Be the Boss Over Cancer

by Dorene S. on August 3, 2012
I was Diagnosed with:
Infiltrating ductal carcinoma, lobular
Date of Diagnosis:
July 5, 2012
Employment Status:
Type and Description of Treatments:
I had a mammogram on 07/02/12 followed by an ultrasound. On 07/03/12 biopsy and then 07/05/12 diagnosis. I had a partial left breast mastectomy and a left axillary lymph node dissection on 07/31/2012.
How do you feel today?

I still don't believe I had cancer. Physically I feel good...mentally not quite there.

Since the diagnosis, what has changed in your life?

Everything. Dealing with cancer has been almost a part time job. I have a 14 year old daughter at home. She is just starting high school. This is not what I expected her first year of high school would be like. She is sad and confused and angry. My two other children are married with children of their own. It has been difficult for both of them. They don't like seeing their mom like this.

What is going well for you right now?

Work has been very understanding so that takes a lot of pressure off of me. They have been supportive.

What is not going well for you right now?

My emotions are out-of-control. One minute I am ok and the next I am tearful!

What has been the most challenging thing about having cancer?

The amount of time spent on calls, paperwork, appointments and just thinking about it.

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

My sister has been a great support. I also have been blogging. I do like to read what other women are facing. It's helpful to know you're not alone.

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

I think the diagnosis has changed everything. Change is good so we shall see!!!

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

I am an xray tech at a small hospital. There are two of us on all times so I have not been under pressure. I work Mon-Fri 8 to 4:30. I have made my 40 hours some weeks and some 20 hours. I just had surgery so I will return in a few days.

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

My coworkers. Some can talk to me and others can't look at me. I think some feel awkward and don't know what to say. It has been very emotional. The looks of pity really get me upset.

What has helped you continue to work the most?

Trying to go to work and have some kind of routine has helped.

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

Take it day by day. If your employer is supportive it makes it easier. I can only take it one day at a time.

How have you dealt with any side effects of treatment?

None so far. Still waiting to hear if all the cancer was removed.

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

Yikes..that's a tough question. I am still kind of in denial so......