Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Cancer seems to be working full time to defeat me, so I have to work double shifts to stay one step ahead.
And that doesn't leave any room in my life for my job.
Although my medical leave officially began last week, the reality of my situation is only beginning to sink in now. On Monday, I went into the office for a few hours to wrap up some loose ends and give my boss all of the passwords that she needs to access various programs on my computer. (Tip to the TP community: Avoid creating passwords like "So-and-so is a poo-poo head" even if that helps you remember them.) And I also had to turn in my key to the building: an act that shredded my heart just as much as it liberated me from my job responsibilities.
When I left the office on Monday, I tiptoed out the back door after sending an email announcing my leave. Despite everything that has happened, there's a part of me that hopes I'll wake up one morning and be completely healed and ready for the labor force again.
On Tuesday a work colleague and friend I've known for decades visited. The few hours we spent together mixed reminiscing and discussing resources at Kaiser that I haven't yet tapped into. He also expanded my support network by offering to accompany me to my Erbitux treatments or other medical appointments. And he made me giggle —well, I tried my best— by showing me a photo of the two of us from 20 years ago in which I'm sporting two pretzels in place of eyeballs.
Yesterday another friend —probably mindful that my new income situation will force me to cut back on movie outings and shopping sprees for used DVDs at Amoeba— generously gave me a gift subscription to Netflix.
And on Sunday a friend I met through AIDS/LifeCycle slipped a card to me at an ALC holiday party. When I opened the card at home, I saw a ticket to Disneyland. This friend knows how much I love the park and also knows that I haven't been there for more than a year.
So while one of my chief fears about going on leave from my job was going stir crazy in isolation at home, I'm feeling far from isolated these days, and grateful for the support.
On Wednesday: another round of Erbitux, some blood tests and maybe a call on the social work department at Kaiser. Without the pressure of needing to return to the office, it'll be nice to handle these appointments at my own pace.
Andy, Ed, Chris E and Mel: thank you for making these early days of full time cancer-fighting easier for me.