Be the Boss Over Cancer

by Cindi M. on May 7, 2010
I was Diagnosed with:
Multiple Myeloma
Date of Diagnosis:
December 19, 2005
Employment Status:
FT
Age:
46
Type and Description of Treatments:
Stem Cell Transplant after Revlimid/Dexamethasone clinical trial brought disease to partial response. Currently complete response...Remission!
How do you feel today?

I feel wonderful! Very blessed to be in remission, going on nearly 4 years. Active, with no limitations except my own self-induced stress!

Since the diagnosis, what has changed in your life?

My outlook on how common cancer has become and how complicated cancer, treatment and research can be. Everyone has been touched by cancer somehow. Survivor, friend, co-worker, relative. We all need more advocates and inspiring stories of survival. Like how exciting research has become with blood cancers and treatments! Who would ever connect cancer with exciting?

What is going well for you right now?

Becoming very connected in the cancer community. Sharing my story with others, speaking locally and linking with families being touch by cancer. Working full time with no limitations is a blessing.

What is not going well for you right now?

My mental gymnastics on relapse, as a good friend only 58 years old was admitted to hospice this week with the same disease. Most days I am successful at maintaining a healthy mental balance, and don't think of relapse or cancer coming back. But it's been a rough week.

What has been the most challenging thing about having cancer?

When cancer enters the room before you do. But most days I remember that cancer has brought me where I am today. Strong, healthy and an advocate and support for others.

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

I go to other survivor's, people living with it daily. It's hard being in remission for 3+ years, as most people don't want to talk about cancer with you.

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

I don't plan on the long term future to hold my happiness. My happiness comes from today!

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

Full time, 5 days a week. I travel a 200 mile radius. Lots of windshield time! Representing hospice and home care services. I feel I can really relate in a positive way to families working with hospice in a very positive way.

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

I went from a very big, stressful management position, working FT through chemo, to a smaller marketing position that is way less stressful!

What has helped you continue to work the most?

Work was therapy for me. A way to have some sense of normalcy about my routines. And an escape from thinking about cancer every minute. Now work is enjoyable, and I think about cancer affecting other people's lives, not my own.

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

To do what is right for you. The balance of working FT, PT or not at all needs to be a decision that you make by identifying all the pro's and cons. Financial, insurance, mental health and disease management.

How have you dealt with any side effects of treatment?

Working through side effects was difficult when the steroids made me look different. I didn't want to explain my situation to everyone I met. Now my only side effect is a big smile!

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

Don't forget to breathe!