John Bell, my next door office neighbor and avid supporter in my fight against cancer, saw me as he was heading out the door and stopped. "What are you still doing here? You should be going home, right?" I must have gave him a look that made him stop. Or perhaps he knew that I was not having a good day. He was right. I wasn't having a good day. And it was because for the umpteenth time, I felt disrespected at work.
You can hate me, call me names and generally just don't like me. But when I'm not respected, that gets my blood boiling. Why? Because I was brought up to respect people. For who they are. For the work they do. For how they have to live their lives in order to get through their day. We all have our quirks, our issues and problems. We all are different in some way. And that's more than OK. It's life.
Now John and I don't always see eye-to-eye. But ever since the day he hired me, he has respected my opinion and dedication to making the work better every day. And most of all, he respects me as a person, a human being. He's one of the smartest people I know and at the same time somewhat enigmatic. But he has a good heart and a good soul. I'll never forget when I told him I thought I had cancer. He said, "Nah, it's just probably something else related to all the crazy hours you've been putting." He was just trying to ease my mind. And he was right. All the crazy hours lead to extra stress, which is a bad trigger to your immune system.
And here I was, letting the stress and the actions of others get to me because of how I was treated. I was feeling that I didn't survive cancer to work my life away and have people dis me. I was feeling my purpose in life being twisted. I was feeling like I did before I had cancer. And that scared me. I guess there's only one thing to do––don't let others control how I feel.
And respect the fact that I'm alive.