Be the Boss Over Cancer

by Doris S. on May 22, 2009
I was Diagnosed with:
Breast Cancer
Date of Diagnosis:
April 20, 2007
Employment Status:
Type and Description of Treatments:
Mastectomy followed by radiation. Now on Tamoxifen for 5 years.
How do you feel today?

I feel good. Just finished breast reconstruction. I have a bit of a problem with some pain in the reconstructed breast but overall feel ok.

Since the diagnosis, what has changed in your life?

I have reunited with my ex husband. We have been close for awhile now but my cancer brought him closer. We have been back together for 2 years now and are now talking about remarriage

What is going well for you right now?

My son is graduating from high school so I'm very proud. I feel confident I'll see his college graduation as well and that cancer will not return and I will enjoy a long life.

What is not going well for you right now?

My job. My job is auto industry related and I know layoffs are coming. I have a feeling they will lay me off due to the cost I have in medical expenses.

What has been the most challenging thing about having cancer?

Trying to convince friends and family I really am alright. I keep in touch with family and friends during my treatment. Made sure I had lunch dates with the girls as I felt well enough to do.I could always see the worry in their eyes no matter how happy a face I put on.

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

My ex-husband always listens to me and advises me when things just seem to be going wrong.

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

I would like to retire earlier. Have more time to enjoy life.

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

I work 40 hrs per week. 700-330

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

My first day back after my treatment my boss booted me from her department. I must say I was shocked. She gave me flowers and 2 hrs later I was told go work else where. It turns out the new department has been a better fit for me. So it was a good move for me but a thoughtless action by my employer.

What has helped you continue to work the most?

Just the need to pay the bills. I have medical expenses that I must pay and a child entering college. If I did not need to I would not work.

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

Keep you head up and keep positive people around you. Telling coworkers is a personal decision. I think it depends on your environment and how close you feel to your coworkers. If your coworkers are really your friends, they can be your strongest support.

How have you dealt with any side effects of treatment?

Getting my rest and eating right. It is not easy but I have to take time for me.

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

It will be alright. Fear can lead to defeat. Do not let it overcome you.