Metastatic cancer and blood, NCLEX-RN: Oncology Nursing
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I'm Rebecca Nellis, the executive director of Cancer and careers. And today we're going to be talking about working after a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis, including thinking about some practical tips that might help you if you're facing the same thing. In fact, many people choose to work during summer all of their cancer treatment and that choice is different and specific to each individual.
Of course things like a paycheck health insurance other.
But work is also how we contribute to the world, our sense of self for identity. It can be a place to go for normal see and and to be your whole self not just a person facing a cancer diagnosis in dealing with the treatment that comes with it. So it's really important to think about all of those factors when you're considering what work means to you because the impact of diagnosis will vary from person to person and I am so excited to be joined to talk about all of this by Jamil Rivers who is going.
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To introduce yourself to you and tell you a little bit about her story before we jump into some questions, I have about how she balanced at all.
Well, my name is Janelle Rivers. I married with a three sons and I started.
Job and was only 30 - nine at the time. That's a busy House in a lot on your plate. So when you were diagnosed you didn't take any time off from your job. Is that right?
I wanted to keep my family as stable metastatic cancer and blood possible. I in the past was let go from a job for pregnancy and so I was a little you know maybe a little paranoid but I said you know what I don't wanna you know risk getting on public assistance or not having my benefits now that I have cancer in my entire family is on my health benefits that I have at work and I always hear that you're gonna need more resources and more money when it comes to cancer especially because I met a metastatic cancer and blood in metastatic means stage four and the breast cancer.
- NCLEX-RN: Oncology Nursing - Brilliant Nurse®
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All over my body and I think what people believe with cancers that you know stage four terminal. Who else is gonna be their mom so I really can't focus on statistics.
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I can't think about what I can't do. I have to focus on what I can do. So did you decide to disclose at work? I'm gonna need to hear more about that only because you know I had just started the job.
NCLEX-RN: Oncology Nursing
I really didn't feel that I have proven what I could do. I have a really strong work ethic even if I had asked for time they probably would have granted it to me even though I hadn't been there for full year for FMLA but I wanted them to be invested in me to see what I could do and show what I could do and so I shaved my head got a wig that look like my hair.
I got my eyebrows micro shaded so that you know it look like I still had eyebrows and and I just went to work and pretty much. I just took advantage of all the resources that are out there for cancer patients and just overdosed on support and I really just focus one day at a time and just took a day by day and just kept pushing kept pushing.
Yeah that's I think that's a common feeling and and a great couple.
Sort of framing that common feeling the disclosure pieces is really important and I think metastatic cancer and blood many people assume that you got diagnosed and you have to disclose either because you literally are obligated to or because there's no way to do it without and we cancer encourage spend a lot of time helping people think about what they actually want to do right about disclosure and then making the choices that work for them and so at some point you did disclose correct right when you think about it.
You know I think if I had taken time. Of course I would have disclosed but me I was focused on keeping everything stable and normal as possible and so I thought well you know I know that there are other people here that have health issues but they're not going around broadcasting it or holding a sign saying hey, I have diabetes or hey I have high blood pressure if I'm agenți antihelmintici cu spectru larg taking any time off then you know and I'm still able to meet all my obligations and responsibilities at work and there's really no need to disclose anything.
Secret especially because initially when I got diagnosed I learned about a lot of the disparities when it comes to women of color and patients that are metastatic and so I started becoming an advocate working with a lot of organizations and so you know other patients would notice how I was doing and they're like oh you don't look matters static and you look like you're doing fine.
Can you help tell me and so still not a secret but once all that attention came I just went to bed. This is what's going on and then did the fact that they knew have an impact on you at work.
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Did it change how they interacted with you or dealt with you or did you have concerns? I was low concerned that you know being a leader being so visible that folks might be a little skittish because you know cancer is one of those things where you metastatic cancer and blood this that some of your friends just aren't that close anymore because cancer has a weird way of making facial mortality and there's a lot that people don't understand about cancer in general and especially stage four cancer and so I thought it.
Okay well there could be some people that are uncomfortable or they might not know how to you know interact with me the same way but I think because I was understanding and kinda had already gone through my journey at this point.
I kinda feel like you know other people can't make me feel any type of way.
I guess because I'm so in this now I had my time to kinda get acclimated with where I am and I think having that lead up time prepared me for any you know adverse response. Or anything like that where it just floated right off at me but mostly everyone they were surprised but they were very supportive and you know they had questions and you know and I think a lot of them it made them think about their own cancer risk and family history which was good.
I have stage four breast cancer but everyone has been great for. And it hasn't overtaken your work life or taken away from them dealing with you know a lot of people forget yeah.
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Crows and cons right right? Yourself and mindfulness and balance. I think they understand that about me and so everybody should fight.