Paying back a Pal and then a scan is summoned.

You know what they say, when the going gets tough, the tough get going...
One of the very first entities to come to my rescue when I got hammered with my diagnosis, was my employer ‘PayPal’.
A big and indeed very sucessful organisation where it could be very easy for me to become a barcode, never mind a number.

But this was never going to happen, not with PayPal. These people have been instrumental in taking my background stress away from me. Paying me full salary for over six months and are still to this day paying not just my healthcare plan, but that of Aoife and Alison’s also. I can assure you, not many employers here in Ireland put their head above the parapit and do this and I can certainly testify to that. My current WEEKLY healthcare bill alone is €1,050. This is every week and for now, no sign of it changing. But via our paid for healthcare cover, Paypal have this sorted !

It was only then right and fitting that I be able and indeed allowed at least try and give something back. So with the help of Maeve Dorman, PayPal’s VP based here in Ireland, a plan of action was put together. Rather than give my talk to just my own team in work, the doors were opened for the whole PayPal site in Dublin to be part of it. We called it a ‘fireside’ chat. It ran very much along the lines of a Televison chat show interview. To make it more real, both PayPal in Dundalk and the offices in PayPal Berlin, Germany were also brought in. This happened courtesy of a live video link. For my part, I just had to remember to occasionally glance at the elevated corner mounted camera to acknowledge the presence of the two other PayPal sites. Behind me were 3 screens, one rolling a short passive slideshow I had earlier emailed in, while the 2 other screens showed a live feed of my remote audience both up the road in Dundalk and over in Berlin.

My host for the talk was one of PayPal’s senior management executives, Annette Hickey. I had met Annette before, albeit somewhat briefly during the 3 months of my intensive training I received on joining PayPal first. The whole evening ran just like a real one to one TV chat show event. The best thing for me was, with this format, I was sitting down, not standing up and pacing up and down a floor. This actually made a huge difference for me and all for the better I can assure you.

After our ‘fireside chat’, the 3 floors (2 x Irish and 1 x German) were opened up so I could take questions. As per my promise, no question was and indeed ever is off limits. On one accession asked by my own manager Ian, I held my hand up to acknowledge that when the demons called at night (more so under a previous chemo induced regime), that YES, this positive thinking 6ft 4 individual cried himself to sleep most nights. But as I painted that truth bearing fact, I made sure to follow up with another fact. One second, No, even one nano-second after the clock strikes midnight, the darkest time of any 24 hour period, guess what ?, Yep, it starts getting bright again. “I or you might not physically see it” I explained, but it IS HAPPENING and I am there to grasp that. So the next morning when the brightness arrives in bounds, I’m already in a better place. 

Another interesting question I got was, what advise would I give to a friend or family member of somebody else who is in the same or similar situation as me. A rock solid question, one which I was never asked before. My answer was clear, concise and succinct: DO NOT just ask is there anything you can do for them, just go out and DO IT. DO NOT just say, if you need anything, you know where I am. Yes, but people like me will not ask for anything. So go and knock on their door, push the door in if needs be and do / give them what you wanted to in the first place. I used a bowl of soup and a friendly chat as a real live and perfect example, but there are hundreds, depending I’m sure on how well you genuinely know each other. I was so glad that question was asked. People just sometimes do not know how to react to these close situations, but the question was then asked and I was so happy to answer it, not just for me, but for ALL in my position. 

Scan Time

Yes, it’s the weekend, it’s even Harvest Festival time here in Dunshaughlin. An opportunity to kick off and relax for most. Yes, I hope to do similar, but next Tuesday sees me booked in for my next CT Scan. It’s that time again, to stick a state of the art invisible lens in front of my tumour and yell, “SMILE, ya Bastard”.Yes, that’s my tongue and cheek err, sense of humour  way of dealing or indeed coping with this lingering thought, but to be fair, I have been paying attention at my Mindfullness Class’s at the Gary Kelly Cancer Support Centre. I am dealing with this incoming missile and dealing with it in a way I would hope my class tutor would be proud of. Yes, it is a sobering thought, no surer thing, but my mind is relaxed and in some strange way, already at peace, whatever the imminent scan outcome may be.

Padre Pio 
May 25, 1887 – September 23, 1968

Has my friend St. Pio anything to do with this? The answer is Yes, St. Pio is holding my hand and indeed my mind and that I am certain of. Incidentally, I managed to meet the author of one of the most popular books written about Padre Pio, Colm Keane. It all happened quite quickly, just yesterday infact. It clicked seamlessly, thanks to Gerry Kelly of LMFM Radio fame and all within 90 minutes of being notified. My next podcast will feature this short radio interview, where I joined both Gerry and Colm for a chat during the live show. Please do look out for it. I hope to have the podcast produced and recorded soon.

On this day, 23rd September 1968 Padre Pio passed away. Today is his feast day. 
RIP St. Pio. Keep holding my hand please. I need ya boss. 

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  1. Great blog, thank you Aidan! Rooting for you every day.

    1. Thanks so much Gretchen. So much appreciated.


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