So I am now still happily in remission 19 months down the line…and remarkably grateful and relieved to be able to say that.
The Ball is over and after 12 months of hard graft, resulting in such a great success, it was time to re-evaluate my life. I realised that as I started to find myself getting restless and frustrated. Whilst there is so much at home that I could busy myself with in terms of decorating and being a ‘good homely wife’, I was becoming more and more frustrated and miserable. It became pretty apparent, pretty quickly in the New Year, that the ball had given me a focus and an objective that I need in my life. I love my family to pieces, but being at home all day has never been something that has worked for me, and now, even with an incurable diagnosis hanging over me, I can’t find comfort in the house all day long.
I’m not sure why this surprises me really. Even when I had just had Rebecca and was in the throws of learning how to be a mum, I found being at home frustrating and limiting. Having coffee and talking nappies and baby food all day just wasn’t enough to keep me stimulated and content and I quickly found myself setting up a return to work day as soon as I believed it was ‘socially acceptable’. And since then I have always worked. Perhaps only part-time, but enough to give me a life outside of the house, and a personality that didn’t feel like it solely revolved around the children.
So I’m not sure why I believed that my diagnosis would make me feel differently. Perhaps it comes back to that idea of what is socially acceptable….I seem to be pretty susceptible to that…one of my nasty habits! When you get diagnosed with cancer, especially an incurable one, people seem to think that you can/ should park everything that used to be your life, turn into a veggie, juice drinking obsessive and run off to travel the world with no worry about the future. ‘Live for today’ is the phrase I often hear thrown at me, ‘don’t worry about what may come’…blah, blah, blah……People have so much advice to give because it is the only thing they feel that they can do. They can’t give me a cure and they can’t take away what we live with so they try to talk things up. And I think I felt this overwhelming pressure that if I may not live to see my children grow up, that I should cherish every moment with them, provide them with lots of experiences and live what life I have making a memory bank for them. Great! Well, it’s great if that sort of thing comes naturally to you and makes you happy. Don’t get me wrong, I do LOVE having nice days out with the children. We had a great day at the Roald Dahl Museum yesterday and I loved every second of it. But that wasn’t because I had cancer. It wasn’t because we might not get to do it again. It was just because it was a nice thing to do on Nick’s day off. But I still get cross with the kids, I still shout at them when they persistently do the same irritating things and I stayed up too late the night before having a few drinks or watching a film on tv. And I still need a focus that isn’t them. And I truly believe (and always have done) that a happy mum makes happy children. So if I’m not happy cleaning the house, getting dinner on the table and doing that sort of stuff, then it was important to work out what did make me happy.
So Nick and I have talked a lot recently about what the future could look like. I’d talked lots about finding a job in the New Year but have to say that I had procrastinated in getting going. I was really scared about being rejected….about people saying they weren’t interested in me because I am a risk with myeloma. So instead of looking, I spent the first few weeks redecorating bathrooms!
But things have turned a corner since I started looking. And I am pretty excited and already feeling like I have a direction I can follow. Since the ball, I realised that perhaps HR isn’t the only career path that I can take. I am SO SO proud of what we achieved with the ball, and have finally accepted that a large part of that was due to me and my passion and commitment (my friends will know how hard it was for me to write that publicly!). And so I am now looking to try to change my career direction towards fundraising. Not any old fundraising, but I want to find someway of fundraising for a charity that, like Myeloma UK, I can be totally committed to. I believe that when I am committed, I can achieve such positive things for people and therefore I think if I can find the right organisation, I can love my job like I have never done before.
So, I googled charity fundraising and I have applied for my first role in fundraising….and I’m waiting to hear whether I get an interview! I may well not because I am reliant on someone giving me a chance to speak to them about my experiences and what I believe I can do….if I can get in front of them, hopefully I can get them to see past my official medical record. After all, I could be in remission for many, many years. But I do think that if they meet with me, that perhaps I can show something that others may not. Here’s hoping anyway.
And in the meantime, I HAVE got a role 2 days a week at a local charity called BuDS. And I’m very excited about this as they came and asked me to help them out once they saw my CV. They were excited about having me on board….fancy that! So the idea is that I will help them with facebook (gosh that will be tough for me – Not!) and grant applications, and they will teach me how to research and write the applications professionally. I hope that this means that I can continue to apply for roles and show my commitment to moving fields. Importantly, it also gives me an opportunity to get out of the house and meet new people. They have been lovely too as should I get a paid role, they will be happy to let me go even if I have received training etc from them. There aren’t many people who would say that! So I start after half term and am very excited about all of it. In the meantime, I need to do some of my own research on the work I’ll be doing so that I can hit the ground running to some degree. Obviously I hope that my application for a ‘Major Gifts Fundraiser’ will be successful, but it is a great thing to know that I have other valuable work that I can do if not.
Not only have I changed things from a work perspective, but I have made two other changes this month. I have started playing netball after 20 years (!) and I have given up Facebook for lent! Both are proving challenging but rewarding!
I was fed up with how facebook was taking over my life…I couldn’t walk past the laptop without checking if anything had happened since I last looked and I with the time I had on my hands, I was getting far too emotionally involved with things that really didn’t need me to be that involved. Whether it was other people’s friendships or my feelings about individuals and things that were going on, it was starting to become a negative influence in my life. So I decided that I would give it up for Lent and see how that went. It is strange! But quite nice really. I am getting used to not telling the whole world that I have a snivelling cold – to be frank I am not sure they were ever interested! However, it has made me realise how it was also a very good way of updating people on things. I haven’t told all my family about the work opportunities ahead of me yet (they’ll probably read it on here first!) where normally they would see it on Facebook. And I am missing out on some of their news too. But perhaps that just means I need to rethink how I communicate with them….and with other people. Why should people miss out just because they don’t use a social media site…
As for netball, well I have a few mums at the school to thank for that one as I’ve been thinking about doing it for the last 5 years but never had the guts to get out there and try it. But there is something called ‘Back to Netball’ that is going round the country and so I went with a few friends and absolutely LOVED it! I am far too competitive but it was great to feel that adrenaline going round my body again. So once a week it is for me….can’t quite afford to do the matches too but maybe if I get this job, that will be possible too 🙂
So February 2013 has been a good month for me, and hopefully for Nick too (he’s started a new job with his company too!). We’re keeping fingers crossed that it is a great year overall.