Changing the conversation about work and cancer

One story of working through cancer treatment

First there’s the shock and the disbelief. Then there’s the realisation that life goes on, that there are decisions – big decisions – to be made about how you are going to live it.

When I got my breast cancer diagnosis in May 2012 I was in the middle of a big fundraising project for the large international charity that I ran. I decided to go ahead with a planned trip to Philadelphia and surgery was scheduled for the week that I returned to London. The operation was a lumpectomy and, thankfully, no further surgery would be required. But I was looking at months of  chemotherapy and  radiotherapy, followed by  another year of Herceptin  treatment.

I did not know it then but that decision to continue with my fundraising commitment set the tone for how I would balance my commitment to work with my need to take care of myself and my family in the coming months.

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Written by Mary McPhail, an Associate of Working With Cancer