How did I become a patient patient?

I have to admit that patience, was never a quality that I had in abundance. I have always been very impatient, and I guess that it is one of the characteristics that drove me on in my life, certainly in my career. Never waiting for things to just happen. Always looking to make the most of any opportunities that came my way.Trying to take control of my life and steer it in the direction that I wanted it to go.

Then I got my news! To me, not being well, was having a cold, or at the worst flu. Even then I would still go to work. As far as I was concerned, I had a plan, and a bit of illness wasn’t going to upset it.” How long will I be off work?” was my first question when given the news I was dying! Nothing had ever stopped me going to work, and I couldn’t comprehend it at all. ” You will be very sick for at least 6 months and it will take you at least 6 months to recover” was the answer.

Huh, they always tell you the worst scenario. I will be back to work within 6 months I thought privately.Well that 6 months turned into a year and a year turned into 5 years plus. During this time I have had to rely on a lot of other people to do things for me, to enable me to live something approaching a reasonable quality of life. My standard riposte of “don’t worry I will do it on my own” got me nowhere, as I couldn’t!

It took me a long time to realise that my impatience, was hindering my well being. I started to set deadlines for my recovery, and miserably failed to meet any of them. That made me upset with myself, and I became frustrated, thus making me feel worse.I finally realised that my life was no longer in my hands, and actually I couldn’t really control much anymore. So many things were out of my control. I decided to ‘freefall’ meaning, ‘what would be, would be.’

Even when volunteering, I have maintained my impatience, and always viewed things as if I was working. Constantly trying to be the best, and pushing to achieve more.But things are also very different to the cut and thrust of my old working life, in this sector. Everything feels more relaxed, and flexible. Timings are different, and priorities are constantly changing, so I have had to adjust here as well.

The intentions are good, but I am now used to things invariably taking longer than anticipated, or sometimes not actually happening at all. My experience in the sector, has made me a lot calmer. If things happen, all well and good, but if they don’t, I am not surprised! I get used to being asked if I can do certain projects and then never hearing anything more about it.

Going for a hospital appointment is another area where my patience has been tested fully! I very soon realised, that the time of your appointment is rarely related to the time that you will actually be seen by the Consultant. There are of course many reason’s for this, most, very valid, but it doesn’t help your own plans. No matter how excited I get, it just isn’t going to change anything and the doctors are always doing their best.Trips to the pharmacy, and blood testing, are similar situations. Everyone doing their best but the whole process takes a lot longer than anticipated.

My final impatience, was for some time in the sun. The years go past, and I always promise my wife, that it will be this year that I will be well enough to take a holiday. Well we have only managed one week away in 5 years, so again my impatience has turned to patience.

Getting better, going back to work, taking a holiday and living a normal life, were all things I was impatient to achieve. They are all still objectives but if they are meant to be, they will happen. If not, so be it! I am no longer angry when told that timings have changed, in fact, more surprised if they don’t. I am trying to turn my angry energy into something positive.No longer am I eaten away by lack of achievement in whichever area of my life I look.

My biggest achievement in this period is staying alive, and I am happy with that!

Do you get frustrated with your illness, or any other aspect of your life? How do you deal with things? I would love to hear from you.


  1. You are 4 years “older” than me in this cancer stuff, I’m only 18 months into it, and I’m still as impatient as ever, I’m afraid! I need to learn from your graciousness, but I’m just not good at being a patient patient at all! Excellent post as always. Yvonne

  2. Hi Yvonne

    Thanks for your lovely comments. It may be that I have more experience in the sector, that has taught me how to have patience. I certainly didn’t have it when I started! It’s just that I realised, it didn’t matter how frustrated I got, things still wouldn’t change, so now I’m not quite such an angry man!

    I still demand that things are done professionally, but have learned to accept that things will inevitably not run to plan. If they do, it is certainly a bonus.

    So pleased you are still enjoying the blog, and wish you well with your treatment etc. Chris

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