Today seemed like yet another milestone moment in my journey. This time however for what I consider to be, the right reasons. Scary and frightening but at the same time, exciting and exhilarating.
I made a decision that I AM incredibly thankful for my lot, I’m able to do so much and have the tools and drive to make things happen. I may not have what many some others may consider as ‘making it’, of being where we should be by the time you reach 42, I might not be married with children, have a large house with little mortgage to pay, or holiday in glamorous locations twice a year but what I do have is my health and the ability to follow my heart with decisions that may appear risky but hold so much potential reward. So I’m stepping off the corporate ladder and creating a path that allows me to help others. I’ve resigned from my 9-5 job (well actually 5.30!) and am moving back to Londontown.
Why? That second when I was asked to gather round for a photo of international attendees at the Conference in Atlanta was a defining moment. Out of the approximate 960 conference attendees only 8 were from outside the US and I was the only one from the UK. I’ve said it before and it’s stuck with me so boldly that I was so blessed to have been able to go to the Conference, to meet people in a similar situation; share stories and experiences; hug others with Phyllodes (something I never believed possible when they told me it was so rare that less than 1% of breast cancer is diagnosed as Phyllodes and doesn’t affect ‘young’ women); network with others whom I’m still in touch with; gain a support network and be part of the supporters as well as the supported; find out how I can manage stress through meditation; eat better to ensure that my body is best able to fight cancer; attend seminars about medical trials and updates in the field for answers; understand that I’m not alone when I cry at a moment’s notice and for no particular reason; realise that I need to find my ‘new normal’ as who I was before cancer is no longer; …and a million other reasons why.
It’s these reasons and more why I feel passionately that the opportunity of attending a conference like this should be offered to UK and European people affected by breast cancer. As a nation we’re not great at talking about our feelings, mentioning the ‘C’ word or asking for help, discussing side effects or how you put on makeup when your head hair and eyelashes have fallen out… But when you spend time on cancer forums or waiting rooms in oncology units, you quickly know that there’s a need for a conference and an open place to discuss Cancer. We are, as a nation, getting better at opening up about sensitive issues and I hope this conference will go a little way toward helping people affected by breast cancer finding answers, support and a gentle hug.
So that’s it. I’ve resigned from my day job. I’m going to facilitate a Conference to be hosted in London for the UK and Europe in March 2011 and ensure that many charities work together to make this happen annually and for up to 1000 attendees at a time. A big ask but one that I feel is necessary and one that I’m fortunate enough to be able to dedicate time to.
And yes, I will be looking to you all for help…