Back To Work

For those who read the previous guest blog, Toby was chosen to go on that amazing Arctic winter adventure! Thank you to everybody who helped him realise his dreams.

And since I last posted, it's been Christmas and New Year. I hope yours were just as enjoyable as mine.
It already feels like an eternity ago!
For those who follow Livin' With Lymphoma on Facebook, where there are more frequent updates, you will know that I have started working again. I'm now a month into the job and I am enjoying that sense of purpose, responsibility and new found confidence.

If you had asked me a few years ago where I would be working, I would never have thought it would be the construction industry. Stereotypically speaking, I had a misconception that it was a world of strong tea and bum cracks, although it's turned out to be very different in reality. It is an industry of innovation, interesting characters and precision.

I am currently in the 5th week of a 12-week internship with the Sustainability department of Mace, a London-based construction company with revenue of over £1 billion. It's a pretty massive company. They are also a strategic partner with Teenage Cancer Trust which is how I was offered the opportunity. 
Rocking the safety look on site.
My current role has been far more technical than I expected. Today, I have been calculating the equivalent carbon emissions from various business activities, as well as reading architectural drawings to scope the impact of the materials used. Previously, I thought it would be more shadowing and admin, but they've definitely encouraged me to take hands-on approach.

Before starting at Mace, it had been over two years since I had worked full time. The idea of waking up early and keeping focused through the day was always a terrifying thought, but my ambitious nature thought I was ready for the task. A month down the line, I'm not so sure. 
My company mugshot, where I look about 40.
A massive advantage of this internship is the connection to Teenage Cancer Trust. As you all know, my approach to cancer is very public and candid. People at work know my story, and have been very forgiving when my energy levels are low. It was made clear from the beginning that my personal well-being was priority, and there could be more flexibility down the line. 
There are lots of friends to be made in the construction industry too.
The time has come already to swallow my pride and admit that I'm not as far as I would have liked in my recovery. The hours working have been taking their toll on my stamina, as well as my health. I have already caught every cold in London and have generally been feeling pretty rough. As a result, an amendment has been made to my working hours, and I am down to 4 days a week.

Wednesday is now my favourite day of the week - bed day.

From this experience, I've learnt to appreciate that recovery is a very gradual process, and one where you really need to listen to your body more than your mind. I wish I had been more realistic from the start, and begun slowly, rather than dive in head first. That said, getting back to work has been refreshing, though I'm definitely in need of a holiday.

Joshua Lerner

Hi! I’m the 'star' of Livin' With Lymphoma. The blog was founded on the 31st October 2013, on the day I was diagnosed with Stage 4B Hodgkin's lymphoma. I hope you find it funny and informative.

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