Tag Archives: buddy

Another new buddy link this week

The Lymphoma Association called me a couple of weeks ago asking whether I would be able to take on another buddy – a request to which I gladly said “Yes” – and my new contact phoned me on Tuesday. As with Buddy Nr 1, we had a really good chat and I am pleased to say that the feedback he has given the Association was very positive. It is interesting that I seem to be getting as much from these contacts as the people seeking a buddy and I regret not calling the Association and asking for a buddy myself when I was first diagnosed.

I have also been asked whether I would consider putting myself forward as a lay-member on a NICE Committee considering further issues relating to follicular NHL. This is something I would really like to be able to do. I enjoyed the small contribution I made a few years ago, when they were considering the use of Rituximab for first-remission maintenance and I think that I would have been able to make a positive contribution again. Unfortunately, they need people who are available in Cardiff every 4-6 weeks, for 18 months. There is no way that my employer would allow me so much time off work to do this, so I will have to set this aside, which is a shame.

Despite my “no looking back” policy, it is appropriate to look back just one year, to my son’s wedding. This time last year we were enjoying the wedding breakfast on a really wonderful day. So, Happy Anniversary to the still happy couple 🙂

Maybe at the end of the year I will allow myself a reflective post, looking back on a most remarkable 12 months.

And finally, I heard today that our multi-storey car park project in Blackpool has been shortlisted for The Lighting Design Awards 2014.  One of my goals for all of the projects there was to win some awards, so let’s hope that this is at least the first shortlisting of many. I need to get up there and take some more photographs of it in the evening now that it’s completed and open to the public so that I can record the lighting system in all its glory. It’s been a challenging project, but working with a good team, we have achieved a remarkable transformation of this old building. Time for another photo…

Car-park

On being a “buddy”, stress and what it might do to you

Regular readers will know that last year I volunteered to be “Buddy” for the Lymphoma Association. When I had my training back in March, they said it might be some time before my first contact, but this week I was emailed by the co-ordinator and given my first buddy. (Actually, I am the “buddy”. I’m not quite sure if the term for the “buddy-needer”, but it doesn’t matter)

They called last night and we had a very good chat for about three quarters of an hour. The co-ordinator tries to match people who would like to speak with a buddy to buddies with the same or similar experience and I have to say that they did an extremely good job this week.

The person who phoned had recently been diagnosed with the same kind of NHL that I have and is going to have their first chemotherapy in September, after taking a short holiday. What struck me about this person’s history was that it was very similar to mine, especially in one important respect. They hadn’t taken any annual leave at all last year and very little the year before.

Now, I have been going on about annual leave, working while on leave and the length of leave taken recently, but that’s partly because I too had a period a few years ago when I couldn’t take the annual leave I was entitled to. About ten years ago, I had taken a new job as a Director of an office and found myself in an incredibly stressful situation. Two of my colleagues left within three months of me starting and the finances of the office were such that I couldn’t afford to employ anyone else to take their desks. I ended up doing three people’s work and running the office too. I would work until half ten at night and at least one day of the weekend, just to keep up. That year I had about 6 days annual leave – if I did want to take a day off during the week, I would have to work the weekend to make up for it. My health definitely suffered (although I didn’t know by how much at the time) and I was glad to get out. It did take me just over three years though. So, now, I do make sure that I take all of the annual leave that I am entitled to each year and do my best not to carry any over.

My buddy contact had a similar story.

Now, as far as I am aware, there is no known cause or particular reason why any individual might develop lymphoma. It’s not a cancer that has a common cause, such as lung cancer, it just happens sometimes to some people. I also know that two people having a stressful job and having the same disease doesn’t mean anything statistically, but it was an interesting aspect of the chat we had last night.

What is also interesting is this story that was published yesterday.

The Stress and Cancer Link: ‘Master-Switch’ Stress Gene Enables Cancer’s Spread

So, I have made a decision. Sod the Blackberry. Sod the emails. Sod work. Next year, I will take a proper, two week holiday, without any of that crap. The world won’t end without me. It might even be good for my blood pressure, if nothing else.

And if you are reading this, and don’t take your full holiday entitlement, or work stupid hours at the weekend, think on.

Your children will thank you for it.