Having cancer as a freelancer requires epic organisational skills.

I like to think of myself as a pretty organised person. But here are some of the organisational challenges I’m currently facing.

Hospital appointments and visits

I’ve been to hospital five times in the last seven days. Three of these were planned: MRI-guided biopsy the other side of London; picc line insertion, and second chemo session. Two of these visits were not planned. I was reminded at the last minute that I needed a blood test before my chemo, something no-one had thought to remind me of when I was at the hospital the day before. Then I was worried about the skin around my picc line. I got it all sorted but this involved two long, sweaty bus trips across London on train strike days – one on the day after chemo. Oh, and my taxi to my actual chemo appointment never turned up. Thanks, Addison Lee. That was no fun either, having to rush for the bus yet again.

Managing childcare alongside all of the above

I need company for quite a lot of the appointments where they’re either doing something invasive or potentially imparting worrying/complicated information. If my husband comes with me and it’s not a nursery day, we need friends and family to help with childcare. They’ve been doing this wonderfully but it’s another layer of organisation.

And: guess what! Toddlers get ill too. My husband was meant to come to my first chemo with me, but our daughter had gastroentiritis. I’d lined up my dad’s wife to accompany me as a stand-in, and she came, and then the unit wouldn’t let her in because her name wasn’t on the list, but after I tearfully explained the situation they sorted it out.

Managing medication

Woozy after my first chemo, I was handed enormous brown bags of medication to take home. The schedule for the first cycle was something like this:

  1. 4 x pills once a day for first three days
  2. 1 x pill twice a day
  3. 1 x pill three times a day for first three days
  4. 1 x pill once a day
  5. Injections on days 3-10


Managing work

Then, somehow, I’m trying to fit in work alongside all of this. What’s my availability? When will I need another surprise hospital visit? Will I be feeling well enough to do a specific task in three weeks’ time?

I’m determined to work and I am getting things done. Aside from the money, it helps me maintain a bit of normality. My clients are being incredibly supportive and understanding, which makes a huge difference, but all the same my organisational skills are being tested to the max. I’ve also got a huge surge in motivation, though. I want to work. I’m still writing my screenplay in the evenings. I’ll get through this.

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