• Any advice on the optimal time to tell your manager about your diagno?

    Asked by cranburymom on Thursday, November 3, 2011

    Any advice on the optimal time to tell your manager about your diagno?

    Recently diagnosed and surgery is planned in 3 week to take out the cancer and stage it. Should I wait until I get the results from the surgery, so we have more information on impact of this on my work???

    10 Answers from the Community

    10 answers
    • CarolLHRN's Avatar

      I was very open with my boss after a mass was found during a routine colonoscopy. I approached her with the attitude that I planned to work through my course of treatment. I did review all of my benefits prior to talking with her so I knew what my short term and long term disability benefits were just in case.

      My boss has been great to me and allows me to work flexible hours so I am able to go to the doctor during the day.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Indyeastside's Avatar

      Agree with Carol, I was open from day one. Did cost me a position as they slid me into oblivion fearful of the effects of chemo. But still was the way to go. I was fortunate and chemo did not keep me from working.

      The company was very cooperative with my time off-not sure if FMLA helped or not-do believe they cared though.

      I did explain the treatment plan and kept my boss informed on progress through the treatment.

      almost 5 years ago
    • KarenG_WN's Avatar

      A few weeks ago we posted a blog offering tips for managing your career while facing cancer. All of the tips came from people on the WhatNext network. I thought this might be helpful to you:



      almost 5 years ago
    • leepenn's Avatar

      i told the chair of my department pretty much right away. the time i happened to be able to meet with him was between two different scans - my pet and my mri. the nurse at the pet suggested i leave my line in my arm... so that i didn't have to get re-stabbed for the mri... so, i ended up meeting with the chair of my department with those taped up to my arm. made it quite real, i think.

      he was very supportive. i was insistent that i keep my teaching and working schedule, with the exception of the one committee assignment i had that super stressed me out... i said, i need to reduce stress, so i'd like off that committee. he said - done.

      i think i was lucky... most everyone has been attempting to be quite supportive in my workplace. there are, of course, people who cannot walk by me without asking me about cancer and chemo, like that's all that i am right now. i really appreciate that people who drop it when i say i don't want to talk about it. i also appreciate the people who listen when i do wanna talk about it. but people sure say some dumb dumb things.... and it's obvious that i'm on chemo - i'm bald as a newborns butt. alas....

      overall, i'm finding the working / chemo combination manageable. there is about one day a week it totally sucks - that's what i usually call a$$ day... but in the professional world, i call it "tired day" ....

      good luck!

      almost 5 years ago
    • copland16's Avatar

      I like some of the others was really open with my boss and team. I am a retail store manager and was diagnosed on October 21, 2010. I needed to flex my schedule for appointments leading up to surgery. I also was pregant in my first trimester (which work was also aware of). I told my boss and my team at the beginning of the next week. I was unsure of anything at that point. I had a tentative surgery date. I was so stressed, the unknown was the worst part of the journey, that I went out on leave a week before my surgery. My surgery, mastectomy, was on November 19.
      FMLA offers protection for your job. My job was fantastic, I hadn't been with the company long enough so I was out on unpaid medical leave for 12 weeks. They gave my store to another manager and allowed me to work part-time, around my chemo schedule in another store. I was upset at first, but it would have been stressful to lead the largest volume retail store in my region around a chemo schedule...and at the end of the day was selling clothes a priority for me-no.
      So I worked part time around my first round of chemo and then I was asked to manage a small volume store, part time for a couple of months before I went out on maternity leave. So after 12 weeks of maternity leave and a second round of chemo, in mid-August I was offered my original store back. Sometimes things work out for the best.
      My company was great. They were flexible with my schedule and my priorities (my health and the babies health). So after mastectomy, chemo, c-section, chemo, radiation I am back to work and enjoying it.
      It's nice to hear that other companies have been supportive as well.

      almost 5 years ago
    • jamrck's Avatar

      At the time my immediate supervisor wasn't in the same part of the bldg where I was working so I told my immediate group what was going on because of all the dr appts. I then told my supervisor once surgery was scheduled. When I found out I needed chemo, I let the group and supervisor know asap. I was fortunate that they were so supportive and they let me decide how much work/hours I could handle from week to week. I was also in the position that I could do some work from home, so towards the end of chemo, rather than exert the energy to shower, dress and drive to work, I could stay home and work.

      almost 5 years ago
    • mamoladyc's Avatar

      I work in the mammo department so a lot of my co-workers knew when I did. I told my manager when I started planning treatment because they had to hire a temp for my time off. Working for the hospital may be easier than most jobs? I don't really know. There were a few hiccups with HR but my manager was great.

      almost 5 years ago
    • PhillieG's Avatar

      Like many others, I was working for a company where I had a very open relationship with my manager and many others there. I was diagnosed out of the blue, I felt great and was just having my yearly physical when I was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer.
      When you get a dx like that and have to start chemo immediately it's hard to not be up front about it. I was able to modify my work schedule and I planned chemo for Fridays so I'd have the weekend to recover. They went out of their way to help me.
      I know that many companies can be rather cold and detached. To put it bluntly, it sucks. But as in life, it's usually best to be up front with people. You ARE protected by law but hopefully you won't have to go there.
      I hope that you caught it early and the effects are minimal for you and that my response was helpful for you.

      almost 5 years ago
    • cranburymom's Avatar

      Thank you all for great answers. Great to know many had positive experience from the manager and the company. That's a relief. I do trust my company and like my manager.
      Thanks to you all - now I feel more informed and directed.
      Each day, I will learn to turn "seem-to-be-negative" stuff into "unrealized-potential".



      almost 5 years ago
    • Nancebeth's Avatar

      I told my boss right away after the abnormal mammo. I am so lucky that I work for a large organization and had hundreds of hours of sick time donated to me by my fellow employees. I was able to take 9 weeks off for recovery after my bilateral masectomy and immediate reconstruction.
      I have been writing a blog and it may help you to read it.
      I am honest and forthright and have before and after photos and my perspective. I am going through chemo now and shaving my head soon as I am losing it like crazy. But I am alive and generally happy. Positivity really helps the healing process.
      Good luck!

      over 4 years ago

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