Our team strategy session was hosted in the Hunter Valley, an easy and gentle two-hour drive from Sydney. We were lucky enough to score a beautiful warm sunny autumn day. Within our strategy session my manager Ian threw in an ice-breaker. An ice-breaker is a question that is asked to the group that will relate to them in a personal way, building our relationships as we learn a little more about each other.
Leon our digital guru has a fascination with airplanes, to the extent where all he has to do is hear the plane soaring in the sky and he can instantly tell you the model.
John our newest edition to the team has an athletic talent, and on top of that knows some pretty fancy card tricks.
Susan, soulfully demonstrated her talent, she sang an Adel song, she has a remarkable, placid voice.
Gai a baby boomer generation shocked us all with her secret gaming skills and an expert at Pest Rescue Saga, also be noted that Gai is a mean machine on the Xbox too.
Karen has an eye for perfect images. She photographs and captures those unspoiled moments.
Dan, has the competitive edge, the techniques of a skillful tennis player, a player you wouldn’t want to be up against in match and Adam is a rock star! He is a musician who plays the bass and electric guitar.
Ian is secretly Bear Grylls, he can pack up his bags and head out on any road trip, camp in the middle of nowhere and come back in one piece.
Penny, our fearless leader, knows the lyrics to every Barry Manilow song ever written. Being a GenY I had no idea whom this artist was so Penny played his top five songs and there was one that was familiar to me, which was “Mandy”. Truth be told I knew the song as it was on an episode of The Simpsons, when Homer has a crush on his work colleague Mindy, at the end of the episode he sings the song to his Marge replacing Mandy with Margie…classic Simpsons moment.
So, I told you everyone’s secret talent but not mine… I have many talents, hardly are any of them a secret, except for one… expressing my thoughts and experiences on rheumatoidarthritis.net and this is what I went with being able to share my encounters through this supportive site. It wasn’t until the next day that I realized that I had another hidden talent.
It all started with that dreadful day more than half of us have to deal with once a week, Methotrexate (MTX) day. My scheduled dose is around 10am Thursday mornings, I am on the highest dose for oral MTX so I won’t go into the full detail but we all know what the side effects are for this medication, basically it makes you feel awful all day. For my work trip, I wanted to enjoy myself, for this one time and not feel foul, I spoke to my rheumatologist whom advised it was fine for me to delay the treatment to later that evening and in fact recommended that taking it before bed is a better option as you can sleep through any side effects, so I did just that. Except I didn’t sleep, I was so dehydrated that I was up drinking water throughout the night which in turn was making me go to the toilet so often.
You can only imagine how I felt the next morning. I was EXHAUSTED and wasn’t feeling too well. Soldiering on Susan, Gai and I all headed out early that morning to breakfast to meet with the rest of the team.
After breakfast, we all returned back to our hotel room to pack our bags and head off to the conference room. However, we had a slight delay as it seemed MTX decided to make my morning a little harder. I spent some time in the bathroom throwing up. Feeling concerned my colleague Susan had to advise Ian of the situation. Later that morning when I walked into the conference room I felt a slight emotion of embarrassment in front of my team, as they knew that I had been sick just a few minutes before hand.
I have had situations like this in front of people before but they were all family members who are aware of the condition, medications and side effects, so to them it was more of a regular occurrence and something they would expect, but in front of my work colleagues it was all just a different feeling. As I was sitting there listening to the presentations my brain wonders off and I just had this flood of unpleasant thoughts. I shouldn’t have come, I should have stayed home, why did it have to happen? Why am I stuck dealing with this disease for the rest of my life? I just got put in a position where I started hating everything.
After the presentations finished the management team, Ian, Penny and Karen head off home and the rest of us, reconnected at a café for a coffee and a relaxed chat. I voiced my feeling of awkwardness to Susan and asked why she had told Ian that I had been sick that morning, after she explained to me why I calmed down and understood. It was then that Dan casually said it’s fine and that someone made a comment saying, “she must have drunk a lot last night” we all laughed, as out of the whole team I was the only one that didn’t have any alcohol. Slowly that feeling of embarrassment melted away and then the feeling of comfort kicked in. The conversation changed its course and we continued to talk about each other’s weekend plans.
That afternoon when I arrived home I started to take note of what had happened and agreed to tell myself it is a struggle managing RA and this is it, this is what you have to deal with. As I sat there typing away, it occurred to me that I have a talent that I didn’t even know I had…well, actually, most of us relating to this story, have this secret talent… If I got asked the question again as to what is my secret talent I would say “Living with RA”, this on its own is a talent.