Be the Boss Over Cancer

by Shelley H. on March 1, 2010
I was Diagnosed with:
Stage 2 Hodgkin's Lymphoma
Date of Diagnosis:
December 29, 2009
Employment Status:
Fired now for the cancer
Type and Description of Treatments:
ABVD Chemo treatments every two weeks for a possible total of eight treatments. They are really affecting me badly!
How do you feel today?

I don't feel so good today. I am angry that I had a good job going, and things were finally going well for me and my two children (I'm a single mom) - trying to get one through freshman year of high school and one through senior year (two boys). My employer just cut things off and left me with no money. I had a good job, but still lived paycheck to paycheck, but the bills were paid at least. It's hard to sleep at night, and when I finally do, it's hard to get up in the morning. I am cold all the time. I am scared about how I'm going to pay bills or is my family going to end up on the street.

Since the diagnosis, what has changed in your life?

Everything. I'm trying to have a positive attitude, but it's very difficult.

What is going well for you right now?

I do have people that care and reach out that I am grateful for.

What is not going well for you right now?

Financial and mental.

What has been the most challenging thing about having cancer?

Having your whole life change overnight, and feeling like crap all the time.

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

God, my mom, my boyfriend.

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

Everything's changed.

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

They are trying to fire me for the cancer....they are not willing to adjust hours, or let me work from home.

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

It's very difficult to get to work each day. I am now unable to do it.

What has helped you continue to work the most?

I haven't been able to.

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

Let people do things for you...don't try and do everything.

How have you dealt with any side effects of treatment?

I take my medication, but the side effects are just awful.

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

I would tell myself to be more aggressive at the beginning...this all started at the end of October, and after 4 surgeries, was finally diagnosed at the end of December, so I didn't start treatment until January. I would have gotten more education and demanded the most thorough surgery up front that would have diagnosed it earlier. I would have been done with treatments right now.