Putting Aside My Working Life

My targeted oral treatment has significantly controlled my brain metastasis and shrunk part of my lung tumor. Moreover, the side effects are remarkably manageable. My oncologist advised me to make my cancer treatment a priority and put aside work.

The work-life gave me satisfaction and achievement. Being sick and facing mortality makes you pause and think about your priorities. Besides my treatment poses a lot of side effects. Therefore, surveillance is a requirement. In the beginning, I was told that the overall survival is about 35 months under my targeted pill. Though I am considered stable, the statistics say high mortality is common. Despite of it, I believe miracles can still happen. Much more my health condition can be controlled for many years.

My cancer care agency

Before I was referred to a cancer care agency, my husband and I thought of the costs of treatment and transportation. We thought of a scenario with me not working too and whether it would be feasible or not. What are our options? Questions after questions kept running in our minds.

Fortunately, my cancer life has been bearable because I live under a good health care system and cancer care policies. With my ALK-positive diagnosis, my targeted therapy lung cancer treatment is covered by the cancer agency. In addition, most of the cancer services are in one location so less traveling.

Work-from-home in uncertain times

While I was recovering, my employer changed to work from home (WFH). With increases in coronavirus cases, WFH has been extended to an indefinite date. It should have been a very good working option for me. On the contrary, the nature of my job is overwhelmingly output-oriented. Moreover, working would entail eight hours a day. Not only that there are deadlines to comply. On the other hand, taking an ALK inhibitor causes sometimes fatigue and muscle pain. Also, there would be a lot of work interruptions for treating side effects, medical scans, blood tests, and oncologist appointments.

My decision to set work aside

For obvious reasons, I listened to my oncologist’s sound recommendation to set aside work. First, I can have my full attention to my medical treatment. Second, I can spend more time with my family and connect with my lung cancer support groups. Third, there are no deadlines to comply with. Fourth, I am free to do the things that bring more satisfaction while living with lung cancer. Finally, there is more room for lung cancer advocacy.

Alternate to working full-time

Working full-time gave me limited free time. Now I have additional time for more personal commitments. Gone are the days I put the needs of others ahead of my own. I am living with lung cancer so caring for my health and asking for help is the new normal. My extra time will include daily exercises, yoga, and virtual meetings. Not to mention I have found a new hobby of writing articles for a newly found community group. Of course, I still find leisure in cooking, baking, and growing indoor plants.

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