Be the Boss Over Cancer

by Cynthia S. on November 1, 2009
I was Diagnosed with:
Stage 2 Agressive Breast Cancer
Date of Diagnosis:
November 2, 1996
Employment Status:
Full time corporate trainer
Type and Description of Treatments:
surgery chemotherapy radiation
How do you feel today?

Today, I am completely fine and suffer no long term ill effects whatsoever.

Since the diagnosis, what has changed in your life?

I have lost both my mother and husband to cancer since my diagnosis while I remain in remission.

What is going well for you right now?

My health is fine. My outlook is good and I enjoy helping others on their life journey.

What has been the most challenging thing about having cancer?

When I was actively in treatment, the tiredness from the chemo was the major challenge. After treatment, the numerous minor illnesses such as shingles etc. due to a compromised immune system were irritating and an inconvenience as you so wanted to be well right then.

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

Prayer and friends offer a tremendous amount of support.

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

Yes, I want to focus more on helping others through life's rough spots. I am working on a book for caregivers now.

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

I work 4 days a week mostly 8-10 hour days. The hours range from 8-5 and 6 am to 7 pm.

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

Taking the weekends off and taking more time for myself.

What has helped you continue to work the most?

Just being a workaholic.

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

Be nice to yourself. If you aren't financially strapped, go part time or reduce your hours. Ask for flexibility so you can be rested.

How have you dealt with any side effects of treatment?

I still have neuropathy in my hands and feet and fake carpal tunnel thanks to the chemo. I also have heart problems now due to the side effects of the chemo.

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

They found the first tumor in the lymph system so they were expecting mine to be Stage 4 consequently they treated it as if it were and I am still here without a recurrence while friends who opted for less aggressive treatment are gone. Treat your cancer aggressively - it is no fun while you are doing it but it may well save your life in the long run. You can live with the side effects. What's a little numbness or shortness of breath - at least you are still breathing.