I spend a lot of time thinking about work.
Specific to my current job, I miss my friends. It’s only in my adult life that I have developed such strong friendships; and most of these relationships have originated at this job and my last.
In a more general way, I miss the feeling of accomplishment. I miss being acknowledged for my work and contribution to the world (if you’ll indulge me).
I suppose I also harbor some guilt about the whole situation. When I was first diagnosed, I thought I would have surgery, take some pills, and *poof* be ready to go back to work in a few weeks. Then I learned my situation was more severe, but hey – there are plenty of people who work through treatment. I thought I would start on this pill and be back to work in four weeks – by the end of 2011.
But that came and went, as did another week-long hospital stay. It’s five months later, and I’m not feeling good. This week I had another bout of the infamous abdominal pain. This time, though, I knew what was happening and ceased the Xalkori before it put me in the hospital. I’m taking a few days off and will restart soon at the lowest possible dose: 250mg once a day.
I want (and plan) to go back to work; I just don’t know when. Some days I don’t know if I’ll ever be well enough to handle the stress and hours. And that absolutely terrifies me. While I’m still planning to return to work, the illness seems… temporary. I can trick myself to think maybe my life hasn’t been turned upside down.
Here’s a little secret… In the days leading up to my fundraiser, “Hop for Hope,” I didn’t take my Xalkori. Before you gasp with disapproval, I will tell you that I cleared it with my doctor. I wanted to have the energy to not only endure, but enjoy, the event.
I share this because on this very good day, I was struck with the intrinsic desire to have purpose again. I was afforded the opportunity to make a small speech, and I realized how much I missed addressing a group who was actually interested in what I had to say. It felt like someone took a defibrillator to my ego!
Two weeks prior to that, I had a different sort of self-esteem epiphany. I was having lunch with a friend, and she shared that her child seems depressed. My friend doesn’t suffer herself, but she’s a great mother who recognized that her child may benefit from speaking with a therapist.
As someone who has lived her entire life dragging the ball and chain of depression, I thought maybe I could shed some light on how her child might be feeling. We talked for a while, and by the time we parted ways, I felt like I had really helped her. And in that way, maybe I helped her child too.
Today I started thinking about what’s next. Or, perhaps, what’s now. If I’m not ready to go back to work, is there anything I can do? And not just something to keep me busy. I have napping for that.
No, I want to uncover a hidden talent, a special power. My one friend ominously says, “who knows where you might go from here…” It’s soon time I figure that out.