Be the Boss Over Cancer

by Sue K. on September 18, 2010
I was Diagnosed with:
Invasive Ductal Carcinoma
Date of Diagnosis:
July 20, 2010
Employment Status:
family medical leave
Type and Description of Treatments:
breast exam 7/13/10, mammogram & ultrasound 7/15/10, biopsy 7/16/10, dx with breast ca 7/20/10 & saw surgeon & plastic surgeon, partial mastectomy, setinel node biopsy 7/27/10, first oncologist appt 8/11/10, MUGA test 8/17/10, Liver ultrasound & bone scan 8/19/10, first chemo treatment* N&V,fatigue 8/27/10, first Neulasta shot 8/30/10, first appt with radiation dr, Infection, right axilla swollen nodule 8/31/10, Echo 9/3/10, Surgery for placement of a port 9/7/10, second chemo treatment 9/10/10, Call from boss @ work referring me to call employee health 9/13/10, second Neulasta shot *bad side effects, muscle soreness, bedridden for two days 9/14/10, traveled to employee health after dealing with phone tag 3 days to speak with the employee health nurse re: my job 9/17/10. I was told "my boss cannot accommodate me" I have an appt with my oncologist Monday 9/20/10 to attempt to resolve this matter.
How do you feel today?

A little better. I consider myself fortunate when I have energy to smile, laugh, & accomplish small tasks like a load of laundry.

Since the diagnosis, what has changed in your life?

Oh my gosh, let me count the ways..... I was working 10.5 hr shifts @ night full time in a sleep lab in a hospital. My schedule consisted of working 4 days in a row, then one day off, then 5 days in a row, then 5 days off. During my free time, I spent time with my boyfriend, my dogs, attended concerts with friends. I thought I was liked, although since my diagnosis, if it were not for my boyfriend, mother & sister I would be completely alone.

What is going well for you right now?

Today I feel energetic enough to complete this.

What is not going well for you right now?

Frustration over my oncologist's restrictions @ work & my employers unwillingness to work with me.

What has been the most challenging thing about having cancer?

Fear & Change. I'm becoming bald, I have scars & I don't have any idea who I am anymore. I look in the mirror only if I have to, although I don't recognize the person before me.

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

I see a counselor.

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

Difficult to say, I pretty much live moment to moment.

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

Haven't been able to return to work yet.

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

Haven't been able to return to work yet.

What has helped you continue to work the most?

Haven't been able to return to work yet.

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

Find some strength somewhere because you're going to need it.

How have you dealt with any side effects of treatment?

Remain bedridden, drink Boost, Sierra mist, eat when I can, & don't eat when I can't. Ask for help if I don't feel well enough to drive myself.

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

Let it all out & cry, it's OK to not feel strong today.