Work: Being one step ahead of my chronic disease

Do you know the saying that bad news travel fast? Well, so does chronic disease. Once you are diagnosed, you are constantly aware of symptoms and their influence on your life. And within shortly, you have to adapt to a completely new lifestyle. I try to beat my cancer by being faster. As long as I am strong enough, I want to be one step ahead.

How can this be accomplished? I actively research potential threats and discuss them with my physicians. As soon as I have listened to their point of view, I think about solutions. Mostly, there will be enough time left for finding a way. I will be able to cross that bridge when I get to it. However, sometimes time consuming preparations are required.

Last winter, after having suffered from an inexplicable fever for more than two months, I felt terribly weak. I thought I would never be able to work again. I tried to talk to an oncologist about my situation, but unfortunately I was sent to lots of other specialists. It was extremely frustrating. A vicious circle actually, because it seemed that each specialist needed yet another one’s expertise in order to tell me what was wrong.  I got panicky, because I am the kind of person who likes to be in control of situations. So I sat down and pondered about my perspectives.

Some background information

Shortly after my diagnosis, I had decided that my main job was going to be a mother for my four children as long as I could. So whatever else I was going to do, it would have to complement my family life. Being a mother takes its toll – I invest most of my energy for my four children. Luckily, they need me a 100 percent in the afternoon, while I can still focus on other things in the morning. Before being diagnosed, I had planned to start a furniture business. I wanted to buy antique pieces and re-decorate them with jobless youth in Southern Spain, where young people face daunting unemployment rates. Having collected lots of ideas already,  I intended to sell unique furniture online. My diagnosis put an end to this plan. I was devastated. Full stop.

My step ahead

When my doctors could not help me in January 2017, I mulled over my furniture idea again. I had kind of postponed it in my mind. “When I have overcome the initial shock of diagnosis,…”, “When my baby is old enough,…””When I have enough strength…”, Sorry, but the moment will never arrive. Tough luck.

I know by now that cooperating with many people on a daily basis is simply too hazardous for my compromised immune system. Instead, I stick to projects that I can realize from home: I am a scientific ghostwriter, which is a well paid but very solitary work. You cannot write scientific articles when you have more than 39 degrees Celsius of fever (102 degrees Fahrenheit), though. In winter, I decided I wanted to be a step ahead of my cancer. I was actively looking for other career options. Spoonie jobs, regardless of national labor legislation. I tried to imagine worst case scenarios and thought that I could still write a blog entry once a week, no matter how weak I was going to be in the future.

This is how “Life is an Option” was born. Initially, my plan was to be one of those super successful bloggers who have millions of followers. In the meantime, I have changed my mind. (Actually, ever since I started writing I have realized that I don’t want to sell my story. I want to help. The incredible feedback I got has encouraged me. I am so grateful for all those amazing new contacts) I also changed my mind, because I do not want to promote things I don’t believe in.

And… guess what… lots of new ideas have come up. Some of them are frightening right now. I know they are feasible. Even so, I am not sure if I will have enough physical strength. Fortunately, I have found people who want to cooperate with me, regardless of how unpredictable my work schedule might be. Instead of thinking small I dare to think big – bigger than ever before in my life. Just imagine how excited I am about these developments. Stay tuned! I will keep you informed about it.

This is a promise to you and to myself: In 2018, there will be more to tell. Probably I will have to inform you about a failure. Who cares? At least I will have tried. Because it is my intention to always be one step ahead of my chronic disease, no  matter how fast my health is deteriorating. Take my word for it.

Teresita, 28th of June, 2017

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