So here I am, at 3am, like a child so excited about the first day of school I can’t sleep. Normally I’d be getting ready for work at this time but Monday is going to be a paperwork day, so I come in at 9. I’ve been gone for almost a year so I’m practically a new hire. I have to sign the usual paper work and fill out the forms that a new employee goes through. I hope – for the love of all that is holy – they spare me the sexual harassment video. I think the last time I saw it was back in 2004, when I was first hired at Local 6. Even back then it was so outdated and exaggerated it (ironically) made me uncomfortable
I’ll be starting out on a part-time basis and working behind the scenes. I definitely have to get reacquainted with the traffic system and traffic cams again. I even hear there’s training I’ll have to do with new technology. I’m also curious to see if I’m still able to work the green screen. And more than likely I’m going to start a drinking game for every time someone tells me “it’ll be just like riding a bike!”
My managers have been so wonderfully supportive and understanding. It is as if work is a swimming pool and they’re letting me ease in gently on the shallow end instead of making me do a triple back-tuck off the high dive, which is good because I’m afraid of heights. I have to admit I have moments of anxiety. While I’m feeling TONS better than I did just six months ago, there are still four things that worry me:
1) Chemo brain. It’s a real thing. When you have toxic chemicals pumped into your body on a fairly regular basis it only stands to reason that it’s going to mess with your brain. During treatments my loved ones just got used to me constantly forgetting simple things, like where I put the keys, whether the dog had been fed, what day was my next appointment. And because I was sleeping so much I even started to get my dreams mixed up with reality, which was REALLY weird. I would honestly forget if I made phone calls or had certain conversations in a dream or in real life. Also, reading is one of my favorite things to do! But for the first time in my life I found myself having to go back pages to remember a character – not an easy thing to do on a Kindle, and especially when reading A Song of Ice and Fire (the Game of Thrones books). It’s gotten a LOT better, but I worry sometimes that I’ll be on air, talking my way through a litany of traffic information and just stop mid-sentence, forgetting what I was going to say and, for the life of me, unable to remember.
2) Joint pain. In the months after my last chemo treatment I was hit hard with “chemo-induced arthropathy.” Basically, arthritis. I guess it’s normal. It could even hang around for a few more years. Awesome. There were days I could barely get out of bed, I would limp to the bathroom like I was 125 years old and limp back. It’s not nearly that bad now, but I still have a difficult time bending down because the joints in my ankles and knees practically give out on me. Some days I wake up and I can’t bend my fingers or move my wrists and I think to myself, “How in the hell would I hold a clicker in my hand to change the maps and camera?” I guess we’ll see.
3) Hot flashes. I still get them. I also still get night sweats. It’s not uncommon for me to wake up on a sweat-stained pillow. And several times a day I get so hot I start profusely sweating. It doesn’t matter what the temperature is; my hands could be cold but my head will still sweat. It’s created quite the role reversal in our home because for the first time ever I’M not the one complaining it’s cold. I tell my boyfriend, “NOW you know how it feels!” Is this what menopause feels like? And does it mean I’m infertile? I try not to dwell on that last question. Instead I just wonder what it’ll look like on air when my face gets shiny and I start dripping.
4) Fatigue. It’s no longer a bone-weary tiredness that I cannot fight off, but I still feel very fatigued several times throughout the day. Sometimes I fight it, other times I succumb to it. Just last Wednesday I laid down to “take a nap” at 7pm and didn’t wake up until the next morning. It actually worried me that that could still happen. 7pm is my typical bedtime when I work on the morning show.