PROJECT: 05-DJC:174.9

This is Deirdre's Breast Cancer Diary. I try to update this blog at least every evening. This is an easy way for me to keep a journal of the experience, and at the same time, I can keep my friends and family up-to-date on what is going on. I find it is not so bad to have cancer, but it is awfully depressing to talk about it. I hope you laugh as you read along. You can find the beginning in February ...in the archives. Thanks again for reading :o)

Friday, March 04, 2005

Fight the cancer or stay employed? decisions, decisions...

I spoke with H.R. today.
They tell me that if I don't come back to work with a release note from my doctor by March 17th, they will terminate my employment and my benefits. WTF?! It is because I have only been a permanent employee since May 7th of 2004. (I have worked as a contractor for Longs for a while, though: from Feb 1999 to Aug 2000 and again from Jan 2002 to May 2004, when I was hired) If I am able to work until I get a full year under my belt, I will be then eligible for FMLA (Family Medical Leave). That means I would be able to draw another 12 weeks of benefits. I have not fully recovered from my surgery yet, but if it means having the means (the benefits) for the chemotherapy and radiation therapy to kill the cancer, and I request it of my doctor, my doctor will give me the release note. My chemotherapy treaments are scheduled to begin March 3oth, and what they will mean is that I will be out of the office on Wednesday afternoons for a blood draw, Chemo on Thursday mornings until noon, and home for the rest of the day, and Friday I go back to the oncologist's office for a white blood cell booster shot. But the oncology nurse says it is possible that I would feel well enough to be able to do work from home the following week. This would mean I would need to have remote access to work. I know I could be of service to the department still. Even after the two months needed to put me over the 1 year mark. In fact, I was looking forward to coming back - I feel I have much more to contribute! This news from H.R. was a bit unnerving! I had planned on coming back after this and have so much more to do! My chemotherapy is scheduled as follows:
  • AC (my cocktail) starting March 30th and lasts until June 23rd.
  • Taxol (part 2) starting on June 23rd and ending on August 25th (still bald on Ed's birthday! In fact, I may be bald as a cue ball the entire baseball season!! Gosh, this cancer came at a bad time, ya know?)
Then, radiation therapy for at least another month. I meet with the radiology oncologist next week. From what I have been reading, I will have radiation therapy about 5 times per week for about an hour a day or so. Haven't heard how it will make me feel or anything...like if I will be unable to work or whatever. I don't know how I will feel during the chemotherapy - but I don't want to say I cannot work. I know there are some people who manage to keep working. If I didn't work, I would be so bored. I can't promise to deliver much, but if I can work, I would like to work! I guess we will have to wait and see. I miss everyone at work. I miss being a part of a machine. I miss all the special things all of you bring to the table and I am touched by the wonderful notes and messages you send me. I hope to see you all soon. If, however, you don't see me by the 17th of March, .....STAY AWAY FROM MY SUPPLIES! I KNOW WHO REALLY LIKES MY STAPLER, HARPAL. :-)

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