My (working place) is a very nice place to get sick because people are very understanding and very smart about what they say so it’s lovely. So the impact on work was… I couldn’t keep the teaching up during that time and they were very understanding. I had a 6 month leave available and I took it and I came back after that. I had taken on a larger administrative job 2 weeks before my diagnosis and just because I’m still in treatment and there’s some side-effects, I’m not headed back to that position in January as previously planned, so it has impacted my career for sure. A lot of people with a chronic illness will say that their career got somewhat derailed by that. I don’t think it’s a long-term derailment but it’s certainly a short-term one.
That’s right, but right now, with still in active treatment, it’s inadvisable mostly because, I’m sure people listening to this will understand, cancer is a busy job. You have a lot of appointments. It’s very hard for you to be relied upon in a workplace setting if there’s less flexibility. I need the flexibility now to say “Well no I can’t meet tomorrow because I’m in treatment.” or “I’m having a follow-up exam.” and I don’t want everyone to continuously have to work around me. I kind of pre-empted that by keeping the job with a lot more flexibility so that it’s okay to be at work at the hospital with my set-up and I can still get things done but I don’t need to be in a face-to-face meeting.
It’s a huge issue for women. I think some of the research that shows women don’t come back to the same level of job or they lose their job or feel that they can’t continue with it. I can totally see why. I was really lucky I have a flexible employer and I had access to paid leave and that is a tremendous benefit. I’m lucky to have a job that has all of those things, but I don’t think that’s true for all women. I’m lucky that I have a decent job and my spouse has a decent job and he didn’t lose a lot of time during that. But absolutely, for women, the job loss or keeping their jobs during it I think is very, very difficult and I’m sure it derails careers and it derails earning potential for sure, like other illnesses.