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Monthly Archives: September 2014

So, I finally started back at work. It was a week later than planned because of a HR hiccup, but all in all the transition back has gone smoothly, with a nice graduated return for the first six weeks. I’ll be increasing my hours in November and again in December until I’m back to full time again in January. This is working out so far. This is good.

I don’t know what I expected from going back. I guess this calls for a list or two:

1) I was worried about not being able to remember things.

This isn’t proving to be that much of a problem so far, which is nice. Things have changed, processes and whatnot, but more has stayed the same than hasn’t. I’m reacquainting myself with the software apps I use, and remembering how to use it when it’s up in front of me. I’ve learnt a couple of new tricks with it too, which is always a good thing. No one is expecting me to do too much, and my colleagues are being genuinely helpful instead of making me feel bad for having to retrain me to do the job I used to do with my eyes closed.

2) I was worried about having to talk to people about being ill.

This is weird with some people but not with others. Some have asked outright how I am, expecting a real answer, not the standard “I’m good, thanks” line. I’ve had to explain to a few people that I’m taking it as it comes and though I’m good now come next month when I’ve had scans it might be a different story. I think most people think I’m cured, that I beat it. I’m carefully telling people that I’m not counting my chickens just yet, but that I’m hopeful. Talking about it isn’t making me sad, though. Or uncomfortable.

3) I was worried that people would have moved on from me.

When I came back to work after maternity leave, too many things had changed. Including the dude I used to have dinner with every day. He’d got himself a new group of dinner buddies and I had the distinct feeling I wasn’t invited to be part of it when I returned. This time it’s been different though. Nothing seems to have changed. The same conversations about the same types of things and the same people after two years. I’ve slotted straight back in again, and it’s okay. Oh, and on top of that, I had this as a welcome back when I walked through the door:

 

Surprise! Welcome back!

Surprise! Welcome back!

 

4) I was worried about the physical aspects, such as my nephs showing through my clothes.

I think I’ve managed to hide them pretty well, I mean, I don’t think half of the people even know about them. I noticed today that I had a kind of bulge where the bags were on my back before I emptied them today, but then I figured, if anyone asks me about them, I’ll tell them what it is. I don’t see why I should be ashamed of them. Yes, they hold urine. But they are there because I’ve had so much radiation that my bladder isn’t viable anymore. It’s because I almost died. It’s because I’m “hard as nails” as one friend has said. No, I don’t want them on show in the general world of the public. But they’re there. They’re doing a good job. And I realised I don’t care what people think of them.

There are things about the job that I’m sure I’m going to get tired of easily. I don’t know, I remember being annoyed a lot of the time before. But right now I think being there is good for me. It’s all about distraction; pretending I’m okay again, hoping I’m still beating the odds.

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Things are still going pretty well for me at the moment.

The biopsy I was worrying about came back negative for cancer cells, which is fantastic news. It means I can relax a little more. For the time being anyway. I’ve been told that I need to have an operation, the ‘diversion’ the doctors mentioned when I came round from the EUA in July. They want to swap the biateral nephrostomies with a urostomy. I panicked at first because I really don’t want to go into hospital and have to have another operation anytime soon. I asked them if it was urgent, and they said no, but that it should be done sometime in the next twelve months. They also want to make the appointment to swap out my nephrostomy tubes with new ones, I’ve had these ones in for longer than the recommended time. That will be any time in the next few weeks and I’m dreading it because I know full well it will hurt. But it’s not a full on hospital stay, so I’m okay with that.

The big news right now is that I’m going to be starting back at work next week. Yep, that’s right. Back to work. In a spur of the moment I called my manager and asked when I could come back, and went to talk to him a couple of days later – and here we are. A lot of people think I’m crazy (mostly people I work with) but I think it will do me some good. Get me out of the house. Get me active in the days. I’ll be interacting with more people, and I’ll have neutral things to think about. Things that will keep me occupied for hours without me actually having to worry about them and bring the problems home. The money will come in handy too. That goes without saying. I’m getting more excited and nervous about this as it gets closer. It’s not back to work as I knew it – it will be a long phased return, because there’s no way I could handle full time work straight away after this. And I’m worrying I’ll have forgotten too much. I’m worrying I won’t be able to concentrate enough to do the job I used to do. I’m worried I just don’t have the organisational skills to do it anymore. I’m also worried it will bore the hell out of me and I’ll regret giving up my wonderful days at home. Two years at home is a long time. I think I’ll miss having quiet time, me time.

I just think I’m trying to live a normal life again. I’ve been tagging along on more of the weekend outings instead of hiding away at home. I’ve been making the effort to see friends more than I have in a long time. And I think that going back to work is another piece of that puzzle. Another routine that needs to start back up again to make our family life more normal. I think that when I go back to work, it will be the marker that says ‘everything is okay’.

I’m under no illusions. I know that I’m not all clear, and that I probably will never be. But I’ve come this far without a new site cropping up. Six months since my operation. If I’m having scans every three or four months then I’ll be due next month or November and I’ll find out if I’m still getting away with it.

The longer I get away with it, the less chance there is of it coming back.