As I sit on my desk in our new, swanky city centre office, I can’t help but get off my chest just what I’m getting myself into, again!
As I’m sure you’ll have heard, last week I was invited to speak at the annual nurses conference for QE Gateshead. The QE is an NHS foundation made up of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Dunston Hill Day Hospital and Bensham Hospital, all which are within Gateshead itself. I was invited to speak at this event by the assistant director of nursing and lead nurse for cancer and palliative care, something which I very much classified as an achievement in itself. All I had to do after that was deliver a speech to a room full of nurses, doctors, executives and health professionals and the nerves were real.
The day and the speech, surprisingly, both went extraordinarily well and some of the feedback I have received has truly been phenomenal. My speech was even hailed by one attendee as, “one of the most inspirational talks I had ever heard.” I was adamant that they must have been referring to another speaker but I later learnt that it was in fact directed at, who else, than myself. I was, of course, over the moon to read such positive feedback but it did come across as a huge surprise to me.
Long story short, I have been asked to deliver another speech at yet another high profile event (I’m going up in the world!). This event focuses on living with and beyond cancer and is designed to help people through the trauma stage of a diagnosis, providing coping strategies and advice for the sheer terror of what a new diagnosis poses. The presentation will take place this coming Saturday at the Sunderland Royal Hospital and will be hosted by the South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust. The Trust provides a wide range of services from Sunderland Royal Hospital and Sunderland Eye Infirmary, as well as community services through its many outreach centres. Again this event will be attended again by a range nurses, patients and health professionals, so it’s probably time that those nerves kicked in again…
I guess, I just wanted to write a quick blog about these two speeches as I never in a million years would have thought this would be a good thing to get involved with. If you had asked me a few years ago (pre-cancer that is) to talk in front of a room of strangers, I would have told you where the door was. I would have never have thought I was capable or even qualified enough to deliver a speech but the truth is, none of us really need qualifications to help others. All we need is a will.
I’m a regular girl from Sunderland who happened to have cancer and that is something that people are able to relate with. Whilst I find it extremely difficult to talk to others about my experiences and how I coped (even for an extravert like me), I now thrive at the opportunity. It’s something that keeps me awake all week until the second my foot exits the stage but it’s also something that fills people with goodness and that’s worth more than anything. I suppose it’s like going to the gym. You dread it and dread it but once its over you’re filled with that feel-good factor. That’s kind of how it feel about doing all this presenting.
But anyway, on that note, I’d like to inform all readers that I will soon be available for weddings and public functions at a nominal fee. Watch this space.
Wish me luck for Saturday.
Yours truly, Nicola.