Back to Work, Back to Reality…

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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