Posts Written OnJuly 2019

My chemo and radiation therapy treatments were over. Two weeks later, I was still underweight, undernourished, exhausted, and was experiencing the cognitive impairment known as “chemo brain”.  “Chemo brain” refers to the symptoms brought on by chemotherapy, which include decreased short-term memory, problems finding words, a short attention span, and difficulty concentrating. As challenging as these issues were, it was also essential that I return to work. There are federal and state statutes designed to protect employees who have cancer and other disabilities. Unfortunately, this was no guarantee that I would be allowed to return to my job following my four month medical leave. In the real world, institutions do not make these decisions based on fleeting feelings of compassion. They weigh the costs, benefits, and potential legal risks, and act accordingly.…

Arrival

For 10 hours, I lay in a medically-induced coma. Unconscious, intubated, a black nothingness, unaware of what was happening to my body. And then…  THUD! I was abruptly awakened by what looked like a half dozen eighteen year-old girls. It felt like they were aggressively pulling tubes out of my body, or shaking me, or something like that. “Michael, your surgery’s finished!”, they all appeared to sing in unison. For a millisecond, I had no idea where I was or what was happening. And then I remembered why I was there. I was completely immobilized. My left arm was in a cast, and my legs were wrapped in some sort of compression device. I had a urinary catheter, and all sorts of IVs and monitor cables attached to my body. My face…