Be the Boss Over Cancer

by Nikilette W. on September 22, 2009
I was Diagnosed with:
Breast Cancer (HER-2 Postitive)
Date of Diagnosis:
March 17, 2009
Employment Status:
Full Time
Type and Description of Treatments:
I was given carboplatin, taxotere & herceptin. The chemo treatment started on 4/29/09 and the last major chemo cocktail was 8/13/09. I am still currently on herceptin and will be until 4/2010
How do you feel today?

Today, I am glad to be alive because I almost died from my chemotherapy treatments. When I look in the mirror, I don't recognize myself and it isn't just because the hair is gone. I also gained a great deal of weight because of the steroids. My fiance is now my ex and my job is trying to demote me and cut my hours after working there for 5 years. So I certainly have a battle before me.

Since the diagnosis, what has changed in your life?

OK changes. I don't put up with the BS that happens in life as much and I speak my mind with no problems. I ended my relationship with my fiance because he kept threatening to leave me after surgery or during/after chemo treatments. My youngest son no longer lives with me and is presently residing in a residential program. I obviously lost my health and because of the herceptin, I have to be on heart meds until next year and I have 22 of the 39 side effects of the drug. Weird thing is that, my hair started growing in before the last round of chemo (6 in all) and it's been over a month since my last full chemo round and my nails are falling off. Also, I still have a good amount of twitching. UGH That is annoying.

What is going well for you right now?

I am not sick like I was. After the surgery, I was cancer free. My oldest son and I have a better relationship and I am doing more things now with friends and family.
We had a couple of fundraisers and it was so encouraging to have people that I didn't know support me and my kids so I could live in my home.

What is not going well for you right now?

My job is trying to tell me they feel I shouldn't work full time because what if I can't perform my job. I took extra time off so when I went back I would be able to perform.
Then they told me that there wasn't enough $ in the budget to bring me back full time. And they want to demote me. Basically, punish me for having breast cancer.

What has been the most challenging thing about having cancer?

Read above
Also, not being able to care for myself or family and not be able to work.
I also have a lot of issues with my health and the breast that had cancer.

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

Family and friends

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

I am going to do more photography. I have my own photography business. Get back in shape, not stand for people treating me like poo and live life more than I ever have before.

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

I am on disability.

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

Read above

What has helped you continue to work the most?


How have you dealt with any side effects of treatment?

Well, as I stated above, I almost died from chemo. You have to advocate for yourself and make your doctor hear what you are saying.

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

Dump the fiance, don't take the neulasta shot the day after you get your chemo, wait a few days. Write down the chemo events in detail to share later on.