The grace of good fortune
If I lived my life in the haze of the glories, the successes and the achievements of my past, I will be the most ungrateful, saddest and utterly depressed man you will ever meet.
Of all men, I consider myself abundantly blessed beyond anything that can be measured. I live a second chance in life six years after a life-threatening cancer diagnosis filled with gratitude, appreciation, knowledge and wisdom.
My adversity and hardships have become stories I tell many people in different circumstances with the refrain, never ever give up.
And so, I shared a very personal and private story with my youngest sister hoping to illustrate the need to keep doing what you need to do, without the loss of faith in yourself and without the loss of hope or expectation for better things to come.
Believe in yourself, always
How do you come back from the loss of your health, the loss of wealth, the loss of status, the loss of your home of over 10 years, the looming loss of relevance in things from your profession, your community, your family your friends and strangers?
How do you come back from barely having meals to eat for the potent drugs supposed to help make you well, from the humiliation the system supposed to help you gleefully dispenses and homelessness?
How do you recover from the lack of funds for the basic things, the things that highlight the fact that you have no choices because there are no options before you?
How do you bounce back from job application after job application without response and job interviews that expose your weaknesses so much so that you are overcome with shame and regret? How do you keep at it when it appears nothing is working?
Just keep believing
You keep believing in yourself and keep that belief strong by following the advice at the end of the note I sent to my sister. Believe and seek people ready to reinforce that belief in you. I found that in friends and well-wishers who stood by me in my darkest hours that sometimes lasted months.
I am not diminished but enlarged and encouraged by the sum of my experiences, I hope you are too in the stories of the wonderful lives we all live.
The little note, with annotations
However, I must say you cannot afford to give up.Before my hospitalisation in September 2009, I was already out of work for 5 months, then with my treatment, I did not return to work until March 2010.
[The advice from my doctors was to take 6 months off after chemotherapy, I could not afford to, I was off for only 6 weeks, I had bills to pay.]
That job lasted until December 2010 after which I found no work until I returned to the UK in August 2012, which lasted for just a month, then another job in January 2013 lasted 5 months until I found another January 2014.
[In 5 years (60 months) as my health was already deteriorating rapidly from January 2009, I was out of work for 45 months, all as a result of and the consequence of illness.]
I just refused to give up and it paid off.
Keep busy, keep learning, keep trying, keep hoping, it will all pay off. I know.