Conflicting Career Choices & The Cancer Survivor

So, I’ve been busy the last few weeks. Really busy. Between guest blogging over at mamabearcancercoach.com, looking for and actually succeeding at finding a job, then the work that actually comes with that job, there hasn’t been much time for me to devote to my postings. It seems important now, more than ever to write, especially since I feel I’ve made some compromised if not conflicting career choices.

“You have to feed it and it WILL be fed…”

The struggle to document everything possible that relates to the path cancer lead me down and influences me everyday has become an afterthought. I don’t like that. I always said, no matter what I can never forget the lessons cancer taught me and it’s important not to fall into the rut of life again. I can’t lose site of what I am, who I am now. This brings me to my new job.

I am a graphic designer by trade and although I’ve found myself leaning more on the the technical side of that career path I’ve always been drawn to inspiring design work. Print, web, typography, calligraphy, watercolor, art is art, and if you have an eye for it, it doesn’t ever just go away, it’s like a pet that you are responsible for. You have to feed it and it will be fed whatever you bring it close to visually. My new job is with a local printing company. It’s small, but prestigious in the local printing scene. The people are nice and friendly, there are no egos I’ve encountered and the work seems to be solidly flowing in with signs of growth on the horizon.

“Do I get out before it even becomes a problem.”

So why is this a “conflicting career choice”? Well, The printing industry has been known to utilize many chemicals during the printing process that contains carcinogens. Now, you pick up a printed piece of advertisement and no big deal. Now pick up ten-thousand, then another ten-thousand, smell it, run your hands over it to see if the ink smears. Go into a warehouse full of advertisements you’re responsible for and take in the fumes from the five presses you have running and have to clean with harsh chemicals to clean out the ink when making adjustments.

You walk around in the fine misted air full of dust and soot and particulates from the ink that’s been vaporized during the printing process. There’s a faint hint of sawdust as well made from the trimming of paper products made from fine but highly processed paper types that have been bleached and dyed and what have you. Imagine you have to walk through this place daily to check on things, coordinate with co-workers, clock in or out for lunch in the break-room centered in this area.

Now, let’s go back to the other side of the building separated by a thin wall and share a ventilation system with this area. The fumes are not so pungent anymore. That unique smell you couldn’t quite put your finger on when you came in to interview is no longer noticed and you’re just happy to be on “that side” of the building now. Am I painting an accurate picture of what I mean when I said “conflicting”?

I work for a great company, with great people, but all around me I have a story to share, a life to live and a future to think about. I’m breathing in this air with the rest of my coworkers, many of whom seem to have various ailments specifically skin cancer.┬áIt’s unsure the surroundings have anything to do with it, but I do know it couldn’t be making it any better. Time will tell I guess.

“Lead by example with a plant based diet, become health resource to those in need.”

In the meantime, I’ve discussed my attempt at going vegan over the coming year with co-workers and have gotten a mixed response, but mostly positive after the initial “you don’t eat meat?” stare. Maybe my role here is to be an example. To help those who may benefit from the change in diet and lifestyle. Maybe I can help counter act some of these ailments with my cancer life knowledge. It’s a fine line between saying and doing sometimes.

I’ve got to keep my chin up, eyes forward and my heart in the right place. If I start to exhibit any symptoms of any kind of ailment, I’ll be forced to do what’s right for my health. The conflict resides in the statement, “Do I get out before it even becomes a problem.”. While I’m here though, I am going to try to do what good I can for my fellow man. Lead by example with a plant based diet, become health resource to those in need. I also plan on researching the machines we use and what kinds of inks and cleaning agents that are utilized as well as the different paper sources we have. Maybe there’s a chance for some synergy between an ecologically friendly printing facility and a cancer graduate.

Switching To A Plant Based Diet

Yup, you read that right. I’m attempting to go vegetarian, if not vegan this year. I’ve already made strides to cook healthier meals, cut out processed foods whenever I can and have stopped going out to eat. My girlfriend asked for an Instapot for Christmas and my santa delivered this year! It’s been amazing. Part of the reason most people don’t eat healthier is the time it takes to make some of the replacements for fast food. Not so with a pressure cooker like the Instapot. You may of heard of it in passing, or from someone at work, or a parent at your kids school or even a neighbor as the largest portion of advertisement for this product seems to be word of mouth. This thing has basically gone viral in the New Year’s resolutionists camp. Rice? Baked Potatoes? Oatmeal? Re-fried beans? quinoa? All can be made in or under 10 minutes each! That’s an hour to meal prep food bases that used to take all day Sunday. Okay so sounds like I’m being sponsored but I’m truly not. If Instapot wanted to throw two more my way though, I wouldn’t be mad, just sayin.

Also, I’ve decided to cover topics relating to common household objects, products, consumables, etc. that have credible links to cancer and how they play a part in the cancer epidemic. Slow and steady wins the race, and right now, cancer is slow and steady. One thing won’t hurt you, two things won’t hurt you, even three, four or even five may not hurt you, but hundreds of products you come into contact with every single day add up to a lot, especially for those of us with genetic expressions that can be teased out by the constant influx of carcinogenic products we used daily. So yeah here’s a brief list of things I’ll be trying to cover broken down by usage:

  1. Soaps, lotions, detergents and cleaning supplies
  2. Processed foods and ingredients found in commonly used, so-called, “healthy” shortcuts we see in home cooking.
  3. Cooking utensils and containers
  4. Drinks and flavor additives
  5. Clothing materials and how they are processed
  6. Scents, candles, oils
  7. Cosmetics
  8. Plastic, rubber, styro-foam
  9. Consumer advertising and the danger of handling heavily inked paper adverts

I’ll break it down further by covering a wide range of items based off an in-depth listing I’ll discuss in a previous posting for the week. I’d like to get better at my blogging and outreach as a cancer awareness advocate and I think this is a good first step. For those that don’t follow me on other social media platforms or weren’t involved with my gofundme campaign, I’m happy to report that I am, at the moment, cancer free!

 

Thanks again for all the support!

Jason