Morgoth - I second those here who are complimenting your strength. I hope that when if I ever receive similar news that I can remain as strong as you.
From the sounds of things your job is similar to my fathers where a question about
how his day was is a simple good/bad/ok and no details. His work is in the higher clearance area of the military to the point where each few years when his clearance is up for review we all endure security clearance checks of our own.
I admire you for continuing your work as long as possible, I also have an idea it is no where near as easy as it sounds to be.
I think PaLady's mention of rearranging your day has a great deal of merrit. Also her mention of your doctor's helping you combat medication side effects is a great idea as well.
A good pain doctor will be able to help you find medications that will allow you to remain mentally in the game, but will also alleviate your pain. Personally I have found that long acting pain medication - I'm taking Kadian, but also MS Contin, pain patches and the like - seem to not mess with your mental capacity as much as short acting medications. There are also options for things like muscle relaxers that are the same way, some will make you sleepy - others wont. Asking your doctor's to research medications, or knowing they already have is a great step.
The difference between my mental clarity now - versus when I was on Percocet and Soma - is quite large. about
20 minutes after taking a soma I was ready to be knocked out, and had a huge mental cloud. The percocet at times hit me so hard that I wasn't good at standing up. Now taking Kadian, and Baclofen my mind is clear as long as my pain isn't interfearing too much.
I hope that life gives you all you've hoped from it. I'm not sure about
how your family may or may not play into things, but your focus right now is on work. If you are married or have children - please remember that while your job surely helps more people, your family is going to know that you love them too. If you have a family - remember to make time for them - and put some time with them in too.
"When we come to the edge of the light we know, and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, of one thing we can be sure; either God will provide something solid to stand on... or we will be taught to fly.'"
"Cause when push comes to shove You taste what you're made of, You might bend, till you break Cause its all you can take; On your knees you look up Decide you've had enough, You get mad you get strong Wipe your hands shake it off, Then you Stand" From "Stand" by Rascal Flatts
Dx.: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Ulcerlative Colitis, Chronic Inflammation of the Colon, Ruptured & Fused L4-L5-S1 w/pinched nerves, Degenerative Disc Disease, Chronic Costochondritis, Back Muscle Spasms, Asthma, Benign Tremmors (hands)