Dec 23, 2010 - 5:39 pm
Have any of you found that co-workers totally ignore what you went through with cancer?
I was diagnosed with early stage 1B1 cervical cancer this past May, had a radical hysterectomy early July, and am grateful to not need chemo nor radiation. My first tests 4 months after surgery recently shows I am cancer free!
When I first found out cancer cells were found, it was devastating to not know how much of my body had cancer until weeks later after the results of my first Pet Scan. I consider those my 'lost weeks'. I was in a fog. Fortunately cancer was located only on the cervix. Because of my fear of the unknown and facing my own mortality and feeling depressed, I initially found it very difficult to talk about with people at work, so I told just a few. Not that I minded others knowing, but because I was still processing my own feelings about it and did not want to start crying.
Before leaving for my surgery and subsequent 2 months off I told my closest co-workers to please let others know. But I sensed that talking about cancer made them uncomfortable. I got one visit that entire time from my closest co-workers. When I returned I was surprised to hear that very few knew what I had gone through. There were many I whom I know knew about it, but said nothing. That really hurt my feelings. All kinds of attention has gone to a co-worker who had heart issues, or one with a severe appendix removal, but nobody ever mentions and rarely discusses my cancer. Is it because it is a cancer is the woman's 'private' area? Because of a stigma with cancer? Because it makes them face their own fears of cancer?
It just makes me feel even more lonely in dealing with this cancer that nobody recognizes it, or asks about how I feel. Today, at my office Christmas party, the CEO talked about how the company was able to survive adversity in the market, and that some individuals also have come through difficulty recently. He mentions the man who had heart issues, the man who had the appendicitis issue, and they receive applause. Here I am thinking he is going to mention me too. But he doesn't. Dealing with my cancer has been the most difficult thing I have had to face. Not to diminish what other co-workers have had to deal with, but they seem to be receiving well wishes and compassion yearn for, and I would have very much liked that also as part of my healing.