Welcome back to Blended! It’s episode 33, I’m joined by a brand new panel of fantastic professionals, and today, we’re talking about surgery, illness, and emotional recovery.
Like many people, this wasn’t something I ever really thought about – until I had to face it myself. In March 2022, I had the first of two surgeries two, hopefully, cure a condition that I’d had (although I didn’t know what it was) for 15 years. And it exposed me to a lot – pain, panic attacks, poor mental health… all while trying to carry on with work and paint on a smile for the rest of the world.
I’m in a much better place now, but it’s been an experience that has really made me think. And, it made me realize how little we really know if we haven’t been through something ourselves. So I thought it was an important topic for Blended because, although we might not talk about it, experiences like this are happening to a lot more people than we might realize.
So today, our guests will be revealing their stories and personal experiences; reflecting on how we can open up conversations and better support others; and sharing their words of advice.
IN THIS EPISODE WE DISCUSS:
[01.07] Introductions to our Blended panelists.
“Any activity of daily living, someone has to do for me. The thing that I can do is run my mouth!” LaMondre
- Melissa – Associate Partner of Finance & Supply Chain Transformation at IBM
- LaMondre – Speaker and CEO at Billion Strong
- Dan – Owner at High-Performance Logistics Sales
- Richard – Vice President of Strategic Accounts at Intelligent Audit
“My value and contributions were not diminished because of my diagnosis.” Melissa
[06.03] The guests share their different personal experiences of illness, surgery, and emotional recovery.
“After surgery, I was fine for the first couple of days… but then my panic attacks came back after 11 years. And so the emotional recovery from that first surgery hit me like a ton of bricks, and it’s still taking some time to work through it.” Sarah
- Sarah’s experience with Lipoedema
- Lack of help/disbelief from medical practitioners
- Dan’s experience with throat cancer
- The journey of the caretaker
- Impact on relationships
- PTSD, anxiety, and depression
- Fear of returning to work
- LaMondre’s experience of spinal muscular atrophy
- Loss of ability
- How surgery can trigger past trauma
- Richard’s experience of caring for his father
- Melissa’s experience with breast cancer
- Why people keep diagnoses a secret
- Changing perspectives
- Lack of understanding and awareness
“For me, I had a lot of complications with recovery. The treatment was the ‘easy’ part… from an emotional standpoint, your perspective changes on a lot of things, including what you want to accomplish in life.” Dan
“I didn’t want to tell anyone because I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me…. But finally I realised that everyone has someone that’s going through something.” Richard
[54.20] The panel reflects on how we talk about illness and recovery, and how we can better support friends, family, and colleagues.
“Most people are open if you simply ask… and, be good with the answer!” LaMondre
- Taking the burden of reaching out off the person suffering
- If you ask, be open to receiving the answer – whatever that is
- Different perspectives
- Showing people they’re loved
- Asking for help
- Practical support like bringing food
- Stigma and shame
- Secrecy and privacy
“When I had cancer and I did tell somebody, the first thing I got was “Oh, I’m sorry.” I kept hearing the word sorry…” Melissa
“We don’t know what anyone’s going through… so all we can control is our responses. And our responses in all areas should be love.” Richard
[01.19.03] The group sums up their thoughts from today’s discussion.
“So many of us have to work through trauma, but once you deal with it, there’s a level of empowerment and awakening and, for me, I’ve then wanted to usher people into that space because there’s peace, serenity and confidence that comes from that.” LaMondre
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