The Return to Work!

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Well, it’s official. Life is truly returning back to normal, just three weeks after being discharged from the hospital. And I couldn’t be happier! “Normal” feels so good!!

I talked to my boss yesterday morning, hoping to return to work for half days today, and in a matter of minutes she had an appointment set up with occupational health for my “fit to return” exam! I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty curious what this could possibly involve. Thankfully at this point I have no shame where peep shows are involved, but no… Just a couple questions. They were more concerned I hadn’t had a fit test for a TB mask this year. Me: “but I don’t have direct patient contact anymore.” Them: “but you’re still a nurse. We could need you in a mass casualty situation.” Uh okay… You really don’t want me doing CPR right now (no life-saving gonna be happening here with these recovering pecs!) but if that’s what it takes to get me back, so be it! And that was that.

So I was quickly on my way over to the main hospital. My mission: get my new office key, since all the locks were changed when I was out. Thankfully they had it at the police department and it was not, in fact, a hint! But my mission was so much more than completed. I can’t begin to explain the outpouring of support… I was speechless. So much love. So many hugs… I promise they don’t hurt me! But they may hurt YOU with these boulder boobs!! Also I have to laugh – I’m totally not offended when everyone’s eyes first go to the foobs when they first see me – but it cracks me up, and I would totally do the same thing. It happened over and over, and I just laughed and laughed! Thankfully they look fantastic so I have no shame in showing them off! I reconnected with all my coworkers and word got out fast that I was back – I hadn’t told anyone in case there was a snafu with my return. But not even an hour passed before I finally made it to my office and this was welcoming me:

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So sweet. Oh and the dark chocolate and card. Can’t forget the chocolate!! After a couple hours I was beat (my endurance, while improving daily, is still lacking post surgery/recovery), so I headed home and took it easy for the rest of the night, feeling great about my return the following day. The big productive thing I did was put all of my “progress” pictures in a PowerPoint so they’re all in order for a newfound friend that’s going through this soon herself. And now it’s ready to send to other women that are up against this themselves. I was a little overwhelmed to see how quick the progress was, when every one of those 16 days with drains was a tad long! But seriously. It’s astounding.

Thankfully, everything went fantastically today as well for my first “official” day back. Felt so great to be back in my office, erasing my email away message, changing back my voicemail greeting. I don’t know that I actually got anything done, but did some epic calendar planning and I got my “GSD” (get shit stuff done) list complete to tackle in the days and weeks ahead. Thankfully I have some amazing help that stepped up while I was gone, so I didn’t return to a disaster!

I continued to be dumbfounded by everyone’s support, and it makes my heart so full to know how much I was missed. Can’t believe that with the conference, pre-op, and surgery itself it worked out to exactly a month, to the day, that I was gone. That time just FLEW!! It was so cathartic to erase the (Pinterest-inspired) dry erase board on my door today… And then the bottom message quickly appeared! :)

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I’m doing pretty well this afternoon. Could easily fall asleep right now, but know I would never be able to sleep tonight. Foobs are a bit uncomfortable, but certainly bearable. It’s really just the expanders and their inherent discomfort. Concern got the best of me yesterday when I saw the sliding left expander while laying down stretching, but my wonderful plastic surgeon assured me that while it bugs him too, it is common and easily correctable. It’s just that the expanders aren’t sutured in (so they can, you know, expand) and the left one simply didn’t adhere to the muscle as much as the right, so it moves laterally. Thankfully a tight sports bra helps immensely. Though that gets to you too after awhile! Oh well. I can wear it 24/7 for a few months. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I’m looking forward to scheduling the exchange so I can start counting down!! All in good time, I know!

So I’m back in the normal working world… And it feels so good! I’m truly grateful to work with such amazing people, who make returning to work something I looked forward to. My work family never ceases to amaze me! I’ve got plans to begin returning to my normal social life with friends this weekend, and I can’t wait! Though I’m sure I’ll be grateful for the rest day of Labor Day. Hoping to be “back back” at work next week. A successful day indeed – so exciting to be enjoying “the other side!” Just a few more months and this will all be a memory… Thankfully an overwhelmingly positive one, despite the situation!