Almost 4 Months off Work


Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday. It is that time of year for me which seems the less stressful. The other holidays seem to be too commercial for me whereas this one all anyone cares about is the dinner. In Canada we celebrate it the second Monday of October which I prefer because if it was closer to Christmas then there would be all the sales going on. Here we do that on December 26th which I do not partake. Besides it my oldest son’s birthday that day and the last thing I want to do is shop.

Coming up on the 17th it will mark four months that day since I left work. Since then it has been blood transfusions every two weeks plus a couple of liver biopsies and a bone marrow biopsy. I am going through all this so they can check me all out before I undergo a bone marrow transplant. It’s not cancer but my immune system is not working well and my number are quite low at 0.9. My red blood cell count is low as well as my hemoglobin and platelets. There are a couple of other things down as well. My neutrophils are at 0 which help fight infection as well. The doctors say I am a conundrum as the cause of what I have is not certain. With these tests and things they have prescribed to me nothing seems to jump-start my blood cells. I just have lazy blood cells.

So I left work so I could file for long-term disability. I am glad I did because getting it all done is taking a long time. I am still getting the forms in and there is a four-month waiting period before it comes through. On my profile here it says that I should be getting the bone marrow transplant sometime in August but that has been put off till January. The second liver biopsy was requested because the pathologist wanted more tissue to examine. Last week I got word that everything appears to be fine. At least nothing to be concerned about. With results slow to come in now it is October and it will probably be not till the New Year when I get the transplant. I would rather them make sure everything was a go before it begins. We do not want organ failure while doing the transplant. So I am expecting a call from the doctor this week as to the next steps.

Being off from work for the past four months hasn’t been easy. Although I do not believe I can work if I had to right now as I tire easily but also there is one time I was sick late September with a sore throat and cold that caused me to lose 11 pounds. The antibiotics take a long time to work because the immune system doesn’t do much to help. I get cold sores a lot in my mouth with my lips and tongue getting the worst of it. When I get them on my tongue it hurts and makes it difficult for me to talk. Sort of rules out being a waiter. Now with winter not that far away I have to be extra careful not to catch the flu. I will make sure I wear a smock over my nose and mouth to prevent any germs that may enter.

The four months have seemed a lot longer. I cannot say I miss serving tables but I do miss the social interaction I had with my co-workers. I miss the jokes, sarcasm, and spontaneity. It goes without saying I miss the income as well. When you are working in a profession for so long it is difficult. I worked in places that most people would just love to go and vacation. I met my wife because of the business so  I guess everything I have is due to the hospitality industry. The people I had the opportunity to meet and work with was simply outstanding. People from all nations. I do not think I can say I was ever really stressed out looking back. There was always work and when you left work there was your own life to follow.

I know it meant a lot to me because on my last day after saying good bye when I walked out the door I actually stopped for a moment. I got emotional for a minute because it was not in the forecast. I knew I had this blood problem for a while but thought I could work through it. It happened fast when the wheels started to fall off.

Now I wait for now January. I make sure I do a good walk each day, eat well, and get plenty of rest. I do some chores around the house so the day moves fast.

I want to be as good shape as possible for what lies ahead…




Published by

Steven Nicolle

Having endured a splenectomy on March 1st I am now in battle with these abnormal T-cells. Taking chemotherapy pills to get well in this form of non-hodgkin's lymphoma. My iron is high from all the transfusions but since the spleen has come out feeling much better. So the battle continues but we are winning I believe!

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