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This is a guest post by Online Community member Ronny.a He also writes his own blogs at https://ronnyallan.wordpress.com/ and on his Neuroendocrine Cancer Awareness Blog here on the Online Community.
It's good to be busy, it can take your mind off stuff you don't really want to think about. That was my tactic after being diagnosed with incurable Neuroendocrine Cancer. I just kept working and working and was still sending work emails and making telephone calls on the day I was being admitted to hospital for major surgery. After all, how could they possibly function without me? Although I was banned from work after the surgery, I still dropped an email to let them know I was doing cartwheels down the hospital corridor. They expected nothing less.
I guess the image of 'invincibility' was important to me at that time. It was part of my personal expectations and credibility. Some 6 weeks after leaving hospital following a 9 hour open surgery, I literally crawled back to the office, weak and drawn but determined to 'make a statement' by dint of my physical presence. I just wanted things to be back to normal. A round of applause was given and for me this was as effective as any medicine I was taking. My credibility was intact.
Treatment, tests and consultations would now be managed around work instead of the other way - after all, they couldn't possibly function without me? This 'charade' went on for some time until I eventually realised they could actually function without me and the only person expecting me to be 'in service' on a treatment, testing or consultation day, was me. Additionally, it became patently obvious that people would totally understand my reasons for slowing down. However, a more serious message was being received from my body which was hinting it was more delicate than I had thought. My credibility, until hitherto sacrosanct, was taking its toll and things weren't really back to normal. I began to realise I needed a different and better 'normal'.
After my 'eureka' moment, I totally changed my lifestyle putting my health above my credibility in the 'pecking order'. I still keep busy - that's important. I'm now happily doing things I enjoy at my own pace. I have a better 'normal'. I sometimes think I might be taking on too much and that this could lead to a return to the 'old ways'. However, the big difference today is that I have no qualms about taking myself 'out of service' or reducing my workload and commitments. My body tends to remind me now and then.
Listen to your body!
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Photo: Au Morandarte, [CC BY-SA 2.0]
Only wish that many more people could read your blog and perhaps they would also realise that very few people on their death bed say "I wish I spent more time at work". Thank you for a very honest and important message.
Wow, what a great blog. I do wish I had read something similar a few years ago. Brilliant. D
Hi Ronny and well done on dropping the work! I have been incurable since august 2013 and gave up work in October 2014 when I realised I needed to have as much time as possible to do what I wanted. Also too many days spent in oncology outpatients. I have not been off treatment since april 2013 and it takes time. I found it impossible to live on the edge. At first I grasped the whole new meaning and lived it, every second counts. But it wasnt sustainable. I will never go back to my pre cancer thinking but I live more or less, in a sustainable way! Hope you understand what I am trying to say.I am also always told how well I look. Even today in my cold cap , having chemo! Very best wishes. Julie
Great Blog Ronnie. Bit of advice I got was from occupational health. You need to add a new word to your vocabulary "NO". It isn't always easy but I'm working on it.
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