Get to Work

On December 6th 2012, I was sitting in my office when I got a call that I needed to be admitted to the hospital for Acute Leukemia.  I didn’t say anything to my co-workers, and quietly packed up my things (ok, I told my boss since they frown on us just leaving 2 hours into the day without saying anything).  I looked around my office one last time and wondered when I would be back and what lay ahead.  I then walked out of my office and into the world of leukemia.  Today, almost 2 months to the day I walked out, I walked back in to my office to work again.

Stuck in Traffic
Have you ever been in a traffic jam?  You’re sitting there with someplace to be and you could get there if it wasn’t for the stupid traffic.  You can’t change lanes and you can’t weave around cars.  You sit there and alternate between the gas and the brake as you creep along.  Stop, Go, Stop, Go, Stop, Go.  That’s what life feels like right now.  I have some place to be.  I have ideas to implement.  I have work to do.  Vacations to take.  Family events to attend, but instead I’m stuck in leukemia treatment traffic.  My chemo starts, STOP.  My number creep up, GO!  I have side effects, STOP.  And then they subside, GO!.  And then my chemo starts again, STOP.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, I’m just explaining.  Just as things begin to return to normal, traffic will stop again.  It makes it hard to get momentum and be invested in things, especially at work.  I look forward to the day the traffic jam clears.
The New Normal
I write about things getting back to normal, and what I really mean by that is getting back to the way my life was before leukemia.  The normal routines, the normal problems, the normal benefits.  But the reality is that that normal is gone.  To try and hold on to it as it was would be foolish.  Today, blood draws are normal.  Chemo is normal.  Naps are normal (not complaining about that one).  Even when my treatments are done, my new normal is that of a leukemia survivor.  There will be events to attend and causes to advocate for.  There will be more blood draws and a fear of relapse.  Granted there will be many things that overlap between my old normal and my new normal, but the important thing is to remember that I can’t yearn for the normal of old exactly the way it was.  I need to embrace my new normal, adjust to the changes, and be glad for each day I get to experience it.
The First Day of School
Today I went back to work.  It was my first day in the office in about 2 months, and it felt like my first day back to school after summer break. I got out of my car and walked in with a lot of anticipation. Will people recognize me?  What will they say?  Who will I see?  I saw a lot of people that I hadn’t seen in awhile.  I shared a lot of stories from my time away.  And most importantly, I smiled a lot 😉
While I’ll only be in the office for this week and next week (I’ll be back in the hospital on 2/18) it’s really good to be back.  I love seeing my coworkers and I really appreciate their support.  I feel like I can get more done and contribute more while I’m there in person.  I truly value not just the working relationships I have, but the friendships I have as well.
Sing it With Me Now, “Working, 9-5!”
Actually, I made it in to the office at about 7:45 and stayed until 4.  I did a lot better than I thought I would.  I was dragging a bit around 2 and set the goal to stay at least until 3.  Then 3 came and went and I felt pretty good.  Someone brought me Popeyes for lunch and someone else brought me a mountain dew, which I drank with my chicken.  I also got a Starbucks.  Another person saw me from behind and confused me with the other bald guy at work.  Guess maybe I need to differentiate myself somehow.  One person suggested I write “The Strength It Takes” around my head.  Maybe I’ll try that 😉
And the Powerball is…
It’s kind of anti-climactic these days since my numbers are up, but I’ll keep this going for you Robstrong stalkers…
WBC – 7.8
Hemoglobin – 9.2
Platelets – 314
ANC – 6.4
Don’t fret about the platelets dropping.  It’s normal for the platelet count to fluctuate in healthy adults.  Although, Lindsey has been hitting me more lately, so perhaps the platelets are being used to clot some internal injuries.
A Duck Dynasty Prayer
Father, it’s hard not to look too far ahead.  Each day is important.  Each step holds a lesson, but sometimes I wish I could skip a few steps ahead.  A few days ahead.  A few months ahead.  Renew my patience Father and help me to concentrate on the victories of today.  Tomorrow will bring new challenges and new opportunities.  I pray I can face them anew and be strong for you.  Thank you for another day.  Amen.

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