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Mar 3, 2019 01:45AM
Good morning, everyone,
Sitting here in the California rain with my coffee. The house is quiet. So good to read your posts, and the work conversation (thank you, Pots and Pat and Jackboo and everyone else) feels so spot on to me. The struggle around whether to continue full time, part time, our new energy levels and post-treatment bodies, the relationships with coworkers/colleagues -- all of it speaks to me right now. I am also struggling with the reduced emotional investment in work itself, and the desire to do other things.
Like Pots, I have spent years doing work that I found compelling and meaningful. I have enjoyed some small but important successes. I've had good deal of attachment to my identity in my field, and in my role as an employee. In no way has it been perfect but it's been a core part of my life that I've enjoyed and grown in. But things have changed after cancer, and now, after this recurrence and working for about a month, I've been bowled over by my changed emotional state.
After the first diagnosis and treatment, coming back to work felt like a triumph. My coworkers were extremely supportive (and still are, bless them), and cheered. I am so grateful to them. Life went back to some kind of full-time, routine "normal" for awhile.
But then the recurrence happened. After chemotherapy and major surgery, my energy levels tanked. More significantly, my emotional state this time around is much more sensitive. I'm struggling much more with depression and anxiety, and small work conflicts that - before - would have barely registered with me are now taking on a much bigger magnitude and causing a lot of rumination on my part. I know this is the depression, and I'm getting help for it. But it's very difficult. I'm not as emotionally resilient as I was before. Even returning sometimes to my work desk, and sitting those first few minutes in the morning, can trigger a few quiet tears. I'm reminded. You know what I mean? I'm reminded of the old life. Of how much has changed. Of how I'm not "on top of my game." My short-term memory is shot. I feel deflated.
And I know the risk of recurrence for TNBC a third time is high. "Don't dwell on that," says my support circle, and I get that. But like so many of you I am struck with a sense of urgency about how to spend my now-ever-presently-alerted-to limited time on this planet. What, like Mary Oliver writes, will I do with this one wild and precious life?
And that's the question our encounter with mortality forces us to ask. No easy answers. No one, straight path.
I'm leaning towards less money, more time at home with family/writing/supporting others/puttering -- being. I'm leaning towards honoring my need to withdraw from the machinations of the money-earning world. What that looks like logistically is unknown, and will certainly mean sacrifices. But time is all I've got. And it's all I want.
Forgive the long post. The support and shared life here is wonderful, and I am so grateful to you all for being here.
My blog: pinkstinks.blog/
3/2016, IDC, Right, 6cm+, Stage IIIC, Grade 3, 21/21 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
4/18/2016 Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right
4/2018, IDC, Right, 5cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2-
4/26/2018 Taxotere (docetaxel), Xeloda (capecitabine)
AC + T (Taxol)
Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes