What is your personal narrative?

18th September 2014: London, United Kingdom

The last day of work tomorrow singals the closure of almost four years of my adult life. Interestingly, a reflection on the time is telling about the person who walked into the position and who I am now. Similar to all, changes were bound to happen when exposed to other cultures, home comforts were stripped away leaving me to test myself in a new city, and a transfer into my thirties was undertaken with a different partner to the one featuring throughout most of my twenties. The relevance of Cancer to this? Well for arguments sake, completely nothing! The very process of ageing and living in a different country thousands of miles away from family and friends will usually lead to some degree of change. In contrast, the experience of having Cancer changes almost everything, and the closure of this part of my life seems to be of greater magnitude, especially in regards to my work whereby the Cancer appeared to have touched many of my friends and colleagues.

Although a generalisation, work usually occupies five out off seven days. Personally, it was another area where the internal changes occurring within my life were clearly evident. From the sudden departure to returning with varied workings hours and drastic reductions in after work activity all cemented the world of change that now existed in my life. In regards to the context of change, I am referring to both internal and external factors. My adopted lifestyle choices and overall outlook are based on my created principles to achieve a healthy life, however, externally, the shock and weight of a Cancer diagnosis can lead to a changed perception of you by others. To many, a diagnosis of Cancer typically correlates with a spoken or whispered statement, such as, ‘oh the poor thing’ or ‘how terrible’. It is acknowledged that this isn’t always the case, and it is not at all a criticism. I simply view it as a common response from others about Cancer. My position is to see how this narrative can be used to reshape my the experience, and the attempts being made are to follow my plan to achieve a greater level of success in all areas of my life.

Regardless of the content, a narrative or story exists for all of us. Within the working enviornment, I may have once been the Australian with the curly hair or something completely unknown to me. I am curious as to whether that picture remains, or if my story has now been amended to include the obvious. I placed significant emphasis on my future personal narrative from the very moment of being wheeled out of the hospital ward to give my family a thumbs up to signal ‘I’m ok’. I feel the creation of a positive narrative builds the foundation for others to share in the story, and consequently lead to a reinforced belief in a strength and capacity in achieving longterm health and well-being. I’m unsure of the pictures held in the minds of many, however, I am certain that story would have changed over the past year.

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