Thursday, May 10, 2012

Change Is In The Air

It was nearly a year ago that I left my full time job as a stay at home mom and ventured back into the work world.  I became an insurance agent for a well known company.  As it turned out, I am good at it.  I had a steady stream of customers, was making money and was proud of the fact that I did not seem to fall into the sleazy insurance agent stereotype.  I was happy.  Stressed out, but I was good at it.

Then April 11th happened.  It was on that day my life changed.  I was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer.  As I have gotten used to my new title as Cancer patient, I have educated myself on my disease.  I am one lucky lady!  Thyroid cancer is curable.  For my age, I am reading that it has a 97% cure rate!  Some numbers I find say nearly 100%, when caught on time.  That is me!

That being said, being a cancer patient is not a walk in the park no matter what.  With the cure, that I am so grateful to have, I have to sacrifice a lot.  First, my thyroid was removed.  With this surgery, I am not only missing a vital gland, but I have a pretty nasty scar across my neck.  I noticed people staring at me at the grocery store the other day.  I was embarrassed that I have such an ugly mark on my neck.  I have never been vain, as my friends and family know.  But, this one might get to me more than I am ready to admit.

I have to go several weeks without a thyroid supplement,  going into hypothyroidism, which means I am going to get very tired.  I mean tired beyond belief.  This is done so that the next step in the cure has the best possible results.  My family is already prepared for a tired mom and wife.  I am going to try my best to on with business as usual, but I am prepared to take a nap or 2.

Next, I have to take Radioactive Iodine.  This is an amazing medical advance, not sure how long it has been used, but it works.  I am not going to get into the science of how this works, as will get it wrong.  For those interested, google it.  You will be amazed.  While this is a miracle cure, it requires I quarantine myself for at least a few days because I will literally become radioactive.  My kids need to stay away from me, which makes me sad.  But, I do not have a choice and I accept that.

Finally, I will have to be a thyroid medication for my entire life.  A small price to pay to be cured.  In fact, I will never complain about that little pill I will need to take forever.

What I have failed to mention up to this point is that with this diagnosis, came the end of my job as an independent insurance agent.  When I signed on a year ago, I signed a contract with quotas that I need to meet.  Having cancer makes it very hard to make those quotas.  So, yesterday I agreed to give up my status as an independent and I am now working for another agent.  It was the only choice I had to save what I have built.  I feel a sense of relief that when I am ready to return, I can still be an agent to the customer base I have built.  But, at the same time I feel sad that everything I built is going to the book of business of another agent.  It all seems so petty, but it matters to me.

However, last night was the first night in a year that I did not think about quotas, because with this change, I no longer have quotas.  I sell what I can without having to worry constantly that I may not make my numbers.  I realize that I have my nights again, my summer is open, I can take a vacation, I can take a day off.  The agent I merged with is a good friend.  She keeps saying that we will be partners to the extent that her contract allows.

So, as I sit here tonight, knowing that summer is coming and that I will be spending in healing.  I am excited at the possibility of getting back to the role of stay at home mom for a few short months.  I can work full time again in the fall, when the kids return to school, knowing that I can be home when they get home.  Work will no longer take up so much of my time both mentally and physically.  Maybe this little diagnosis will force me to put family first and foremost again.  Maybe this will all work out for the best.