When you get breast cancer you flip into a mode of appointments, appointments, and more appointments. And unless you don’t have to work to sustain yourself, it means matching all those appointments with work.
Like many other breast cancer babes, I work. I am a professional woman with real responsibilities. I work in a man’s world, and that is a challenge in and of itself.
Learning the juggling of getting the appointments in along with getting surgery and post surgery treatment scheduled is like having another full-time job. Yet what choice do I have? I have to pay my bills.
I have really pushed the envelope of managed healthcare getting things scheduled in lumps to cause as little disruption as possible. And at the end of some days, I still can’t escape the feeling of guilt that is completely wasted. After all, I am one of those people with a work ethic. I work hard, I don’t abuse the system. And prior to this, I wasn’t someone who was either sick or took much time off.
But now I have to deal with that. I have breast cancer, but I don’t feel sick, I don’t look sick, yet sometimes I feel like I have to look over my shoulder and worry when scheduling appointments that in essence will ensure I stay a healthy woman for years to come. And why should I feel guilty? It’s not like I set out to have breast cancer. It’s not like I am faking breast cancer. Women who have children seem to be able to get time off to (a) have the babies and (b) deal with kid stuff. Don’t deny it, it’s true.
I used to work for a rather large corporation and women with kids did have preferential treatment, and by comparison even their corporate sponsored healthcare was a better value if you had kids. When you were the one without kids you got last choice a lot of the time for holiday time off. It was a penalty that was subtle in its unfairness and discrimination. If you couldn’t have kids some of them looked at you like you were deficient. We used to refer to it as spawn penalty. It drove me batty, because I love kids, I just couldn’t have them, so why punish me? Why brand me with the scarlet “C” for childless?
So…. when women get sick in the workplace, as modern as society has become, do we really have a comfort level it will be all o.k.? As of today I am not sure. I just have a slightly uncomfortable feeling and I hope I am wrong.
I have to tell you I am really nervous about upcoming time out of the office. I am worried. What if something happens to my job? After all I have heard and read about women who have gotten sick and come back to find the rug pulled out from under them. Do men who get sick ever worry about these things?
Women have rights, so why do I feel we as women have to fight for them even when we say…get a breast cancer diagnosis? Do they do this to men with say, prostate cancer?
But seriously? All this juggling is nerve bending some days. I am not trying to borrow trouble, but this is reality for many women: juggling, multi-tasking, worrying.
O.K. back to watching trash t.v. Time to give the brain a rest – after all I am supposed to be reducing stress. But how the hell am I supposed to be the picture of zen 24/7 when there is so much to do and so much to think about? I want to be Wonder Woman but I think my golden lasso is at the dry cleaners today…
Sorry my peeps, it’s just been one of those days.