The Mental Pain Cave – I Was Deep

felling depressed

As beautiful as it looks have you ever seen that heavy grey fog that settles in the valley of the blue mountains?

That valley was my head. I couldn’t see a fucking thing. A cold wet mist, clouding my brain and crippling my existence.

In reflection, it’s scary just how quickly you can unravel. Especially when the emotional becomes physical.

I woke up at about 3 am for several weeks straight. I couldn’t sleep so I got up. I lost my appetite and rapidly lost weight. My tummy was in knots, my digestive system was shot and my brain was soup.

Twisted thoughts. Dark places. Confusion. No relief.

Sleep deprivation and malnourishment are a recipe for a mental asylum.

I wanted the ground to swallow me up and dissolve me. Ashes to ashes dust to dust.

I think I’m back though.

It’s amazing what you get in return when you shake the black cloud. Your posture corrects itself, people smile at you on the street, music sounds good again, new business opportunities fall on your lap, and nature and the world look magical.

While my head is through the fog and I can see the beautiful mountains, I have a long way to go. Especially identifying why I got so tangled and most importantly how I can mitigate future mental health regression.

I’ve worked so hard in the past week to generate a breeze and push that fog into another valley. Any valley but mine.

Desperate to achieve a positive mental state, I fell back on the theory and applications of a professional athlete and specific learnings as an Australian Institute of Sports Athlete over two decades ago. The goal setting, the discipline, the commitment, the desire, the accountability. What it means to win verse lose.

While the first week of concentrated recovery is only the start, I did mention in the last post that I would share the effort I have put in. 

SELF-HELP ACTIVITY DIARY! (I have removed some personal commentary)

  • Omni Vel Nihil 
  • I need a massive amount of focus in the next seven days to get me heading in the right direction
  • I’m going to do all I can for a week, use every single spare minute,  and then continue the momentum……
  • I don’t just want to heal, I want to be a better person for it
  • I want to do it for myself, my children, my new love and everyone around me
  • A future of greatness 

Friday 29 July:

  • OT
  • The first big conversation about my current feelings (with Meg)
  • Cold Swim
  • 1 hour in sun + lots of water 

Saturday 30 July:

  • Had an ok sleep, the best in weeks anyway 
  • Moto ride helped
    • Rode several of my best lap times today!
  • Explained my current situation to Jimmy
    • It’s really good to say things out loud and get feedback and support 
  • Documented a plan to get better 
  • Some writing + a blog post to unpackage thoughts 
    • + diarise learnings/plan/action
    • Wrote down all my feelings
      • Why did I get into this rut?
      • Events/triggers 
      • Observations – about us  
      • Positive things to develop
      • What I want help with 
  • Read the first four chapters of “Letting Go” by David R Hawkins
    • An instant massive help. Potential game changer already. One of my goals is to finish this book within a week and start another…
  • Cold swim in the pool (11 degrees feels like 5)
  • Tried to see my GP but she is away for two weeks so assessing other options
  • 1 hour in the sun + lots of water
  • Dinner with Jon and Elysia to let them know everything, to talk about it, to get advice and support
  • Stretching session 
  • Sleep Meditation 

Sunday 31 July:

  • I was able to control my negative crippling feelings (thanks to David Hawkins)  for the first time when I woke up during the night. It almost felt peaceful at some points to control the noise in my head. I was able to return to sleep without a big delay
  • Longest sleep I have had in 40 days 
    • A massive fog has lifted and I am already seeing things differently
  • Most normal crap I have taken in a long time 😂
  • Writing
  • OT 
  • Purchased and started taking a weight gain supplement to put weight back on 
  • An hour in the sun + lots of water today
  • Stretching session 
  • Chopra Meditation 
    • For the first time in many days, I could align with the mediation and associated centring thoughts and messages 
  • Long convo with Bear to tell him all my issues 
    • Letting friends know where I am at
  • Bodyweight exercises to failure 
  • Cold swim in the pool 
  • Another four chapters of the “Letting Go” book
  • Big day of eating 

Monday 1 August  – New Month New Beginnings

  • OMG. I had close to seven hours of uninterrupted sleep last night 
  • I had a really busy morning so I could get away for a ride
  • It felt like my super fast mental recovery progression plateaued a little. I had lots of negative thoughts trying to get at me and it was a little harder to let them go during the morning
  • 30 mins in the sun 
  • Pretty good moto ride. Super windy and the new track layout was challenging so I felt a bit unsafe and had to take it a bit easier.  Good therapy regardless. 
  • Seven chapters of “Letting Go” 
  • Some writing + put a timeline together of where/how it went south
  • Chopra Meditation 
  • Sleep Meditation 
  • Ate a reasonable amount of food but it was a bit of an effort to eat today

Tuesday 2 August 

  • Woke up twice in the night, and managed to get back to sleep pretty quick the first time and a bit slower the second time. I would have normally gotten up the second time so good that I could get back to sleep for  a couple more hours
  • I feel a sense of courage that I can fix myself 
  • Ocean swim. Beautiful sunny morning. I felt the world’s energy. 
  • Liesy asked me out to breakfast at Bathers  – to support me and the kids – just to be there – good to talk 
  • Psychologist session (first ever)
    • Great start to working on the source of negative emotions etc 
    • A really good way to unpackage everything I can think of with a professional 
    • Hopefully the start of something good with some therapy
  • Created some plans for work
  • Chopra Meditation  – another good day of connection 
  • Sun 30 mins + lots of water 
  • Writing 
  • Bodyweight exercises to failure + core
  • A chapter of “Letting Go” 
  • Sleep meditation 

Wednesday 3 August 

  • Seven hours of close to uninterrupted sleep!! 🕺🏻
  • OT
  • Cold swim in the pool 
  • Working from the city today 
    • Choose to be with other people  that are positive  – get that transfer of positive energy  / get a transfer of ability 
  • A chapter of “Letting Go”
  • Writing
  • Only 10 mins in the sun + drank lots of water 
  • Sleep Meditation 

I saw some amazing gains today in my mental health. Waking up > seven hours after falling asleep was bliss. Finding myself singing (and dancing) in the car was a subconscious milestone I didn’t expect to achieve so early in my commitment to healing. Having really positive feelings about relationships and the coming days/weeks. Feeling connected. Finding myself super hungry mid-morning for lunch was a very welcoming feeling. 

I was on a pretty big natural high this morning. It seemed to wear off around 2 pm and I started dealing with some negative emotions. I had a busy day with work along with several associated meetings so it’s hard to balance and let go of certain feelings when the schedule is busy. 

Some shoulder and back tension coming through. 

At the end of the day, I was tired but happy with what I have achieved in such a short period of time. 

Thursday 4 August 

  • It was hot during the night with the outdoor temperature increase so I woke up a couple of times. I was able to get back to sleep nice and easy. It was nice to lie in bed for about 30 mins after waking at a reasonable time with limited dysfunctional thoughts. 
  • Outdoor gym/resistance exercises 
  • Ocean swim 
  • Into the city to work
  • Lunch with Lachie
    • Good to know he’s in a much better place than his lowest points himself  
  • Massage 
  • Two chapters of “Letting Go”
  • Chopra meditation 

Apart from first thing in the morning, I had a close to normal appetite today which is positive. 

Friday 5 August 

  • >Seven hours of sleep
  • Stretching session 
  • Ocean swim
  • Outdoor bodyweight exercises 
  • Soft sand run (4 lengths Bondi – sun 7 min a lap. 
  • Ocean swim – long one 
  • Two chapters of “Letting Go
  • >one hour of sun + lots of water 

Had FOA coming and going today. Had a few surges of feeling really good. I was really intuned with nature/environment, particularly near the ocean.

Saturday 6 August:

  • Ocean swim 
  • Sleep meditation 

Super busy day. A little flat, maybe a mental step backwards. . Had a lot of socialising to deal with. Most of it was positive. Mentally drained by the end of the day. 

Sunday 7 August:

  • Woke up for a while after a few hours of deep sleep. Managed to get back to sleep without too much trouble. A little restless after that
  • Underlying FOA 
  • Ocean swim 
  • Talked to Tim about the situation/feelings
  • >hour in the sun + all day outdoors + lots of water
    •  Nice day with the kids – giving them lots of attention after being mentally absent
  • Chopra meditation 
  • Finished the “Letting Go” book. Loved it
    • Went back to some market chapters  
  • Writing
  • Guided meditation 

Monday 8 August: 

  • Ocean swim 
  • Mountain bike ride and big verbal download with Dougie
    • The talking really helps
  • Writing
  • Revised a chapter of “Letting Go”
    • Wrote what I would like to say for a video on the mechanism of letting go
  • ………….
  • Crashed out putting Noah to sleep which was nice……

Addressing My Feelings And Letting Go

Dominic Byrne Profile Shot

Over the coming weeks, I want to focus on the most healthy personality I can possibly be. This will need to be carefully balanced between work, play, love and even spirituality.

What is held in the mind will manifest. I’m healing what is behind me so I don’t have fear of the future.

Stress isn’t normally from external stimulus but from suppressed emotions. So accept and let go. This practical approach is creating a new feeling of optimism in all facets of my life.

I have learned that If you have a fear of loss It will bring about that loss. I will get what I want when I stop insisting on it.

Looking at, acknowledging and examining my feelings and taking responsibility for them is helping with my self-esteem.

I feel I have made some massive gains today.

Perhaps I will share my activity diary in the coming days when I feel like I’m in a really stable place. A published record of where I have come from and to motivate any other individual that needs to climb out of the quicksand.

Actually, I will also create a video to explain the letting go technique as best I can.

Grief – Pride – Courage – Acceptance – Peace

sunlight

I haven’t read a book in years. My master’s degree turned me off reading and then Lou’s death and becoming a single parent sent reading way down the priority list.

Picking up a single book has enlightened me. So many messages that resonate and have given me courage. Being forced to become aware of my issues is a blessing. Pushing me to look at what needs to be addressed.

I need to use any resentment positively to fire up my ambitions, using the anger in a positive way, letting go of my pride to undo anger.

If I can focus on love instead of seeking love then my fears will be replaced with trust.

My overarching goal is to move from grief to pride, then to courage and acceptance and eventually peace.

I AM

We pay a massive price holding on to smallness if we want greatness. Smallness brings weakness, sickness, disease and even premature death.

I AM letting go of the negative, I am surrendering it and choosing to love.

I AM taking responsibility for my own consciousness as blame is the world’s greatest excuse.

Don’t beat yourself up!

I AM making a move out of helplessness and letting go of all negative feelings. A dynamic change from helpless victim to conscious choice. Removing all bitterness and blame whether it is real or imaginary

I AM moving my energy from anger to courage!

I AM!

Going For Greatness!

My sister recommended a book and it’s a game changer for me. It is the spark I needed to motivate and action my healing. It couldn’t have come at a better time.

The teachings are allowing me to see things from a different perspective and context.

I am surrendering my emotions. Disassembling the periphery and handling small fragments at the emotional level.

A negative life event is an opportunity to grow, expand, experience and develop!

I have the ability to be mastery over fear.

Do I choose to be healed or wounded? Hang on or let go? How long do I want to go on suffering? When do I want to give it up? I know the answers to all of these questions.

The world can only see us as we see ourselves!

Down But Not Out

I spiralled into a state of apathy and depression in mid-June and have become more bogged by the day.

A lot of my issues have to do with a relationship, assimilation of two worlds, a poor decision and failed communication and understanding. The best thing I can do to remedy the relationship is to heal myself.

Today is the time to acknowledge my negative feelings and recognise and do something about them. To surrender all the little things about my fears, bit by bit.

Every emotional experience is an opportunity to go up or down and I choose to go up.

I’ve come up with a plan and some goals and I’m going to give it all that I have to get myself better. To return to my state of radiating positive energy so that people can see, feel and benefit from my winning aura.

They Will Be Teenagers Tomorrow

hervey bay

Half Way through 2022. The year is dissolving without notice. Where does the time go?

My precious children are growing up so fast, they will be teenagers tomorrow.

Up until last week since February 2018, I’d never left the kids for more than two consecutive nights. This month I holidayed without them for seven nights and it was a win for everyone.

Mum and Dad moved in and followed a tight spreadsheet I’d left for guidance. The kids were happy all week and there were zero tears. Evie face-timed me every day to tell me she loved and missed me and “when was I coming home?” but all in a pleasant way.

I spent the week on a car rally with a best mate hitting up some remote towns. Pretty much a giant pub crawl of; Parkes, Condobolin, Nymagee, Nyngan, Louth, White Cliffs, Milparinka, Cameron Corner, Tibooburra, Noccundra, Thargomindah, Colladdi, Augathella, Injun, Taroom, Gayndah and Hervey Bay.

I had the best time.

It’s a door opening for the kids to be further independent and for me to build a life parallel to the special life I have with my two little/big beauties.

Noah’s been sleeping in his own bed and walking home from school.

Evie is growing up into a little lady. She definitely knows what she wants that girl. I love her indescribably.

5 Reasons You Should Talk To Kids About Cancer 

“Mother’s Day can be an especially tough time of year for children and families that have been impacted by cancer. Father of two, Dominic, from Sydney, explains why it is so important to talk to kids about cancer following his own experience after wife Louise died from breast cancer in 2019.

Louise was struggling with the idea of leaving her children behind. “She was having issues with anxiety and panic attacks, all stemming from her concern about the kids. Lou could always accept that mortality was on her doorstep, but she could never wrap her head around leaving her two babies behind,” her partner Dominic explains.”

Continue reading………..

April Isn’t A Kind Month To Me

louise-decelis-44th-birthday-post

Happy Birthday, Lou Lou!

40 + GST.

Evie rose early this morning as she always does. Often it’s on the wrong side of the bed but she was kind to me today. We cuddled on the sofa, wrapped in a blanket and flipped through some photos as the sun attempted to compete with the rain. Evie chose several snaps for an Instagram post.

“I wish mummy was here, I only got to see her when I was four and now I’m seven!” “I hope you have the best birthday mummy,” she mumbled to herself while scrolling through memories.

She always comments on Mummy’s hair. “Look how silky it is Dad!!”

April is always a bit of a sucker punch in the ribs. It feels like it’s a time in the year when you fall into a bit of a second-quarter grind. Easter Holidays are hectic juggling work and the kids. You throw our anniversary in there (10 years this year), Lou’s Birthday and prepping for mothers day. It’s a bit to digest, It almost feels like eating a steak and not being allowed to chew it.

I’m fast approaching 50 and starting to deal with some insecurities that I either didn’t know I had or a brand new. I’m not complaining, just attempting to unpackage feelings and manage emotions. I feel a little off-kilter, but is off the back of a good run the last six months and I’m not a Marvel character. I’m just a single parent trying to manage two kids that are sprouting up waaaay too fast.

Anyways, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO LOU LOU!!!

Don’t Go Little Monkey, Not Yet

noah-byrne-frogs

“I’m going to sleep in my own bed tonight dad.”

I’ve never heard that from Noah before. He has never slept in his own bed. He went straight from his cot to sleeping with Mumma and Dadda and never graduated from there.

So after a whole lot of talk in the preceding months about being more independent this year, he was quick to test his autonomy.

I was in bed with Evie Pops and he came in and gave me a kiss goodnight, “Night buddy, see you tomorrow beautiful” I said as he moved towards the southern end of the house. I tapped away on my laptop for the next little while waiting to hear his footsteps coming down the hall. I left plenty of space for him to resume his spot under my left wing.

30 minutes or so passed and he never arrived. “I better check on him.”

Creeping into his bedroom, the little munchkin was fast asleep, tucked up and already in the land of dreams.

I was caught off guard and got emotional. I lay in bed, my first night without him, eyes a little salty. I was smiling but I was Saudade.

Don’t go little monkey, not yet. Maybe you are being too independent too early…. 😂 ❤️

Nine!

noah byrne pic collage

Noah,

Today you are nine years of age. Your last year in single digits.

I can’t believe you were only six years old when I left. Such a heavy load to bear when you were so young. Your shoulders are so broad and strong though, I’m in awe of the way you tick off the days with strength and happiness.

I’ve felt your pain lately beautiful boy. I know you’ve been missing me more than ever.

Thanks for talking to me in Fiji. I can’t grant your ultimate wish to see me on this earth again but I can help you achieve your dreams buddy. I walk beside you every day, I am your angel for eternity.

The more I’ve observed you over the last three years, the more I believe that you can be anything you want to be. Your potential is limitless Noah.

Your dad and I don’t care what you choose to do in life. In sports, arts or academics but we do know that you can be the best of what you choose. You have been blessed with a brain that combined with your own cultivated attitude and perseverance, you can achieve anything.

Everybody loves you. People want to spend time with you. Your friends glow in your company and their parents adore having you around. People are better for having you in their lives.

Stay motivated my boy, I am excited to see what you become.

Love Mummy.

MUMMA’S BOY

Noah Byrne finding a coconut in fiji

The three year anniversary of Lou’s death was special but poignant.

Just getting to Momi Bay, Fiji was a challenge. The Omnicron Covid variant was on the loose in Sydney, severely impacting holiday travel. As a vacating family of 11 we were magical to dodge positive tests before departure. It was like dancing in the rain and not getting wet.

We timed our Island holiday arrival perfectly for a category one hurricane, yep, pretty much landed right in the eye of the storm.

As the weather cleared and the sun started to shine, Grandpa was exiled into isolation with a positive Covid test, and he went down sick too. Grandpa never gets sick.

Nonetheless, the six loved hearts are always making lemonade.

Anniversaries of a loved one’s death is probably the shittiest milestone to celebrate. For me, “celebrate” is the wrong verb to use. I see the milestone as an acknowledgement of the precious time we spent with the departed and a sombre reminder of how short that time actually was.

Five days into the holiday was Lou Lou’s anniversary. Three years to the day that she exhaled one last time wrapped in my arms, never to inhale a breath again.

We decided to take the remembrance party to Grandpa and organise some Fijian dancers in front of his ocean Bungalow. Grandpa loves a show more than anyone and this was the perfect way to cheer him up and honour his firstborn.

The weather was clear and the Fijian MC kicked off with a traditional prayer to honour Louise. I don’t know what he said but it was beautiful and it felt special.

Champagne in hand, sitting in the soft sand, the first entertaining dance started with a backdrop of the prettiest sunset we had on the holiday. Scattered flavours of blue and white, with some soft pinks in the distant sky and the palm trees waving at the heavens in the ocean breeze.

By the second dance segment, Evie had dragged her cousins up to mimic the three Fijian girls shaking their grass skirts to the beats. Louise would have undoubtedly been the first to dance, so it was fitting her pretty little girl was naturally taking the lead.

Darkness set in and the fire dancers hit our makeshift stage in spectacular fashion with bright blistering flames cutting through the black night.

Everyone was all smiles.

Happiness.

JBoy organised for the kids to throw some hand-picked flowers into the ocean and say something to Lou. Our own little ceremony to connect.

Noah stated he didn’t want to talk out loud when throwing in his handful of flowers into the lapping tide. We all tossed our flowers in one by one and spoke to Lou with a brief message.

When everyone had thrown in their flowers and moved away from the water, NoNo’s was standing accompanied in the pitch black, knee-deep in the warm South Pacific Ocean for a minute or so, his eyes shut and talking silently to his mum. He then tossed his flowers in the water and burst into tears.

I could see it coming so I’d turned off my phone and was right behind him. I picked him up, he latched on and cuddled me tight like a Koala clinging to a gumtree. He cried wet tears into my neck and sobbed.

We spent 15 minutes like this while I encouraged him to cry. I didn’t say much, I just let him cry it out. The deeper the love the deeper the pain.

It’s a cathartic event and a platform for Noah and me to talk.

I often attempt to explain to Noah how much his mum loved him. Maybe I just need to tell him “she loved you as much as you loved her” and he will understand.

THREE LOOOOONG YEARS!

jboy and the kids

You’ve missed so much Lou.

The kids, particularly Noah (his memories are more vivid than Evie’s) are missing you incredibly right now.

He’s had several moments in tears over the Christmas period and my heart aches for him but I love seeing him process the pain and cry it out. I don’t want his little heart as hard as mine, I feel his pain but I prefer to see him emotional. He’s a beautiful boy and I attempt to keep more of you in him than me.

Your little boy has been craving lots of physical contact. I take pride that he gets relief from me. Constant hugging, hand-holding and just touching me to make sure I’m by his side. The children’s need for affection makes me a much more emotionally connected father.

your boy..

Of course, Evie Pope misses you too. She talks about you more than Noah which allows her to work through her feelings. I’ve made eye contact with her a few times lately and I’m looking at you. My heart skips.

Evie Pops

We’re all on holiday right now. You left a colossal hole in all our lives but at fun times like this, the hole is wider and deeper. We party in your honour and legacy.

I had a minor panic attack when I got the passports out before leaving. I only counted three with an expectation of retrieving four. “Oh shit, I’m missing a passport.” I’m halfway through viewing each headshot and of course, I’m like “da, Lou Lou’s isn’t in here, she’s not here anymore.” Silly Dadda!

Things like this still happen often. It’s a twist to the tummy at the time but I like that I go day-to-day behaving like you’re around. It keeps me on track doing things the way you would have done.

You’d be proud of everyone in your family. Your Mum and Dad, Liesy, Jon and all six little loved hearts.

We miss you.

Our Optimism Was So Bloody High

holding hands

I can’t believe it’s been three years since we were in Germany. Fighting for life.

Looking back our optimism was unrealistic. Lou was so-so sick and her chances of survival must have been near zero.

But they were “near zero”, they weren’t zero.

I’m proud that WE all hung onto that fraction of a percent and turned over every stone. WE truly thought we could win.

We weren’t successful but we did try try our best. What else can you do?

HER VILLAGE rallied, they paid for her treatment, they paid for our travel and paid for our stay in Germany. Most importantly her village gave her every opportunity to live.

That is special.

Fick Krebs

Beautiful Girl, It’s Your Birthday

Beautiful Evie Pops

My little beauty.

You won’t remember but we used to have these little clashes. You were only three years old but the little mixing pot we both shared of; fire, stubbornness and a pinch of crae-crae was the perfect tiny storm for some mother and daughter friction.

Always trivial of course but can you imagine how exciting these encounters may have become as time advanced?

It would have been fun for your dad to watch for two reasons:

1.) He was attracted to my crazy and instead of being scared, he got a warm fuzzy feeling when I erupted. He was scared and amused simultaneously; and

2.) He has always been your refuge. You would run to him and he would make everything alright.

Your dad just loves being your anchor, it’s all he needs to be happy. If you are happy he is happy.

You know I’m not physically present but I’m always smiling ear-to-ear, my star is burning bright for who you have become and who you are going to be.

You were born with charm and an outgoing personality. You have learned to be resilient. You are becoming assertive, bold and confident.

You are seven today and blooming into something special.

Happy Birthday Evie Harper Byrne.

❤️ Mummy.

Mummy’s Proud

grief kid instagram post

I go through these stages where I imagine Lou turning up, just walking through the door at that very moment.

“Oh look, kids, mummy is here!!!”

The thought of this event might not happen for weeks and then it becomes a daily occurrence again. The grief roller coaster of emotions must trigger various thoughts and Lou’s virtual presence is a result.

The last of these episodes have been a positive experience. It’s like some kind of affirmation where Lou is validating that we are in a good spot.

While the dreamlike experience may only last a few seconds, a long detailed scene plays out in my subconscious.

The kids are drawn to Lou’s presence like she never left. They run to her like she’s simply walking in the front door from an outing.

She is surprised at how big Noah and Evie are, she is instantly complimentary of how much they’ve grown, how beautiful they are. She is overwhelmed with their happiness.

Mummy is so proud of them. Impressed with their friends, their little social lives, their love for school and all that they cram into their busy lives.

They are all excited and it’s emotionally gratifying to watch.

Noah is moulded to Lou on one side and Evie snuggled on the other as they chatter.

Instead of feeling empty as the wave of Lou’s presence passes by, it’s a warm feeling, it feels like a family hug.

Thanks for dropping by Mumma!

Lou and the kids on the couch having a snuggle
❤️ ❤️ ❤️

Home Sweet Home

Evie Byrne holding River byrne and love for daddy

What Lockdown??

Noah, Evie and I left our home for a 10-day road trip on the 24th of June. A scheduled 10 days on the road turned into 107 days of running. The intention was to cruise up the coast to the Goldie and hit all the theme parks to get our buzz on. Queensland shut up shop and Sydney went into meltdown, so the Byrne’s turned into Covid Ninja’s and just kept running…..

Newcastle, Milbrodale, One Mile Beach, Nerong, Newcastle, Nowra, Braidwood, Nowra, Newcastle, Mildbodale, Singletone, Newcastle, Shoal Bay, Newcastle, Canberra, Thredbo, Burringbar, Stokers Siding, Braidwood, Newcastle, Braidwood, Newcastle, Scone, Sydney.

We loved every minute (except homeschooling) and didn’t do a day of lockdown.

Today we go home to our own comfy bed (yes one bed three humans). No place like home.

Missing Piece

louise and Evie Pops

Three years ago in Septemeber 2018,  Lou Lou took Elyisa, Jboy and I to Brisbane to see the Vance Joy concert at the River Stage.

On the morning of the concert Louise had a massive panic attack while we were looking for somwhere to have breakfast and commence our exciting day together. The ambulance took Lou and I to hospital where we spent the day and much of the night.

We missed the concert.

Here is Vance Joy’s new song and some pictures of Lou.

I’ve been waiting for the tides to change
For the waves to send you my way
I see you darling but you pixilate
It gets hard to take these days

But we’ll hold the line, I won’t let go
‘Cause I’ll be there when you can finally make it home
And I don’t mind ’cause we both know
That we’ll be fine when you can finally make it home

Because when I’m in a room with you
That missing piece is found (oh)
You know when you’re by my side, darling
Nothing can bring us down (oh)

I remember happy wasted days
Summer’s golden haze in our eyes
Lifting you above the breakin’ waves
Memories floatin’ back to my mind

You said, “Hold the line”, I won’t let go
‘Cause I’ll be there when you can finally make it home
And I don’t mind ’cause we both know
That we’ll be fine when you can finally make it home

Because when I’m in a room with you
That missing piece is found (oh)
You know when you’re by my side, darling
Nothing can bring us down (oh)\It’s like when you’re far away from me
I get lost in the crowd (oh)
Because when I’m in a room with you
That missing piece is found (oh)

Oh, I won’t waste a minute when you’re here
And we’re finally in the clear
When every day is like the last
I just keeping holdin’ fast

Because when I’m in a room with you
That missing piece is found (oh)
You know when you’re by my side, darling
Nothing can bring us down (oh)

It’s like when you’re far away from me
I get lost in the crowd (oh)
Because when I’m in a room with you
That missing piece is found (oh)

2020 F&*K YOU!!

COVID aside, my year was muddled. I just couldn’t find a spark and with no spark, no momentum.

I’ve often used sporting analogies when commentating about struggles on this blog, especially during Lou’s fight for life. There’s a tremendous amount of review and analysis that goes into a professional sport so I think it’s fitting.

2020 feels like a year that the opposition just wiped on you the rugby pitch by 80 points. Conceding a point every minute of the game, leaving you vanquished.

Even when you’re defeated by 80 points, you still need to identify something good in the game. Something that you can build on, something to improve by.

So it’s important for me to look for wins, positives that give me hope, a catalyst for improvement and an appreciation for what I have.

  • The biggest win for me is that the kids are happy and healthy
  • I’ve spent so much time with Noah and Evie, which is invaluable
  • I have to remind myself that being a single dad is twice the work, twice the responsibility, twice the tears but its also twice the hugs, twice the love and twice the pride
  • I’m so intune with the kids emotions. I am a much better dad
  • My business hasn’t regressed during COVID which is a massive positive It’s in a static position with the opportunity for growth
  • My physical health is pretty good. While I burn the candle at both ends a little hard, I feel I’m reasonably fit for my age
  • I see my parents more than previous years as they like to visit often to support me
  • It’s comforting to know how much people care about my situation, being a full-time parent with two young kids
  • I’ve met people and done things I normally wouldn’t have
  • I have the opportunity for professional, personal and emotional development

I talked about being stuck in rut way back in May. It’s discouraging to know I never navigated my way out of it. I dragged my feet through the whole year. Everything has been an effort.

I think I deferred large parts of my grief.

I don’t think it’s possible to understand grief until you’re in it. Even when I talked about the five stages of grief I was still learning about it first hand. Perhaps we never stop learning about bereavement as it is an endless road with little signage for direction.

Acknowledging that you are struggling is the first step towards healing and I just have to cop this year on the chin. It was hard, I’ve been sad and feeling beaten. My current situation is what it is and I need to make the best of it. Vibrant flowers grow back after the harshest winters.

I think I’ve been waiting for some kind of light at the end of the tunnel. Perhaps to feel better and work my way to a point of happiness, I have to identify ways to light up that tunnel while I’m in it.

I’ll find a way but for now; 2020. Fuck You!

Happy Birthday Weez!!

Joshua

Sadie

Noah

Billie

Evie

Georgina

Happy Birthday From Joshua, Sadie, Noah, Billie, Evie and Georgina……

♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️

Two Hours On My Shrink

I just spent two hours at the track and I’ve reset my brain.

I know some people, actually a lot of people, probably wonder why I participate in action sports that come with a high risk of injury. Especially now that I’m far from the reckless age of a teenager, and double especially that my wife’s outcome with stage four cancer comes with uncertainty. Just so you are aware, I do wonder about my risky interests more than you.

I have always been addicted to the substance released into the body through excitement. Adrenaline. Some may think it’s audacious behaviour, perhaps negligent or downright stupid. Of course, you’re welcome to your opinion.

I do think there is a blurred line between the pursuit of seeking intense experiences without regard for physical risk, verse activity that has a high level of danger even though you do all within your power to keep your limbs intact.

So, my ride today: Motocross would be arguably one of the most physically demanding sports on the planet. In my current state of fitness, riding at the threshold of my ability, I have about thirty minutes before muscles start to pack it in and I need a recovery period between sessions. For that thirty minutes, I am in a mentally clear state and while my heart rate might be through the roof and lactic acid is ballooning all limbs, I am emotionally neutral. Isn’t that what people aim to achieve through meditation?

Dominic Byrne post about thrill seeking and action sports

Why do people meditate? To reduce stress, anxiety, depression and pain. They do it for well-being, psychological, neurological and cardiovascular benefit. Extreme athletes professional or recreational go hard for the same reason, even if they are consciously unaware and self-medicating ignorantly.

For me, it’s a combination of getting your buzz-on and concentrating so hard your mind has to be 100% clear, bar the exact moment. If you don’t get that front wheel in the deep rut entering the turn and your balance not weighted correctly, you will fall off. You’re thinking of nothing besides entering and exiting that corner. Because if you fall off you’ll hurt something.

On approach to a jump, if your brain hasn’t matched the distance you need to be in the air to the speed of your bike and you end up short or long, you’re a very good chance of eating dirt. Throw thirty other riders on the track, perpetually varying conditions and the power of hundreds of horses under your ballbag and the intensity is intoxicating. All of those horses at your disposal at the flick of the wrist, you have no choice but to “meditate.” Mediate or get a lift from the track in an HCF funded white van with flashing lights.

I’ve had to retire from one-off thrill seeking events that are a probable bad ending. The physical disregard I mentioned earlier. I’ve done this reluctantly, but your age and precious offspring become a priority. However the ongoing desire to progress at a sport, MX, skiing, skateboarding or whatever your poison, the combination of skill, concentration and risk will never leave you. Participating in these sports is a basic need, not a compulsive behaviour, I don’t doubt this one bit. It’s meditation, medication and an expensive session on the couch, all rolled into one therapy that works better than any other treatment.

Think about how powerful those endorphins and adrenaline are and why they’re so addictive. You can get hurt playing footy, even break something and not even realise until the 80-minute whistle sounds. That internal drug is stronger than morphine less expensive and good for your health, fact. For the extreme sports ‘junkies” and contact sports participants, science would prove our brains flood more dopamine during activity than the safe and conservative. That feeling of pleasure will always have you going back for more.

Dominic Brrne Motocross and action Sports

The overcoming of nervousness and fear is like an emotional reward, it leads to feelings of well-being and positive psychological outcomes, a constant sense of achievement. I honestly don’t know if I am addicted to the biochemical reaction within the brain that leads to that epic state of joy, or the activity itself.

I won’t grow out of it, it’s in my DNA. It’s a matter of minimising serious risk but having enough fun to clear my thoughts, reset my brain, look forward to the next session and enjoy living. Unfortunately, I will break another bone or two in the years ahead of me, I don’t want to but it’s inevitable. I hope to all the gods it’s never serious.

Give Blood, Make The Effort And Save Lives

Have you ever needed a blood transfusion? Do you donate blood regularly? 💉 🌡 If you’re answer to question 2 is no, and you have no medical reason, then just consider for a moment that there was no blood to give me today. Or no blood for your loved ones when they need it.

Blood transfusions come from real human blood. It can’t be manufactured and donations get scarcer all the time. 33% of Australians will need blood in their lifetime. But only 3% give blood each year!!!!

Today I’m back in hospital having a series of blood transfusions. So please, please consider creating a habit of donating blood. If you already do you’re an absolute legend 🙌🏼 and I hope that i got your blood today❣️

And if that didn’t tip you over the edge consider this – Australia needs more than 25,000 donations every.single.week. So get donating people ❣️

I don’t know why this is?

Even though my medical experience is shallow, from my observation, there is a massive divide between non-traditional and traditional medicine. Surely there could be major benefits, for patients,  if there were collaboration and co-creation of treatments.

I don’t know why this is?

Other countries seem to be so much more integrated across the traditional to non-traditional medicine paradigm.

Has anyone got an opinion on this?

What Is Cancer? Do You Actually Know The Answer?

If you or someone close to you has been diagnosed with cancer, you know how overwhelming it can feel. Maybe you’re also getting a lot of confusing information and advice. The more you know, the more confident you’ll feel making decisions. That’s the way I see it.

If you asked me a year ago what cancer is, I would have struggled to give you a satisfactory or close to an accurate explanation. The first 38 years of my life were not significantly impacted by cancer. A friend of a friend, a distant relative or a neighbour a few doors up got cancer. No one in my family was going to get it. Not until we were all old anyways.

What is cancer?

I’ll give it my best shot at explaining it. Our bodies are made up of millions of cells. Inside each cell is an instruction manual called DNA, which has chapters we call genes. Genes tell the cells how to behave; when to make new cells, and when to die.

Cells grow by dividing; one cell divides into two cells, two cells become four cells, and so on. Cancer begins when one cell starts to grow uncontrollably.

Cells divide when their genes tell them too. But if a gene has a mutation, it might instruct a cell to divide when there’s no reason to. The cancer will rely on the blood supply to grow, when they draw blood cells to it, these vessels allow it to travel.

When these cells divide, they make a copy of their DNA in genes, so that each new cell has the same instructions. That copy also divides, and so on, while older or damaged cells are told to die off, making way for new healthy ones.

Occasionally, the DNA instruction manual in a cell can get damaged or mutated. The cause of this mutation could be:

  • A chemical
  • Environmental Carcinogen
  • Hereditary
  • Viruses
  • Smoking
  • Diet?
  • Unknown, lots of unknown

While healthy cells are trained to listen to signals for when to grow, divide and die, cells with mutated DNA sometimes ignore your body’s signals. These rogue cells continue to divide unchecked. This is how cancer starts. In some cases, cancer stays put and is localised. In other cases, the cancer spreads (metastases).

When they are metastatic, tumours consume the body’s resources as they grow, damaging healthy functioning tissues and organs along the way.

So that’s the easy part. Now, what are treatment options? and Why is TNBC such a bitch?