With the help of my family and friends far and wide…
I KICKED CANCER’S ASS!
My surgery was successful, and I all my testing thus far has come back Cancer free.
After 5 years of clean tests, I can consider myself in remission and you better believe that is my next goal to crush.
With that said, this journey has been a lot of things.
From the moment that I found out to today where I sit recovering from surgery, the lessons have been bountiful.
As I was sitting at the Mayo clinic in Rochester the day before my surgery, I was watching the busy elevators, walkways, floors, and waiting rooms.
Some people had looks of worry.
Some people had looks of impatience.
Some people just looked tired.
Maybe I had been sitting there too long, but I started to see coins above each person’s head.
As they would head into a different waiting room my mind would play “CHA-CHING”.
For any Mario lovers out there, it was the exact sounds he makes when he jumps for coins.
I kind of smiled to myself until I realized that I too was one of those coins.
So many people hurrying to the next appointment and so many people carrying the heavy burden of “how much will this cost” and “how am I going to make this financially work”.
The room seemed to become heavy.
Not because I wanted it to, but because the reality set in that most of the people running around were probably in the exact position as I was.
How will I ever financially recover?
My diagnosis had stages.
Uhm, read that test again. That isn’t right.
Oh my God…
Seriously?! I don’t have time for this. I don’t want this.
It is what it is. I’m in this boat at the mercy of the waves.
Let’s do this. Whatever “this” is. Let’s do it and step into whatever chapter 2 is.
Now I sit at home, recovering.
In my mind, my recovery went like this.
Surgery > Home a week> Back to work
Reality recovery went like this.
Surgery > Home > ER> Infection > Antibiotics > Home > Clinic > Home > Clinic > Tests > More Antibiotics
I am still at home recovering from an open incision that became infected.
Now I realize that I am one lucky gal.
I have a work home that treats me like I am worthy of the down time.
They have never made me feel like a burden or less than because of this journey.
They have stood by me and allowed me to do what I can do so that I can come back 100% better.
Some people don’t have that.
Some people are battling an illness and a recovery not knowing if their job will be forgiving of their time.
I can’t imagine that on top of the already traumatic journey.
My point being in all of these entries that I have written is that you don’t know the weight people are carrying.
One of the best things that I heard from my CEO during this was, “If we had not known what you were going through, you would never be able to tell.”
I love that and I worked hard at that, but it also got me thinking about the type of standards we set for ourselves.
The standards our members set for themselves to keep on keeping on. Truth be told, I need a vacation.
I would love to say that after I am healed, I am headed to Disney World, but the truth is, like everyone else, I need to return to my adult working life.
There are so many people carrying around heavy bags of healing, finances, stressors, and more.
These invisible bags are detrimental to their health in just about every aspect and yet nobody can truly see them but the person themselves.
How do we, as credit unions, have the intuition to see beyond what we can actually see? How do we assist those members that are quietly carrying the Titanic on their back?
As I have been healing, I have become obsessed with logging on to my Mayo Hospital app and checking the “billing” section.
For what seemed forever it was stuck on “pending” and then the number blasted out of my phone like a rocket to my very soul.
I felt my heart sink to my toes as I thumbed through the pages and pages of charges.
Some that I could understand and some that I wasn’t even sure I was present for.
Now not all my insurance has been run yet, but that number is frightening.
My first thought went to, what can I sell?
How can I make some more money?
Can I do more? Work more? Be more?
Frantic is an understatement when you see a bill with that type of total.
These frantic feelings are when our members can make some unfavorable choices and it is easy to see how.
These are the times that payday lenders look like an easy way.
That is until they can’t make the second payment, and then then the third…
And the pay-day lender says they can just roll it over to another loan.
And so it begins.
The dance with the Devil.
The EASY to fall victim to, dance with the Devil.
This journey has taught my family and I so much and it continues to do so.
All these lessons have made me rethink and relook at how we take care of our credit union members that are dealing with things just as, if not heavier, than we have.
How can we say we are there when we don’t have the information that they are carrying around in that big emotional weighted invisible backpack?
As someone that loves to be the helper and had to learn how to be the helped, I have realized that listening is the key component.
I had a friend ask me how I was during this and my blanket answer was “doing ok!” She then said, “Okay. Great. Now tell me the truth.”
I needed that call out in order to be honest with them and myself.
Our members are going to give you tidbits of their life.
There are some that give a lot and some that give just a sliver.
They are telling you something.
Sometimes they will say it straight out and sometimes it will be a hint or two.
Those members that chat and chat and chat, you may be the only one they chat to that day.
Those members that give you a hint here and there, maybe just need to be asked a bit more to feel as if someone cares.
I am a fan of positivity.
Of looking at the bright side and trying to really live the vibe that I want to be.
BUT life is life and sometimes that means admitting that the rose-colored glasses aren’t always appropriate.
People will tell you things without fully telling you things.
They will hint.
They will give slivers of information.
This isn’t by chance.
They need you to listen.
As credit unions, our front line is our first responder line of action.
Consider yourselves financial doctors with your first job being to listen to your member.
I sat in the clinic waiting for yet another appointment for this infection and an older gentleman sat beside me.
Out of nowhere he started to tell me that he had a heart attack several years ago and that they had to use the shock paddles on him eleven times to bring him back.
There was a bit of silence before I said, “Well I am glad you are here to tell me about that. Your adventure was not finished.”
He got a tear in his eye and said, “Nobody has ever said that. I needed that.” And all I had to do, was listen.