Julie J. on July 16, 2021
I was diagnosed with localized sarcoma in July 2019. I continued to work through radiation treatments, but did take a 100% short term disability leave during chemotherapy in early 2020. After finishing chemotherapy, I started working full time from home due to COVID. I also had a relapse after chemotherapy, bringing me to a stage IV diagnosis. I was a surgical candidate so I was able to remove the metastasis via surgery. I continued working, but also made a change in my care strategy, which is important in this ask. Even though I had no evidence of disease, I took a more integrative/less conventional approach and do natural treatments to hopefully prevent a recurrence. I used my home as my "base" for these natural treatments and have accumulated a home setup that allows me to do infusions and natural treatments at home. At this point, I am managing my treatments myself and I work with 2 other integrative doctors who i do virtual visits with a few times per year. I am followed by a traditional oncologist for scans. I have remained without evidence of disease since I started this approach 10 months ago. I firmly believe that my work from home treatment setup has allowed me to maintain the best of both worlds - working and healing. While my job does know about my cancer diagnosis, no one knows I've been doing all of these treatments while working. My review was very positive last year and there were no performance issues.
My office announced a mandatory return to work policy effective in the fall. I do not believe this policy is in my best interest as it will not allow me to do BOTH my job and my healing modalities, like I've been doing for the past 10 months. These treatments don't make me sick and can be done in a way where I can work while receiving them.
I would like to ask for a work from home accommodation, but am not sure how to position this, given these are not conventional treatments. While my conventional oncologist has been encouraging in my pursuits of these endeavors, he said he has a rule where he will not sign work from home papers for anyone not going through traditional treatment. I have not asked any of my integrative doctors if they will sign such papers, but plan to at my next appointment.
I would love to be able to arrange this without the formality of paperwork. Does anyone have thoughts on the best way to position this in order to put me in the best position to get my desired outcome? I have been an employee at this organization for almost 20 years and have a solid reputation as a strong performer. I do not manage people right now (this is intentional) and I work on projects that require collaboration mostly with external agencies who are not based in my town (so most of my time is spent on calls/virtual meetings).