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Co-workers silence about cancer

live4art
Posts: 2
Joined: Dec 2010

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.
getting sick after sex and weight gain (cervical cancer) ›

HeartofSoul's picture
HeartofSoul
Posts: 732
Joined: Dec 2009

Your feelings and observations hold a lot of truth. I remember telling a few of my co workers of my initial cancer diagnoses and surgery and one coworker told her boss and HR that she felt uncomfortable about my diagnoses and as a result, I was reprimanded and written up for speaking of my medical issue. One of the co-workers that knew of my condition didnt really want to talk about it and a third made an attempt to understand. I agree that if one has a heart condition or other surgery, coworkers seem more likely to reach out. I know there is a stigma with cancer just as there is with mentally challenged diseases and AIDS and can make cancer survivors feel isolated and with hurt feelings. I would like to say you are as important and valued here in Cancer Survivor Network as any one else and we understand and here to support you. For most in the working world or society itself, the only time a sense of understanding is pursued or compassion provided is if they themselves or a family member of theirs is diagnosed with cancer. It seems cancer scatters people like a brush fire as no other disease carries with it the fear and shocking reprucussions as cancer. Your not only a survivor Live4art but courageous, strong, and determined to show you fought off mans most devastating foe

ketziah35
Posts: 1153
Joined: Jun 2010

I do believe that it is inappropriate to go into in depth detail about medical conditions at work. I have told one person and my boss and they have sent a nice email out to wish me well, but I do not go into details or discussions with my coworkers. Some people do not like to "share", but if there is someone that you went out to lunch with and are a little more closer to then it is more appropriate. Employers consider it a waste of time to go through discussions at work. -t is similar to stealing.

Callous, but true. I am in management.

HeartofSoul's picture
HeartofSoul
Posts: 732
Joined: Dec 2009

you mentioned "Employers consider it a waste of time to go through discussions at work. -t is similar to stealing." someone would think "employers" are subhuman and cold as a glacier or better yet, an opposing army who took some as a prisoner of war and put them under surveillance. That is until one of their own like a Director of Marketing or VP of HR gets cancer, then there is a exception made. And we should trust our employer right

ketziah35
Posts: 1153
Joined: Jun 2010

In a professional environment you concentrate on your actions and conducting yourself professionally, ethically, and morally. Then no one has anything on you no matter what anyone else does. To spend time not a lunch discussing personal problems is inappropriate unless it is with your HOUR person or your boss(s). You are already sick so why give someone a reason to lay you off or fire you, because if someone is writing you up, that is exactly where it is headed.

ketziah35
Posts: 1153
Joined: Jun 2010

In a professional environment you concentrate on your actions and conducting yourself professionally, ethically, and morally. Then no one has anything on you no matter what anyone else does. To spend time not a lunch discussing personal problems is inappropriate unless it is with your HOUR person or your boss(s). You are already sick so why give someone a reason to lay you off or fire you, because if someone is writing you up, that is exactly where it is headed.

Keep talking about your personal problems at work during company time and see where it gets you in a year.

HeartofSoul's picture
HeartofSoul
Posts: 732
Joined: Dec 2009

Thought others may find this interesting. Below is a Corporate America Co. seeking professionals at a Marketing firm

We are "Die Hard Diabolical Limited" & we are seeking talented engineers to design, sell, and support Web based applications for our E-Commerce client.

Requirements and Expectations
- We expect you to willingly sacrifice your time, life, and family to us, no exceptions.
- Expect work 12 to 18 hr days as required which is more the rule than exception
- Provide us with your cell #, home #, address, all email accounts, twitter, & any other contacts on how We can reach you 24/7.
- If you need to miss a day due to illness, we need no less than 3 Dr’s letters on exactly what your ailment is, treatment, side affects, and how soon you can return to work. We also want a Superior Court Judge to sign off on all 3 of your Dr’s letter heads.
- Your expected to come to work with colds, flues, migraines, broken legs, bronchitis, strep throat, lower tract lung infections, and fevers.
-Expect to work 7 days a week and some holidays. Once you sign the dotted line on your application, you have then forfeited your rights as dignified human beings
-Any pre existing condition or newly diagnosed major/catastrophic diseases you or any of your family members are afflicted with, we have a company clause called “Survival of the Fittest” that we strictly enforce. Our policy is WE DON’T WANT TO KNOW ABOUT IT, especially if it’s CANCER.
-If we have reason to suspect you have uttered a single word or heard a rumor that you leaked anything medically related included family to anyone here at Die Hard Designers Inc., we will call Security including the police to escort you away immediately.

Disclaimer:
The above policy does NOT apply to upper level management personal.

We hope your experience as an employee with die Hard Designers is a rewarding and special time in your life.

Unequal Opportunity Employer

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