Happy Anniversary!

April 3, 2011

Friday was a double anniversary for me. It was one year ago, on 1 April 2010 that I took the huge step and became self-employed. I didn’t actually stop being employed for another 2 months having made an arrangement with my employer that I would reduce to half-time for two months before leaving completely, while working from home and on the condition that I also could start working on my own projects. This is an arrangement that I would definitely recommend to others starting out on their own, though it does depend on having a good, flexible and trusting employer, which I was very lucky to have.

Less happily, it was also on 1 April 2010 that I first discovered the lump in my armpit that later showed itself to be a symptom of my Hodgkins Lymphoma. I have no idea how long the lump had been there but it was fairly large by that stage. Hodgkins lumps are usually painless, but can be sensitive to alcohol. That weekend we were visiting my in-laws for the Easter holidays (yes, I can also recommend starting with a vacation when you start your own business!) and I had probably had a bit more red wine to drink than usual. I woke up in the night with a throbbing pain under my arm which is how I discovered the lump. I lay awake much of the night convinced it was cancer, and headed to the Doctor as soon as we got home again. This is fairly remarkable because I am generally the type who expects things to just get better and usually refuse to go the Doctor until I am forced. This time my intuition worked well for me, that’s for sure. It took another couple of months to get the diagnosis, but during that time I was quite convinced that it was cancer.

A lot of people have said to me that the timing was really, really unlucky. The thing is though, that there is never a good time to get cancer. Sure, economically it was rotten timing – if I had still been employed I would have been paid my salary throughout my sick leave – but we managed. You never know when you start your own business how long it will take before you start making money, so we had budgeted for me not earning much this first year. Plus, in Denmark there is a voluntary sick pay insurance scheme that I had luckily signed up to, so I did get sick pay.

Deciding to go solo is a huge deal and when considering it there are a lot of worries and concerns about what could go wrong. What did go wrong for me was much worse than I ever had imagined! Yet, one year on, I have no regrets. Of course I wish that I hadn’t got cancer, but I have no control over that. I love being self-employed, I love working from home and I love my job!

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2 Responses to “Happy Anniversary!”

  1. Jo Stephenson Says:

    A big milestone for you – congratulations for passing it. How are your running times now? And how is your hair doing?

    I started my Chemo on Monday, so 5 more to go and then radiotherapy.

    Best Wishes

    • Kirsten Says:

      Hi Jo, you inspired me to write a new blog post! I’m thinking about you as you go through your treatment and sending positive thoughts in your direction. Kirsten

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