I could hardly sleep Sunday night because when I woke up on Monday morning, my life as I knew it, would be changing. My “cancer” leave was done and after 22 months of NOT working, I went back to work. But, I didn’t return to my old job. I found something new. A new job that I know will challenge me and is a great job for my skill set and experience.
So as I packed my bag yesterday morning, I was excited and nervous. I had the usual worries one does when they start a new job- about your coworkers, what the job will actually be like, what my day to day will be, my commute etc. And then I was worried about me not working for so long, my new routine, if my cancer would come up at all and chemo brain.
I don’t think I’ve ever written about chemo brain but let me tell you chemo brain is REAL and it lasts. Right after chemo, my chemo brain was bad. Really bad. I had a lot of difficulty recalling words and often lost track of my point while telling a story. I continue to have word recall issues and sometimes forget things but overall my chemo brain is better. I haven’t really been intellectually challenged in the last 22 months so I’m looking forward to this new job challenging me in ways I haven’t been in a long time.
And although I was so worried about so many things, my first day was a success! I have a lot to learn, but I’m so excited to learn! I’m excited to be challenged. I’m excited to help students and teachers. I’m excited to make a difference in other people’s lives.
But most of all, I’m excited to be “normal”. It felt so good today to make a lunch, get dressed in nice clothes, and have somewhere to go. I’m excited to learn and contribute to meaningful discussions. Oh ya, a pay cheque after 22 months will be really nice also. But being “normal” after cancer is so hard because cancer is always a part of me and my life now. As of now I haven’t disclosed my cancer diagnosis to anyone. At this point, I’m not sure I will. It was SO nice for it NOT to come up today in a conversation. I was me. Just me. And for the time I was at work, I felt like Renee without cancer and that felt pretty amazing.