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Well where do I start.....

Nana b's picture
Nana b
Posts: 3045
Joined: May 2009

I got to Madison, and yes... froze my butt off!! :-} I met all the folks at corporate, overall a good visit with them, and finally met with my long distance supervisor of two months who took over our area from a co worker...and **** hit the fan! I had my performance review and it was not good (I was effective, but)..... , I walked out of there with a final warning! Yep! I got one warning back in August but thought I had it taken care of...I had missed some calls while I was on chemo and thought that my illness would be taken in consideration, well it wasn't. So, now I feel that I should not have gone back to work after my surgeries I should have stayed on a leave of absence and gotten my disability. In 2009 I was out 2.5 months for a surgery, and on chemo for 6 months, and for 1.5 months I was getting the chemo out of my system to have surgery. I was on vacation for 1 week. Telling you all this so you understand what is to follow.

1, I went back to work because my company was going through a bankruptcy, and my husband lost his job (with the same company), and I wanted to hold on to my job! So, I did a two hour commute each day to work and drove myself to and from chemo. Had two surgeries and went back to work ASAP.

2, I did miss meetings while I was out on for surgery. While back to work and on chemo, I didn't take intermittent FMLA, I made up all my hours by working 10 hour days. So the other team members probably wondered why I wasn't on the call, but my supervisor knew.

3, I got written up for things that I had no knowledge of, all having to do with communication....I am a very hard worker, and very professional and go way above what is expected of me. If I get am attorney, they are in deep kimshi, they can't use my review to write me up!

4, the facility leader at my location is new and obviously he didn't go to bat for me, but after I talked to him, he said he was surprised, whole other story there, but we do have a good relationship so I thought/think. He tends to lean to the side he is talking to.

I am feeling for one that they can't write me up for missing meetings while I was on doctor's orders that I could get very sick while on chemo. I feel that I may have not contributed to the telecon meetings, in a excited manner, because I was on chemo during the calls. Really was not myself on the calls and they probably thought that I was just not participating...even though I did tell my supervisor that I was not 100% and I undergoing chemo and fighting for my life.

Mu husband thinks that they wanted more rah, rah, on the calls and are not really focusing on my job that I do at the facility on a daily basis. I know they aren't giving me any credit for running a smooth HR Function.

So.....phew..........I am thinking that I am going to my ONC and asking him if this chemo brain, nueropathy, and overall sluggish feeling is here to stay, and maybe I should go on LOA and get my disability. I mean heaven forbid I lose my job over not being overly estatic over another unit's holiday party, I mean these calls last 5 - 15 minutes. And I am the field HR, they should be informing me of what is happening, there isn't much for me to tell benefits, payroll, recruiting.....my area runs smooth.

So wondering if you feel that the after effects of chemo keep you from doing your job at the same level as before? I am in remission right now, would I even qualify for disability being stage 4? I would like your opinions before I talk to my ONC next week.

What do you think? If I leave, I lose my medical after COBRA, I may be eligible for VA but don't have any idea what kind of medical treatment I would get there. I make a really good income.

I am ready to sue for harassing me because I was on FMLA and although they accommodated my chemo appointments; they wrote me up for not being on weekly calls. I can only think of two times that I missed a call while not at a chemo appointment/or on chemo and I know they have no idea what I missed. I feel like I'm being pushed out due to my medical bills, I just don't know! This does not make sense.

Thanks for reading. I hope you can follow what I typed here. I need to make a decision. Do I stay on, document what ever one contributes to the calls and protect myself, or do I go out on disability. Do I qualify for disability being NED, my medical! Goodness, mind boggling.


John23's picture
Posts: 2140
Joined: Jan 2007

You'll have to excuse me for parsing, but it's easier this way:


-I went back to work because my company was going through a bankruptcy
-although they accommodated my chemo appointments; they wrote me up for not being on weekly calls
-I got written up for things that I had no knowledge of, all having to do with communication
-I walked out of there with a final warning!

-would I even qualify for disability being stage 4?
-I make a really good income
-do I go out on disability.
-Do I qualify for disability being NED,

-I am ready to sue for harassing me


The first four seems to say that they want you gone. It corporate world,
you are only a number, and have become a liability. Especially so, since they
are negotiating through bankruptcy law.

I have cancer. Period. "NED" is a term of endearment; it means little
in the full scope of things cancer-wise.

A disability can be had, if they end up letting you go because you can't
do your job.....AND you can prove that your health condition is what
is preventing you from doing your job.

I have an ileostomy, and that alone would be a disability status.

You should have an attorney, but keep in mind, that once you
hire an attorney to represent you, there is absolutely no turning
back. The company will go full speed ahead, cut your pay, etc,
and leave you out to dry. Not that that's a bad thing.....

If you keep plugging along, even documenting data (which is
exactly what you should be doing starting a year ago), it sounds
like they're building a case to get rid of you, regardless.

And that my dear friend, is the ball of earwax in a nut shell.

I have gone through this (not due to cancer, but from a back injury),
and ended up winning the case, and taking a very nice early retirement
package that I had been offered, rather than a disability.

The disability would have given me more money, but the retirement
package included family health and eye care, life ins., pension,
and other perks that were being offered to anyone my age and seniority.

Now, years later, I can still claim a disability for SS, if I wanted to
go through the hassles.

So my advice? Get a lawyer today. Sit and talk and see what the
snake.... errrr.... attorney... has to say. Don't do it for that idea
about "suing for harassment", that likely won't hold water. But you
would want an attorney to give you advice regarding your best
interests legally, with what the company (allegedly) plans to do.

You can't "sue" until you are "damaged"; that hasn't happened yet;
you haven't lost anything yet. Hiring an attorney now, will allow
him to build a file; a case file, should you need one.

They charge for that time, but it is worth it.

I very sincerely do not think the company has any long-term plans
to keep you employed. Don't wait too long to find the door;
it's easier to carry your stuff out, than to have to pick it up curbside.

Good luck.

tootsie1's picture
Posts: 5065
Joined: Feb 2008

Hey, Raquel.

I don't have any experience with this sort of business, so I can't offer advice. I just want to say that I hope everything turns out in your best interest. Sounds like they're being very cruel to you.


Kathleen808's picture
Posts: 2361
Joined: Jan 2009

I wish I had some good answers for you. It looks like you already got some very good advice. I just want you to know you are an amazing and very strong woman. Incredible that you went through everything you went through and you continued to work.
I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers as you decide which course to take.

Best to you.


pf78248's picture
Posts: 209
Joined: Jul 2008

I don't have cancer, I am a caregiver to my husband David who is stage 4. I was a mid-level HR generalist for a large company for many years, supporting a couple of thousand employees, and it sounds like that's what you do as well. As you know, when companies want to eliminate an employee badly enough, they are ususally successful. Sad, but true. I would strongly consider going out on disability again. I don't believe they can terminate you under those circumstances. Do you still get full pay and benefits when you are out? If so, I'd sure take that approach and see if this storm doesn't blow over. Seems to me that would be your best protection. And even if you are currently NED, which is wonderful news, fighting cancer is a full time job. You don't need the stress of worrying about your job, too. I sure hate that some managers can be so cruel to people when they are trying their best. Get an attorney for advice, too, if you want to fight, but remember your health is the most important thing.

Just some thughts. I really wish you the best.

Priscilla from San Antonio

idlehunters's picture
Posts: 1792
Joined: Apr 2009

Forget work.... Just make YOU happy..... you so deserve it

Peace.......... Jennie

Nana b's picture
Nana b
Posts: 3045
Joined: May 2009

Telling my story to an attorney is probably the best place to start.....

I am so worried that being NED qualifies me for zero benefits. If I out on short term disability I get 75% of my income then, 60% on long term disability, until I'm no longer disable or until SS age/or qualification.

Are there people on this board getting disability pay being NED and off of chemo?

I will also discuss my hernia with my ONC, may be a good way to start, get that taken care of before I lose any benefits. I will also ask him if he treats anyone with VA benefits. Tallking or writing this out really helps me think of options and what I may be missing.

Thank you all for your input, appreciate it, please let me know if you think anything...no matter how small.


geotina's picture
Posts: 2123
Joined: Oct 2009

Since I work for attorneys, the one thing I can tell you is if you do decide to engage an attorney make sure his specialty is "employment". Your neighbor's nephew's friend is probably not a good choice. Another thing you might want to obtain (if you don't your attorney probably will) is a full and complete copy of your personnel file, that way you will know exactly what is in there. You want everything, every memo, every employee evaluation, every post it note. If your troubles started after you got sick, then score one for your side. I get the impression that you feel you may be let go and you may be able to point the finger and say you were only let go because you got sick. Any further meetings, make sure you record, have a little recorder on hand. If they ask what that is for, you just want to make sure you understand things completely. One other thing I think of is do not under any circumstances discuss this with anyone at work, no matter how close you feel to them, don't say a word. Personally, I'd try to go the disability route simultaneously applying for SS disabiltiy. That gets the ball rolling for Medicare. You still have Stage IV Cancer, you may now be no evidence of active disease but your diagnosis is, Stage IV cancer. Your onc's office can help with that one. That's all I got for now. If I think of anything else I will let you know. Good luck like cancer wasn't enough now you got this crap to deal with. - Tina

John23's picture
Posts: 2140
Joined: Jan 2007

I'm glad Tina chimed in! She's giving you good info!

One thing I'd disagree with tho, regarding:
"Any further meetings, make sure you record, have a little recorder on hand"

Bringing in a recorder may get you terminated quicker than you
turn the thing on. Often the meeting will be stopped abruptly,
and the employee terminated at the end of the week for a host of
reasons previously undocumented. Employers -do not- desire
to be recorded any more than you would. And you should -not-
allow that to happen either. If they do it without telling you,
it would likely be inadmissible anyway.

Instead, ask nicely for everything in writing. You can explain that the chemo
sometimes leaves your memory a little weak, and you want to make sure you
don't make the same mistakes again. Ask nicely.

They are (allegedly) building a case; YOU build a case. But do it
very quietly; very subtly. The attorney won't have to do anything
that would alert the employer, until you are ready to move.

If your employer hadn't filed for bankruptcy, it might be better to
attempt to work things out, but that fact is what is generally called
"an elephant in the room".

So, breath easy. See an attorney, and as Tina suggested, get an attorney
that specializes in work related issues, and Social Security issues.

You didn't mention your "vested time" in the company, and how close
you might be to any retirement package they may have available.

If there is any chance of any of that, then it's a card you might want
to consider playing. If not.... you will have other options anyway.

Don't fear this, consider it a new beginning. And with cancer staring
over your shoulder, an early "retirement" will give you needed peace.

Enjoy in good health!

daydreamer110761's picture
Posts: 497
Joined: Dec 2008

I am going to show this to Nick tomorrow and let him read. Although he is criminal and bankruptcy, he has great advice in any area....

and I agree with John above me, writing is best, recordings are not always admissible in court, although helpful with the attorney.

And, I'm not sure, but isn't stage 4 ok for SSDI anyway?

geotina's picture
Posts: 2123
Joined: Oct 2009

Ok, ditch the recorder if you think it will do more harm than good, just make sure you do not get yourself into a he said/she said type of thing. Never thought about that, if you have a pension coming to you how about a buy out type of thing. Tina

sfmarie's picture
Posts: 605
Joined: Aug 2009

But it sure seems like you could have some sort of case. If you are on FMLA, then you are excused from work, at least that is my understanding. I do know you would qualify for disability, and if you have long term disability insurance, I would go for it! You have enough to deal with. Gosh, I wish I could wave a magic wand and poof, it was all gone. I would see if you would speak to a labor attorney. Good luck. You are very inspiring.

ganders2's picture
Posts: 13
Joined: May 2008

I just wanted to let you know that I applied for SSI by calling the local SS office. It was approved in 40 days - evidently Stage IV colon cancer is an automatic. The trick to this however is that it doesn't begin until after a 5 month waiting period and is retroactive to when you stopped working. So, I finished work and went out on Short term disability on 10/19/09 and the SSI payments won't will be paid to me in April for an effective date of March - could it be any more confusing!!!
But I srongly suggest you call them right away and get the process going regardless of what happens with you job. It gives you some options!
And after this crummy treatment, if I were you, I would say the heck with the stress and go out on disability. Fighting this beast is hard enough, you don't deserve or need all this hassle too.
Good luck and a big hug!

coolvdub's picture
Posts: 410
Joined: Aug 2009


Sounds like you work for a company who needs to have management learn the meaning of the word compassion and how to apply it in the business world. I'm lucky. My employer has been nothing but cooperative,caring and accomodating to my needs during the fight for my life. Do you have a person in HR above you locally? Try explaining you are fighting for your life right now and that has to be your #1 priority. I have also been very open an honest with my boss, so he knows what I'm going through. He did try pushing me to work to hard after I came back from surgery. I explained that it's a battle every morning just to get to work, he backed off and now asks how I'm feeling on a daily basis.

It does sound like your company may be trying to run you off. Do your job to the best of your abilities. If they do terminate you, then get a Barracuda of an attorney and see if cancer falls under the Americans with disabilities Act. Sounds like your company has a bunch of spineless Yes Men/Women who don't know how to stand up for what's morally the right thing to do. Me personally, I would try and ride the storm out, all the while looking for new employment for after you get the all clear sign healthwise.

Good Luck to you


lesvanb's picture
Posts: 911
Joined: May 2008


Questions and Answers About Cancer in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Notice Concerning The Americans With Disabilities Act Amendments Act Of 2008
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Amendments Act of 2008 was signed into law on September 25, 2008 and becomes effective January 1, 2009. Because this law makes several significant changes, including changes to the definition of the term "disability," the EEOC will be evaluating the impact of these changes on this document and other publications. See the list of specific changes to the ADA made by the ADA Amendments Act.


The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Title I of the ADA covers employment by private employers with 15 or more employees as well as state and local government employers. The Rehabilitation Act provides the same protections related to federal employment. In addition, most states have their own laws prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of disability. Some of these state laws apply to smaller employers and may provide protections in addition to those available under the ADA.[1]

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces the employment provisions of the ADA.[2] This is the fourth in a series of question-and-answer documents addressing particular disabilities in the workplace.[3] It explains how the ADA might apply to job applicants and employees who have or had cancer. In particular, this guide explains:

* when cancer is a disability under the ADA;
* when an employer may ask an applicant or employee questions about his or her cancer and how it should treat voluntary disclosures;
* what types of reasonable accommodations employees with cancer may need; and,
* how employers can ensure that they do not discriminate against applicants and employees with cancer.

there's more at the website......

geotina's picture
Posts: 2123
Joined: Oct 2009

Thanks Les. Now this is exactly the stuff Nana needs. Thanks Tina

Nana b's picture
Nana b
Posts: 3045
Joined: May 2009

Great website!! Thanks!!

Nana b's picture
Nana b
Posts: 3045
Joined: May 2009

Great website!! Thanks!!

jillpls's picture
Posts: 241
Joined: Mar 2008

I got on disabliliy while I was in NED. I had stage IIIc that recurred back in 2008. So once it comes back you qualify. You don't get the medicarte for 24 months though. Good luck

daydreamer110761's picture
Posts: 497
Joined: Dec 2008

It sounds to me as if they are looking for a reason.....I know that with my company, I cost them quite a bit as far as insurance goes, and as a small company, our rates went up a bit since, as did the waiting period for the benefits for a new hire. I also know from previous experience that they had no problem coming up with "another reason" to let another person go who was diagnosed with epilepsy, and had regular seizures. he needed monthly meds and cost the company money. I believe that if it weren't for them wanting to keep Nick as facility manager, they would have found a way to "eliminate" my position, no matter what their personal feelings were, it would have been business.

I'm not doing them much good now as far as medical insurance goes - follow ups, 2 colonoscopies this year, along with being diagnosed with diabetes and having meds and another doctor for that, well.....

Nana b's picture
Nana b
Posts: 3045
Joined: May 2009

I really appreciate all this advice and things to think about. I am looking for an employment attorney but for a good one I probably need to go to San Francisco, SD or LA.

I am in a better position now, then early stages of my cancer, that is as far as my husband, he has started his own business. The only thing is the medical, but I will figure that out when I get to the fork in the road. For now, I will have medical for the duration that I am on FMLA (what FMLA I have left), then go on to COBRA. My ONC appt is next week, so meanwhile I am getting my ducks in a row. So what do I say, put me out on disability! I guess.

I have a hernia that I need to get taken are of, but need to tie it to my cancer so that I don't have a new elimination period.

This is scary for me. This is more stressful then the cancer. I have worked my entire life and have always been a stellar performer, and to be booted out! OMG! I am sooo pissed!
oh,, no pension. I was in the military 15 years took an early out, then worked 20 years for two big corporations, and then moved here and have worked for these folks going on three years. The corporate folks have seen me 3 times and my last supervisor maybe 5 times. this supervisor I met for the first time. They are setting me up, I know it!

John23's picture
Posts: 2140
Joined: Jan 2007

"This is more stressful then the cancer."

Yeah, I hear ya'. I don't know what's worse.. well... being out
of work doesn't usually kill anybody... Make's 'em skinny, maybe...

Listen, relax and take this entire thing as a new beginning;
a new adventure. You're already starting to plan for it, and
that's a good thing! It's like facing retirement. Part wants to
go, and part is afraid to go.. But once you're gone, you come
alive again.

You are gonna' love it. That job's stress will be gone. and you'll
look back at that bankrupt company, and those unemployed
"bosses" and laugh.

Look towards tomorrow, you are starting a new life.

Stay Healthy!

daydreamer110761's picture
Posts: 497
Joined: Dec 2008

and as everyone said, seek out an employment/labor attorney. just remember, document EVERYTHING! every name, all that was said, etc. he seems to think the same way I do, you are being set up to be sent out. Good luck kid...

Nana b's picture
Nana b
Posts: 3045
Joined: May 2009

I spoke to my old HR employment attorney from my last job in Phoenix, and she thought that I should have one more talk with my boss, a verbal, letting her know that

HER WORDS: You have a right to ramble... Unless your dr. says you are disabled "permanently", ADA doesn't give you much protection in the long run. If there is a permanent disabled status placed on you and the company fails to reasonably accommodate you, THEN you might have more to work with.... that is why it is important that you show them you are doing your best to perform the essential functions of your job....if you can't do that, ADA and the reasonable accommodation requirement doesn't kick in. Go over the items on the eval and tell her why you think you were doing what was expected of you and that you believe you are satisfactorily performing the essential functions of your job, including participating in the conference calls when your input is required or requested.
At the end of the discussion, tell her that since she believes you have performance problems, you will discuss it with your doctor on Thursday for your already scheduled appt and see if it could be the medication you are taking that might cause lack of concentration as you yourself do not find that to be a problem when doing your job.

****I am talking with my boss on Wednesday, our weekly call, then going to the ONC on Thursday. Wish me luck, phew!

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