A journeyman is a skilled worker who has successfully completed an official apprenticeship qualification in a building trade or craft; they are allowed to work as employees but not yet as a self-employed 'master craftsman'. 'The Cancer Journeyman’ is the title of a blog by Nick Parker and describes well the ‘journey’ many of us go on with cancer; the huge amount of knowledge we gain about our ‘craft’ of wellness. In my own current ‘research’ about my next steps, I was fortunate to have a long phone call with him.
Nick was clear that what had worked for him, with his terminal diagnosis, may not work for everyone; it is about finding your own way. He also talked about how he filled himself with hope, had lots of set backs but found ways forward, solutions that worked for him. I loved a line he said, when thinking about treatments, that he sought all avenues that were kindest to the body. Our bodies are at dis-ease with themselves, we can find a way to bring more balance and health.
A lot of what Nick writes about on his website is about how we can change our attitudes, beliefs and actions and 'live the best years of our life'. His website shares his journey and some of his treatment protocol including nutrition and exercise. One of his tentative questions to me was about why I had cancer. I have had a number of thoughts around that and have been working on a blog on that very topic for a while (ready soon). When I started to share my answers with Nick, it was when I got to talking about the impacts of stress and life purpose, that Nick warmed more. Indeed, like him, I consider that a key route to our health is through the mind.
Nick shared some of his own work around redefining his life purpose, using visualisations and meditations - the latter he credited for having a significant impact on reducing his PSA. On his website he writes: "I am no different to anyone: my minds tells me constantly that it is tough; that I don't want to do it. My mind questions me as to whether I really want to sacrifice other short-term pleasures in order to devote time to my long-term health. However, i have realised that there is no other way. My history tells me that I have been a lazy & shortsighted fool. There is nothing more important than my health. I have learnt that, how ever hard, I have to control my mind, or else be a victim of it."
All this is a powerful reminder to me about what I wrote in an earlier blog about how changing thoughts can change behaviours, which change your biochemistry. There is lots more to wellness than following NHS treatments - and lots of it is not so easy! In the ‘About this blog’ section, when I started this blog, I quoted Sophie Sabbage talking about how cancer brings us an invitation to look within ourselves and decide who we are and how we wish to live. This feels even more true now and I can start to see, like Nick, that this cancer journey can be a gift - and part of that gift for me has been to connect with inspirational people like Nick (click on tag below for more inspiring people).
See more about Nick at: https://thecancerjourneyman.co.uk/