As a professor and educator since 2003 both online and in person, I feel education is key to life. If I am not learning, I am not living. This course is the first of MANY to come - some will be free, some will require a small fee ($20 or $30) to sign up. This course is The Basics - all about getting back to "normal" after cancer, major life-changing diagnosis or other news like genetic predisposition to cancer... Watch the video below for a quick overview of the course.
As someone who is focused on helping others oh and who has helped people for over 20 years with resumes, career planning and more (seriously, check out my other small business, The Next Step), I feel that founding this nonprofit is what I am meant to do and grow.
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 39 years old, I had just gotten a full time teaching job after subbing and being an adjunct for several years. Before that, I worked in NYC as a Vice President in financial services firms focusing on managing multimillion dollar projects (more about me here). I lost my job the day after my last chemotherapy and started sharing my story shortly after that, here, on this blog.
I shared everything, my story, my topless photos and more. I realized during my sharing that it was helping to heal me. Me, who had been so ashamed and so scared when I was diagnosed, was slowly becoming a voice of reason for myself and others. This blog is still read by over 1500-2000 people PER WEEK and for August alone, I have had over 9100 folks have been on my homepage of this nonprofit - not too shabby for zero dollars in marketing and all that.
This course has been a labor of love for me - I have created and launched countless online courses for other institutions and have done them quickly and efficiently. I am skilled at Moodle and BlackBoard - this was my first experience at creating a course that meant so much to me personally and professionally. I do hope you check it out - I had a soft launch the day before I left for vacation (which I am still on, by the way - more on that later)… and I already have 4 students logged in and learning with me...
I am debating if this course is "too much". It is built like a light college course - there are 3 sections with video and "assignments" which are really just discussion based assignments with review and help from me - a career expert, a cancer survivor, an author and a mom...
Life is all about Balance and this organization, Balance After Cancer, is my way of trying to help others find their "new normal".
So as you guys might know if you follow me on social media (why don’t you -
twitter and instagram) then you know I found out on Saturday - the day of my son's communion!- that my company is officially a 501(c)(3) corporation! I had already known I was a nonprofit for my state and then when I returned from my vacation and my Beautiful Self photo shoot in between all of that, I filed to be a 501(c)(3).
I filed because it was important for me to be officially a nonprofit, to be able to raise funds and support the things (training, books, and more) I want to do for free to help other people who have been hit with cancer get to their “new normal”.
I cannot stress enough that once you finish treatment (or if you are on maintenance treatment) and are cleared for work it is hard to figure out what you need to do to get back out there again. Or if you did work during treatment, maybe now that the roller coaster has paused for a moment, you realize you have not been happy at your work - maybe the stress levels are too high or maybe you have had issues with colleagues who, you know, are like jealous of all the time off you took during cancer (sounds absurd, but it happens).
Whatever your particular story is, the fact is that you are either actively thinking of moving to a new position OR you were canned and need to find something new. For me, I have spent years helping people get to the next step (seriously, it was the name of my company The Next Step) with resumes, interviewing help, and even wrote BOOKS on how to be entrepreneurial in your job search and more.
Despite all of that, here I was ready to find a new job and I was CLUELESS. Literally, clueless. I had no idea what to do. I mean, I kind of “knew” but not really. I had a new body, new hair and no clue what to do and how.
I always considered being an entrepreneur again but I knew that what I really wanted to do was help others (nonprofit-methe-plan-to-help-others.html)
and now here I am another big move to getting my initiative funded and more to launch more - so many plans (a new post will come about that soon) oh and news to share soon, too.
A friend of mine recently asked me, “So you are doing this non profit thing but you could not find a job?” Yes, a friend… lol. It is ok - it makes sense - for me, I have been entrepreneurial for many years and to be able to give back and officially as a 501(c)(3) this is what I am supposed to be doing!
In case you were interested, my Mission Statement is:
The Time Between Is, INC provides training and services for individuals who have experienced cancer. Cancer can lead to loss of job or taking a break from work which can be hard to get back to the career after going through this disease. This service and training includes online and in person session along with workbooks resume writing interview help and more to help people get back to their “new normal” after cancer.
The specific objectives and purpose of this organization shall be:
What do you think? Sign up today at Career After Cancer to make sure you get notices about all of the upcoming events and training and more!
If you want to help me raise money to support the training and initiatives underway for Career After Cancer, please do so below!
I faced cancer the way I have faced other traumatic issues in my life - with a strong attitude that hid my fears and shored up my defenses from anyone or anything upsetting me or getting into my walls.
You know, I read a book recently that had a main character talking about how bad things happened and then it would mean the rest of their life should be "clear sailing" because they used up all the bad stuff... This made me jump a little because yes, I have had some things happen in my life before I hit like 33 that you think would have used up all of my "bad luck".
Again, I do not really believe in "luck" - I believe we make our own luck and one thing I definitely believe now, post breast cancer, is that we can work on manifesting the positive, the good or at least put a spotlight on it and obscure the rest.
When people told me, during my cancer diagnosis and treatments, that I was "brave", I wanted to punch them. I did not have a choice but to do what I was told to do by my doctors. Instead, I settled on being "tough" but now I think it goes beyond that and goes into being "bravura" which is more "cleverness" and "skill" than brave.
At first, when I started building out this website from the blog to include the children's book and the career after cancer initiative, it crossed my mind, "Why am I doing this - what if I die?" - so even though I am so "positive", I do still sometimes succumb to the fear.
The way I manage it is to keep moving forward and to keep thinking about how I can help others with my perspective, my passion and my experiences. Cancer does not define me but it did put a lot of things into focus for me that used to be unclear. I know now what I want to do with the time I have left and that is to help others and to enjoy my life, my kids and my husband, family and friends.
I am not doing this to be "famous" - in fact, I think that would suck (though I would LOVE to be able to "swipe up" in my Instagram stories so if I could get to 20k followers there, that would be great - ha). I just want to keep pushing my bravura and keep myself focused on how to help others in anyway I can while enjoying life and all it has to offer.
This is what I do in the time between...
I want to help others who are faced with the plot twist of cancer and I want to help them the only way I know how - to get them back to work. Right now, I am focused on doing this for myself and it is an all consuming focus. I have finally redone my OWN resume - see it here --> how-to-take-the-next-step-after-cancer.html after spending decades helping others get resume ready through my old small business www.thenextstep1234.com. This resume makeover and help on how to interview are big parts of my "talents" that I was writing about a few weeks ago using-your-talents.html.
To do this, I need to figure out more about the specifics. I mean helping people get back to work is a huge positive especially after I have been learning more and more about people who have lost their jobs during or after diagnosis/treatment - you can read my unfiltered thoughts on that here --> www.whatnext.com/blog/posts/after-cancer-treatment-how-do-i-get-back-to-being-me,
Not having a job means you do not feel "whole" yet. It means you do not have the necessary distraction from thinking about cancer and death. Most importantly, it means you have financial issues to pay your bills or to have healthcare or to afford your medication. It is a big deal.
I also want to think about how I can use funds that I can perhaps raise to do something for others or for research in addition to this skill I have in my tool house. I am not yet sure how it will come together. It is a priority to me and it is why I upgraded my URL via Weebly from www.thetimebetweenis.weebly.com to www.thetimebetweenis.org and also got the ability to use more programming options for this blog, too. I am looking at different ways to pay homage and to help others.
On a related note regarding the fact that I am currently unemployed, I am still trying not to get triggered when I hear of someone dying from breast cancer. I am trying so damn hard; today I just spoke to a friend of the family whose 47 year old sister just died from breast cancer after an 8 year fight - you do the math, as I did - she was 39 at diagnosis; so was I. It is times like these that I get down and want to cry but I know that will not help and I know that although it does statistically maybe look worse for me that it could happen to anyone and it does happen to anyone - random deaths happen all the time, it is part of what keeps newspapers in business.
All of this pushes me to get busier, because if I stay focused on busy, I have less time to think. Thinking is never good. I was an over thinker in the past and it was never "good". It is especially not "good" now. So I am going to throw myself into a couple of projects to keep myself occupied and therefore out of trouble. They are:
So it is time for me to work on these things and get into gear. Of course, I will always blog - well as long as it continues to connect me to my community, to help me grieve, celebrate, unload and move my needle back to "full" when I am on "empty". It has led to amazing friendships and to different opportunities to share my story (check out my Press & Promotion Page --> www.thetimebetweenis.org/my-story-in-the-press.html.
As always, thanks for reading and especially for reaching out and/or sharing my story. I hope one day this story is just that a fiction that we remember having once existed that "cancer" is eradicated and no longer a mystery to those who die from it.
To my (new) friend's sister, I know you are no longer in pain and that you are at peace. Please help the other women and men who have been dealt the plot twist of breast cancer with your prayers and I will pray for you, too.
I shared this on Insta already (@thetimebetweenis) but wanted to give it it's own post here on my blog.
When you are THE MOM the uber mom who does everything for your family, your kids and maybe sometimes yourself (barely), it is so hard for your kids to see you have to stop, have to slow down. For a kid to learn their parent is "sick" and has "cancer" is really scary - I talk a little about being a parent and a kid in situations where the mom got knocked down here --> a-tale-of-two-novembers.html but there is more to it than even that.
I am a writer and it is how I process things since 1986 (my first diary). My children are also kind of expressive in either art, music and/or writing (they are a mix). I sat with my oldest and created this children's book using an app on my iPhone called LittleStoryCreator and put this together using some personal pictures and our story.
If I do decide to do something with this book, in the hopes of helping other children who are going through watching their mom or caregiver deal with cancer, it will be set up to donate the proceeds to a charity that can physically also help these children.
During chemo, I wished for a camp where my kids could live and be cared for and kind of distracted so they would not see me on the couch looking dull and lifeless so they would not realize all of the things I had to miss and not go to because I just could not swing it and for fear of getting sicker. I also did not want them to see me go bald and to see me look so tired. In a way, now I am glad they saw it because I want them to remember that sometimes we fall down and we get hit with things we did not plan for, expect or want but we have to survive, we have to pick ourselves up, put our wigs on and get out there and do what we have to do to make it, to get to the other side.
I hope and pray every day that 1) they never have to go through anything like this and 2) that I am fully on the other side and done with it. No matter what, though, we know we survived and we did it as a family. This book, this story, tells that from the perspective of a 6 and 9 year old who's first and only question upon hearing I had cancer was, "Are you going to die?"
Let me know your thoughts about the little snippet up above and if you want to see or hear more, let me know. This is what I do in the time between.
The Time Between Is, INC is a 501(c)(3) corporation - help us reach our goals of launching #balanceaftercancer
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