Stay Home

I discussed that in counseling recently; not feeling guilty about taking care of myself when my body needs it. Anna, my counselor while Jillian is on maternity leave, asked me what I do when I decide to stay home from work, and I didn’t really know what to answer.

I was confused because, as a rule, I don’t decide to stay home.

Even before cancer, before I was an adult, ever since I was a school child, I have disliked missing my daily responsibilities. I have always felt that I am obliged to attend school or show up to work unless I had physical and contagious symptoms of illness.

It has to be different now. I explored that when I wrote my Limitations. This week I can feel my body wearing down. My hemoglobin is down. Not as low yet as when I went to the ER in the night. But I recognize the feeling. And today’s chemo again will only make it worse by the end of the week.

It makes me nervous to look at my calendar this week. I have a list as long as my rocketbook of things to wrap up in the office. I want to cross them off and feel accomplished. I want to feel normal. Each one would likely take about 25 minutes of concentration, I could get them all done in a day and a half along with all the necessary interruptions from phone calls, residents, and new tasks. However, I don’t believe I’ll be 100% focused tomorrow; I don’t believe I’ll be as much as 75% myself tomorrow. I’ll have steroids amping up my mood, but that just makes me want to get up and do things, the trouble is, walking from my office to the bathroom will leave me breathless. Maybe I’ll wear uncomfortable shoes to remind me to stay seated as much as possible.

Also my schedule outside of the office this week is full too. I have a couple telehealth counseling sessions this week. Wednesday I have three medical appointments to conclude all before noon. My annual physical with the primary care physician first (I laughed when it came up on my calendar, I see an army of specialists several times a week because I am not well!), then next I see my surgeon to discuss surgery of my lumpectomy (I anticipate an exam and then schedule a combination mammogram or MRI or ultrasound), then I have the 1-hour glucose challenge to test for gestational diabetes at Quest Diagnostics for my pregnancy. I’ll have the morning off, and I’ll have to play the afternoon by ear. I’ve no idea how exhausted I’ll feel after all the running around, I don’t want to end up in an medical emergency.

When I need a blood transfusion for more hemoglobin soon, I’d like to go at a convenient time when George has a caregiver, and perhaps I won’t have to be awake all night. To that end, my Roswell team have added an impromptu visit on Friday morning to test my blood levels again. If they’re no good, then I’ll go to the ER straight away and try to get in and out before Friday evening shenanigans flood the ER.

All this to say that taking care of my body this week makes me anxious for my 9-5 workload and a bit guilty for missing face time in the office.

So my instinct tells me to at least try to get into the office as much as possible. But I have to admit that its wiser to play it safe and give myself extra time to not rush, not expect too much. The kinder way of phrasing that is to say if I go slow, I can have time to catch my breath between tasks, and get it right the first time. Also I need to give myself grace to stay home if I need.

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