haven't had any indication that I may get convultions again. My taste is slowly coming back. My typing is improving. I still can't play the piano, but think that I may get a measure of that ability back. I now have a rather moth eaten, patchy hair loss on the right of my head. That doesn't bother me in the slightest of course. Once the formal course of treatment is over, it seems that I have an option to go for a further course of treatment during which I have no therapy for a month, after which they give me a potent single treatment for one day. Thereafter there is a possibility of a further single treatment after a further single month without treatment. Then, if all goes well, we wait and see what happens. Statistics seem to show that anaplastic astrocytomas such as mine recur but do not spread outside the brain. I am going to hang in there and get back to a life as close to normal as possible. Life is fun and I want to participate. The treatment I am getting, is, according to my oncologist, palliative. Cure or complete remission is not the objective at this stage, but the pallitive process may take me through for many happy years. A search of the internet also shows that research is continuing all the time. Who knows? Maybe a breakthrough will be found. I am still totally accepting of the whole process. So if anyone is feeling sorry and miserable on my behalf, please stop right now. Be positive with me and help me.


Anonymous said...

Hi John,
I've read your blog to date and I must say I think you're 'doing great'. I know you felt bad after the 'bun' incident, but heck -I don't have a brain tumour (or at least I don't think so!) and I certainly sometimes feel like smashing a plate or two -with very little provocation!! So don't be hard on yourself!
Have you thought of giving your tumour a name? I named my Dad's brain tumour Boris -and we had a good few laughs along the way when Boris was up to his tricks!
Stay positive and see you soon on a walking trail!

John said...

Thanks for your comment Dee. The idea of a name for my tumour is one that has never crossed my mind, but let me think about it. It's not a bad idea. If I decide to go with it, I want it to be appropriate and a name doesn't spring to mind immediately. Anyway, keep watching. Gee I want to get back into the mountains with my friends so that I can get a measure of sanity back after this horrible disruption in my life. I will stay positive and keep going. Thanks again.

yoxx said...

thanks for sharing, john ;)