It’s back to work I go! Yesterday was my first day back and it went fine. It was somewhat of a short day, as they all will be this week, due to the drop off and pick up timing at the kids’ camp. It was made even shorter by plenty of hallway chats, hugs, and check-ins with everyone – I was really feeling the co-worker love!
I had originally planned to take a full six weeks off after my surgery, but changed my mind once I learned that I’d need chemotherapy. Contrary to popular belief, I did NOT come back early because I was bored at home! I was only out for just over three weeks, and between actual surgery recovery, a zillion doctor’s appointments, and amazing and fabulous guests and friends who all came to visit me, I was extremely un-bored! Only the last weekend of my leave was I even starting on some projects around the house.
My company’s leave policy is pretty flexible, and my understanding is that cancer is an ADA-protected disability, so job security (at least due to cancer) is not really too much of a concern. However, given the nature of my job, I’d really like to stay involved with the day-to-day of my project as much as possible; I think it’ll be better for me (professionally) in the long run once all this is over.
So, the reason I decided to go back now is that I feel mostly fine right now. Yeah, Stumpy hurts a little, which disrupts my sleep sometimes, but nothing that a little Advil and caffeine can’t help. And, more to the point, nothing compared to how I’ll feel during chemo. I figure I’d rather work while I’m feeling ok and save the time off for later when I really need it.
The chemo regimen I’ll be following is pretty common for the type of breast cancer I have, which means there is a lot of discussion and information about it online. I’ve learned that lots of women, some with more physically demanding jobs than mine, work through it. It sounds like the tricky part is that you feel crappiest the days after chemo, but your immune system is at its lowest the following week.
Of course, everyone reacts to it differently, and I’ll have to see how it goes. My current plan is to work until our vacation starts on August 5. Then, my first chemo session is August 16, so I’ll take leave for that whole week. From there on out I’ll definitely take at least the chemo-day itself off (it’s an all-day thing, one day every three weeks) and whatever additional time I need depending on the level of suckiness on any given day. Who knows, maybe it’ll work, maybe it won’t. But for now, it’s nice to have been missed.