How Working Helps Me

In the early days of my treatments, I was pretty distracted from my work. I think it was good for me to focus on learning about how to take care of myself through the treatment at that time. However, now that I’ve got a lot of the learnings sorted out, I’ve been directly more attention to my work in a very healthy and balanced way. I’m really happy to get back at it. The mental stimulation, achievement, and interaction with partners, customers, and colleagues is very energizing to me.

I spend about 90% of my working time on icortica. I’m really enjoying it, and I’m very happy to be able to do what I do. My development partner, Greg and I have gotten into a good groove where he can keep the ball moving forward while I’m in the Upside Down, and when I emerge to the normal world we are able to collaborate very well. Greg is brilliant with many talents. We complement each other very well. I feel so lucky to have him as my partner. Thankfully, our first few pilots are for companies that are run by very good friends of mine. They’ve been incredibly supportive of me, and they are pushing me to make icortica better everyday, which is super exciting to me.

Just to make sure I’m stimulating other parts of my mind, I’m on a few boards in vastly different types of companies. I’m also doing some real estate projects with a friend of mine. Context switching between these businesses, and taking the board/advisory role is a nice shift from my day-to-day work at icortica. Everyone I work with in these companies have been so supportive of me through my treatment. The compassion and empathy I’ve received is so heartwarming.

In the last month, as I’ve re-engaged more deeply in my work, I’ve felt so much more like myself. Yes, I feel tired and sometimes nauseated, but the work, the creativity, and the accomplishments boost me mentally and help me push through each treatment. The encouragement I receive from my icortica customers is especially helpful to me. When you are building something new, doubt can creep into your mind about whether you are doing the right thing. Is this going to work? Are people going to want and use it? Facing that doubt while going through treatment was really tough in the first few rounds. However, as I’ve been able to dig in more deeply in the work this past month, and as I’m seeing the users’ reactions to what we’re building, I’m experiencing pure excitement.

In my past, I’ve had a habit of working way too many hours and letting stress take over. I’m being very careful about that as it does my health no good. However, with the balance that I’ve found in the last month, I feel the biggest leaps emotionally and mentally since my diagnosis. The important thing for me is to keep that balance as I have a history of letting things go overboard with my work. The nausea and fatigue are self-limiting that workaholic behavior pretty well at the moment. I believe that this whole experience is helping me rewire my brain to keep that balance for the long term.