Be the Boss Over Cancer

by Harry K. on March 29, 2012
I was Diagnosed with:
Hodgkin's Lymphoma
Date of Diagnosis:
August 31, 2009
Employment Status:
Full Time
Type and Description of Treatments:
Eight cycles of ABVD followed by 21 days of head and neck radiation.
How do you feel today?

Tired and concerned.

Since the diagnosis, what has changed in your life?

I got divorced and started dating the woman I fell in love with 25 years ago.

What is going well for you right now?

My new relationship.

What is not going well for you right now?

Work. Not very compassionate about my health and recovery. In addition, I've just relapsed, which sadly is a good thing because my company was looking to let me go. Now they feel they can't.

What has been the most challenging thing about having cancer?

Chemobrain, PTSD, and depression.

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

My girlfriend and trying to switch to having a positive attitude.

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

Dramatically. I was close to finishing my PhD in history and was prepared to look for a university position and relocated just about anywhere for it. Now career is not that critical anymore. With the divorce, I want to stay in the area to stay close to my daughter and girlfriend. Career has taken a back seat to quality time with those I love. Now going to school for IT so that I can find a job more easily where I live.

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

I am working full time, but not sure yet how that will change once the new treatment starts.

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

I take it less seriously. I was always determined to be the best, volunteer for everything, work long hours, etc. Now I want to put in quality time when I can (chemo brain), but then go home and enjoy life more.

What has helped you continue to work the most?

Fear of job loss.

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

Pace yourself. Get a work plan in writing. Stick to it. If others fall through in covering for you, don't cover for them.

How have you dealt with any side effects of treatment?

Chemobrain and depression have made it challenging to function properly at work. Just trying to stay focused, take classes to retrain my brain, and do what I can do.

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

Don't kill yourself working through treatment. It's not worh it.