Is My History of Cancer a Disability in the Workplace?

Is My History of Cancer a Disability in the Workplace?

overcoming adversity

After being diagnosed with lymphoma, I had to put my schooling and career as a nanny on hold.

A little past halfway through treatment, I had the epiphany to change my job in the moment. If I couldn’t work with kids, what could I do? Work with beer, of course.

I reached out to a friend in the area who was in the beer industry and asked what she thought I could do while I was finishing up treatment. Long story short, I got hired to work events (when I felt up to it) by a pretty cool beer company. I was stoked and jumped all in!

Fast forward a few months and I am at a conference for cancer and careers. Most of what I took home from this conference were lessons and tips on how much information you have to disclose to a company regarding your diagnosis and how to hide your diagnosis from the company. The conference itself was a wonderful resource for many people trying to discover their new passions and their new normal regarding their careers, but it left a notion for me that I could not shake. I NEVER want to work for a company that made me feel that my diagnosis was a weakness.

I got through my treatment believing that my diagnosis would strengthen me and make me an even better asset than I was before. We humans who are diagnosed with cancer are your average day superheroes (we are literally RADIATING) — how could someone NOT want to hire us?  

The happy ending is that I am now working for a company full-time (that same beer company) and I’m accepted for me — scars, fatigue, and even my chemo brain. Because, those things aside, I know I am a passionate, enthusiastic and determined person. Not only does this company accept me, but it supports me in all that I hope to accomplish in the cancer world.

My point is not that you should flaunt cancer on your sleeve, but that you should remember your worth in these situations. Only accept what you feel you deserve. I understand there are legalities to disclosing this information in certain workplaces, and if that is the case there are WONDERFUL organizations like Cancer and Careers that can better guide you through those challenges, including résumé and interview support.

I just hope to leave you with remembering that although cancer may be thought of as a disability to some, I see it as the ability to thrive through all of the adversities we face — even the ones in the workplace.

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Note: Lymphoma News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Lymphoma News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to lymphoma.

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Radiant Racheli is an inspiring cancer survivor looking to spread smiles all over the internet by making video blogs on how to fight adversity with positivity and raises awareness for young adults with cancer. Racheli was diagnosed with Lymphoma at age 21 and video blogged her entire journey in its raw form. She laughs, she dances, she cries and, most importantly, she reminds us that everything is going to be okay.

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