@goldenbears - First of all, let me say thank you for working under such dangerous conditions. People often times do not realize how much work goes into digging out the materials that we need in our daily lives. If people will just look around the room that they are in right now, they will find at least one thing that had to be extracted from a mine.
If you want to continue working with metals, then I would suggest that you become a science teacher. Depending on your education, you can even get a job in a community college as a professor. I think it is important that you spread your love of metals with the next generation of scientists and engineers. Giving back feels good.
I hope your health gets better, and good luck on your future endeavors.