3 Years Ago
It was this day 3 years ago, the 24th of August that I walked out of work at the end of the day for an appointment with my GP to get my MRI results and never returned to work. Not a care in the world as I made my way there, expecting to be told I maybe had a chip in my bone as a result of being hit by the football, I never expected to hear the words that sent me in to a state of absolute shock.
My GP informed me that quite a large tumor was found in my leg, exactly where the ball impacted my leg and that’s where it all began I suppose. I will always remember when she phoned me to come in for my results she asked me if there was anyone that could come in with me to the appointment. I NEVER for a moment imagined it was because I was about to hear some serious news, I actually thought to myself how stupid a question it was, and as I didn’t click that it was something serious I came alone.
Needless to say I never made it back to work.
I think back to all the times I was so disheartened about the guy who accidentally hit me with the football, but the injury that all but ended my hopes of attempting my first sub 3 hour marathon was not infact an injury, but cancer. The guy who accidentally hit me with the football didn’t injure me, he saved my life!
I remember asking my specialist what would have happened if I hadn’t found out when I did, if that ball hadn’t actually hit my leg when it did and where it did. Two things were a strong probability, either my leg would have shattered above the knee while out running one day as my femur was so badly damaged, or eventually cancer type symptoms would have started.
The thing is my cancer type was so highly aggressive and had already spread to both my legs, my liver, my arm pits, and most worryingly above my neck to my facial cheeks and my sinus, too close to the brain for anyone’s liking, so long story short if the ball hadn’t hit me when it did, I probably wouldn’t have made it.
That ball hit me in the exact spot where the tumor was, there was about 30 of us running in that group, sprinting, the ball hit me, by accident, exactly where the tumor was, it still shocks me how lucky I was, it really makes me wonder, someone was watching over me that day.
Despite being diagnosed with cancer, twice, despite all the physical and mental battles I have been going through since it all began, I still feel incredibly lucky that that guy hit me with the ball, that my leg didn’t shatter, that even though I relapsed I still managed to get back in the clear, and that I am still here today and able to put on my runners and head out in to the fresh air.
Anyway I realise I have totally gone off on a tangent!
Fit To Return
I am absolutely delighted and relieved to FINALLY have a fit to return to work date which is September 3rd. It’s been a very long time coming, I was only about a month away from returning to work in 2016 after beating cancer the first time but then I relapsed, so that went out the window, it certainly has been another long wait. I guess there will be a bit (A LOT) of anticipation there about actually making it this time, making it to the day I walk back in to work.
Although my fit to return to work date is September 3rd, I have accumulated a vast amount of annual leave during my long term illness and due to that reason, my HR department at work informed me that I must take the accumulated long term illness leave before actually returning to the office. My actual return date provided after having taken the accumulated annual leave is Wednesday October 31st, that’s the day I will physically be back in work.
So although I am officially back on September 3rd, I am not actually allowed back in the office until October 31st, but at least I have the real date now!
I feel relieved, I’m happy now that I finally know, it’s the last big step for me in terms of getting back to normal life, to be working again, to be in a working environment, to be chatting to work friends every day, to have a better structure to my day. It’s been 3 long years. I wonder if my deoderant and rice cakes are still in my drawer?
Importantly it will certainly help and almost eradicate the issues of isolation I discussed in my last blog (Link Below).
“Is cancer harder to deal with when it’s all over?”
My specialist explained that I will be returning on a phased basis starting with one day a week and gradually increasing over the course of about 10/12 weeks.
It was explained to me that no matter how rested I am, returning to work will absolutely mentally and physically drain me. Even if I was to have another year off work, it would still have the same difficult effect on me because my brain will not have been made to work in so long. It would be like going out and trying to run for a few hours after 3 years of not running.
So yes, it’s going to be really hard to go back to work, really tiring going back to work, really stressful, it’s going to take it out of me both mentally and physically, but I can’t wait!! I will just have to take it day by day, and hopefully the phased return will help alleviate the expected difficulties of returning to work after such a long period out.
I’m not even going to get in to the topic of returning to work at the start of cold and flu season because that’s just something to discuss on another day!
So I have about 10 weeks to go now, I’m going to try and enjoy those 10 weeks and also continue to do what I’ve been trying for a while now, which is to exercise my brain. I’ve been trying to exercise my brain by doing crosswords, reading, brain training games, refreshing my vocabulary and so on in the hope that it might help, but at the same time I don’t think anything will be able to prepare me fully for going back to work. For someone who finds it difficult maintaining conversations for any length of time, who finds it distracting to concentrate especially if there is any background noise, and who is generally tired a lot of the time, it’s going to be a blast!
What Would You Do?
So it got me thinking, it’s not often you find yourself in a position with that amount of time off, so how can I make the most of it?
What would you do? If you had 10 weeks “off”, the time to do something cool, to go somewhere exciting, to visit somewhere you’ve never been before, what would you do? Where would you go?
For starters my girlfriend and I are heading off to Portugal in a couple of weeks for 2 weeks, we can’t wait! It’s actually a holiday we have booked since the start of the year, the timing couldn’t be more perfect 🙂
Apart from that, I have an exciting project I’ve been slowly working on so I hope to get the go ahead for that soon, all will be revealed. As for now, it’s time to relax for the weekend, and tomorrow I’ll be volunteering at my local Parkrun in Tymon Park which I really enjoy doing, when I can’t run too often it makes me happy to at least be involved in running and chatting to other people so I try to volunteer whenever I feel up to it 🙂
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