Be the Boss Over Cancer

by Charlene B. on March 3, 2009
I was Diagnosed with:
Invasive Lobular Carcinoma
Date of Diagnosis:
January 12, 2009
Employment Status:
full time
Type and Description of Treatments:
Bi-lateral mastectomy with 6 cycles of chemotherapy for 4 months
How do you feel today?

I feel good today. I had lunch with friends after a pet scan. No nausea or aches today after my first chemo session on Thursday.

Since the diagnosis, what has changed in your life?

I never realized there were so many wonderful people who cared about me. They seem to have come out of the woodwork to do things for my husband and me. The number of cards, emails and good wishes from all over the country have been amazing. I'm not able to work every day because of all of the appointments, but I am lucky to have a caring boss and coworkers who are picking up the slack and everything can wait until tomorrow!

What is going well for you right now?

The side effects from the Chemotherapy are not as bad as I was feeling they might be and hopefully that will continue. I'm able to do most things that I usually do including walking my dogs. My breast reconstruction is going well even though the final surgery for the implants are on hold now until after chemo, but I'll have some nice, perky, and larger tatas than before and my husband is certainly excited about that.

What is not going well for you right now?

Getting ready for the hair loss. My hair feels brittle and dry and I'm waiting for the shedding to start.

What has been the most challenging thing about having cancer?

All of the doctor appointments and tests, plus the first couple of days after surgery were painful.

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

My husband and friends.

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

My goals haven't changed. I have always tried to "be in the moment" and not focus on what I'm going to do next. I really do try to "smell the roses".

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

I can work from home or in the office and I can choose my hours based on how I feel. I am blessed!

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

I'm not in the office as much (for the last 5 weeks).

What has helped you continue to work the most?

The flexibility. And, I have great healthcare benefits from work. I feel like it's the least I can do to show my appreciation by being a good employee.

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

I've only had my first treatment, so I don't know if I can give good advice on this yet.

How have you dealt with any side effects of treatment?

I gave in and stayed on the couch for 2 days when I felt bad.

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

You did good! You have great doctors and medical care providers, family and friends and everyone on your cancer team has followed your sense of urgency to fight. Keep fighting.