Topic: MBC and Your Job -- what's your story?

Forum: Employment, Insurance, and Other Financial Issues — Employment, insurance, and financial concerns are common. Meet others here to discuss and for support.

Posted on: Nov 15, 2018 03:05PM

Posted on: Nov 15, 2018 03:05PM

moderators wrote:

We're looking for submissions about your experiences with a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis and managing your career. Did you find great support in the workplace from your employer and colleagues? Did you feel comfortable disclosing your diagnosis? Were there any unexpected reactions? How did you handle any adverse/complicated experiences? Did you need to shift your job/career goals?

Please add your responses here and we'll reach out if we need further information!

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Jan 29, 2020 10:43PM Daisy613 wrote:

I work for a large local hospital in the fundraising department. I was there for just under 2 years when I was diagnosed with cancer, first thought to be stage 2 but ended up being stage 4. It was in my breast, lymph node under my arm, several lymph nodes in my chest and one outside my liver. I told my boss and asked him to tell leadership and I gave permission to share the news with my department because I knew I'd be out of the office a lot and I needed support and patience.

My job is entirely online, I manage the financial donor data base. I run all the lists for mailings and events, determine the best methods for tracking data in the database. I made it clear that my coworkers could call my cell phone or email me whenever they needed something.

I had chemo for a year, once every 3 weeks. It was brutal. Chemo was on Thursdays (which I took off) and then I worked until about 3 on Friday when the effects really kicked in. I'd spend the weekend in bed and on Monday if I couldn't get downstairs, I'd try and work from bed. I did this for a year and participated in meetings via phone.

Year 2, I was only receiving Herceptin infusions every 3 weeks. and I started going into the office a few times a month for major meetings mostly. But they started pressuring me to come in more often so I upped it to once a week and then twice a week. We agreed I would come in on Wednesdays or Fridays so the staff would know when I was in if they needed me.

Year 3, It's wearing on me to even go in twice a week. My energy levels are so low (I have low blood pressure and low iron). Sometimes I have trouble sleeping, I am incredibly depressed (worried about money, dying, losing my job, my physicially and psychologically sick adult daughter who lives with me). I have massive anxiety and have come to realize that part of it is because I went from finding a lump to having full blown stage 4 cancer in a very short time. About a month ago, I had a meeting with my boss who brought up coming into the office more frequently. He began by saying, "It's been 3 years now and you're through the worst of it" and ended the conversation with "You know I support you if you find another work opportunity". He has apologized since I brought it up to him but there's been a clear shift in the relationship. I have now had my doctor fill out the paperwork requesting accomodations to allow me to work from home 3 days a week. However, today I sent in a new form requesting it be full-time. The stress of going into the office and the energy used completely wipes me out. Plus, it's an hour commute.

I need my job. I live paycheck to paycheck and am supporting my daughter. I actually love my job too. I just need the flexibility to sleep in a little sometimes, to take a break and lie down, maybe even work from bed. And I need my boss to be supportive and not say stupid things like the worse is over to someone with stage 4 cancer. Does he know what stage 4 means? Does he understand what the worse thing about it is?

Dx 10/6/2016, IDC/IDC: Papillary/IDC: Cribriform, Right, 5cm, Stage IV, metastasized to other, Grade 2, ER-/PR-, HER2+, Chemotherapy 11/17/2016 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel)

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