I spent last weekend at a 2-day training to become a certified counselor with Network Of Strength, a 24/7 peer support hotline for breast cancer patients and their loved ones.
I attended, along with 16 other women from around the country, and shared a hotel room with a woman whom I met at my oncology ward, who was also in training. Together we all learned how to help patients who call the hotline to discuss their most pressing issues and emotions while dealing with diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer. I learned a lot about various aspects of the disease as well as resources that are available to patients. I also learned a lot about the social prejudices that often keep wo(men) from seeking screening and treatment, and how to deal with people when they are at the end of their rope and want to end their lives. It was an intense and packed-full weekend, but one that assured me that this is the direction my life needs to go as I seek to turn my cancer experience into something that helps other people. Network of Strength’s mission is this:
“…to ensure, through information, empowerment and peer support, that no one faces breast cancer alone.”
This week I took my online test and I passed! Starting Wednesday and Friday this week I will begin shadowing calls that come in through the 1-800 hotline, listening to my manager speak with people who call, and then reviewing various aspects of the conversations and what I have learned. Next week she will shadow me as I accept the calls. Within the next few weeks my computer and phone will then be wired to their hotline headquarters and I will begin to be scheduled with shifts to be covered throughout the week while I am at home.
This new position will force me to STAY home more, which I need to do in order to complete everything around the house and with my business. I thought I would get a breather after the Christmas holiday rush, but things have picked up as much as they did in mid December! The only way to ensure that I don’t get behind, is to commit to staying home more and filling the orders as they come in.
Good news is that I haven’t had any allergy outbreaks since beginning the daily Allegra last week, and the rest of my blood tests should be in by the end of this week. Hopefully after the doctor reviews them all she can diagnose what the underlying cause of these are and what can be done to correct it.
Tonight we have 2-6 inches of snow forecasted, this, following 5 inches we got over the weekend! I think 2010 is now making up for a lack of snowfall we haven’t had in the last 3 years!