Be the Boss Over Cancer

by Eli O. on August 7, 2014
I was Diagnosed with:
Hodgkins Lymphoma Stage IIA
Date of Diagnosis:
September 27, 2011
Employment Status:
Type and Description of Treatments:
9 months of Chemo followed by 30 days of radiation. Had a couple of surgeries.
How do you feel today?

Not that great. I am frequently down.

Since the diagnosis, what has changed in your life?

I barely let myself have a month off before I resumed school where I battled with a lot of post cancer symptoms. I tried going through tough science courses but had to drop out because of chemo brain. I was diagnosed with PTSD and major depression when 6 months after it happened I started having serious issues. I transfered schools and did poorly and eventually had to take medical leave to deal with the PTSD. I was homeless earlier this year and I don't know if I'll be in this place this month or if I have to move.

What is going well for you right now?

I have a supportive partner.

What is not going well for you right now?

I lost my health insurance since I moved states and can't get anybody to get a hold of me to get on the other state health insurance. I was forced to withdraw from all of my medications which actually made me feel a little better. But I have trouble sleeping at night and am on edge. Can't relax. Anxious.

What has been the most challenging thing about having cancer?

I don't feel as smart as I was before cancer. I can't handle a lot of things and especially people. People make me angry and being in public is difficult for me.

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

Being in public and the little things in life. My dad was in a horrific motorcycle accident and that didn't phase me at all but little things like being on public transportation just piss me the right off.

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

No, not really. I am still determined to get well enough to be back into school.

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

I am unemployed.

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

I lost my job.

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

Don't work while going through treatment, I had really serious side effects which prevented me from walking properly.

How have you dealt with any side effects of treatment?

By failing my classes and being very difficult on myself.

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

Perhaps things would have been easier if you didn't accept treatment. Then you wouldn't be in so much pain now.