There are some drawbacks to working. It would be nice to hang out at a health spa for the duration of treatment, but that doesn’t happen. As a 26 year-old woman I had to work through my illness. I needed insurance and money for continued care. I had to work through guilt that I wasn’t doing enough work for my projects. Someone eventually told me to “quit being a martyr, you have cancer. No one is going to say… oh that Tracey, she worked so much harder before cancer.”
I am very ambitious at work, throwing myself into my art with all the passion I have. It was hard to give up my high-stress high-achievement work ethic to accommodate cancer treatments. I simply couldn’t do as much…and a lot of the time I didn’t want to do anything at all. The accommodations that people were willing to make and the modifications to my environment at work made for a nearly stress free environment. I really can’t wait to bump up my workload and continue my career growth uninterrupted.
The compassion I have had from my workplace has been so incredible. I will be forever grateful. Walt Disney Imagineering gets an A+ for handling employees with catastrophic illness. In my opinion, letting people into this part of life is incredibly rewarding. People feel closer and it creates bonds that carry through to better health. The more support a person has the easier it is to battle this disease. Cancer sucks, but it also allows you to appreciate how willing people are to help.
Tracey works for Walt Disney Imagineering and is a 1-year angiosarcoma survivor. This is her fourth guest blog for Cancer and Careers.