“Guess what? When it comes right down to it, wherever you go, there you are. Whatever you wind up doing, that’s what you’ve wound up doing. Whatever you are thinking right now, that’s what’s on your mind. Whatever has happened to you, it has already happened. The important question is, how are you going to handle it? In other words, “Now what?” ― Jon Kabat-Zinn
I have been working with Patient and Family Counselling, at the BC Cancer Agency’s Vancouver Centre for almost 25 years—the last five as a clinical coordinator. I have taken a rather serendipitous path getting here, and am so glad and privileged to be doing this important, compassionate, and meaningful work.
Believe it or not, for thirteen years I worked in radio and television production. I loved what I did and decided to return to school to obtain a university degree. Not knowing exactly what I wanted to study, I attended the Bachelor of Music program. I have had a passion for music before I could talk apparently. My goal was to teach music history. Well, my path took a turn halfway through music studies when taking care of my cousin Michael, who was dying of AIDS. The path narrowed even further when my mother was diagnosed and died of cancer in 1988. This led to changing faculties and a new goal as a medical social worker. While working on my Masters’ degree I focused on women, grief, loss and life-threatening illness. From having no idea of where I would go in life, without question I was easily drawn to a career of helping patients and families facing cancer.
Then my good friend, Janie Brown, a clinical nurse specialist at Vancouver cancer centre called and told me there was a casual position at the Centre. So, here I have stayed because I have learned so much about life, love the work that I do, and love the people I have met. And music continues to be a big part of my life. I have played in the Rainbow Concert Band for over 20 years and now sing in the cancer centre’s choir, “Song-cology”, which is my therapy.
In the next post, one of our amazing counsellors, Paula Myers, will introduce herself.