Timing is Everything

5dJbiCLTTu2GYEXU5V32_red calendar

Three years ago, my boss called me into her office to announce she was leaving her position for another role in our company. Initially, I was really bummed because she and I had a great relationship and worked so well together. But then she suggested something that made me rethink her departure: “You should apply for this job.”

The thought had occurred to me, but I was nervous–this was a position with much more responsibility and a higher profile than what I was currently doing. At my core, I knew I could probably do it, but I had a nagging sensation in my gut that it wasn’t the right time.

But I decided to bite the bullet and go for it anyway. At worst, I would fail but show my company I was interested in moving up. I went through the interview process, and it actually went really well.

But I didn’t get the job. I fell just short of their top candidate, who they’d recruited from a place I’d worked at years before. I knew her, and I knew she was amazing and the perfect person for the job. I was disappointed, but somehow I felt this was right.

Two months later, I was diagnosed with cancer.

As I went through treatment, I couldn’t help thinking how much more difficult the process would have been if I were working in the job I didn’t get. It would have been pretty disastrous, to be honest. I realized my gut was right–it just wasn’t my time.

Fast-forward almost three years, and I was recently named editor-in-chief of the magazine I work on. This was the gig I so wanted, and this time, it’s right.

If there’s one thing this disease has taught me, it’s that timing is everything. It’s hard not to get frustrated when something you’re really hoping for doesn’t work out. But I’ve really come to believe that there’s a reason and plan behind why things happen when they do. Whether you believe it’s God, the universe or whatever (or you may believe I’m full of shit, and that’s fine, too), I feel there’s a higher being looking out for me. And when things like this happen, it confirms those feelings for me.

So right now, I’m enjoying it being my time. I’ve certainly endured enough bad times, so it’s nice to be on the upswing.

Advertisements

Coming Out of the Fog

fog-3

Aside from the jaw-dropping fatigue I’ve experienced with chemo, the hardest thing for me is the phenomenon known adorably as “chemo brain.”

I’d heard about this affliction before, but until I was in the throes of it myself, I had no idea how hard it would be to deal with.

Since I never really got physically ill from my first treatment, I thought I was in the clear as far as side effects go. Obviously a little brain fog and sleepiness are far superior to puking, but it just never really occurred to me how hard those “lesser” side effects would be.

I’m an editor by trade, so my job is to read and rework copy, and also to write stories for a magazine. This is work that you need a clear head to complete. Grammar and punctuation, not to mention syntax and overall organization, are sort of hard to figure out when you’re not firing on all cylinders.

Yes, this was an opportunity to take it easy and take some time off. My very kind boss and coworkers urged me to do just that. But that’s not how I operate. I need to work. It makes me feel normal. It makes me feel useful. And it feeds my passion–I love writing and editing. It’s not just a job for me; this is something I truly enjoy doing.

So, not being able to craft a clever turn of phrase, or whip some lackluster copy into something that sings really is hard for me. Looking at a Word document and feeling utterly overwhelmed because I don’t even know how to begin to approach it makes me feel like I’m out of control. My brain function is something I can’t harness and use as I want, like I’m so used to, and that drives me absolutely batty.

Thankfully, the past two days (now 5-6 days out from treatment) have been better. I know that I probably need an extra day to veg out after my next treatment. I know to be easier on myself. But it won’t be easier to do that, because even though I know self-care is the right thing at this point, it’s the hard thing, and not being wired to operate that way is a challenge I had no idea I’d have to face.