Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Waiting For FMLA Part 1

I had a little over two months to wait before my surgery.  That's never a good thing when it's me.  I had way too much time to investigate my situation, read what other people had been through, and think in general.  Fortunately for me, it was Christmas season and that gave me something else to focus on.  I had a whole porch full of decorations to put out and a house full for inside too.  I had presents to buy, order, wrap and ship.  I had music to play and cooking to do.  Lots of things that kept me busy every year during the holidays.

This year, I did something that I'd never done before.  I took a little time off from work for vacation during December.  I'd always worked in retail and various other seasonal fields, so I'd never had the chance to do that.  This seemed like the perfect time to try it.  My husband joined me.  We didn't plan a big trip, because my son had to go to school.  We didn't want to take off and leave him for a week or anything, so I planned some things in the area for us to do.

The first thing that I planned was for us to go and watch a live taping of the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.  My husband had always wanted to do that.  We are both huge fans.  I managed to get the tickets, so we went and spent the day in Manhattan.  We went to Rockefeller Center, saw the windows at Saks Fifth Avenue, went to the winter carnival at Bryant Park, and ate at Chef Pho's in Hell's Kitchen.  We also stopped off in Times Square while waiting to get into the show and I saw a taxi getting a ticket.  I'd never seen that before.  At any rate, Vice President Biden was on the show that night and it was a great time.

I also planned one overnight trip to Foxwoods Casino.  It was nice to go out and do something for the night and not have to worry about how much I drank while gambling at the bar.  It was a really good time, and I came out ahead for once.  It almost balanced out what my husband lost.  We did a lot of walking, tried some of Guy Fieri's new restaurant's food and looked in the outlet stores.  It was relaxing and gave me and my husband some time alone without things hanging over our heads.

The third thing that I did that week was to go with my son and two of the ladies that I help support and some coworkers to what we call Holiday Lights.  This is at Lake Compounce, our local amusement park.  They do the whole park up with Christmas lights, and have Santa Claus and music all over the park.  There are some rides open and a whole lot of great food.  My son and I try to do it every year.

What I accomplished that week was to relax a little.  I had the stress of the holidays, some extra stress from work situations, and of course the upcoming mastectomy on my mind.  I probably shouldn't have taken the time off, but I really needed it.  My mind works nonstop, 24 hours a day when life is normal.  I have trouble sleeping on a good night, much less when I'm all stressed out.  I felt bad about using the time, but I felt much better after relaxing a bit.

By the time my little vacation was over, I only had a month left until I could schedule my surgery.  I was feeling a little better, and was less nervous about the surgery.  I thought I had it all under control.  As I soon found out, and have found out many times over during this time, I did not have it all under control.  I come from a family full of people who can never have one simple problem.  There seems to have to be multiple problems.  In my next entry, you will learn about the complications that arose to make my journey so much more complicated.

Take my advice.  I know that with the crappy expensive insurance that we are all forced to have these days, the idea of spending money right before you know you have to have a major surgery seems totally irresponsible.  Think about this however.  You are about to go through a life changing experience.  You quite literally may not be the same person after.  Take some time.  Enjoy the life that you have.  It may never be the same again.  I'm not saying that it will get bad, but it will be different; even if just ever so slightly.  I'm glad I took the time.  I'm glad I spent that time with my husband and we got to enjoy each other before all of this happened.  It was a gift and it's a gift that everyone should take the time to enjoy.

I hope this helps someone struggling with difficulties and wondering what to do next while going through breast cancer.  If I help just one person, it's worth it.

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