Friday, 24 February 2012

Back to the grind

I have just completed my first week back in work after 14 months of maternity leave (with a bit of annual leave thrown in).
This time off has been pretty life changing.

  1. I had a beautiful baby boy who makes me laugh every day and who I love so much.
  2. I got told all these weird things that had been happening to my body was down to MS.
  3. I had some treatment which could halt MS in its tracks, for a little while at least.
I'm sure you can imagine there has been some dark times, magical times and hopeful and hopeless times that I've worked my head around.
Sometimes when I look back at this time, I cannot actually believe these things have happened to me - and it's a bit of a head spinner.
So on my return to work as a journalist in a busy newsroom, I was expecting... I don't know, something *different* I suppose. But I've been amazed that actually nothing seems to have happened.
There are a few new faces, the old faces are, well, older looking, and the prices in the canteen have increased, but in essence everything is just the same.
It's weird. 
People in the office are still complaining and moaning about the same things they were complaining and moaning about 14 months ago. And the answers they get to the questions they ask about their complaints and moans are the same.
In equal measures I find it comforting and depressing.
Comforting because in this MS world of uncertainty, there is one huge solid I can rely on. Something that I can use to define and identify who I am.
Yes, I'm now a mum. And yes, I'm now a wife.
But my career and what I do is something that is totally, utterly and completely me.
It frightens me, that if I get a relapse which affects my arms and hands, I may not be able to type and therefore will see part, a huge part, of my identity (as a print journalist) get taken away from me by MS.
It scares me, that if I get a relapse which affects my legs and balance, my colleagues will start to look at me differently.
At the moment, I have a reputation as the 'office noise' which I am happy to have. I have a reputation as someone who is pretty feisty, good fun but also deadly serious and passionate about my work and if I do say so myself, someone who is bloody good at their job. 
I don't want to be known as that 'girl in the newsroom with MS'.
So my old friend MS is taking a back seat in my priorities. It can sit where it is quietly and without making a fuss or it can take a run and jump because I'm fed up of it taking over my life and thoughts.
I feel like I've got some certainty back with my return to work and although I never thought I would say it... it's great to be back (even if nothing there changes)!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Stressing out

I'd love to write something that will be intriguing, inspiring and revolutionary in the fight against MS but my old friend has been so quiet lately that I'm starting to wonder if it has gone into hibernation.
It's a good thing. I've been feeling happy, healthy and 'normal' and it is great. Long may it continue.
However, I fear that things may be about to alter the status quo with my impending return to the land of work after a year of maternity leave.
My job is stressful, full-on and can leave me buzzing with negative (sometimes positive) thoughts I find hard to banish when I am trying to sleep.
Stress is apparently a trigger for my old friend to wake up and shout out: "Coming out to play?" so I am feeling a little apprehensive.
I am determined to be one of those calm, sandal-wearing, chilled out souls when I get back to the grind but I know this dream will be laughed and mocked at by my alter-ego working self. I'm determined to do some kind of class like pilates or yoga but after a 10 hour shift I think this will also be something that is sidelined for an hour slobbing on the sofa in front of the box grunting conversation with my long-suffering husband.
So who knows what is going to happen when I get back to the office. Things will either be A-OK or my old friend might decide to join in the fun and make life hard. I'll let you know.