I am writing this post just before I am a guest speaker at European Bone Marrow Transplant conference(page 7+181) in London.So I thought that it would be an ideal time to write about how I got to this stage.
When most people talk about their association with cancer, they generally use two expressions.Either their fight/battle, or journey. Personally, I rarely use ‘fight,’ as I feel that I am just doing the best I can. My preferred word is journey. I guess it is not so much a journey, as it is a ‘mystery tour,’ as we never actually know where we are heading!
During my life before cancer, I always felt that I knew where I was going. My goal was to reach a healthy and wealthy retirement, enjoy some sunshine and have quality time with my family. I had got on the right train, and even with a few of life’s ‘diversions’ we were still heading towards my destination. Then came my diagnosis.The train then left the station without me, having abandoned me in a place I didn’t recognise.
Where am I heading now? I really don’t know! Every day is very literally a bonus. I try to spend time doing things I enjoy, and things just happen. This part of my life, is more about the ‘scenery,’ than the speed and destination of the journey. I don’t know where I am going, so I guess I won’t know when I have got there, but I am going to do my best to enjoy the ride.
I was just 51 when I was diagnosed, and my 52nd birthday was not a possibility at that stage. Next month, I am 57. After transplant, I was unable to continue with my work, and I stopped earning money. A very unfamiliar place for me. In fact very frightening, but life provided other benefits.I don’t have any big expectations anymore, which makes life a little easier. No sales targets, no promotions, no deadlines, no career to nurture, not even the eternal chasing of money. I don’t even worry about next year.
It feels like I am ‘drifting.’ Will I get sick again soon, will something good be happening? Most of it is out of my control, as have the last 6 years of my life been.But let me look into some of the detail, of my time with cancer.My one driving factor, was ‘to give something back.’ Once I started volunteering, life took on a new meaning. My health has been consistently poor, but outside of that, life has been kind to me.
My work has led me to meet many wonderful people, both patients and professionals. I am also privileged to be part of decision making in several organisations.I have won awards, met Prime ministers and celebrities, and my blog has introduced me to people around the world. There has even been a television programme made about my work.Yes, crazy isn’t it?
None of those things were in my original ‘journey.’ Now I am due to be standing in front of some of the worlds finest clinicians, talking about my expertise, ‘Social Media.’ How could I have even begun to try and plan a journey like that?
So it seems that if I take my hands off the steering wheel, life deems to take me in a positive direction. It can’t be as easy as that, can it? I don’t even feel that I am in the front of the car anymore. I am very much a back seat passenger. Just looking out of the window enjoying the scenery. Where am I going, what time will I get there, or will I ever arrive at all. Who knows??
It seems that my old life was lived on a motorway, and my new life, on country lanes. I know that I have a different destination to the original one, I just don’t know where it is!!
How is life for you? Do you prefer journey or fight?