I can hardly believe how quickly those four weeks flew by! This past Tuesday was my first day back to work post-surgery. I remember this feeling when coming back to work from maternity leave after each baby. The first few weeks, I felt completely overwhelmed. It seemed like so much had changed during my absence – and the task of getting through all of the emails felt impossible! But then, I got back into the swing of things. And, within 2-3 weeks, I felt like I was never off. Since this leave was much shorter (4 weeks vs. 14 weeks), it only took a few days to feel like I was never off (still need a few days to be fully back in the swing of things).
The other difference is – when I came back to work after having a baby, most people knew why I was on leave. And, if they didn’t know, it was fun to share, show pictures, and brag on our newest little addition to our family.
This time – it’s AWKWARD (I am hearing my niece’s voice when I right that word – Ha!).
Truly, it is much different. I was only off for four weeks, and work has been hectic, so I don’t know if my absence was truly noticed. If it was noticed, I am not sure if they know why I was gone. Here are a couple of examples of “awkward” situations:
- A former boss called the other day. I thought he was calling because I was back to work. He asked “how are you?” so I assumed that he knew. So I said, “Great! Pathology was clear – Praise God! So, I am happy to be back to work and moving forward.” What followed was…COMPLETE SILENCE! He didn’t know. It had been a while since we talked (again, former boss), so it makes complete sense that he wouldn’t know. So, as you can imagine, the rest of the call was…AWKWARD!
- After that experience, I decided I wasn’t going to bring it up unless the other person did. So, I had one phone call and one live meeting with people I haven’t connected with in 6+ months. They didn’t bring it up, so neither did I. Now, I am worried that they will find out and wonder why I didn’t tell them – UGH!
Just like my children didn’t come out with “Owner’s Manuals” on how to raise them to be the best God-loving, respectable, kind and independent adults, I didn’t leave the hospital with a “users guide” for talking about this (or not talking about this) with others.
WOULD SOMEONE PLEASE WRITE THAT PLEASE?? MAKE IT EASIER FOR ALL THOSE WHO WILL FOLLOW?
With all that in mind, here is what I can offer today:
- If you know someone who has / has had cancer, let them know that you know. You can say something like, “I heard about your diagnosis. Please know you are in my thoughts / prayers. I am sure you have talked about it a lot, so I am happy to talk about that or other topics. Just know I am here.”
- If you have a conversation with someone who has / has had cancer and you didn’t know – PLEASE DON’T BE OFFENDED! It is a hard topic to bring up – believe me, it doesn’t just “come up” in conversations. And, there usually isn’t a good time to share it.
- If you know someone who has / has had cancer and you didn’t reach out – IN MY OPINION, there is no need to apologize! At least for me, I know that you care. I am thankful for the kind thoughts or prayers. And, our friendship is not based on how much we have connected during this process. I love you just as much today as I did before this whole ordeal. At least for me, no apology needed!
I thank You for all of Your blessings through this journey. You ensured we found the cancer early, You ensured we had the right doctors & treatments, You ensured we had the best family & friends for support, and You cured me!
Please help me to find the words to share this experience in a way that glorifies You. I pray that You allow me the honor to use this testimony to help bring others into Your kingdom.
In Jesus’ name,