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How to not be a negative person career-relationship wise?



Is it possible to resist the urge to punch your boss after he asks "but what about your career aspirations?" when you tell him you are not interested in going up the corporate ladder?

Is it possible to dig oneself out of a hole: pushing loved ones away knowing you don't have long to live? Not wanting to meet new people because you don't want to hurt new friends down the road?

Is it possible to stop being selfish, even though your therapist tells you to be because you are "fighting to live" and "life is too-short"?

Is it possible to find proof that this disease physically makes you depressed and negative? Or is this all in our heads?

This disease has not changed me the way I expected (finding a new zest for life or a life purpose). It has brought more guilt and pain that I have ever experienced. I want to know how is it possible to live among friends and family without wishing to not exist in the first place. My meds got changed and still feel the same. I get asked "why not get disability?" and I get enraged. In the mirror I see someone who can walk again and not need opiates as pain-killers. I look normal. Then I go to the proverbial hell that is the oncology department for my Zometa infusions and talk to a doctor that wants me to go through another CAT scan. I have family members who survived and not survived when they got their mets. Both became religious fanatics and recommended I do the same. For those who did not take that path, how do you do it?


  • aprilgirl1
    aprilgirl1 Member Posts: 777
    edited September 2023

    Hi Lotus, I hear you. I understand and have had to work through some of the rage that I, too felt with this MBC. I was dx in 2019 (at 55 years of age) 11 years after I had stage I, node negative IDC that I did all the treatment and more for - and was told that statistically I had a very low chance of recurrence…as it 7% or something. Silly me thought they were talking about a local recurrence, not mets. HA.

    I work full time. I worked really hard to establish my career after staying home to raise kids and fighting stage I cancer. I am self employed, so I don't have corporate disability insurance (medical coverage through husbands employer). I am super successful (having worked hard to get here!) and I technically could go on ss disability but that is so much less than what I earn. My MBC is stable and has been for 3 years and a few months which has helped me feel less rage about MBC and has helped me feel less annoyed at my close friends/family who DO NOT UNDERSTAND. Also, I am not in pain. A lot of MBC women are in constant pain and that would definitely impact how much BS we can tolerate from work and well meaning family/friends. I am not super religious and that is not the answer that works for me, although I do believe in God. I think you are younger than me but I never expected to be in this situation and feel very ripped off for lack of a better phrase.

    My approach and advice:

    OUR REALITY IS SCARY AS HELL: We have a terminal disease that is very complex. We don't know when our treatment will stop working, why we have that pain in our hip, or when we will die. I have had someone close to me say "we are all going to die some day". Um….not the same. WE ARE TERMINAL. This will give us many feels all the time. Intense feelings. I don't think there is an antianxiety med that can change the intense feelings we rightfully have around MBC.

    PEOPLE WHO LOVE YOU DON'T GET IT (unless they have had cancer ).

    FRIENDS mean well but do not understand (unless they have had cancer). I have stopped hoping or expecting support from family and friends around MBC.

    JOIN A MBC ZOOM Group on here, or find someone on here that you can relate to and share some giggles, highs and lows with. We are the ones who understand. You might find you have less rage if you can talk to others who are in this same surreal MBC reality. I am on the west coast so will be on the Tuesday zoom tomorrow night (5:30 pst so 8:30 east coast time).

    DO THE MATH: If you have long term disability at your work and the payout is close to what you currently earn, maybe you do want to take advantage of it. I would! It might give you time to pursue a hobby, enjoy nature or ?

    IT IS OK TO PUT YOURSELF FIRST (or be selfish) within reason: This has been hard for me until MBC. We do have a shortened life so yeah, I don't want my husband to buy a bigger boat - I don't have time to go boating now. He can do that after I die. Yes, I have said that to him. We recently went on a trip and my husband felt like we needed to visit his sister in Germany. I didn't want to. I nicely put my foot down and said I wanted to go to Spain, which we had never been to and was really close to Bordeaux (we were in France to see World Cup Rugby games which dictated the cities we traveled to in France). He agreed. His sister was fine with it since she is working and this wasn't an ideal time for us to visit (kids all in school etc) and she is coming for xmas. Within reason: don't be reckless with money or throw all caution to the wind. My husband is important to me and I would never just bulldozer over his needs but I am much more clear about what I need.

    MAKE TRAVEL PLANS: I try not to plan vacation too far in advance (pretty much scan to scan) but went out on a limb 2 years ago and we planned a trip with friends to go to Europe. I just got back. It was amazing. Only one of these friends knows I had a cancer recurrence in 2019 so it was never discussed, which was a relief and they way I have chosen to live with MBC. Remember when you met your spouse and you both said "some day I'd like to …." start planning it

    MAKE PLANS: I always have something to look forward to within my 3 month scan window. Concert tickets, a visit to see a friend, or a trip. SOMETHING. Having events to look forward to keeps me focused on something fun (not work and not MBC).

    It's ok to tell your boss that you are happy where you are at in your career and as much as you appreciate the encouragement to climb the corporate ladder, you have found a good balance of work/personal goals right now. I don't know if your boss knows about your dx. I chose not to tell my work as I feel fine and don't want the comments and random BS I experienced when I was stage 1. But, that is me. I am not in denial. I just don't think it is necessary to share this info, right now.

    I am "furiously living".. NOT furious as in mad, but furious as in trying to pack in as much as I can while I feel ok.

    Hope this helps.

  • brutersmom
    brutersmom Member Posts: 913

    lotusnoiramethyst. I answered your post under palative care. I can relate to it. Aprilgirl has made some great suggestions. I have been where you are. In that negative process. Your body is having a crisis. Honestly I had all the same thoughts in April that you are having now. I had them in 2017. What you are having is a chemical response to lack of estrogen. I stopped letrozole for a month, a week after I stopped letrozole to confirm that my actions were from the drug, I was started on effexor 75. Three weeks later I started Letrozole again. The side effects came back slowly but not as bad. The doc increased me to 150 mg and I am back to my more normal self. Yes I still have fears and I am exhausted at times but I no longer want to hurt myself or people for saying dumb things. If your oncologist doesn't agree, show him my original post in palative care. Your anger and thoughts are real. You are not crazy. It is a reaction to no Estrogen. It doesn't happen to many but it happens. Also ask for a referral to palative care. I got so much direction there and I know if my oncologist say something like yours said I have someone to call for help.

  • aprilgirl1
    aprilgirl1 Member Posts: 777

    Brutersmom, great advice ! i wasn't even thinking about the estrogen depletion side effects .

    hang in there Lotus ! You are not alone .

  • sondraf
    sondraf Member Posts: 1,609

    Oh i feel this post. I dont even have an OPTION to move up a ladder, that never apparently existed despite what I was told. My boss doesn't know my MBC diagnosis but he knows I could do and achieve better/more with my skills anywhere else. That's true, but the fatigue from dealing with the after effects of this stupid lung clot and this banged up hip have me not really feeling like looking for a new job. That gets me down too - I feel like such a lump at this one because there is nothing to strive for or grow into, and yet I just dont have the energy to find something new right now. I was supposed to have a discussion with HR today about long term disability options, but I was too tired lol.

    I enjoy working and it gives me value (people dont seem to get this either) but this job doesnt provide that value at all. This job does essentially allow me to never do a damn thing and get paid along with insurance that always pays out like some vegas slot machine. Oncology are pushing me to take some time off completely and heal from the clot/the hip, get stronger with PT, figure out what I want to do. Maybe they are right - it would give me space to find a new job too I suppose.

    Aprilgirl is right, though, you need to plan things to look forward to. I pay a little extra to make sure things are refundable, but tonight I will be putting down a deposit on a swim camp in Spain in early June (to keep me motivated through the long weeks of PT recovery coming), train tickets and hotel for a small music festival in the Netherlands in February, and figuring out what we are doing for Christmas. I missed a whole year of travel/activities/hanging out with friends, and having nothing to look forward to is the pits.

  • lotusnoiramethyst

    Thank you all for the great advice! I don't know how you all do it day to day. I am rooting for you all!

  • olma61
    olma61 Member Posts: 1,025
    edited September 2023

    I think brutersmom made an excellent point. I became very angry and tearful when I was going through menopause- my diagnosis came after that so going on anti-estrogen therapy hasn’t been a drastic change, although I think it’s giving me an accumulation of fat around the middle, mood-wise I’m pretty stable

    but I can imagine the shift pre-menopausal women must experience with a forced drug-induced menopause.

    You deserve to enjoy the life that remains ahead of you, it’s okay to feel sad that it’s been shortened. Our bodies screwed up , those cells had one job and they messed it up royally but we are NOT DEAD YET!

    My plan is to live until I die and not before. You deserve that also.

  • sf-cakes
    sf-cakes Member Posts: 557

    The chemically-induced menopause is no joke, physically and emotionally. I was diagnosed at pre-menopausal 50, and having as much estrogen sucked out of my body in as short of time as possible made me realize I am different now. Different because of MBC, yes, but also different without estrogen. It's kind of important in our lives, turns out. My mood is much less cheerful than it used to be overall.

    My perspective on life has changed, I used to be quite future oriented, but now I'm constantly reminded that I don't have much of a future. This is something that I cannot seem to adequately explain to the people who care about me, I think it's not understandable unless it happens to you. I think every single day about how limited my life now is, although usually I don't dwell on it, but it's there, always. It's my new baseline, what I return to. I'm able to laugh and enjoy things, but this hulking spectre of death hangs out in my living room now. I'm trying to make friends with it, but it's kind of an asshole.

    I'm currently on an extended medical leave, after working full-time with this illness for 2.5 years. I'm exhausted. I never thought I would consider leaving work at this age. Sometimes I feel like such a loser for not working, even though my boss and colleagues and friends are all very supportive. I am grateful to even have the option to not work right now, of course.

    I think gratitude is ultimately what keeps me predominately sane. I practice gratitude multiple times throughout the day. I let myself cry if I need to, and then review what I'm grateful for in my life.

    I do love Aprilgirl's suggestion of having some things planned to look forward to. I've started going to the opera here in San Francisco (never thought I'd be into it, but I really enjoy it), and have tickets to see Yo Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman play with the symphony next year. I'm hoping to get to Santa Fe next month to see a good friend. I do some local exploring on days when I'm up for it, and try really hard not to beat myself up for not being "productive" when I need to rest.

    My signature is a line that the main character in the show Resident Alien says a lot. It's an accurate summation of this whole situation and makes me laugh.