Sunday, 8 December 2013

Prostate Cancer, Tai Chi and Me

A year ago I found out I had Prostate Cancer. It felt surreal to walk around as usual, not quite sure what it meant to have a diagnosis of cancer.

I wasn't in any pain and didn't feel any different. Didn't look any different in the mirror either. I just had to visit the W.C. a lot, which is what led to my diagnosis.

Within 2 weeks of visiting my Doctor I had an appointment. 2 weeks later I saw a specialist followed by a biopsy after another 2 weeks. The biopsy confirmed the cancer just in time for Xmas. Within a further 6 weeks I had robotic surgery on Valentines Day ( Ironic) to remove the Prostate. Since then I have had regular follow ups and my PSA level has remained "undetectable" so I now need just a six monthly blood test and appointment with my Consultant. I can only describe my NHS treatment as brilliant.

I knew I had to prepare for the surgery so I increased my tai chi practise as well as the energetic exercises of the Kundalini Awakening Programme as learned from Guru Santiago Dobles. In addition I worked with weights to strengthen myself physically.

After returning home from hospital the advice was to build myself up by walking, which is a good all round exercise. Unfortunately the English weather was not conducive to going outside. Fortunately I could continue with the Kundalini exercises and had my tai chi practise to draw on.

I practised standing in San Ti, Holding the Ball and Wu Ji postures.  As I couldn't do my usual forms I worked on a fixed step version of Roll Back, Wardoff, Press and Push so I could cycle between the 4 energies. For indoor walking I practised circle walking and various 3 step combinations. As soon as I was able to I recommenced with my Sun style tai chi forms and eventually Sun style Xingyi.

The most important aspect was remaining mentally positive and somewhat "bloody minded" in my attitude to cancer and recovery from surgery. I consider myself fortunate to have had some excellent teachers whose teachings have been and remain of real value on my journey.

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