Let me start of by saying that I could never have foreseen this to come in my near future. But then again, if I had known what was in store for me, I doubt I would have chosen this path. Instead, I have walked the path and have been going through many periods of changes in my thought processes and my future.
Earlier this year, Mandy received a call from a family member letting her know that another one had just retired from working at a hospital in Arizona. There was a significant chance she could be referred into a job which would take care of her Master's Degree she has worked so hard on and has made significant sacrifices to obtain. Upon hearing about this, we both discussed the options of picking up lives and moving to the Phoenix area in Arizona. We both fell in the love with the idea of moving to a suburb of Phoenix which is excellent in terms of the schools and the crime is very low there. An ideal place for families, and it has been an up and coming city. Discussions were had about the repercussions of my leaving my job, breaking our lease where we are at, and making the trip across several states to make it there. We discussed my taking a week off and we fly there economy class and stay at her family member's house to save on lodging and canvasing the hospital, and other areas for employment and also a place to move into. The future there looked very bright. We both knew though, that this was not going to happen overnight. I think I was more engrossed with the idea than her, I got to know the Arizona DOT requirements for vehicle registration for new residents, the costs, which I am still not clear on, but if I am correct, it is based on the age of your vehicle, where newer ones are more expensive to register. Now, with our car just turning 20 yrs old this year, it would be much cheaper I think. Anyway, several videos of the area on Youtube of apartments and even one or two of people using their dash cams to video the drive down their main thoroughfare on a typical summer night. I had researched the other things such as what to expect when living there, such as what to do in the event you are stung by a scorpion. I also read up on the Tarantulas you may find there in the desert areas. The general rules of keeping your shoes inside, and if you keep them outside, shake them out really good etc..
Things took a sharp turn in my life which turned our eyes away from there and back to home base. This was about when I went through my battery of tests on my lungs, and I kept the attitude that once I went through those, depending on the results, we would make our move out of state, or we would not do this yet. Eventually, the tests pretty much all but said that I had a form of Lung Cancer. I knew it in my heart I guess, that I did have it even though nobody would tell me in the specialist office, or in the labs. It was always a certain percentage of probability that what I had was a tumor. We met with the surgeon who finally said that he was about 70% certain that it was cancer and he wanted to operate as soon as possible. This set the ball in motion at my current job.
The next work day, I instant messaged my department manager, to find out what steps would be needed to be taken knowing that the recovery processes would be pretty insane with an unknown return time back to work. I was e-mailed the FMLA form which I in turn sent to my doctor's office through their MyChart software. I think within an hour, it was returned back to me completely filled out with an estimated two week recovery time! Ummm.....no....I knew this was not right, so I let the manager know that it would be longer. I had researched the procedure online and read people's experiences with the recovery time, and knew that the immediate recovery process is about 1 month. I couldn't make any promises though. Each person is different, so we left my return date to be "TBD". I worked the day before the surgery and at the end of my shift, I remember thinking to myself with peace in my heart, that I was a man walking with Lung Cancer. I didn't need anyone to confirm it to me. Something in my heart/mind or whatever just knew what it was.
Fast forward to the post surgery, they confirmed it was Lung Cancer and they took that part of my lung out, and at that time, I was 100% cancer free pending tests done on some lymph nodes they also removed for testing. Those too came back negative later.
Having returned to work about 5 weeks after the surgery, I was placed on a part time schedule of sorts, not being put on more than 32 hours per week, which at the time was extremely hard on my body. It felt like my lungs were going through a marathon, working extra hard to be answering the Tech Support calls and I knew that time would tell if things would improve. Over the next month, things improved, but I was bothered by a cough which just did not go away. It was not the same as the cough I had with the lung cancer, it just wouldn't go away. The surgeon told me that is to be expected based on the surgery I had, with them working so close to my heart, and the trauma placed on my lungs and body. After some nudging, the nurse practitioner gave me a prescription for some pills which helped, but not as well as I had expected. I was really beginning to wonder then, if my time being on the phone as a Professional Phone Operator was starting to come to a close. Around this time as well, I had a weight restriction which was lifted after my first follow up and I was able to lift over 20 lbs for the first time in a while. I had a hardware item I needed to test which was a returned item for credit. It weighs about 33lbs. I carried it from my desk to the test bench across the floor and did okay with that, but taking it to the shipping/receiving department which was probably the same distance as parking in the middle of a Wal-Mart parking lot to the inside front doors. I felt like that did me in significantly!
Having the thought about not being a phone operator was not a real big deal for me as I have my Desktop Support experience to fall back on. But, even that, has been put on hold, because of what happened with the hardware. To this day, I am very limited in what I can do, and carry for a distance greater than maybe 20 feet before I start to get winded. Even loading groceries up stairs can be rough some days. There is often days when I come home for lunch, and just getting out of the car, coming up stairs I am out of breath for a good minute or two. Around 2 months ago, I was approached by the supervisor of a different division of my department about being hired into a different area with minimal phone work. I applied and was brought in. I won't go into the details, but I have been there since. However, my original department refuses to let me go, and I am forced to work 4 hours/day answering the phones, and then the other 4 hours in the new department. This also includes working 2 Saturdays/month which is also the phone department's schedule.
About two weeks ago, I was approached by the Department manager to see if I would be interested in applying for a position in a different department altogether. I jumped at the opportunity, and last Friday, they sent me an e-mail saying that I didn't have the necessary experience for the position I was applying for.
I feel like I have run out of fall backs in my career fields and have to start over back at square one. I've been pondering getting a degree in Health Information Technology. I have a university in mind, and just need to make the application to get in. However, I have life going on, and every day from work I come home, I am more than exhausted! When I don't work a Saturday, I take advantage of having two days off to recoup and recover, but that isn't always enough recovery time. Yesterday, I worked a full shift on the phones as it was a Saturday. It was a very early shift, 4:30am - 1pm. I came home and was beat. I knew this was because of the full shift and getting up an extra hour early. Today, I have been extra exhausted, more than the usual.
Bottom line, since I was turned down for the other position, my loyalty to my job is all but gone. It is affecting my health, I made a decision earlier this year post surgery, that I would stay there until at least the end of the year. After this, I am not certain as to what I want to do, or will be doing.
I will be praying that you guys will make the right decision. I will pray in the meantime you will get that promotion.