First make sure you know what your illness is. Talk to your doctor, take notes or bring someone with you who is less emotional than you and is able to take notes. Make a list of questions you want to ask.
Find out what will be the type of treatments needed, if you need any surgeries and how many you will need. With cancer there are so many different treatments and steps for surgeries all depending on which stage you are at.
Also find out what type of medications you will be on and what the side effects will be as this can affect you in doing your job.
After you have all this information you can go and talk to your family and employer. All of this information will affect your everyday life and your career.
It is important to tell your doctor what type of work you do. That way your doctor can make decisions that are good for your health and recuperation and give you any paperwork required for your employer at every stage of your treatment.
Telling your Employer
It can be hard to tell people that you are sick. You are in a highly emotional state and just thinking about it can have you in tears. Something that can feel so private now has to be shared with the people that you see at work everyday and with the one person that has a say in your financial situation. Your boss.
But here’s the thing. You will feel better after you tell them. Your employer needs to know and understand what’s going on with you. If you have a good employer they will accommodate you with your sick leave or if you continue to work during treatment then accommodate your treatment schedule. When you come back to work after treatment or surgery, they will be able to put you on an easier schedule (changing 8 hours a day to 6 hours or instead of 5 days a week go for 4 or 3 days a week). They will also be able to work around your needs and even switch up your job duties to tasks that will be easier for you during the time you are going through your treatment and recuperation. If you need help, ask. It doesn’t convey weakness. It shows that you’re invested in ensuring the best outcome for any given project. Let your co-workers know that you truly appreciate their support and their help and accept help whenever its given.
Working during your treatment
Not everybody is lucky to be able to take a long sick leave. There are always bills to pay like rent, mortgage, car payment, etc….
If you’re still working, take it easy and respect your capacity. Be honest with your employer. Ask to be reviewed every week or two weeks or every month by your employer. Or if you are an employer take the responsibility to put a review time on their schedule with your sick employee. Ask your doctor for advice on working during your treatment. Communication with your employer will make the process easier for yourself.
Communication will also help prevent your coworkers and supervisors from questioning your value and productivity. You will feel you’re still part of the team. I had amazing co-workers who helped me and sympathized with what I was going through. So don’t be afraid to share your experience. No communication can lead to confusion and anxiety and stress you don’t need.
Have a big calender so you can write down all your appointments for your treatment, your work days and meeting. Try scheduling your appointments in a way that will work for you. If you feel exhausted three or four hours after treatments, schedule treatments in the afternoon so you’ll be off work when fatigue hits. Or if your body needs a few days to recover from treatment, try to schedule sessions for Friday afternoons.
Treatment, medications and anesthesia during surgery can slow down your memory and you can forget easily. Keep a diary or take notes, write down how you feel and what happens every day so you will not forget what you want to ask your employer or your doctor. It will also help you keep track of any requests that your employer has asked of you and will help you keep track of your hours and reactions to treatments. This is a way you can protect yourself, especially if your employer is not understanding of your situation and your job is in jeopardy.