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Following last month’s ‘Diagnosed at a young age’ piece with greg777, this week sees Ginajsy share her story with us – focusing on the impact her diagnosis had on her work-life, and the reaction from her employer.
How work reacted…
I had been at my job for 7 months when I started to suffer with pain. It took another 4 and a half months to ascertain what the cause was. They started to test for cancer. I was nervous, this was March 2018 – before equal opportunities came in, and as I hadn’t been at my work for a full year, I would not be protected.
I needed to go for appointments for biopsies, MRI and CT’s, so I thought I best be honest and explained to HR that they suspected cancer, and would it be possible to attend these appointments. I was as far as I was aware the only person in the office undergoing a cancer diagnosis, so I wasn’t sure how they would react. HR of course gave me their full support and told me to take all the time needed.
After a month of tests my diagnosis was confirmed, and I was given my treatment plan. This meant being away for nearly 7 weeks and any extra time I needed to recuperate. Treatment was rather intense as I had chemoradiation alongside each other. I took ten weeks off and returned on a phased return on a phased back-to-work – meaning I was back full-time after 13 weeks.
After my diagnosis was confirmed I went public to the office and received so much support from everybody. My manager even sent me some stories and things to provide me with light-hearted things to do whilst I was away from home.
I returned to work and settled back to my routine. It was all going well, and I was allowed to go out for all of my check-ups as and when needed.
After 7 months however I was showing signs of recurrence, my team then offered me surgery to remove the lung. I had to let my company know that I would need a month off. I of course had their full support and I went off for surgery.
I was determined to get back again and returned to work after the surgery and thought I would be well again for quite some time. However, I was scanned 6 weeks after surgery and the scan slowly showed that there was spread to other areas of my body and I was now incurable.
I was offered another 2 surgeries the remove the metastasis, again I accepted this surgery and went for it 2 weeks later. My work again was absolutely supportive and wished me well.
I returned to work a few weeks later and was determined to get back to it. However, 7 weeks later after the surgery I was told I was reoccurring in both areas. Unfortunately, my terminal diagnosis has left me unable to go back to work as I do not feel able to do the job I did before.
My work has been amazing thought out this and offered all sorts of adjustments to my work, my job, anything they could do to make it possible for me. I do hope all others get this sort of treatment from their works. My work after truly gone above and beyond for me.
Huge thanks to Ginajsy for sharing the above experience with us.
If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer at a young age and would like to talk to people of a similar age, go join our Diagnosed at a young age group.
Questions about work and cancer? Why not put them to Macmillan’s Work Support team in Ask a Work Support Advisor.
How lovely that your work completely supported you and your manager sounds such a caring person.what your going though is bad enough and scary but such a simple thing your manager has done just means a lot. Thank you for sharing this experience with your employer it will help many I hope, that sometimes they will go above and beyond and when they do this it helps give you that extra bit of a lift in a very difficult situation. Thank you again Ginajsy
I am lucky as well in that my company have been fully supportive with regards time off for appointments, scans etc. I have not yet needed any prolonged time off but feel confident that support will still be there. However, I must admit to some feelings of guilt about the amount of time off even though, over the years, I have probably done enough unpaid "overtime" to counteract this.
Thank you Ginajsy for sharing your experience
I just want to add that my manger has also been very supportive. I have been told that I can take all the time I need for appointments/scans etc., they have arranged for a permanent parking space for me at work (off site parking is £6 per day). I am the same mind set as John boy - feelings of guilt over time I am taking off but have also over the years work over and above contracted hours without claiming any overtime.
My work colleagues are all supportive as well. If I am tired or feel a bit out of kilter I can leave without question. I am in the incurable pot.
The support is just one less thing to worry about.
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