As time has gone on and our lives are becoming much more complex, I have found that my work is getting much busier. Of course the cancer campaigning has increased. But I’m finding that my private messages are filling up with patients and NHS staff who would like to talk to someone. My position of course is quite unique. Not only am I a cancer patient, but I am involved with charities and the NHS. So I have an inside view from most perspectives. It’s certainly hard to avoid the fear mongering going on across the country, but I am speaking from personal experience.
Two of the biggest legacies of Covid19 will be cancer treatment delays, and mental health issues. In many cases both linked. Of course our immediate focus must be on the virus but not at the cost of ignoring all other healthcare! We will be living with the fall out for many generations. But as I say in my personal life we must deal with things in the right order. It is certainly difficult to think about life in 10 years time when we are trying to ensure that the world survives the physical and economic meltdown we are witnessing.
Due to my personal health situation I have never involved myself in any work, planning too far into the future. I like to deal with what’s in front of me, and can make a tangible difference. Besides there are now too many moving parts, to even try to predict what will happen next month let alone in a 5 year plan. There is no point of worrying about things that may not even happen. As we all know, fear/worry is one of the most destructive emotions we have.
Now is the time to focus on kindness! I have never experienced so many people wanting to talk privately in my nearly 10 years of doing this work. It is now changing the way I work too. Much more Zoom etc, and less Internet/social-media etc. But also very emotionally challenging. Many are struggling to see any positivity. Admittedly difficult but it is there if you search hard enough!! I have no paper qualifications but I have 50 years of dealing with people daily and 13 years of working with people on all sides of the cancer spectrum.
Many of us in our community are seeing it and want to help. I am doing a wonderful project with Dr Fareeha Faisal about putting the CAN into cancer! Focussing on any positives we may have found during our experiences. We know the world needs more fun, positivity and laughter, which is easier said than done of course! But we know how much difference a smile and some laughter can make to people. Our work is done inside a community, where dying early is unfortunately all too common. It is a fact of what we do. Most patients are aware that it is likely to happen to them at some stage so are very realistic.
Everyone in the community finds incredible help from each other and most are there to give or receive support and share experiences. Since the pandemic I have also experienced more professionals from the NHS creating a support hub on social-media, with rather mixed results due to the privacy issues etc. But as the fallout from the pandemic increases, so the support must too. We are all only human beings and can deal with so much before we break. Even before Covid I never really saw professionals getting the support they required, so I’m sure that situation has only got worse. They deserve better than this! Also many staff working in our charity sector being put out of work. This is impacting so many of us.
So my offer is open to all, if you have something on your mind, “how can I help you?” But please bare in mind I don’t have a large pot of money, and can’t cure cancer!! Many people have stepped forward to help me over the years and now I am in a position to do the same. Maybe I can help you find some sunshine you couldn’t find yourself?
This is a totally new project, finding and focussing on positivity’s rather than the gloom we find ourselves surrounded by daily. The incredible Dr Fareeha will be helping me and we have many other people that are joining our team. We know the world is in a difficult place, but experience shows us that everything is temporary. Of course we will never see our old normal again, but we will find new ways of overcoming our current challenges. As humans we are incredibly adaptable as many have already experienced in the last few months.
“When we listen, hear each other’s stories, we get closer to understanding each other.
We might find we even feel connected, through some shared experiences. We don’t have to think the same; in fact there’s richness in our diversity.
We do need to care about each other, though.”
This sums things up nicely I think! Thank you so much to Brigid Russell for this quote.
Please feel free to get in contact via any of my social-media channels or drop me note in the comments section and I can get back to you privately. I will certainly do my best to bring a smile back to your life. My very best to everyone, Chris