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I Took Extra Time Off From Work to Heal

Surgery was the best treatment option for my diagnosis of dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans, or DFSP, and I required two surgeries 6 weeks apart for the pathology report to deem me cancer-free. After the first surgery, I returned to work in a few days and regretted it because I was in so much pain and I was so weak walking the halls of the nursing home where I am a physician assistant. This prompted me to choose to take much more time off after my second DFSP surgery.

Time off after my DFSP surgery

Initially, I decided to take 4 weeks off after my DFSP surgery. However, at my follow-up appointment where my surgical oncologist removed my staples, I was still in significant pain. So, I advocated for myself and asked him to approve additional time off, for a total of 2 months.

It was the right decision

I am so thankful I made this decision, even though I was apprehensive about it. I am usually such a hard worker and a people-pleaser regarding my employment. I am the kind of employee who never uses sick leave, schedules PTO months in advance to avoid inconveniencing my superiors and shows up to work early, and leaves late.

I actually liked the time off

During my 2 months off after my DFSP surgery, I thoroughly enjoyed myself and I enjoyed the healing process while getting as much rest as possible. I had plenty of time to think, pray, read books that I had ordered from Amazon but never had the opportunity to open, and I even reorganized my pantry, my closet, and my daughters’ closet and dressers. I remember initially feeling so guilty about taking extra time off to heal, but then I had to remind myself that choosing myself is the most important act of self-love I can exhibit.

I had to adjust, but it was for the best

I have been employed consistently since I was 15 years old; I can only remember a few months of my life where I didn’t have to balance either work and school or 2 jobs and this was when I graduated with my bachelor’s degree and used the time to figure out what was next. This was the first time in 16 years where I had the opportunity to truly relax, and this included waking up without an alarm clock, taking short walks around my neighborhood once I was no longer in pain, sitting on my porch drinking coffee while reading a good novel, and binge-watching good tv shows that I’ve missed out on like Married at First Sight.

It changed my life

This two-month break was life-changing for me, and, aside from healing from my DFSP surgery, it allowed me the time to evaluate what is important and what can wait. It also gave me much-needed rest so that I was able to return to work at almost 100%, though, if we’re being honest, I’m still hovering around 85-90%. I also returned with a relaxed spirit and gratefulness that I’m still able to wake up every morning and do what I love for a living. Maybe my DFSP journey hasn’t been so bad!

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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