Already compiling information and data for a CSU research, I decided to start looking for a service-industry based job. I appreciate research and the topic aligns well with my double-major; however, the work is done alone on my computer at home. As the weeks have turned to months and I count each of my treatments, I began to feel stir-crazy. Somedays my only human interaction is with my parents and boyfriend- lovely people, but I was craving further interactions. It can be a delicate balance for patients, like myself, going through treatment for Lymphoma. The chemotherapy is actively killing our immune system, putting us at greater risk for illness and infections, but isolation and inactivity can impair the effectiveness of treatment.
Starting the job search I immediately was faced with rejection from seemingly simple jobs. It is hard to tell whether the no’s were because of my application or the cancer. Anxiety followed me during the job search and application process when attempting to find the right words to communicate my availability, limitations, and condition.
Luckily my mom drew on one of her multitude of connections to get me a job at the Spoon’s in the Lory Student Center at Colorado State University. Spoon’s is a local soup, salad, and sandwich chain priding itself in using fresh and healthy ingredients. I have always enjoyed the quality and freshness of their food and was excited to land the job.
Yesterday, I completed my third shift and am very happy with the job and how well it works with my health condition. Already, I can feel an improvement in my mood and physical energy. Limited in how I could exercise, my life was much more inactive than what my body was accustomed to and watching the implications on my body had been difficult. I feel better about my life and body. My fellow employees are fun to work with and most of them are close to me in age, going through chemotherapy can be isolating but I am making friends and that feels good.
Having touched on the power of giving through the disease already, I am still in awe of the joy it brings me to serve people even if for a paycheck. Smiling, conversing, and complimenting the hundreds who come through the line everyday proves that, even with less energy and stamina than before, I can still brighten days. And customers and fellow employees have also made my day with jokes, compliments, and moments.
A cancer patient working a standing only job and serving up to forty people in fifteen minutes, even though I am feeling overall better, there are moments of exhaustion and doubt. My body simply does not have the same means of resting and healing between shifts. Today, I had to leave my shift early not related to the cancer but a simple mishap. Rushing out of the car to get to my shift, I grabbed my mom’s coffee and chugged it while mazing through the student center. Throughout the day I began to feel very hot and sick to my stomach. A few hours in my mom stopped by and explained to me I had taken her drink instead of mine. Being lactose intolerant and having chugged a coffee with milk- I knew why I felt sick and it only got worse. Taking my break to eat some food, I was hoping to feel better and when I did not, I explained to the general manager who sent me home early.
Looking forward, I am extremely grateful for being hired by Spoon’s. I know my remaining time will go by faster and be more meaningful for me. There will continue to be days that present challenges, but I am strong and will continue to work.