And just like that, 12 weeks expired and I am back to work full time. Life lately has been acclimating to this massive change.
It’s hard to convey how tired I was, how easily wrecked I can still get and how quickly things can change post transplant. To be honest, I was terrified to return to work. Schedules can be unpredictable, my work environment tends to be fast paced and I have impossibly high standards that I impose on myself. My team has been understanding, patient and kind but not sugar coating it, this has been really hard. I underestimated the toll on my decimated body.
When people ask, “so what did you do this weekend?” it seems harmless but hits like a ton of bricks because my answer is always “rest.” I have no bandwidth to push through. I can’t drink another cup of coffee to regain focus. I can’t take a walk to clear my head. I don’t have plans after a day’s work. I rest.
I was excited to return to work. I looked forward to reconnecting with teammates and having conversations that don’t center around my blood counts. I looked forward to using my brain — and my decades of professional experience — rather than just be sick or just be healing. But the reality is that I couldn’t have known how hard it would be — mentally, physically and emotionally.
Do I wear a wig on this meeting or showcase my emerging hair?
Do I have time to stretch my legs between meetings to ensure I can still walk?
Am I holding up my end of the work bargain and performing well?
How much do I share?
How much do I conceal?
The constant uncertainty and fluctuation from day to day is draining. The mental and emotional gymnastics of being ill in a world that doesn’t slow down is difficult. I’m still dependent on people for so much so work became a small sliver of independence that buoys my spirit. I couldn’t know without trying and experiencing and I will keep advocating for myself as my needs change day by day and hour by hour.
Much like all my posts, the takeaway is this is really hard, healing takes time and I have to keep going and trying because giving up is not an option.