It has been some time since my last post. Suffice it to say, there has been a lot to cover in that time. I wanted to feel secure in the major transition of getting back to work, doing my job well, and staying connected with my wife and young son before I got back into writing. I fully plan on retroactively going back over the 3 months following brain surgery, and covering a variety of topics I hope can be helpful to others getting ready to battle a similar situation.
The most important new information I have to divulge is that the biopsy of my brain tumor came back as BENIGN!! I am so thankful for this news, and any time I am having a difficult day, I try to remember that 4 months ago things seemed a whole lot more ominous. One of the more difficult things to deal with post-surgery (after the effects of steroids and immediate surgical haze start to dissipate) is waiting to find out the results of that biopsy. Unfortunately, the results are anything but instantaneous, and can take weeks or months depending on the type of tumor. My advice, like so much else in dealing with a brain tumor and imminent brain surgery is to only focus on what you can control in the here and now. You have enough going on, whether it is pre-surgery where you are trying to prepare in a variety of ways, or post-op and you are trying to not fall down when going to the bathroom. So when you find yourself thinking about the worse-case scenarios, stop yourself and focus on something more constructive in the here and now. I found that creating lists of things I wanted to do when I was “back to normal” was helpful. I am going to write in more detail on specific ways I found helpful in visualizing this road back to normalcy, and where I found hang-ups.
In the interest of recapping further, I have returned to a full work schedule (behind a desk – no heavy machinery). I went back to work about two and a half months following the operation. The general consensus I collected in the months leading up to my surgery at Mass. General, was that the timeframe to expect to go back to work ranged from 2 to 4 months.
While I have now been back in the swing of full time work for over a month, it felt at times that I would never get there. Remember to ease back into things, and only go back once you are 100% ready for a full-time work load. As well intentioned and caring as co-workers are, once they see you at your desk you are assumed to be 100% ready. People who have covered for you during your absence, are now more than happy to have you back to turn over that responsibility. There is a grace period of about a week or two that people hold back on giving you too much on your plate, but once you’ve been back for that amount of time you are assumed to be ready. So the most important advice I feel I can give in terms of work is to only return when you are certain you can handle your old responsibilities 100%. If this is a desk job, try waking up at your normal times and sitting at your kitchen table with a laptop for a few days in a row. If you find you are not capable of web surfing, assume you’re not ready for the stressors of work for 8 hours. In the event you are in the trades or manual labor, this applies double for you, as you will need not only your doctor’s ok, but conditioning enough to handle the return. So as with anything in this journey, take your time and do what is right for YOU.
I hope this is helpful, and that I will be posting more now that I am getting back to my old self again.