Monday, 16 March 2009

Taking the news...

I'm not a deeply religious person (I'm a lapsed Catholic I guess) so I'm not intending this particular post to be profound or anything like that - in fact those who know me will probably see this as part of my general pragmatism! Here goes...

To be honest, I knew something wasn't right when I was asked to go to Wexham Park - having to go to hospital for a follow-up on the blood test made me suspect something was coming and when I arrived at the Eden Day Unit, I knew something BIG was coming owing to the number of posters around the place indicating support groups for things like Lymphoma.

Mentally/sub-consciously then I think I was gearing myself up for significant news and so when the diagnosis was confirmed I actually felt huge relief that the ailment was at last identified as it completely explained all of my symptoms and made me feel "normal" in that the weird nose-bleeds, feeling tired and achy were not necessarily down to stress, over-exercise or me being an idiot but there was actually something really wrong!

In all honesty I didn't find the news difficult to take - partly because of the above, partly because the medical staff were extremely professional and didn't beat around the bush in presenting the news and partially, I feel, owing to my "let's get on with it" nature; as far as I'm concerned, we know what the problem is so how do we go about fixing it?

At the same time though I'm not pretending that I was unemotional about it, being faced with your own mortality brings things into acute perspective and there were tears especially when I saw how the news was affecting my wife who was able to come back from work by that time - it is easy to forget how the news impacts others in a situation like this.

My main breakdown though was the thought that this was something I was going to pass on to my children - the thought of me tainting their lives preyed heavy on my mind and it was an enormous emotional relief when I was told that this is not hereditary (in either direction) - that helped me open up, from that point on it was "right, what's next?"

So all in all, in a very strange way, this seemingly total random event has actually been good for me; strangely I feel happy again - it has slowed me down and brought me closer to family, friends and even my faith. It has helped me realise what's really important in life - little things like making and hearing your children laugh and having the genuine love & support from amazing friends and family.

I feel blessed therefore that this will ultimately be a genuine life-changing event.

There are numerous examples/models of dealing with change management (as people I've had the fortune and pleasure to be their manager or mentor/coach well know!), but one I've just found seems to be the root research the The K├╝bler-Ross grief cycle

I think throughout my life/career I've been very fortunate to move on to the acceptance phase pretty quickly, maybe I'm daft in not spending more time on the other phases but as far as I'm concerned, things are what they are and you have to make best of the situation - I'm sure others have differing opinions, please feel free to comment!

Everyone is different though and people will of course react differently. However from my perspective though, I just want people (especially immediate family) to know that I have never felt angry about this or that someone or something was to blame - my philosophy is that energy is far better spent on looking to the positives and focusing on how to move things forward.

I believe Positive Mental Attitude is key and I want to thank friends, family & professionals for the awesome support being shown to help maintain this.

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