Friday, December 01, 2006

in which I am unexpectedly (but still not gainfully) employed

Have I mentioned that I am now co-facilitator of the Phoenix ThyCa thyroid cancer survivors' support group?

Maybe not, or not in a while. I have been going to meetings whenever possible since shortly after my diagnosis. I can't remember when my first meeting was, but I do remember that I was freaking out about having cancer and worried about all the local metastases I had. I was basically a basket case. The group helped enormously.

So I kept going back, because I always learned something and sometimes I was able to help other people, too. At the end of the summer, the facilitator asked me if I would be willing to co-facilitate with her, and believe it or not, it's just now becoming official. (I've noticed that sometimes all-volunteer organizations can be great with the volunteer aspect and not so great with the organizational aspect. Note that my contact information is, as of 12/01/2006, still not listed on the website.)

On a day-to-day basis, it's not a big job: answer some e-mail, maybe, or make a phone call; attend the monthly meetings. No big deal! But there is a big deal, which I didn't really think about when I said "yes", and that big deal is the workshop we're holding (sponsored by the Virginia Piper Cancer Center) this March. There's a lot of work to be done in arranging speakers, the facility, printing services, you name it.

Today we met with one of the social workers at the Piper Center who went over the resources they have available to us, that was great. Then we brainstormed over other organizational issues. I left the house at 9:30am, got to the kids' school at 2:30, and didn't get home until 4:30. That was like a regular work day, almost. I'm not used to being out of the house so much, but I think it's good for me.

This week I've already done more real work than I can remember doing in a long time, even though all I did was design some letterhead and write a letter to a doctor, and attend a couple of (very productive) meetings. But productive meetings always lead to greater task definition, as well as set goals. Now I have more things to add to my list!

I like doing this sort of thing, though. My mom dragged me along every time she had to put together a reception at the conservatory or anything similar, so planning an event for 100 people isn't exactly totally strange territory. (For a few years running there, I worked with my mom on the CCCM&A's annual dinner: you try managing a pot-luck for a jillion people.)

This is work I feel very good about doing. Screw programming, I'm never going back.

(The workshop is scheduled for March 3, 2007, at Scottsdale HealthCare on Shea Blvd; details to follow, but topics we'll be covering include a thyroid cancer overview, nuclear medicine, surgery, and the low-iodine diet. We'll also have a speaker covering all of the many, often unknown, community resources available to cancer patients. I think it will really be great. Even better, all ThyCa workshops are free, so all you have to do is show up!)

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