Firsts

In just a few days, the calendar will mark the one-year anniversary of my diagnosis. Hard to believe that one year ago, I received the call that would change my life irrevocably. More reflections on that to come as I hit that date, but this week marks a few firsts, or at least firsts post-treatment.

Tomorrow, I will make a two-hour trip to meet with a new client for a few days, my first solo voyage in more than a year. I used to travel alone for work all the time and didn’t think twice about it. Then I got sick and weak and needed to be taken to treatment, or struggled to take myself there. So this is sort of a big deal.

This will also be my first “work” since I left my job to go on medical leave shortly after my diagnosis, followed by my official retirement (the world’s most inauspicious retirement at that). But a former colleague contacted me while I was in treatment, wanting to hire me for a short consulting assignment, and he was willing to wait until I was stronger to start, so how could I say no? On the one hand it will be great to think about something new and exercise some slightly rusty professional skills; on the other hand, it’s a little scary and I’m hoping that I haven’t become stupid with cancer. I don’t think I have, but you never know. I’m also looking forward to meeting new people who (except one) didn’t know me pre-cancer, so I won’t have to explain my changed appearance or the hell of the past year. And taking a nice long drive alone with a good audiobook is never a bad thing.

On a more practical note, packing for this trip was more challenging than I expected. I literally have not worn business attire in a year, and my body has certainly changed in that time, but slowly coming back. For many months, putting pants on was challenging enough, so having to put together outfits and figure out what to bring and what to wear was a bit daunting. Needless to say, I’m bringing too much, but at least there are no sweatpants in the mix.

I feel strong and capable today, and up to the trip. How’s that for a first?

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