I've been getting asked A LOT if I'm back at work, mixed with why I'm back at work.
Yup. I sure am. I went back on a super part time basis at the end of June. Because I wanted to. (You heard me. ... I literally asked for it.)
When I went to Texas in June and was given those first two months chemo-free, one of my first calls was to the CFO, to ask if we could meet and discuss the possibility of me either returning to work or being armed with a laptop that I could bring home. We had dinner that week, and I was at work bright and early the next Monday.
I started at two hours a day (yup, ten hours a week... told you it was very part time) and gradually worked my way up to a full part time week of 20 hours. ... I keep trying to go over four hours a day. Every once in a while, I'll hit five hours, but then the next day, I feel like death and get pushed back to 3 or 3.5 hours before I know I need to be done.
So, I've pretty much plateaued at 20 hours a week. Which is kind of frustrating, but what I've been learning in the last month is that there's a time to push boundaries, and there's a time to just be glad that I can do what I can do.
What's great about going to work:
I have a reason to get up and put real clothes on every day.
I have somewhere to be.
I have a project. And more than just having a project... it's a project that I have about 98% autonomy on, which has been really good for the parts of my brain that need to create a working wheel. I can't tell you what it has meant to me to have something to think about outside of planning my funeral. (Don't get me wrong, it's gonna be a rocking awesome funeral, and it's actually been sort of fun for my weird control-freakish self to feel like I have a guiding hand in my final party. But still, there's a sense of accomplishment that comes with this work project that I'm sort of missing when I'm working out funeral plans.)
I have responsibilities, but I also work for and with the most accommodating people. They're awesome about when I need to come in later or leave early for an appointment... or when I can't make it in. (Because some days I just flat out hurt too bad to sit up in a chair that day.)
Going to work gives my life a semblance of normality. ... Even if I stagger up the stairs at 1:00 and am putting myself into bed as soon as I can get back in my pajamas, my mornings feel like I still have my normal life.
I'm working because I want to. The bank has been awesome to me - for all the time that I've known this management team, they have been awesome to me - but this year, especially, they have worked with me as my body's taken a turn for the worse. I'm working because I want to give something back to the bank, because of all they've done for me.
I'm working because I believe in doing all that I can do, and right now I can work part time. It's been my experience that when I do everything I can do, everything else just sort of falls into place when I can't keep going anymore.
What's hard about going to work:
I have somewhere to be, where I'm required to wear real clothes. (It's both a blessing and a curse, man!) I have this project that I'm working on, and every once in a while I have a bad pain day (or... erm... days) and then I start to wonder if/when I'll be able to finish it. And that can stress me out.
But at the end of the day, I am choosing this. I am choosing it because I want to be productive, because I want to contribute what I can, where I can. Because I want to finish this project, and then I want to be strong enough to start on another one.
Because... you guys... if I live, I need to know that I've done everything that I could, for as long as I could. That I never slacked off and let go of what I think is important. ... And if I don't live, I need all the people that I love (especially the kids) to know that I did everything I could, for as long as I could. That I never slacked off and let go of what I think is important.
Here's what I think matters: showing up in your life, doing everything you can do, trying every day to be even a little bit better than you were the day before, never giving up on what matters to you (even if what matters the most is keeping a smile on your face). And, right now, what matters to me is that I'm doing everything I can.
So, yeah, I'm working. Because, right now, I can. And because I want to.