I can't help wondering...

I don't really know if this is just Murphy's Law enjoying a laugh at my expense or if this is just coincidence. But there is just something about me considering job opportunities...

The end of May 2007, I received a job offer. It was a dream-come-true kind of job for me. It would have included travel, I would have had to do a big office move, it was a contracting position and it would have opened a number of doors for me. So I accepted and Caitlyn started daycare the day after and "wham!" the door slammed shut by the Saturday when Bianca was admitted to hospital. By the Monday we knew she had leukemia and so I had to email my new boss to let them know that I would need to withdraw from the contract as I wasn't able to focus on the job they just offered me. And so I put my career, my studies and everything else on hold to focus on Bianca, her healthcare and the moment - but I'm not complaining. This was our lives and we had to make the best of it that we could.

Then last year, we still had Sanna - our one Au Pair and since Bianca was on maintenance I thought that perhaps the time came for me to find a new opportunity and so I was offered a contract project coordinator position. Once again, an opportunity that would have opened so many doors for me. An opportunity where I would have learned so much (and certainly having a bit of extra money would've come in handy...) And what happened just after I accepted the position? Bianca was admitted to hospital with shingles. So during that time I wasn't able to work full time as Terence and I shared time at the hospital with Bianca (even though the person I supported actually gave me very few things to do and most of the time I struggled to stay busy - but that's not the point). And whilst I coped extremely well with my work load, I think the employer was possibly not too impressed that I wasn't there all the time - oh well! This is our life and we don't always have a lot of control over it. I stayed a couple of months in this position, but then we had to move to Auckland because things were just not right at Wellington anymore (this actually turned out to be one of our best decisions ever, moving to a hospital with sufficient specialists).

And so we arrived in Auckland and I sort of put my job hunting on hold.

Then in March this year, I accepted a month long contract position at one of the companies where I temped a number of years ago and it worked out really well and it was only for the month. Okay there were around 2.5 days where Bianca did not cope well on steroids and Caitlyn had to stay home a few days - but we planned for this and so Terence was available to help out with this (and sort out our move).

And so we arrive at now. Since Bianca started school last year she has been extremely well settled. She copes well with full-time school, she plays tennis, goes to sewing classes, she participated in their cross-country event. We've only ever kept her away from school because of her monthly hospital visits and the odd, random day where she does not cope too well on steroids. But her counts have been stable, the IVIGs and Acyclovir have made the world of difference and generally she was being just a typical child. You would look at her and she doesn't look like a sick child or anything.

So I figured that since she has been so stable, has coped well with school and is only a little less than 3 months away from end of treatment that I would once again try and find a job. And so I started applying for jobs and got loads and loads of "no, thank you!" responses. When I applied for a position last week, I thought my skills matched the job description, but of course part of me thought that this would be just one of those other "no thank you" responses. To my surprise, the agent called on the Friday setting up an appointment for us to meet this past Monday. Wow! I could hardly believe it. An agent was actually willing to meet with me, despite the big gap in my CV. On Saturday Bianca wasn't feeling 100%, she had a bit of a runny tummy and a blood test revealed low white blood cells.

On the Monday, I had my interview with the agent and it went very well, we discussed Bianca's situation that I would need every so often off for Bianca's hospital visits, that she has been well settled at school and copes well with her treatment. Initially on this day we were told Bianca's neutrophils were sitting at 0.37, but her doctor says her ANC (Absolute Neutrophil Count) is sitting at 0.50. We lowered her chemo dose and he arranged for a hospital visit and blood test the following Monday.

Tuesday I had a test to test my computer skills and that afternoon had an interview with the client! Once again, that felt so "wow". I really liked the ladies I met and the job and company sounded perfect for me. I could actually visualise myself doing this job.

Yesterday the agent called and set up a second interview with the client. So last night Terence and I had a long discussion. It was Wednesday evening and Bianca was still not fully recovered. She doesn't have much of an appetite, she seems more tired than usual, she is even complaining of sore legs a bit and as long as her counts are still low, we don't feel comfortable sending her to school or even arrange for an after-school programme. And who knows how long before she is fully recovered? It could be by tomorrow, maybe early next week, but maybe not.

The big worry with this possible job opportunity would be that it includes payroll - so it won't be as if I could just take time off whenever and certainly Terence is flexible to some extend, but he also has commitments at work and when he does not work, he does not get paid. So this morning I had to email the agent and with a heavy heart, I asked her to withdraw me from the process. It would not be fair on the employer. Certainly up to Friday we thought our days of being neutropenic were over. That we were so close to end of treatment and that since Bianca was so well settled that going back to work would be fine, but I was wrong. Leukemia doesn't always play by our rules. Bianca's low counts caught us by surprise. We have been so comfortable for a while now because she copes so well and this just made us realise once again that we can never be sure what lies around the corner. But once again, this is our life and we just have to go with it. We don't always have a lot of control over it (and sometimes we need a few reminders). I once read a book where the doctor told the mom "you can only make the best decisions with the information you have at the time" and so this is what I had to do. I could take a chance and maybe they'll offer me the position, but then, what if Bianca takes too long to recover or get low counts again, it will not be so good to then have to leave the position to focus on Bianca's health again. Then it makes sense to rather pull away now.

Of course I can't help wondering, if I did not look for a job if Bianca would have been fine or if she would have still developed lower counts? This is the third time that I have now tried to find a longer term job where Bianca developed some kind of infection or became neutropenic or something. I just can't help wondering. But I will never know. All I know is that for now my job hunt is over and I am back at focusing only on Bianca's health and perhaps one day again (who knows) I might have another job opportunity again and we might regain some of the "normal" we lost way back in 2007.

But I'm not complaining - we really have a lot to be thankful for.

Oh and before I close this off - Bianca is still not 100%, her counts are likely still on the low side, but despite this, we've decided to let her participate in the production tonight. Terence will take her, she'll participate and then they'll come straight home. So hopefully the risk will be minimal for her. We feel that this will make her happy. She had to miss out so much on things before as a result of being sick, that we really don't want her to miss out on this too. She missed the production last night, but tonight we want her to be part of this. I won't have the chance to go and watch, but they will be selling DVDs afterwards and so I'll get my chance then to see my little star in action! So prayers that all will go well please.


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad that Bianca is going to make the production. I hope that Terrance takes lots of photos.
And yes, Lea, I understand about the whole rollar coaster thing and how you never know what is going to happen, and how hard it must be trying to get a job. Every single time I say "maybe all the bad stuff is over" things go down hill. You'd think I would have learned by now to just expect the worst and then I won't be disappointed.
Anyway, I am so happy for Bianca. I bet she will be marvellous.
Break a leg Bianca!
Love from Bridget and the clan.

Anonymous said...

My fingers are crossed so that Bianca is able to fully enjoy the production! I think having her happy and distracted by the production might just be a big help to her. :)

Felicity said...

My prayers are with you. Just a thought - is there a possibility that you could work from home. Some companies have arrangements with their staff that everything can be set up at home and then you just have to meet the deadlines. Then you can be at home with the girls, do what you have to do and still put in the necessary hours - even if it goes into the evenings. Perhaps your agent can assist here. Good luck - I hope that it works out for you.

Anonymous said...

Hi there,
Thinking of you lots during this time. You're doing such an awesome job with Bianca and Caitlin.
Much love to you all.
The Leds

Anonymous said...

So glad to hear that Bianca was able to participate!I bet she did a great job.
I am sorry to hear Lea, about the dilemma you find yourself in regarding finding employment. Maybe partime work, that is just a suggestion, but sometimes it is not really worth the effort, but at least a little bit more flexible. Very difficult decisions to make. Good luck with your endeavors. And hopefully Bianca's numbers will be back up on Monday.
Thinking of you and Bianca
Rosemary NY

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry Lea, I can imagine this must be very frustrating. What about looking into doing something that can be done from home? Some kind of online business perhaps???
I have some idea's, actually working on something of my own at the moment, but will share those with you offline!