A woman on the phone and working on a laptop

Why I Choose To Work

I have always stayed busy by working and when I was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer I found that I could not work as much as I wanted to. It is different for everyone. I know people that have worked full time all the way through treatment and then on the flip side there are people who had to stop working to focus on staying healthy and ahead of cancer.

Working full time with lung cancer

I worked full time for as long as I could but when I started traveling for a clinical trial, I took about 8 months off. During those eight months, I feel that I did not take advantage enough of the time that I now had but I did find some ways that were not sleeping the day away to keep my mind off of cancer. It is important to have people to help you in this part of the journey, as well.

When I wasn't working

While I was not working my focus was to maintain my weight and also to make sure that my mental health was not affected. The first part was easy the second part, not so much. During this time I found myself reliant on pain medication and it helped but I was also scared of becoming addicted. I found that as long as I had that in the back of my mind and knew it, I would eventually be off of the medications. And with that, it was easier to manage the pain with the medications.

The lowest part of my cancer journey

I feel as though I was depressed during this time because I felt like I was a waste of space. I wasn’t working and I felt like a drain to my family. I had a lot of support though. My mom was there to make sure that I ate. Our go-to meals were pancakes, fried eggs, and baked potatoes. She also made sure that I moved and that again I didn’t sleep all day. We traveled from my house to her house, we would go to the park, and one time we spoiled ourselves and played games and ate some yummy food at Dave and Buster's. My sister and husband were huge supporters as well, and don’t forget about my Deejay!

I know that this part of my cancer journey was really the lowest part and I am happy to say that I have successfully made it to the other side. My mental health has never been better. I started working again slowly. I went back to working a casual part-time office position. It gave me the option to take off work as needed. I then worked my way up to a part-time position and then eventually moved companies and now have been working full time for almost two years.

Setting goals towards my future

I am now to the point where I set goals for my future. My next goal is to buy a camper and start traveling on the weekends but of course, this changes almost daily!

Tell me about your cancer journey and if you decided to take time off from work? Did you go back? Let me know in the comments!

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