“Are you back to work yet?” is probably my third most asked question about cancer. The first being, “How are you feeling” and second, “What kind?” The answer to the first one is that I feel okay…Sometimes I am a little tired but that’s normal under the circumstances. The second is Angiosarcoma, which is a very rare vascular cancer that effects about 1,200 people a year. The cancer was located in my left breast but shares no relation to breast cancer. I am finishing my last rounds of chemo now, and I’ll hopefully be free and clear of cancer for the rest of my life.I haven’t missed much work since I was first diagnosed in January 2009. So the “are you back to work” question always throws me for a loop. Why wouldn’t I be working? I love my job and, to be quite candid, working while I’ve been dealing with a life threatening illness has kept me sane. It’s very easy to get lost in the emotions of diagnosis and subsequent treatments. The fear of death is very immediate and the physical changes that treatment brings can be devastating. I have had two surgeries, eight weeks of radiation, and 12 rounds of chemotherapy. I have no hair, eyebrows, eyelashes, and I am missing a breast. It sucks, but I have some kickin’ wigs I wear everyday and makeup artist for sisters.
Tracey works for Walt Disney Imagineering and is a 1-year angiosarcoma survivor. This is the first of her four guest blogs for Cancer and Careers.