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Rob B. on April 20, 2022
I was Diagnosed with:
Stage IV Chromophobe Renal Cell Carcinoma
Working but on leave
Type and Description of Treatments:
Just started a targeted therapy combination of lenvatinib and everolimus a few days ago. Was previously enrolled in a clinical trial that included 2 forms of immuno therapy and caboxantinib targeted therapy. Prior to the clinical trial I was on a steady dose of Sutent targeted therapy.
How do you feel today?
I work at an executive level at a regional college. I have been working in this capacity for over 5 years. During this time I learned to manage the side effects of my cancer treatments and, with the exception of a very few well trusted coworkers, have managed to keep my cancer a secret. Unfortunately l the side effects of the clinical trial medications had started wear me down and, in late February, I decided to take time off to focus on my family (two very busy kids!) and finding balance. Unfortunately, during this time I also learned that my cancer had spread again (this time to my liver) and have just started new treatments.
Today, I feel anxious. My work has been supportive but I recently learned that word has spread of my illness. I’m also not sure how my body will react to my new treatment - and, to be frank, I’m not sure I want to spend the little time I have left trying to manage a demanding job on top of everything else. I have some big decisions to make.
Since the diagnosis, what has changed in your life?
There have been many changes but I the biggest has been my energy level. Before cancer, I had LOTS of energy and was able to accomplish a lot in short amounts of time.
What is going well for you right now?
My leave from work has greatly reduced my stress levels. I have been able to think more clearly, spend time with my children, and reach out to old friends and family I had not had time to see.
What is not going well for you right now?
My cancer stopped responding to my last round of treatments. I still have options, but I think it’s time to reevaluate my work options and I’m dreading it.
What has been the most challenging thing about having cancer?
Learning to live knowing you have a shortened life span.
How have your long-term goals or life goals changed since diagnosis?
I’ve had to surrender my career goals. It’s been hard since work has been a big part of my identity.
What is your work arrangement right now? What are your hours?
I am currently on leave.
What has helped you continue to work the most?
Up until recently, work has been financially necessary. I’ve needed health insurance and a source of income to support my family.
What advice do you have for others trying to work through treatment?
Find someone you trust at work that you can confide in and share with. Could be your boss, a co-worker, human resource advisor.
If "today's you" could give advice to "day-of-diagnosis you," what would you say?
Life with cancer is still a life worth having.