There were days … scratch that, weeks … scratch that, MONTHS … where dealing with my employer literally added to my illness. The ongoing struggles with Jen, Adam, and HR led to so many additional problems: medication-resistant insomnia, gastrointestinal problems, decreased appetite from stress, increased drinking, crying spells, bouts of hopelessness, nausea and dizzy spells on the way to work, and a growing disinterest in being the best teacher i could be for my students. Then there were the financial battles for a little while, as my supervisors continually forced me to take whole days off without pay for appointments that would only take an hour from my workday. On top of that, the staph infection i got there in July led to a 3-month-and-still-going battle with getting a radiation wound to close properly, and this battle even caused me to permanently lose one of my implants. I never stopped fighting – partly out of principle and partly because i had so many people pushing me to KEEP GOING – but i will admit this: There were many times i didn’t believe i would win the fight, many times i questioned myself, “What’s the POINT?”
The point is that we should never stop doing what we feel is right and just and ethical. Yeah, there are consequences to fighting, and sometimes it feels like we lose more than we gain … but we never really know that for sure, do we? I mean, in the moment, we have no idea what the long-term results are going to be. We get caught up in the stress and the loss of the moment, but that’s just a small piece of the puzzle of life we are all trying to put together. Had i given up in the moment, i would not be in this same spot that i’m in now: cancer-free, with a house still being paid for by a job that i still have but don’t even have to go to at this time. And six other employees at ADJC wouldn’t have gotten their jobs back. And Governor Ducey wouldn’t be looking into other state agencies like DES, agencies that were pulling the same personnel reform bullshit that ADJC was. And other state employees wouldn’t be following in my footsteps and taking their unjust firings to the media. And i wouldn’t have received this awesome plaque at the AZCOPS Convention this weekend, recognizing me for my perseverance, despite a difficult administration.
I’ve been feeling kind of stuck these past few weeks because now it’s time to rebuild my life. I need to rebuild the lost toning and muscle mass in my body. I need to get my house back in order, now that i have the strength and energy to deal with it. I need to put myself back on a high-protein health kick to try to help this wound close up. I need to get back into the “early to bed, early to rise” habit. I’ll need to return to work soon. There’s a LOT of rebuilding to do, after a person beats cancer, so much so that it’s overwhelming and leaves me wanting to just spend days in bed not doing anything at all. But that’s not fighting; that’s not perseverance. That’s not Tarah. So… i’m working on it.