Be the Boss Over Cancer

by Ann D. on December 5, 2008
I was Diagnosed with:
Chronic Mylogenous Leukemia
Date of Diagnosis:
March 23, 2005
Employment Status:
Employed Full Time
Type and Description of Treatments:
Have had several bone marrow biopsies. Am now on Gleevec 400 mg for the rest of my life.
How do you feel today?

I feel pretty good. Most evenings I am pretty tired. The Gleevec makes me very tired about 1 to 2 hours after I take it, so I take it in the evening.

Since the diagnosis, what has changed in your life?

I feel extremely lucky to be alive. With just taking the Gleevec every day, I will stay alive. I am happy for every day.
With realizing I was given a second chance in life by having CML instead of the worse type of Leukemia, I decided to go back to school and get my MBA. I am hoping to do something special with my life, but not sure what that is just yet.

What is going well for you right now?

Feeling good, no more bone marrow biopsies and able to work all day every day with no problems.

What is not going well for you right now?

I don't like being so tired in the evening. I haven't been able to find a better job with my MBA, but can't just quit my job to move anywhere because I must have the insurance to pay for my medicine and any future treatments. I would like to do some consulting, but must stay at my present job for the insurance.

What has been the most challenging thing about having cancer?

Knowing my medicine is so extremely expensive for my employer to contribute to. Also not being able to take another job unless it has very good insurance.

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

I don't really have anyone. My Oncologist listens to my concerns and tries to reassure me.

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

Went back for my MBA and am looking for a better job. I want to give something back to society, something very special, since I have been given this second chance at life.

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

I work Monday to Friday, 8 hours per day.

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

Nothing really.

What has helped you continue to work the most?

I try to make sure I get plenty of rest.

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

Be grateful for every day you are alive. Live every day like it was your last and in a way you want people to remember you by.

How have you dealt with any side effects of treatment?

The Gleevec makes me very sick to my stomach if I don't take it with food. It also makes me very tired so I must take it in the evening when I know I will be going to bed soon.

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

Do a lot of research, ask a lot of questions and know the more information you have, the better you can handle most things with your disease.