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The Workplace

Posts: 18
Joined: Jan 2004

I would like to know about anyone's experience with having cancer and the workplace. I just started a new job and I don't feel as though I should tell them about having cancer because I have finished my chemotheraphy and have some radiation to go. I think that it will have a negative effect rather than a positive effect. Can anyone give me some advice or share any of their experiences.

Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2004

That is a tough question! A year ago I was told that I was in remission from HD. Once my employer found out that I had cancer everything changed. I was given a flextime accomodation since I was a cost accountant. After a treatment my supervisor kept on adding way too much work to me so I had to take a medical leave. During treatment he kept calling and harraing me on a weekly basis. I talked to my doctor and pleaded to him to let me go back to work early so I would not loose my job. That was a huge mistake. They kept adding work to me; I guess to try to make me quit. They kept every minute of time that I missed and charged FMLA. They even charged me FMLA time if I only worked 45 hours a week. This almost caused me to have a nerveous breakdown and I was showing severe side affects from chemo so the DR put me out again. Once I was out of FMLA time I was "Downsized" eventhough my job is still there. They just renamed the position. The EEOC did not even talk to my coworkers to verify my story so they dropped my case.

Sorry this took so long but here is my opinion, the less they know the better. But if you start to feel some of the side affects make sure you tell your DR. then try to arrange for WRITTEN accomadations.

Posts: 23
Joined: May 2002

you're the best judge on how to handle your workplace...I was totally honest with my coworkers and clients as far as my schedule etc. I worked parttime ( about 60-70% time )through out chemo and radiation even though I could have taken up to 13 weeks full pay disability. My company gave me as much sick time as I needed for chemo..but for radiation and recovery I took a vacation day a week for three months, so I could work 6 hours a day instead of 8.
since you are spending at work, I suggest that you foster some relationships at work, so you don't have to keep your treatment a secret. People can be understanding if you give them a chance...It can be really lonely at work going through cancer without support of your coworkers. I suggest that you can set the tone at your job by deciding to take care of yourself and health AND still do your job to the best of your ability..
best of luck to you..

Posts: 18
Joined: Jul 2003

Oh how do I begin? First, I work for the Post Office, which is good and it's bad. Jan '94 I tore the cartilage in my knee while delivering the mail. I sat casing mail 8hrs a day. In August I was diagnosed. I took the time off from work for chemo. I used my sick and annual leave, then got the most advanced sick leave I could. After that I got donated annual leave from other postal workers. I finished chemo in March '95 and my oncologist said I could go back to work in April. The postmaster wouldn't let me back because I couldn't deliver the mail yet. It took me 6 months and a lawyer to do that. Once I was back I was constantly harassed. My route was too long to do in 8 hrs and I had to change to another one as soon as I could. Management made that one longer too and I had to change again as soon as I could because I was worried about losing my job. There's a different postmaster now, but being on the sh*t list of the previous one put me on his. Things are slightly better now though, the harassment is mostly gone. Although he does keep watching me.

Basically their attitude seemes to be that I got cancer intentionally just to avoid some work.

The main thing that kept me going through it all was having gone through Ranger training when I was in the Army. Management can't give me anywhere near what the Ranger Cadre did and I came through that.

Posts: 2
Joined: Oct 2004

I searched for a job after being proclaimed in full remission. No one would hire me. Finally had to hide that part of my past. That worked. If you feel good and can function, well, keep the secret.

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