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.



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!


Heavenly Father,

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,


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Hello! My Name is Jennifer Muszik

I am a blogger, business consultant and executive coach

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