Changing jobs after cancer

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Good morning all,

Now that my life has changed, I was pondering my prospects for future employment should I need it. Having tongue surgery has left me with a noticeable speech impediment. My current job does not require much talking and I work for a solid company, luckily.

But there is always the possibility of changing jobs for various reasons. With my diagnosis and subsequent physical changes, I can't help but feel a bit disadvantaged, should the need arise. I am also turning 50 this year. How did that happen?!

Can you tell me of your experiences finding or changing jobs after cancer? Am I being rationale with my thoughts and feelings?

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  • MarineE5
    MarineE5 Member Posts: 1,031 Member
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    Alternate lanes

    Steve, 

    I hear you loud and clear. I was a self employed electrician, had a business partner. Cancer hit me and things went down hill fast with the business, partner quit on me. Luckily he did return to finish the jobs we started and was done. I knew that once I reached a certain age, I was going to go to a Big Box store that had an electrical department. So, after I built my energy level back up roughly 8 months after surgery and treatments, I was hired.

    Granted, I had effects from the Radiation and surgery. I did have issues with some words, but quickly learned which ones caused me trouble and avoided them in the future. I also have no saliva, so I kept a small bottle of water with me at all times. I chewed sugar free gum as it helped keep some moisture in my mouth while I talked with the customers. I enjoyed my job, but eventually, my energy levels started to decline, so I retired as I was old enough. 

    You sound like you have a good work ethic, so you will continue to work somewhere no matter what career path you take. 

    My Best to You and Everyone Here

  • stevenpepe
    stevenpepe Member Posts: 234
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    MarineE5 said:

    Alternate lanes

    Steve, 

    I hear you loud and clear. I was a self employed electrician, had a business partner. Cancer hit me and things went down hill fast with the business, partner quit on me. Luckily he did return to finish the jobs we started and was done. I knew that once I reached a certain age, I was going to go to a Big Box store that had an electrical department. So, after I built my energy level back up roughly 8 months after surgery and treatments, I was hired.

    Granted, I had effects from the Radiation and surgery. I did have issues with some words, but quickly learned which ones caused me trouble and avoided them in the future. I also have no saliva, so I kept a small bottle of water with me at all times. I chewed sugar free gum as it helped keep some moisture in my mouth while I talked with the customers. I enjoyed my job, but eventually, my energy levels started to decline, so I retired as I was old enough. 

    You sound like you have a good work ethic, so you will continue to work somewhere no matter what career path you take. 

    My Best to You and Everyone Here

    Funny how you mention

    avoiding certain words as I am thinking about that all the time now. It's not easy when C, D, S, T, X etc., are pretty common letters. I've joked to my girlfriend that I haven't lost the ability to pronounce the letter F. So now I have license to use the F word as often as I wish. She doesn't agree, but who would argue with a cancer patient.

  • SusanUES
    SusanUES Member Posts: 125
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    Speech will improve

    The speech therapist at MSK told me I would recover about 90% of my speeh.  I recall making a comment like, well that will improve in time, right?  And she said, uh, no, not really.  I was mega-depressed that week since clarity and an excellent speaking voice is a big part of my job in our law firm; my co-workers did an amazing job of picking up my slack while the mouth ulcerations healed post-rads.  I am doing pretty well now but still lisp a bit and slur when producing certain sounds.  The trick is to go slow and deliberate...don't go with your pre-surgery pattern, just take it easy.  When sales clerks or taxi drivers, etc. say "what?" or "huh?" I just say, oh I had some oral surgery and blow it off.  I def think the therapist was wrong because I can see a real improvement in tone and clarity since July of last year.  I have to admit, though, that I don't do the exercises (my bad).  And yes, I've thought about the day when I may have to interview for a new spot (hope that day is long in coming) and I've decided to just go with it...probably not hit the interviewer with "I had half my tongue removed and am a cancer survivor" (TMI), more something like "I had some oral surgery awhile back but I've got no problem communicating."  I fully believe that we'll be ready when the time comes to ace it! 

  • MrsBD
    MrsBD Member Posts: 617 Member
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    Job

    It's great that your job suits your situation for now. You should see an improvement in your speech, especially if you work with a therapist and do the exercises religiously. I did change jobs, but mostly because being a high school Home Ec teacher required a lot of energy. Now I teach parenting classes for adults. They are a bit more understanding of my sometimes creaky voice (and not as naughty!)

  • Hondo
    Hondo Member Posts: 6,636 Member
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    Hi Steven

     

    I was very blessed to work for a company and people who stood right by me through treatment twice. They set me up to work from home on days I did not feel like coming in and never questions any of my work. On days I did come in and started feeling bad I would lay my head down on my desk and they made sure no one would disturb me. I works there 25 years before I got too bad to finally have to retire. It is hard to fine companies and people like that so you might want to think about that if you are working for a caring company.

     

    Just my take

     

    Tim

     

  • donfoo
    donfoo Member Posts: 1,771 Member
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    welcome

    Such a question is so personal, only you can determine your path forward, whether it be a new trail or keep pace on the one you are on. You are blessed that you are able to maintain your current position while you consider other options and not forced into the abyss for the unemployed 50ish folks. 

    As others state, there is much hope for good return to normal/near normal speech. If that is the only concern, I'd say you are good to go. If the battle with cancer has knocked loose some other hidden passion or meaing of life then use this time to examine what you really want to be doing.

    There aren't many good things about getting cancer but for some it is a time of reflection and putting your life on the track you really wanted to put off or felt it too much to do. After surviving cancer, anything is a walk in the park. Follow your heart. Good luck, don

  • traceyd1
    traceyd1 Member Posts: 79 Member
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    My husband had jaw cancer

    My husband had jaw cancer several years ago (he's now in his early 50's) and currently has "stable" mets to his lungs.  He has thought about job changes over the last several years; however, his company has excellent benefits and has really been good to him.  Unfortunately for us, as the parents of three kids, his desire for a change is overshadowed by practicalities.  He has life insurance through his company. Would he be uninsurable elsewhere?  Also, his health insurance is second to none, and with the current state of health insurance in general, don't want to risk it.   We had to ask ourselves some very heavy questions. The benefits of moving positions did not outweigh the benefits of staying.