Some of you know, some of you don’t - but I’ve had a lot of time on my hands recently.
While I have managed to do a little work, most of my time has been spent reading, researching, and trying very hard not to feel too bloody sorry for myself.
But an article I read today by international cancer blogger Chris Lewis in the latest edition of My Healthy Lifestyle gave me some food for thought, and probably a much needed kick up the arse. I strongly recommend you give it a read.
Let me explain. I need a job.
I mean I really need a job. Not the money. Not the security. The job.
I’m experienced. Across the broad spectrum of journalism and broadcast news I’ve been there, done it, and bought the t-shirt. I’m not even that old.
So what’s the problem?
I have cancer. Da-daaa! That’s a downer, eh? A bit of a party stopper. Stage IV too!
While I am relatively new to the struggle, I was only diagnosed in August, I am already feeling isolated from the regular workforce that was once so important to me.
I had given up my full-time job and was on the threshold of entering the freelance market when I was diagnosed. Talk about awkward timing - just when I needed every ounce of my energy and confidence.
But of course a cancer patient has to be honest with a prospective employer, even as a freelance. And to be fair, anyone suffering from a chronic illness that involves frequent and sometimes debilitating courses of treatment would present an unfair burden or risk.
So it’s tough. None of us know exactly how we are going to respond to any particular round of treatment, or how long it will take us to get back on our feet. So while I have certainly been looking for a job, I haven’t actually applied for any because I've pretty much convinced myself that I am unemployable.
And this makes having a job so much more important. Self esteem. A reason to get up in the morning the day after chemotherapy. Feeling responsible. Wanted. Important even. Needed.
That is really needing a job. Any financial rewards or security are pleasant by-products.
Yes I need a job. But so do many others who are in far worse shape than me.
So the question is: how do we change this? What can we do as a society, as a community, to create opportunities for people with chronic diseases such as cancer?
I would really like to hear your thoughts.