The last time I went into MMU was in September 2017 to speak at the IPM conference. In between I’ve had Slack conversations with my team, other social media chats, and been out for a few meals on the good chemo weeks! I’ve also had Skype chats and emails with my Head of Dept (who had the privilege of taking on the role the week after I was diagnosed), but this was the first time that I was going back into the building since September!
INCREDIBLY WEIRD, as it felt at once as though it was a normal day, and I’d been in recently, and also that everything was a bit weird and all a little different (especially as our departments have been reorganised, and people have moved offices). It was lovely to get hugs from people, meet my HoD face-to-face, unpack the crate in my office (and look at the crazy number of books I have double-stacked), attend a meeting on the PhD paperwork journey (very well paced and informative I have to say)… by which point I’d pretty much had it, jumped back in the car (very privileged to be given access to a parking space for the day) and headed home.
The later tired face (and yeah, the bad chemo skin):
Money worries (and career progression, working on the assumption that the treatment is successful) are most definitely concerns. I’ve managed to make it through financially, partly because of the kind of industry that I’m in which offers flexibility, and Faculty/Department allowing me to work at home on research and media work, as I’ve not been able to teach (fatigue and lowered immune system)… and yes, I’ve got a research paper I’m re-editing!! Another chat coming up with HR tomorrow, as we start to think what returning ‘properly’ looks like ready for the new academic year!
Meantime, next week it’s GP on Monday (seen so many specialists, not seen much of the GP!), radiotherapy planning on Tuesday (with 15 days of treatment to hopefully start the following week, the leaflet says typically not on a Monday)… and hopefully back into the office on Wednesday. Otherwise it’s that article editing…
Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.