Be the Boss Over Cancer

by Cheri G. on December 20, 2011
I was Diagnosed with:
The official diagnosis is triple negative adnocarcinoma of the breast, axillary lymph node dissection, stage 2B, grade 3.
Date of Diagnosis:
May 23, 2010
Employment Status:
Employed
Gender/Age:
Female/54
Type and Description of Treatments:
Mammogram Biopsy 1st Operation-Lumpectomy, little itty bitty tumor (2.7 centimeters) and the tissue around it. 2nd Operation-Lymph Node removal 6 chemo treatments that included: Dexamethasone - Steriod Pepcid - Stomach Emend - Nausea Zofran - Nausea Aloxi - Nausea Benedryl - Allergic reactions Neulasta - White blood cell production Cyclophoshamide (Cytoxan) - Chemo Docetaxel (Taxotere) - Chemo Radiation - 33 treatments
How do you feel today?

Feeling Good but Feeling Anxious

Since the diagnosis, what has changed in your life?

Anxiety level is up'd, and I've never really had problems with anxiety. Job changed right at the end of radiation and had much anxiety about my chemo fog and being able to perform well in my job. After a year, I'm still worrying about it. I became indifferent to a lot of things. Kind of a flat feeling. I'm religious already, so I didn't have a "turn to God" moment. I wasn't angry. Just kind of left feeling flat. I don't know how else to describe it. I kind of also have a "waiting for the shoe to fall off" feeling ... Just kind of wondering when I will be hit again.

What is going well for you right now?

Well, I take each day at my job one day at a time and just do what I can. I have passed 1 year since chemo and all my tests have come back clean.

What is not going well for you right now?

An uneasy feeling.

What has been the most challenging thing about having cancer?

Getting past some peoples comments. Some have been unthoughtful. Some have been indifferent. And then some have been so caring and supportive that it wipes clean the unthoughtful, uncaring comments.

Trying to work through every day to maintain insurance coverage. Some days were just meant to be bed ...

A sibling who is herself terminally ill, and not able to take care of her. After hearing her comment to another person "maybe now she'll see what I go through". Unthoughful and uncaring, and even untrue - although I tried to move forward through those comments, I found myself feeling a little bitter when she took off for a visit in another state while I went through chemo.

Good friends who hold me back from experiencing new adventures, selfish because they fear for me and don't want to let go.

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

Prayer. Talk it through with family. Cousin is a hospice nurse, so I can get good knowledge and support with her. I know she hasn't been afraid to be up front with the good and bad, and is encouraging.

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

I want to move forward with life and live each day at its fullest, but feel held back by finances and support.

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

I work full time, and some overtime hours. Daytime.

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

Management felt the need to move me from an office (further from home) where I had worked for five years and had a supportive boss, to a new office (closer to home) that was demanding and full of problems, and with a new young manager fresh out of college. I have been completely disorganized and feeling over-whelmed with the activity of this office, but things are getting a little clearer. New management is good and supportive, but I feel a lack of confidence in my abilities, probably more from myself than anyone else ...

What has helped you continue to work the most?

Knowing I had a place to live and had insurance to support me. Without it, I don't know where I would be or what kind of medical help I would have had.

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

Just push through it. It may be uncomfortable, but it's not un-livable. Hold close to your heart those things that bring you joy. Find joy in every moment that you can.

How have you dealt with any side effects of treatment?

It was a fine line, that I believe is individual. A fine line between pushing yourself hard, and knowing when to let things go. I didn't panic. I found the information and then confirmed it with medical personnel. I pretty well knew what to expect, but of course, even when you know it's still turns your world upside down for a day or two.

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

Quit being anxious.