For those of us who have ever been diagnosed with a life threatening or life altering medical condition know how devastating news like this can be – to say it’s like being hit by a bolt of lightning is an understatement!
I myself have lived through this experience and what made it worse was the fact that I had just graduated from university. I was literally hit with this news a few weeks after my graduation ceremony, how’s that for luck!
For me, it was being diagnosed with a very rare disease which resulted in my kidneys failing requiring life-long therapy, medication and transplantation. In one sentence my entire life was over…or so I thought.
But thankfully I was one of the lucky ones and received a kidney transplant in 2004, and have been enjoying relatively good health ever since.
I have now been successfully working in banking for over 12 years and am pleased to say that my health has not hindered me one bit, if anything it’s been quite the opposite – I have used my experiences as a rich pool of inspiration and motivation and it has paid dividends.
I continue to attend regular check-ups and medical appointments without any issue whatsoever. My employers have all been incredibly supportive and have not once questioned my abilities or focus on my job. I have made good progress in my career having been promoted three times, my health hasn’t stopped me.
I have travelled across the world and met countless people. I continue to work with some of the largest global corporations and have been lucky enough to be involved in major projects that have been transformational for some of these clients and most importantly I have gained a sense of purpose – something that I remember losing when I was initially diagnosed with my life-altering condition.
Almost all of us will live through bad experiences, but when we do perspective is important. If I take my life as an example, there have been numerous times when I looked back and felt sorry for myself and used health as an excuse to stop myself from doing things that would have been good for me.
That attitude soon diminished when I changed my perspective, I now look back on my life in a more positive light. My experience has shaped me, it has made me who I am today, it has given me focus and drive and has resulted in me achieving so much. For me, it is now in the past, a moment in time, now I look forward because I can change my future (you can’t change your past) therefore it’s a better place to invest your time.
Guess what I’m trying to say is this, we will all live through good and bad experiences without exception. If like me, you’re the recipient of life altering news concerning your health don’t think that you may have to give up your life plans. Like I said, perspective becomes crucially important at this point.
If you are or find yourself in a similar situation here are my top tips.
My top 5 tips would include:
- Be honest – if you’re entering the world of work for the first time, be honest about your health, I was. I still remember the day my then would-be line manager interviewed me, he said that he “admired me” during a conversation. As this was a strange thing to say I asked him why, he went on to explain that given all that I’d been through he admired the fact that I got myself back up again and faced my reality when I could’ve sat at home feeling sorry for myself and cursing the world for the rest of my days – this memory still makes me smile.
- If you’re already in employment – speak to your line manager and/or employer and explain your circumstances. Clearly, ask about any support or flexibility you may need to accommodate doctors’ or treatment appointments etc. You may be surprised at how supportive your company is. You’re still a valuable member of your team with good ideas and a whole load of ability.
- Your health is precious to you – don’t overwhelm yourself or take on too much just to prove you still “have it” – ask for help when you need it. Stress won’t do you or your health any favours. Lean on your colleagues for support, they will understand and in most cases be happy to help.
- Go for that promotion – employers are interested in your ability to perform and take on responsibility. If you can, don’t talk yourself out of it instead go for it, you’ll feel so much better.
- Don’t give up. Keep pushing as you’ll eventually come out stronger on the other side.
Health issues can take a huge amount out of a person so it’s important to look after yourself. You have a lot to offer, don’t allow yourself to become the person who will look back in regret and blame yourself for not trying. If I could do it so can you!
By Sanu Miah, Founder