Thursday, April 9, 2015

Cancer Patient: My New & Unexpected Career

If there was a job ad on LinkedIn or Indeed for such a position, it would read something like this:

Job Description
Cancerland is seeking a candidate with an extensive background with cancer. This highly stressful position is offered to hundreds of thousands of cancer patients (past and present) to join a personal medical team of dozens. The applicant is required to have a comprehensive background with an overabundance of doctor's visits, stress, bad cancer news (as in "You have cancer"), a multitude of blood work, numerous surgeries, chemotherapy, bone ache, extreme fatigue, hair loss, nausea, radiation and the like. A strong and positive attitude is required of this position while continuing to navigate your way through your health labyrinth.

Required Experience & Qualifications
  • Must be flexible with your daily schedule
  • Must not have another full-time job (you don't have the time or energy for one!)
  • Must possess strong phone skills and be patient while being placed on hold... for a really long time
  • Must not cry in public so as to make others feel uncomfortable
  • Must always wear a fake smile on your face and pretend that everything is just 'fine'
  • Must be a self-advocate (for those medical naysayers)
  • Must have good organizational skills in order to keep all of the medical appointments straight in your mind or.... someone that can help clear the fog in your chemo brain
  • Must have good or workable veins

Yeaaaahhh.....sorry... there won't be one. 

Apply Now
You know the gig. Send your resume or blog link to our medical headquarters in Cancerland with a special note to your cancer like, YOU SUCK! CANCER SUCKS! F*BOMB CANCER! Whatever you like.


And to give you a small taste of this job that I've been doing off and on for the past 23 years and more recently the past couple of years since I've 'finished everything', let me give you a small sampling of how cancer continues to play a major role in my life on a weekly basis:

Monday: Speech Therapy work (squeeze in appts in the mornings as I can)
Tuesday: 11:00am (acupuncture); 3:30pm (chiropractor)
Wednesday: 11:00am (general surgeon); 1:40 (oncologist)
Thursday: 10:15am (chiropractor); 11:00am (acupuncture); 1:30pm (Infrared sauna)
Friday: 9:30am (chiropractor)
Saturday: 11:00 ('Cancer Counseling')

Enough said, I speak for many out there when I say this new life of mine is not what I expected. Some aspects of this 'life after cancer is done' stays constant and some aspects don't. There are new meds, old meds, discontinued meds, new diagnosis from treatment and the meds, a fractured sternum because of bone density loss, a new diagnosis of osteoporosis, headaches, continued nausea, neuropathy, insomnia, stress, lab work, more lab work, MRI's, x-rays, CT scans, Cancer PTSD, food triggers, emotional triggers, fake smiles, 'I'm doing great' responses, blah, blah, freaking blah.

So the next time you ask a cancer patient, survivor or warrior how they are doing, please keep in mind, cancer is that epic.