I have been going into work for a couple hours a week to train an office assistant to help with my previous duties while I am unable to work. My work has been absolutely amazing and supportive and I know I am very lucky to have a family like atmosphere. One of the first things the social worker here offered was to write a letter to our employer. I chuckled and said this would not be necessary. My manager, “J” was the one who told me not to leave CHEO until I had answers and she was the third person I called when They first told us they found a “bad guy” (Even before my own mother). As I have said in previous post she is always there to offer support, comfort, or a slap in the face when called for.
Being at work for the few hours today was such a great feeling, normalcy. I huged my comfy black “leather” computer chair before leaving, hollering “I don’t want to leave, I just want to go back to a month ago!” A month ago we had just announced that I was promoted to the new general manager position as “J” was retiring in December after 27 years. A month ago I was on top of the world. I could see my whole future mapped out – I had the perfect family of Three boys, would work 8-4 with meetings which are sometimes more like a social night out with friends, more time with kids (I had at home business of bookkeeping and graphic design on side so when I was not working at work I was working at home so when I got the new position and pay raise I told my kids mommy did not have to be on her computer always at home anymore which they and I were very happy about), I visioned owning a house in the near future, weekends off and just a really normal life, in a job that I absolutely LOVED for the next 27.
Then everything changed. One of the first things “J” had said was “she is retiring, not dying” and could stay on longer as needed. This has also been hard to accept to sacrifice her retirement for me just seems like to much. How could I ask her to put her life on hold just because mine is? I had told my husband that if we do the year long treatment I need to prepare myself that I might have to go back to my old position. How could I expect them to save a position for that long? And this is not a spot where there are many other employees to pick up slack. I have been the only other paid employee for the organization in 24 years. When I started there, 4 years ago now, it was a government funded temp job and when my contract was up they created the position for me.
When first meeting with the social worker, oncologist, and case worker I had asked about working during the treatment and they said this is not really an option as Aiden would need constant care. Even if he did make it back to school at times he could get sick or just be too tired and then need to stay at home with caregiver. The timing of this could not be any worst. Not like any timing would be good but I had just returned back to work after 52week of Mat leave so assistance programs such as critical care benefits I did not qualify for because I did not have 600 hours. Also, my husband had just started back at school in his final year of a three year course at Algonquin College and he only had OSAP as a source of income which he already received for the semester. We had considering him taking the year off but fear he will never complete it if he does and would just have a huge OSAP loan to payback. I write about our financial situation not for support but to possibly let someone in a similar situation know they are not alone in trying to figure out what is the best for their family. How do you balance finance and work with a kid who is in the hospital. How do you balance who will be the caregiver and who will provide income and care for other children?
Being in the hospital for a month now it is easy to forget the world that goes on outside or what life was like before. On my desk today there was an envelope addressed to me. I opened it when I got into my car ready to head back to the hospital, it was a personal letter from the Mayor of Ottawa, Jim Watson, congratulating me on the new position. I thought wow that’s pretty cool but I could not hold the moment for long as right then Josh texted me saying Aiden had a fever and large bulge in back of head, they were taking him for X-ray and another MRI; also that they had came and wanted to fit Aiden for his radiation mask. We had not even told Aiden that the “bad Guy” is cancer and he will need treatments yet. How quick I was flung back into what is the reality of my life right now! I feel like I am living in two different worlds and somewhere in between.