Today was my first day back in the office. I won’t lie, I was nervous going in. I didn’t know what to expect. Would I be strong enough to complete the day? Would I be able to think on my feet and jump back into the mix? Was I still welcome?
I kept these thoughts to myself as we drove in, but Carey knew I was a little anxious.
When I got the office, people were very surprised to see me. I got warm welcomes, hugs, and a few hearty slaps on the back. Everyone was amazed at how skinny I am now – they were astounded at how well I looked. I think they expected me to come back completely emaciated and hairless. They didn’t expect to see me happy, energetic, and full of life.
Truth be told – I felt good. To be back in my working environment, surrounded by adults and having adult conversation was the most amazing concept to me. Of course, I spent a lot of time going office-to-office and repeating the same mantra to the questions asked:
- Yes, I’m feeling ok.
- I’m getting stronger every day.
- No, I didn’t lose all my hair, but it did thin out a lot.
- I still have a feeding tube in my belly. See the outline on my shirt?
- I’m back full time.
- … and more.
I didn’t begrudge these questions. They were all sincere – and this is the team of people who always, daily, asked Carey how I was doing and if they could help in any way. People were a little disconcerted at how “healthy” I look considering what I just went through.
If I look healthy – it’s because I did what the doctors told me. I took the time I needed. I rested when I should rest. I started activity again when it was time. I took all my medicines and I was an obedient patient. Still, there’s more to it. Many people come out of chemo and radiation to the head and neck much worse off then I.
So what is my secret? I don’t know. It’s a combination of the X factor of positive attitude, my age, and the excellent health care I received during treatment. I don’t know what I did and I certainly don’t know that if I ever have to go through this again that I’ll fare so well.
So I spent the first half of the day re-installing all of my developer tools on my laptop. I hadn’t been approached about what work I could be focusing on, though, and I was feeling a little nervous. I took the initiative to round up with managers and architects to see what projects were in the hopper- but I wasn’t sure where I should go.
I was very pleased when more than one team expressed an interest in having me work with them. In the end, I have 1-2 projects I’ll be helping with in the immediate term – and we’ll see where I land afterwards.
Lunch was AWESOME. Allow me to explain:
I have been feeding using my tube for 3 months now. 99.9% of my nutrition has been poured in my belly and, frankly, I am tired of it. So Saturday I decided to just stop feeding in my tube. I have been eating like the rest of you. Of course, I need to keep a lot of water handy as I have no saliva to speak of yet, and I can eat only soft foods, but I am now off my feeding tube.
So Carey and I went to Joe’s Crab Shack for lunch and I had the crawfish etouffee. Oh my GOD, it was DELICIOUS! I couldn’t finish it, but I was making really disturbing sounds as I slurped up the gumbo. Carey was almost embarrassed and patrons at the next table covered their children’s ears. It was that good.
I’m going back on Thursday. I want some more!
Anyway – by 4:00pm I was exhausted. I could barely keep my eyes open. I made it through to 5:00pm, but I clearly have some more strength to regain. I am looking forward to it.
It’s great to be back to work.