Introduction – Recap

A Weekend away for our shared birthday…

In the first chapter of my Journey I discussed my descent into the depression.  This has largely been caused by a deep seated dissatisfaction with my professional life.   I’ve realised that I’m spending too much of my valuable time helping to make someone else wealthy and not enough on my own fulfilment.   I’m also tying up too much of my time doing things that I don’t value at the expense of all of those things that I do.   

It’s worse than that though.  

Unfulfilled working time also impacts the time that I’m not spending at work.   I’m using up my down time fretting and stressing about work, which means I have even less time to follow my passions.

People sometimes need a wake up call to realise what’s important.  For me it was a Cancer diagnosis.

About Su

Su and I have been together since about the turn of the century.   We met before Christmas in 1998,  Su was a friend of one of my drinking buddies, she’d just suffered the trauma of the loss of her Husband followed quickly by the death of her Father. 

We were introduced not too long after she felt strong enough to venture out following a period of intense grief.

Of course I felt a great deal of sympathy but at that stage she was an acquaintance through our mutual friend.  I wasn’t to know that this would be the person I was to spend the rest of my life with.

Su is my partner and soul mate and, after a couple of false starts (she is a bit older than me), we got together and have been inseparable for almost 20 years.

She’s helped me get through many traumas in my life, not least of which, the loss of both of my parents and the lasting after effects of my divorce.   Suffice to say I love her more than any words I write here could explain.

Most recently she’s been supporting me through my bouts of mental illness. She has been my critical friend, unswerving in her support and faith in my ability.   We both know that work has been at the foundation of the problems. She has been helping me get some balance back whilst still dealing with some of her own demons. I have hopefully helped her in return.

The Diagnosis.

In the Autumn of 2018, Su had been feeling unwell, her blood tests were showing up a blood platelet deficiency.  These prompted our GP to refer Su to a hepatology consultant.   Following some tests she went, on her own, to see the consultant….

What followed she still talks about as a surreal experience.  

The Consultant told her that what they had found was a shadow on her Liver.  Preliminary findings supported a diagnosis of a main Tumour and some other, less significant areas of damage across her liver.  Primary Liver Cancer.

Following this devastating news Su then proceeds with her plan for the day,. This involved going to the supermarket for shopping.  In fact it took until I returned from work that evening for her to process the news.   At that point we both, erm, fell apart…..

Hepatologists and Oncologists (and support from work.)

I have to say, my employer has been brilliant with the support I’ve been offered since the Cancer Diagnosis.  I have been allowed to use my annual leave at short notice to attend the numerous diagnostics and treatment appointments.

Su has been assessed and has now been accepted for a Liver Transplant. This is the only sure-fire solution of removing the cancer from the liver in her case. While we await the availability of a donor liver, the tumour can be controlled (and possibly killed off). There is a procedure called Trans Arterial Chemo Embollism, or TACE for short. This involves passing a catheter into the veins to target the blood supply to the tumour. It’s a particularly unpleasant procedure but the side effects of the Chemotherapy toxins on the rest of the body can be minimised.

Stress and the straw that broke the camels back

However, the treatment clearly was going to affect my personal performance in work, when I have even less engaged than I was before.  My managers need someone to drive the projects and, increasingly, I’m not engaged or interested.

I tried my best to keep myself together but one day I just fell apart….

The day started quite innocuously, I had a task to arrange a meeting with our customer at their site.   They had worked hard to provide slots which everyone from their side could attend, and I had managed to arrange people from our side.   These things can be quite difficult but I felt a small sense of achievement that we had everything arranged, including travel and room bookings, hotels and train fares.   A senior manager got wind of the meeting and came to see me.  She said that my project was lower priority and that a key resource was needed on a failing project, she asked me to postpone the meeting.

Under normal circumstances I would have challenged this decision, and, with help from senior managers etc, would have resolved the issue.  

This time, I began struggling for breath.  I couldn’t see properly and just about managed to message my line manager.  Her boss came over to my desk to find me in a distressed state, they took me to one side and called a first aider (who, ironically, turned out to be the same blocking manager!).

I called my GP, she made space to see me then and there.   I was diagnosed with depression and signed off work.

My Recovery

My illness meant that I could be at home to support Su.  She has now been through 2 brutal Chemotherapy procedures, the second of which was incredibly painful and involved a week of hospitalised pain.

I decided to use the time to go to work on myself. This involved a course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Meditation and I started reading self-help books and materials. I also signed up for counselling.  

I’d already been following a number of YouTube channels where ordinary people were leading great lives, living an online lifestyle.   I started to ask myself, how could I take advantage of this opportunity?

There are any number of people offering ‘get rich quick’/’make $50,000 in a day’/’look at my Lambo’ adverts on Youtube.  I’d even looked into some of these.

The Lightbulb Moment

I then saw a video from what looked like another one of these schemes.  

However, this time it felt like the chap on the ad was speaking directly to my experience.  I looked into it further and noticed that I was getting value from what was on offer.  There was no promise of wealth, there was no get rich quick message, just a set of insights which I’d not come across before.   Could there be something in this?

The chap in the video was called Stuart Ross.  He spoke directly to my skepticism, offering me a risk free way to find out more. 

What I have discovered is a community dedicated to my success.  He walked through the process of setting up an on-site business doing what you’re passionate about, their offer is training and a unique platform upon which to build your on-line presence.   Follow the training and you’ll avoid most of the pitfalls and mistakes associated with getting your business up and running.

The on-line business opportunity

For the cost of a high quality training course you have access not only to high quality training but also a network of mentors and peers. This group’s main aim is to help you build a successful online business. You will build an automated platform which allows customers find you even when you sleep.   It’s shown me an approach to marketing and life in which I can see my future, and it looks good.

But more than this, I can see a future based on things I’m passionate about, success in all areas of my life.

For me, I can see the opportunity to be at home to support Su with her recovery. I can map out a future which meets my needs and desires.   I’m under no illusions. It’s going to be a lot of hard work. I’m still in the learning and set up phase but I can see the path ahead.

Come on in, the water’s lovely!

If you’d like to join me on this journey, by all means follow me on saxelbysmith.com. 

If you need to take action on your future, why not check out the same free video training series I used.  

It’d be great to see you on the other side.

Outcomes

Sometimes it needs trauma in your life to allow you to focus on what’s really important.   Su’s diagnosis has shown me that we have limited time. We need to be seizing every minute to do what will make us truly fulfilled.

The latest update on Su is that the second Chemo Embollism procedure seems to have been successful. The tumour seems to have been killed off.  She’s still recovering and we are not out of the woods yet but things are looking very positive.   I’l be sure to report progress on Future blog posts.