Be the Boss Over Cancer

by Sharice M. on February 16, 2011
I was Diagnosed with:
Update to Pancoast Tumor
Date of Diagnosis:
September 3, 2008
Employment Status:
Long term disability
Age:
50
Type and Description of Treatments:
After my first entry into the Collective Online Diary Questionnaire,12/28/08, I had 1 surgery to remove the pancoast tumor from my lung and then another surgery a week after that to remove the cancer that had grown into my chest wall. About a month after the surgeries I had chemo again.
How do you feel today?

Today I feel great. It's been over two years since I made my first entry and at that time I really didn't expect to survive but I was writing like I was tough and could handle anything.

Since the diagnosis, what has changed in your life?

My attitude! One of my doctors told me I would be lucky to live 3 years. One of my friends told me I didn't have an expiration date on the bottom of my foot so I should just get over it! So I did. Now instead of waking up each morning feeling sorry for myself I wake up wondering what I can accomplish each day... and I love it.

What has been the most challenging thing about having cancer?

Hahahaha, having everyone tell me after my chemo treatments that I look so good!

What is your work arrangement right now? What are your hours?

I'm not working right now because of other illnesses. Hopefully these will get reconciled in the next few months so I can pick up another job with my company.

What advice do you have for others trying to work through treatment?

My advice is to believe in yourself, your family and your doctors.
I believed that I would survive, and that's the only thing I would prepare myself for.
I believed that my husband and my children would believe in the best about me.
I believed in my doctors and after each appointment I gave them hugs and told them I believed in them. After each hug they would give me one back with a beautiful smile and let me know they believe in me too.

How have you dealt with any side effects of treatment?

Well... I was told that my hair would most likely fall out so I had it cut super short and bought several wigs. It was my control thing.
My hair did get thin, but I never lost all of it. I guess my control thing beat me after all.
But I do have some really nice wigs.

If "today's you" could give advice to "day-of-diagnosis you," what would you say?

Don't panic. It's really easy to do but you'll feel better if you don't.