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Working With Blood Cancer

There are many choices to contemplate when blood cancer strikes, but determining whether or not to continue your employment has to be a huge factor. Unfortunately, for many, the choice to stop working is not an easy thing and for most, not practical. The role of healthcare is the main factor in treating your cancer; well, how is this achieved if your medical coverage is then compromised by not working?

Can you, will you?

I worked all the way through my cancer diagnosis and all through treatment, and no one was the wiser. This again is one of those conversations, we have to ask what does your employment offer and if in fact, you have health coverage. Even if the plan you have is not the best it’s something I suppose, and that is usually something you work out with a medical rep or social worker to try and think of options in affording this care if you were to stop working.

We know blood cancer, and in my case, multiple myeloma is a costly business. I couldn’t fathom what my decisions would have looked like if I didn’t have anything, and what the bargaining table of medical coverage would have dealt me. So, does it pay to continue working? Of course, that is an individual choice, and a lot of you continuing with work do so by how you feel, our bodies are the copartner in the decision. Your body will indeed tell you if this partnership of fighting this is going to work or not. Through whatever nooks and crannies I was going through… needles and all, I made it to my office every single day. I was fortunate to have a decent sick day plan (unlimited), hefty vacation days, and personal days; If I wasn’t feeling up to par or if certain procedures were happening I and my health team incorporated those days with me taking time off to recover.

Should I expose my diagnosis?

Along, with the what and what not in handling working with cancer, the question of whether or not these details regarding your medical history should be shared or not. This is another time that it depends and the circumstances around making that decision. Is it because of the scheduling time, you’ll need your place of work to be accommodating, or giving you’re a break for limited sick days that you just may need to take? These are some essential things to think about or work out in a way that you don’t have to divulge too many details.

For me, no one knew my business until it was time to share a small spoonful of it. I was able to work around the situation of myeloma, and I did so in a way that made me comfortable, and not relying on the office to “give” me something. I did my work and then some, came in early at times stayed late, all while on chemo. However, that was me, as I know many stories are not the same and I’ve heard most of them.

There have been many that have had to stop their occupation because there were too many issues around the movement of blood cancer, including:

The list can go on. So the idea to expose really depends, but in no way should we be targeted or discriminated against for having cancer... that would be a whole other “hot topic” conversation.

The time to fight is now, with integrity, grace, hope, and a smile... when you feel like it

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