There have been signs that I’m ready to go back to work.
For one, I’m driving.
^^^ This was not me. I swear.
Two: I am watching an embarrassing amount of daytime TV.
This includes not only the usual suspects like Hoda and Jenna, but also deeper cuts like Magnum, P.I., reruns and many, many Hallmark Channel movies.
Three: I am basically stalking our mail carrier and felt like I’d hit the lottery the day that SEVEN magazines arrived in one fell swoop.
Four: I became bored enough to cook. I made curried carrot soup and a butternut squash quinoa dish (below). I made peanut butter and banana baked oatmeal cups.
Five: I spent 45 minutes at Whole Foods. I walked out with $22 worth of freshly cut fruit. This is a lot less fruit than you would imagine.
Most medical sites suggest that mastectomy recovery requires 4-6 weeks off of work.
I’m giving myself 2.5.
While work has successfully gone on without me, I know that my partners and staff are picking up a lot of slack. This cannot be an indefinite strategy.
I also derive a lot of my identity and personal satisfaction from my job, and I miss the patient interactions, professional collegiality and intellectual stimulation.
I know that when I return, there has to be a New Normal.
What this looks like, I don’t know.
I know I will need intermittent time off as I undergo chemotherapy. There will be more surgeries. Possibly the cancer will only progress and not regress. Maybe I will have a recurrence. Perhaps there will be many.
And if I use this diagnosis as a time of personal reckoning, I should also consciously craft a New Normal where work is not the primary thing that gives me identity and satisfaction.
I hope I can find a balance, but odds are I’m not going to figure this out before Rush Hour on Monday morning, when I’ll be slowly crawling along 494W with the rest of the commuting crowd.
For once the gridlock will feel good.