Recovering from ‘major’ outpatient surgery

Recovering from ‘major’ outpatient surgery

You guys.

As those who know me best can attest, I’m not speechless very often.

But I’ve been at a loss for words for most of the past couple weeks, as I’ve been showered with love (and way too many gifts) after sharing my recent breast cancer diagnosis.


Seriously. I’m not sure I deserve you all, but I’m definitely glad I have you in my corner.

Surgery was last Friday, and a lot has changed in the decade-plus since my first trip to the operating room to fight cancer. I had pre-admission testing (even though it was outpatient surgery) and pre-surgery homework that included doing breathing exercises, using special soap, and drinking a protein shake that promised to boost my immune system prior to my ‘major’ outpatient surgery.

I was apprehensive, as you might expect, but everything has gone well so far. We left for the hospital shortly before 7 a.m. and were home with my prescriptions well before 6 p.m. I alternated muscle relaxers and pain pills until yesterday, when I stepped down to Tylenol.

The biggest difference with this surgery was that I came home with two surgical drains — tubes coming out of small holes in my chest that allow various fluids to escape. The drainage gathers in bulbs that my husband Bob and I empty and measure twice a day. When the flow slows eventually, I’ll go in to have the drains removed. (I had to watch a video that showed a drain being removed, and I am not looking forward to it one little bit.)

Today I got the surgical pathology report, which my surgeon said was great news. The only cancer detected was the tumor we already knew about. And although it looks like the cancer had begun to find a path to travel, it hadn’t hit the road yet. Now it won’t.

My recovery has been a bit more active than I anticipated, since my doctors want me to keep moving to prevent pneumonia and keep the drains flowing. So my mom and I have been making daily outings; we’ve been to Holland Park, Noblesville’s Square, IKEA, and Hamilton Town Center so far. Nothing like a little retail therapy to make you feel better!


Are Job-Alert Algorithms Trying to Tell Me Something?

It’s been almost a month since I was laid off, and it has been an adventure.

Although I still feel like a teenager pretending to be an adult, in today’s job market I’m practically a senior citizen. Experience, it seems, is not necessarily a good thing.

The job-search process itself sure has changed since I mailed my first resume and cover letter to a prospective employer. Now all of the “paperwork” is handled online, a high-tech solution so efficient that an applicant can receive a computer-generated rejection letter in a matter of hours. (My personal record: 61 hours and 42 minutes from application to “no thanks.”)

Experts say as many as 80 percent of positions are filled without ever being posted—a mind-boggling testament to the power of networking if I’ve ever heard one. My full schedule of coffee (and sometimes cocktail) meetings haven’t produced one of those “invisible” jobs yet, but I have leaned on friends for help with the ones I’ve seen advertised.

That already has resulted in some real head-scratchers: I didn’t make the initial cut for one position, for example, because the hiring manager decided I would be bored by the work. Um, isn’t that my decision? A quick look at my resume should prove I’m a serial monogamist, not a job-hopper. And I applied for that particular gig when I still had a steady paycheck, so I think it’s safe to assume I actually wanted it.

Now I have to apply for three jobs a week to qualify for unemployment benefits. I’ve been lucky enough to find openings that match my interests and abilities so far, but I can’t help wondering if the technology helping to power my search is trying to nudge me toward a new career.

While the job listings delivered daily to my inbox have produced several solid leads, the vast majority of the presumably algorithm-driven “recommendations” have nothing at all to do with writing, editing, or marketing communications.

Need a patient, outdoorsy nanny? Not it. Seeking a part-time carwash attendant?  I don’t even clean my own car. Hiring a retail store manager? Let’s talk employee discount.

Maybe I’m being short sighted or narrow minded or big headed, but I’m holding out for a position that will allow me to use the skills I’ve worked so hard to develop—and that will give me the chance to find new ones to nurture.