I realize it is probably a very natural human reaction once some big trauma, event, or happening occurs, and then "ends" to someone you know and the outcome is positive, that the majority around that person want to know - when do you go back to work?
Overtly - the message is positive - you are a capable working person, and thus you are going back? right? resuming normal life, normal circadian rhythms and daily routines. A busy agenda. A calendar full of stuff.
However, subliminal in this text is several things:
a) you must want to go back to your former working life
b) you are capable of doing said work
c) and you are willing to provide information on above - to anyone who asks...
So far, it is the number one question right after - how are you - when i see people after a long period. They know the treatment outcome, and that i am still standing, but are oblivious, thank God, of the longer term bigger picture stuff. And really, why should they be?
A recent article on what happened to survivors of 9/11 bears similar witness to the fact that once the [literal] debris is cleared, there is an expectation to move on. But 9/11 survivors are find it hard - they make massive life altering career moves; they divorce; they re-marry; they don't know what to do.
But what if you can't / don't know how to move? what if the [figurative] debris is still there, and lies before you at every step? A typical reaction from people caught in a war zone. Post-traumatic stress.
With apologies to Dr. Buckman re his recent article on Jack Layton, but for cancer patients, it is a war zone, and you must outwit and outlast your foe. Of course, you are not a lesser being if cancer takes you down. Cancer is a cell-destroying machine. But you do wage war. Even if you are unaware of what that means while in the trenches. You do your best while in the thick of it, but it is shit luck what side you come out on. You dodge the bullet or not.
But what it means comes home to roost when the immediate threat is gone. If you are still standing, albeit, raggedly, and with fewer working parts - then there is the vast gaping hole of the future. Really, what matters? money? job? self-fulfillment? Artistic pursuits? paying the mortgage? seeing a shrink?
I have learned, perhaps most significantly, that we are in control of our own minds, when needed. We control the way in which we deal with bad news. Not the news itself, but our reaction to it. I am also opening the door to the idea that the life we lead provides us with signs - signals - of where we are swerving off course, health and life wise.
Michael said to me that when he met me, I was working valiantly towards self-sustainability, doing work I did not find fulfilling, and trying to provide for my kids single-handedly, perpetual motion and positivity.
I have been in a vortex of movement, change, stress, and whatever since about, oh, 2001.
So, lying in bed last night, I thought - ease up, listen to the message. Words told to me by a million souls.
I have chosen, seriously chosen - after weeks of self-flagellation and remorse, to say - fuck it. I will not think about work or anything else until the parts of my body that hurt on a daily basis do not do so anymore; or until I can get through a day without a nap; or when I am weaned off pain killers / sleep aids / nerve pills.....
Essentially, when I am ready.