Chapter 11 Despite all that!

As mentioned in previous chapters, we are still working on getting better at getting the right medics to avoid damaging my liver and decrease impact on the Gamma GT marker. I hope the aerosols will help there but end of the day visiting the hospital twice a month is not that bad when I see a friend of mine, transplanted same day than me, being hospitalised because of his GVH as it worsens and high fever, in our case 38.5 Celsius, requires a move to the ER.
I feel for him as I heard it when I invited him for dinner… That happened the same week that another friend explained that a teenager he knows was also going into chemo… It is really hard to hear and the more I talk about it, the more I realise that lots of us are one way or another impacted by a cancer. I really think that it is good to share about this as it links people deeper and provides options to different ways to go through the change. I am not trying to explain change management here but this is what it is all about…

Also I would like to add that it is not a question of avoiding reality or denying what happens but how to face it best to build something new in your new environment and with your changed ways of living and this involves all the worlds we are living in, professional, personal, etc… It sounds like stating the obvious but reality can be so different. You may end up having issues living with a new body, new equipments you have to live with, stuck at home, medics’ side-effects, feeling depressed, sometimes not feeling supported or understood, … Having said that all cases are different but one point is common to all, it is a battle to be won and failure is not an option and so by all means! Up to each individual to find his/her own weapons to win this!

For me, I realised quickly that distracting myself from the illness by going quickly back to work even in strange conditions, as explained in early chapters, was my weapon of choice. It has multiple advantages as it helped me to go back in a “business as usual” mode but also drove the whole family to do the same and it helped the “clan” to do better and so my overall environment started to refocus on other subjects, school, work, leisure, friends, … It drove a brand new dynamic all around me and helped to be back in an operational mode quicker than planned.

Of course there are some pre-requisites to achieve this, full family support, a company that allows to operate from home and trust that you can deliver. All these criteria were met for me to be back in business and also even restart my MBA that I had to pause for one year but that’s it, I did it and passed. This with a new job started early 2011 made me focus on achieving and deliver with in parallel maintaining my health as a top priority but being totally embedded in my new ways of living so that after a while it is not being perceived as a constraint but just another factor or parameter to deal with when planning or making decisions.

I am being postponed every months for decreasing my immune-suppressors and my cortisone but at the end of the day, better to live with these and wait for next steps. Trusting your therapists is a key thing, almost like you trust a chef in a restaurant, as he has your life in his hands and just follow blindly his words… At least this is what I do, it helps me to put the accountability with him leaving me with other activities at home or at work to be accountable for.

This strategy helped me resuming successfully all my main activities, work (promoted), MBA (passed), Rotary (president elect), Golf (ok still work to do to recover my handicap), family time, etc… But this is not all, I learned about sharing better, caring more, listen better and most of all put problems in perspective by prioritising effectively.

I truly hope that these 11 chapters (more to come hopefully based on updates :-)) will help you somehow to understand people close to you or that you may meet. Do not hesitate to comment for me to improve these little moments of sharing.

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