Friday, January 20, 2006

An Unwanted Journey: Day 0057 - Work

Work is a blessing. Not just any work. Not just work in the sense of distraction, although even that has merit when we’re talking about a life-threatening disease like cancer. No, I mean my work is a blessing, what I do for a living, what I actually work upon is a blessing.

Not everyone can claim they enjoy their work, no matter what their current state of health. But I can. I am an information technology manager at a local manufacturing company called Pano Cap Canada. Our company produces plastic caps for the food and pharmaceutical industries. You’ve seen and used our products for many years, although perhaps never realizing that the cap to your peanut butter jar, or to your ketchup bottle, comes from a relatively small manufacturer in Kitchener, Ontario.

If our information systems are working well and if our workers are skilled in the use of those systems, we do a better job of servicing our customers and keeping our staff happy. So, even though I don’t participate directly in the production of caps, my responsibilities can dramatically affect productivity, customer satisfaction, and employee morale. So, my work is significant.

But even that is not enough to explain why work is a blessing to me. Having significant work with serious responsibilities is not enough for many. One must look forward to each day, to the contributions to be made that day, to helping both the company and the individuals who work for the company achieve their goals. One must find fulfillment in the daily activities in which one engages. One should find a measure of satisfaction in the social relationships and the opportunities for both professional and personal development. One must have all these things in order to find work a blessing.

I’m one of those lucky ones.

We’re closing in on the end of the second week of radiation and chemotherapy in my battle with rectal cancer, and I have to admit that I really do feel good. There have been very few side effects thus far and a noticeable diminishing of blood in the stool and frequency of bowel movements, so much so in fact, that my wife and I will actually go on a date tonight to see Brokeback Mountain at the cinema, something we haven’t been able to do for a long time.

But a large portion of why I’m feeling good these days is because of my work. My radiation treatment is at the Grand River Regional Cancer Centre. It takes me approximately one hour to drive there, get the treatment, and then return to work. The rest of the work day is reasonably normal. So far, fatigue only begins to affect me in the evenings, thereby sparing me problems of concentration at work. In other words, my treatment doesn’t interfere with my work as IT Manager, while my work contributes to my sense of fulfillment and accomplishment. This is a very good thing and I am grateful.

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