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Topic: Finding work with cancer history and anxiety

Forum: Employment, Insurance, and Other Financial Issues —

Employment, insurance, and financial concerns are common. Meet others here to discuss and for support.

Posted on: Mar 2, 2021 10:35AM

pesky904 wrote:

I'm in my mid-40s. No kids. I was just working random freelance jobs (proofreading, transcribing) for a long time because we were going to relocate and my husband wanted me to have a job that was "portable." My husband then drained our bank account and left me. He disappeared and I suddenly had no health insurance and, boom, I was diagnosed with stage 3 triple negative BC. Lost over 2 years to aggressive treatment and 4 surgeries. During that time, both my parents died. I continued to freelance as much as I could but am not making a livable income. Especially with Covid, I don't know where to start with the job search. I don't know what I want to do, plus dealing with the normal recurrence fears (I'm high risk for recurrence and still seen by oncologist every 3 months and she wants to start Zometa infusions). I feel lost and alone and like a huge failure at life.

​dx 6/17 stage III TNBC 6cm tumor Taxol 7-8/17 tumor grew to 10cm AC 9-10/17 tumor shrunk to 3cm DMX 11/17 expanders placed Rads 33 doses + cisplatin 1/18 Cisplatin discontinued due to SEs Xeloda 4-10/2018 Exch surgery 11/18
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Mar 2, 2021 11:00AM MelissaDallas wrote:

What is the status of your divorce and divorce settlement? Is the divorce final

LCIS, extensive sclerosing adenosis, TAH/BSO & partial omentectomy for mucinous borderline ovarian tumor. Dx 5/20/2012, LCIS, Stage 0, 0/0 nodes
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Mar 2, 2021 11:14AM - edited Mar 2, 2021 11:15AM by pesky904

No, it's not final because he disappeared and I don't even know where he is. My cancer center tried to help me get legal aid but I don't qualify (because no kids, no domestic violence). I have ZERO money to try to find him and wouldn't get much from him anyway. It would cost me so much to fight to get back any of the money that he took or the retirement funds he spent that I'd end up in more debt from fighting for it. It's not worth the time, stress or heartache. I just have to move forward as if I'm a single woman and he's a non-factor.


(It's just a little tiny bit harder because that whole situation happening obviously contributes to my anxiety and hurts a lot to know someone I loved for two decades would abandon me and do such terrible things.)

​dx 6/17 stage III TNBC 6cm tumor Taxol 7-8/17 tumor grew to 10cm AC 9-10/17 tumor shrunk to 3cm DMX 11/17 expanders placed Rads 33 doses + cisplatin 1/18 Cisplatin discontinued due to SEs Xeloda 4-10/2018 Exch surgery 11/18
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Mar 2, 2021 04:06PM SummerAngel wrote:

I'm sorry you're in this situation, how horrible for you! I think you should emphasize to potential employers that you've been freelancing, which could help explain the spotty work since you started treatment. You don't need to tell them anything about the cancer, and it's probably better if you don't. Just put a positive spin on it, I don't think it would hurt to tell them you and your husband had plans that "fell through" or something similar, and that you're ready to take on a new position and move forward with your life. Have you had treatment for your anxiety? If not you might be able to find low-or-no-cost options nearby, or try some free online help. I know anxiety is a tough issue to deal with, my younger daughter has severe anxiety with some OCD and agoraphobia thrown in, but I also know that determination and hard work can help you manage it. Good luck, and don't give up!

Age at dx: 45. Oncotype, left-side tumor: 9. Right side had multifocal IDC and "extensive" LCIS. Isolated tumor cells in 1 right-side node. Dx 3/27/2015, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Dx 4/27/2015, IDC, Right, 1cm, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 6/1/2015 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Surgery 6/1/2015 Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 8/28/2015 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting, Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting, Silicone implant Surgery 12/4/2015 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting, Nipple reconstruction; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting, Nipple reconstruction
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Mar 2, 2021 04:22PM pesky904 wrote:

Thank you, SummerAngel! I'm looking to start trauma therapy due to the combo all at once of my runaway husband, losing my home, cancer and death of both parents who both died very suddenly within 2.5 weeks of each other.

I am trying to figure out what kind of employment I can take on in my mid-40s that will pay enough for me to live and not cause me any undue stress or physical fatigue. I don't need tons of extras but I need enough for rent, bills and food. And of course, health insurance.

It's hard enough starting all over at my age, but the fear of cancer recurrence makes it all the more necessary for me to choose wisely.

​dx 6/17 stage III TNBC 6cm tumor Taxol 7-8/17 tumor grew to 10cm AC 9-10/17 tumor shrunk to 3cm DMX 11/17 expanders placed Rads 33 doses + cisplatin 1/18 Cisplatin discontinued due to SEs Xeloda 4-10/2018 Exch surgery 11/18
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Mar 3, 2021 04:23PM flashlight wrote:

Hi pesky904, I'm sorry to hear about your parents and husband. Have you thought about a health care job. Maybe checking out what is available in your area and the benefits are usually pretty good. If you can work evening or nights the pay would be more and usually more quiet than day shift. Are you in a state that is starting to open? If not, would you consider moving? Best wishes.

Dx 11/15/2018, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Dx DCIS, Left, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy Surgery Lumpectomy: Left
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Mar 4, 2021 04:25PM pesky904 wrote:

flashlight, that's a great idea. I never thought about working nights. I also never thought of health care as I don't know of any jobs in the field I'd be qualified for other than administrative. What kinds of health care jobs have nights/weekend hours but don't require specialized training? My state is not very open yet and we are not moving very fast with vaccine administration (I hope that changes fast since the announcement last week that every adult should be vaccinated by May.) I would consider moving, but at least where I am, I have friends/acquaintances and an established care team to follow up on my cancer/health stuff. Moving would be a huge, scary change, but I'm not entirely opposed to it given the circumstances.

​dx 6/17 stage III TNBC 6cm tumor Taxol 7-8/17 tumor grew to 10cm AC 9-10/17 tumor shrunk to 3cm DMX 11/17 expanders placed Rads 33 doses + cisplatin 1/18 Cisplatin discontinued due to SEs Xeloda 4-10/2018 Exch surgery 11/18
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Mar 4, 2021 08:06PM Nola70115 wrote:

Pesky I’m so sorry. I feel the same way. I just told my boss about my prognosis and now he is firing me. I don’t think I will be able to find another job. It’s horribly depressing.

Age 40 at first diagnosis, 47 now. I've got an autistic teenager and a toddler to live for. See my 2014 blog at snarkforthecure.wordpress.com. Dx 4/15/2014, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 5/15/2014 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Chemotherapy 6/20/2014 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 9/1/2014 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Dx 2/8/2021, IDC, Left, <1cm, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Dx 2/22/2021, IDC, Left, Stage IV, metastasized to liver, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH)
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Mar 4, 2021 08:28PM 2019whatayear wrote:

If you are interested at all in health care you could look into going back to school ( you should qualify for student aid and also for scholarships ) to get a degree in medical coding for example . Or consider going back to school to get a degree in IT? Or look into teaching English as a 2nd language virtually . i hope you find a Great therapist - you have been through SO MUCH and are still standinf

5/6/2019 IDC 2cm, micromet 1/9 nodes, BRCA2+, ER+, PR+, HER- BMX 6/2019, A/C & Taxol 2019, Radiation, BSO - preventative 2/2020, Letrozole 3/1/2020

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