Thursday 24 February 2011

Thought Picnic: Fighting Cancer

Seeking to care

Reading a Facebook status just now made me reflect on an aspect of my life that I have somewhat tried to leave behind but find is almost always in the centre of my existence.

She wrote, “All of us have a thousand wishes. To be thinner, have more money, a new phone. A cancer patient only has one wish, to kick cancer's ass. I know that 97% of you won't post this as your status, but my friends will be the 3% that do. In honor of someone who died, or is FIGHTING cancer, post this for at least one hour.

I can well appreciate that many would chip in with sympathy and empathy with a comment in support of those fighting cancer, it is however hardly the whole story.

Recovery is a lot more than recovery

I find that my recovery period is long, hard and very present from the physical and physiological condition that requires quarterly check-ups through my blood tests and inspection of the scarred areas that bore the cancer lesions to challenges of life in making a living and remaining relevant in the workplace.

It was the reality of this that compelled me to go back to work within 6 weeks of chemotherapy and it was not an easy task at all but with all the bills and the risk of losing my home looming something had to be done because welfare support could only go so far and it had yet to kick in then.

What made me cope with the thrust and pressure of work after literally 11 months of illness and out of the job market was the accommodation that allowed me do a 32-hour week with Wednesdays off, but each day for the first few months was the force of the will and mind over the capabilities of the body – it was patently against medical advice but circumstances can so seriously dictate the decisions you make especially if you are single and dependent on the goodwill of friends who have stuck closer to you in times of adversity.

It dogs you for change

Recently, I had the opportunity to apply for an interesting job but that 11-month gap in my CV needed explaining and much as many are fascinated by the story of a cancer survivor they are not necessarily on the mercy mission to allow someone who had gone through such an ordeal to complicate their work schedules.

I also find that my CV is in need of a radical review where my once very strong technical skills now have to be relegated for soft skills of business analysis, project management, risk profiling and managing change in the enterprise all of which were core areas of expertise that allowed me do what I needed to do for the organisations I have worked for.

This is where a good 23 years of business savvy needs to come to the fore like no other time before and where I should probably seek some help in ensuring my closeness to this matter does not compromise the real message of my abilities.

Winning wars and fighting battles

However, the matter of fighting cancer is that of battles that are won each day against all sorts of prevailing circumstance with wars that endure for long with that hope that you are maintaining the upper-hand.

The pills have their hours, bills have their demands, the tills need to be ringing and the wills remain strong because this fight will never be over but we can find the might to make light of the fright that can readily blight the prospect of a bright future.

Until you have been there, these shoes are not the easiest to walk in on the rocky paths strewn with thorns and the swampy forests that harbour creatures that could so literally take your breath away.

Meanwhile, let’s kick arse, anyhow.

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