A year ago today…

It’s now twelve months since I sat here writing about my concerns on the night before my first ever chemotherapy infusion. Purely coincidentally today I went to Dr Taché’s office for my port flushing. As usual the chemo room was busy and good-humoured. Purely coincidentally Lisa, my first oncology nurse was working today. I asked her if she remembered that this week was our first anniversary. The son of a patient asked if I had brought flowers for Lisa and I replied, “What, when she’s forgotten all about it? She doesn’t deserve them!” There was much laughter.

The past twelve months have seen things change a great deal. The chemotherapy literally brought me to my knees at times. At times it brought me even lower and I could do nothing other than crawl on my stomach like some squaddie undergoing basic training and being subjected to live-fire for the first time. These past few weeks I’ve really begun to feel my strength returning to something like normal and even my finger nails now seem to have disposed of the last remnants of the chemo and have stopped being brittle. My wife and I have even started on the Zumba classes offered as part of the Mayor of Davie’s Fitness Challenge, and, yes, I do ache slightly lol.

I’m applying for jobs on a daily basis and  am now managing to concentrate pretty well throughout the whole day. One issue which has cropped up is whether or not I should mention the cancer, the chemo and the recovery as a way of explaining what I’ve been doing for the past twelve months, as some people I have spoken with are of the opinion that this will scare away an  otherwise willing employer. If anyone has any thoughts on this I’d be interested to read them. Two days ago I had a phone call from Williams Zophin which doesn’t seem to have its own website but is on http://americanincomelife-williams-zophin.com/. Apparently my resume had been discovered on-line by one of the managers and could I go in the next day (yesterday) for an interview as Benefits Director:  the job being described to me as, “going over union members’ benefits and making sure the paperwork is correct”. As always I tried to do some background research on the web. There is very little though there is a Facebook page. The Facebook page was a little worrying. The page contained several comments from people who were clearly and unashamedly current employees who thought Williams Zophin to be the best thing since sliced bread and were making great incomes by dint of hard work. Nothing wrong with any of that is there? No, I thought not as well, but there was another post from a lady (not visible on the page as I write) who had been approached in a manner similar to myself but had been successful in researching the company and had come to the conclusion that the company was a pyramid sales company selling life insurance. Despite this comment I thought I’d go and see what Mr Yemi of Williams Zophin had to say to me. My worst fears started to be confirmed when I walked through the door into their office. Every seat was taken by someone clearly there on interview. In fact there weren’t even enough chairs for the person ahead of me, myself, or the person who followed me, to have seats while filling out our questionnaires. A series of suited managers kept walking through the door and calling out the names of the interviewees. At this point I was very tempted just to leave but, having made at least this much effort, I thought I’d see it through, as, perhaps, they were interviewing for a series of posts – yeah right! Anyway my turn came and a thoroughly pleasant Mr Yemi asked me to tell him about myself which I did. Mr Yemi then explained the three stages of the interview process designed to ensure the right fit between applicant and company, and he then went on to say, “the job is about sales and managing sales”, to which I could only reply, “that’s not what I was told over the phone and I’m not interested in selling insurance”, at which point I terminated the interview. Why do companies do this? Why do they deliberately misrepresent what they want an applicant to do? Are they so desperate for new employees that they just trawl the web for recent resumes and get people in under what I can only call false pretences, accepting that they are going to wastefully invest their time in applicants who wouldn’t have gone had they known the true nature of the employment. Just to be clear on this, I didn’t do enough research to know whether or not the lady’s claim that Williams Zophin is a pyramid seller of insurance is true or not as I didn’t let my interview get that far. Neither do I know whether or not the products which Williams Zophin sell are any good or not as I found very little about them on the web. What I do know is that they misrepresented the job to me and I am very annoyed about that as I wasted a couple of hours which could have been better used trying to find a company which wouldn’t lie to me about why it wanted to interview me.

Still on the job-search front, tomorrow I take a two to three hours skills assessment test being proctored by a local university on behalf of a company to whom I applied for a job. Now, this company’s recruitment procedures seem to be entirely the opposite of Willams Zophin. This company contacted me having discovered my resume on the web, asked me to complete an application form, subsequently gave me a 30 minute telephone interview before asking me to take an on-line IQ type test, then asking me to write a book review of my (fictitious) autobiography. How many more stages will there be to this selection process if we presume I pass this stage? I don’t know, but I have to say it is the most rigorous selection process I’ve ever been through!

So, back to waiting for that first chemo infusion. It occurs to me that all over the world tonight there will be people in the situation in which I found myself twelve months ago. If any one of those people is reading this I would like to say to them that they may as well know they are probably in for a rough ride, but it is one which is made more bearable by a good medical team and the love and support of family and friends. You will make many discoveries along the journey, finding support from people from whom you wouldn’t expect to receive it, but also discovering that some people you thought you could rely upon absolutely just seem to fade away. You will find people who ask inane questions and others who talk to you with empathy and knowledge. My advice would be to join the blogging community, it’s a wonderful source of support. Whether you are one of those people just starting out on the chemo-trail, or are already travelling the route I wish you well on your journey. To those whose blogs have helped to sustain me during my own journey along the chemo-trail, especially my long-suffering wife, I say a very appreciative thank you.



Filed under Cancer, chemo, chemotherapy, Dr Jason Tache, Job Search

7 responses to “A year ago today…

  1. Exactly where did you get the techniques to compose ““A year ago today | exiledtyke”?
    I appreciate it -Consuelo

  2. SarahAndyLive

    odd question.. you still have your port after a year? Did your doctors ever say anything about removing the port? We can’t because of blood thinners but were thinking of it..then again why remove if it may be used again. Which of course counteracts trying to heal and move on with your life when cancer reoccurrence always lingers.

    • Hi, no not an odd question at all and, to be honest, when I heard the words that the cancer cells were destroyed I really wanted the port out and discovering that the oncologist wanted to leave it for another year did feel a bit as though he’d said, “You’re cured for now, but, we’ll need to use it again before long, so let’s just leave it there.” As I’ve mover further away from that point it does seem a sensible idea to leave it in for a full twelve months from the end of chemo, but if it’s sensible for twelve months then why not for eighteen and so on? Well, one good reason is that I have to pay for it flushing every six weeks, and, much as I love the oncology nurses, and much as I love the wonderful warm enthusiasm every time they see me, it would be nice not to have the ongoing financial drain. I guess another reason for leaving it so long is that my body won’t have to deal with the surgery. It’s only recently that I’ve been feeling healthy rather than healthier so I’m happy to have avoided anything that might have slowed that down. So, I guess the short answer is that the oncologist wanted it leaving there just in case and I was willing to do that rather than pay for it taking out and then maybe have to pay for a new to be fitted.

      You are right about wanting to move on and I have to say that I don’t think the port is holding me back at all. Last week I went to a business networking event in the hope of sniffing out a job, and I was approached by an insurance salesman who was keen to press the flesh and tell me how he could provide better quality insurance at less than I was paying until I told him I’d been cured of cancer and was coming up to the first anniversary of being pronounced “clean”. He couldn’t wait to beat a very hasty retreat muttering that for the insurance industry I need four clean years before they will take me on. I didn’t care about their figures. I’m happy with my diagnosis and my state of mind and even though it’s now only 10 months since I was given the all clear, I’m still convinced that I am cured.

      We’ve debated what to do with the port once it is removed and I’ve been thinking of having it surrounded with clear resin and displaying it as an ornament and permanent reminder. What do you think? A bit gruesome?

      Hope your treatment goes well.

      • SarahAndyLive

        I thought you were going to say cover it with a clear circle that glows,similar to iron man haha.
        We joke about Andy’s port being his own internal USB port since he’s a computer tech.
        Funny story on the insurance guy…cancer is there cryptonite:)

        I guess the port will be something we will just get used to and hopefully in 4 months when we get scans again we won’t have to plug into it again.

        It will be fun when we go to Jamaica next month to freak people out with his port at the beaches. That and his surgery scars..we figure we will tell people it was a shark attack and to stay clear of the beach.

      • Lol. It’s strange with the port. When I first had it put in I was so very aware of it, but now I only notice it when I accidentally touch it or see the lump in a particularly tight t-shirt. I do remember one old chap in the oncology room getting very agitated because his port stuck out much more than mine: he didn’t want it to and was demanding to know the reason they were so different. I think the simple answer was that I had significantly more body fat than he did!

        I hadn’t thought of it as a USB port but I do like the idea.

        Please post a video of the beach scenes lol.

      • SarahAndyLive

        Will do..still a few weeks to go until vacation

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