Be the Boss Over Cancer

by Beverly G. on May 4, 2009
I was Diagnosed with:
Breast cancer
Date of Diagnosis:
November 18, 2005
Employment Status:
Type and Description of Treatments:
Surgeries including left mastectomy, port, bilarteral TRAM reconstruction, nipple reconstruction and tatooing, complete hysterectomy and oopherectomy, chemotherapy and radiation
How do you feel today?

Today, I feel great. My plastic surgeon released me last month after 2 years and 4 months. I am energetic and active. I continued to work out with a personal trainer during my treatments with short breaks due to limitations after surgery. In the last 6 months, I have started running with other survivors in 5K races. When necessary, I work long days at my office and have made 3 business trip in 2009 after not traveling in 3 years.

Since the diagnosis, what has changed in your life?

I have increased my nutrition levels eating only whole foods and many organic products. I listen to my body and rest when I need to rest. I surround myself with positive people and I tell my family and friends I love them a lot more often. My life stayed remarkably the same throughout diagnosis, treatment and recovery. We tried very hard to keep things normal for our children, families and employers.

What is going well for you right now?

My physical fitness is going very well. I am enjoying running and weight training.

What is not going well for you right now?

I am experiencing some other health issues including the finding of a colon polyp. I continue to research the potential effects of my treatment and the other illnesses and diseases that may be related to breast cancer. I also have to renew a life insurance policy and will have a rating for 5 more years as a result of the breast cancer.

What has been the most challenging thing about having cancer?

Worrying that I will not be around to see my children grow up, graduate from high school and college, and get married. They were 5 and 8 when I was diagnosed. Today, they are 8 and 11.

When difficulties overwhelm you, where do you go for support?

My husband has been my rock. He is very spiritual and faithful. We have a wonderful church family. My friends, including my new survivor friends, have been awesome.

How have your long-term goals or life goals changed since diagnosis?

I focus more on short term goals now than ever. I had always been a planner. Now, I focus less on planning my retirement and more on relaxing in the moment with my family.

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

I work full time. I arrive at my office my 8 a.m. and leave between 5 and 6:30 depending on children's activities and projects.

Since the diagnosis, what has changed in your work life?

My work life has stayed the same since my diagnosis. My boss and employer have been incredibly understanding.

What has helped you continue to work the most?

Work has been a form of therapy for me. If I could be at the office, I could think about something other than cancer, feel valuable, and feel "normal."

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

Listen to your body. If you need to rest, rest. However, don't get lazy. Working out really helps.

How have you dealt with any side effects of treatment?

Luckily, I did not have many side effects. I did rest a lot after work and on weekends.

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

Have faith! You are never alone. Look for fellow survivors sooner because they will be great help to you. Drink lots of water!