Sunday, February 21, 2010

Return to Work

Tomorrow, Monday February 22nd, I return to work.

I'm amazed at what has happened since March 27, 2007, the day I was diagnosed. It has been a week short of 35-months since I was diagnosed. And May 11, 2007 was the last day I worked before my treatment began which means it's been 33-months since I last worked.

So, when I was offered a position managing a couple senior communities with my former employer, it was amazing what came up for me. Naturally I was thrilled. I am finally back on my feet taking care of my family. In addition, I love working with seniors and I'm familiar with the company's ways of doing things so I have comfort in that. But what also came up for me was the sudden realization that I am going to be separated from my family and they will be separated from me.

Now that may not seem like much, in fact it's pretty normal for most people. You go to work, you come home. It's routine. However, for what's been almost three years, I have been relatively isolated and we have been in this one little house watching the creek flow by and spending nearly everyday with one another. Fortunately for us, spending so much time together has worked. It's actually been wonderful. Yet that is also part of why returning to work is such an emotional transition. Beau was 5-moths old when I was diagnosed. He's now 39-months old. I have been home with Beau & Daniela everyday for almost the last three years.

It's been an incredible privilege that few couples ever experience and at the same time, our closeness and need to be with one another has intensified as a result of what has kept us here, my well-being. For Daniela & me it was a powerful bond based on our partnership in keeping me alive and providing Beau a healthy and stimulating living environment. At times when it became draining and often emotionally painful, I could turn to Beau, look into his sweet little eyes and be represenced to my motivation to do what ever it took. I believe Daniela has had a similar experience. At other times when I was out in the world, and feeling too vulnerable and anxious to be out in public, probably due to my life and future being so uncertain and thus profoundly precious, I could easily retreat to the house, safely in the nest with my loved ones. At times the vulnerability that revealed itself throughout this experience, created an even closer bond between us.

Honestly, I don't believe I can fully articulate what the process and this transition has been like. What I can tell you is that preparing for me to return to work has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster for Daniela and for me. Again, it feels great to return to work and to be a self-sufficient family once again, yet I have been feeling anxious. I have to keep reminding myself that I have had a profound and life changing few years and feeling a bit anxious is to be expected.

Will I miss spending every day with my family? Absolutely. And at the same time I have noticed that Daniela can keep Beau occupied and intrigued throughout the day with ease, where I on the other hand am easily overwhelmed which he tunes into and soon after the chaos ensues. So, returning to work is great for all of us and it will equally be quite a change. Also, considering the alternative, finding my place back in the world is a great problem to have.


  1. Oh Bert, so exciting!!!! Have a great day tomorrow, rest when you need to, working all day will make coming home to your family at the end of the day even sweeter.

    You have been so strong and so brave these 35 months - I am honored to have been a witness to your journey.


  2. Hope your new job includes a guitar circle, my friend..congratulations!