Careers and Cancer

We talk about working or not working through cancer.

  • The diagnosis process is generally awful at work

  • You don’t have to be open about cancer--if you are open, you can help the next generation of patients

  • Tell fewer rather than more--you can ALWAYS tell more people, and you can’t tell FEWER people

  • Working will (likely) be your main issue if you work through cancer treatment

  • If you can ramp down your job to 20 hours a week, do that

  • Be gentle with yourself

  • Everyone should have disability insurance

  • Disability doesn’t pay out at 100%--it pays out from 40% to 80% generally

  • Know yourself and your job and communicate clearly to coworkers about that

  • Don’t compare yourself to anyone else--your experience can be totally different

  • There will (might) be guilt of shame, whatever choice you made about working

  • You might cry all the time for awhile, working or not

  • You don’t need to apologize--this is not your fault, and Thanks, Cancer! absolves you

  • Online resources can help with the process or resume critique (https://www.cancerandcareers.org/en)

  • Use your newfound perspective (in job and in life) when you inevitably get through to the other side

Cancer Choices

We discuss the choices that come with having cancer and how we decided.

  • You have more choices than you think you do.

  • You can say no. Before you do, ask what the consequences are. Ask a lot of questions.

  • Don’t check out on making choices--check IN!

  • Try not to pop other people’s comforting bubbles. Go gently with information for others.

  • Know how YOU want to get information.

  • We are all lost in the woods and doing the best we can.

  • Stay out of the “what might have been” as much as you can. Don’t build your house there, and make your vacations there SHORT.

  • “I did the best I could with the information I had.”

  • Be aware of any guilt or shame you might have about the choices you make.

  • You have to be aware of your animal instincts to run. Choose to chooose.

  • Take time off if you can take time off.

Cancer Fertility

Listen to us discuss fertility in the context of diagnosis.

  • Fertility is always a mindfuck.

  • If you are going through hormone treatment, be aware of how hormones mess with you.

  • Talk to someone before you leave them your eggs in a will.

  • Google for fertility scholarships and resources.

  • Having or not having kids is complicated--there are wonderful and horrible things about both lives.

  • There are plenty of kids that need a parent if you need to be a parent.


Cancer Hacks

We discuss a variety of topics, so join us for bras, fasting, doctors and google.

  • Look into intermittent Fasting for chemo.

  • Find your cancer community.

  • Carefix and Marenas have pretty great post surgical bras--you will feel better if you look better.

  • Figure out how to talk to your doctor

    • Plan before what you need to know

    • Tell your doctor how you like to get information, and how much

    • Prioritize your questions: three main ideas

    • Take notes--write down your questions before

    • What other team members should you involve?

  • Get your blood tested--iron deficiency sucks.

  • Google can’t answer your cancer questions--books and the cancer community are better resources.

Cancer Fundraising

Allie is back! Listen to us discuss the nitty gritty of fundraising.

  • Raising money is a good way to help the next generation of patients and channel the “after” energy.

  • Put the fun in fundraising. If it’s not fun, don’t do it!

  • Use fundraising to build a community.

  • Be clear about your goals.

  • Be clear about what you are asking of others.

  • Invite people to be a part of your journey.

  • Make the ask.

  • It’s not a competition. Every dollar helps.

Cancer Pain

We are back to discuss the hurt and the healing.

  • You have a new baseline, and you have to figure it out on your own.

  • Recovery is going to take longer than you think, especially if you have to go to work and be professional.

  • Check in with your body on a regular basis.

  • Pain is inevitable. Misery is optional.

  • Ask who is intubating you. Ask how often they intubate.

  • Learn the difference between healing stretching hurt and destructive hurts.

  • You are bigger than the pain. Expand to encompass the pain.

  • Think about how much medication you are taking and plan the wean off.

  • There are alternatives to Oxy, like Tramadol. There is alternatives to everything.

  • You need to take a stool softener and laxative if you are on opioids.

  • Know the location and terms of your surgical warranties.

  • Be honest about your pain. Talk to your doctor. Talk to someone. Find what works for you.

  • What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Take a deep breath and do what you can do.

  • Faith gets you through every day, whether you are religious or not.

  • Find the placebo effect.

  • Pain is:

    • The greatest teacher

    • Temporary

    • A signal to change

Cancer and Exercise

We talk about exercise during and after cancer treatment.

  • Use your 2.0 as a chance to rebuild, and exercise is essential to the rebuild.
  • Activity before / during / after is going to make you feel better physically and psychologically
  • Use it or lose it: do SOMETHING.
  • Go in with the attitude of fun and trying and seeing what happens. Don’t have expectations of what you “should” do
  • Move everyday. Take the stairs or walk around the block.
  • Dance parties are a good way to loosen up.
  • Be gentle with yourself, and listen to your body.
  • Ask at your hospital for exercise resources.
  • Look up YMCA Livestrong to take advantage of training and classes.
  • Believe in order to access the placebo effect.
  • Take it slow and easy: incremental is still progress.

Cancer Radiation

We discuss the history and practice of radiation treatments, and thank the cancer martyrs of yesteryear.

  • Doctors will give you aquaphor or a petroleum product-- maybe try coconut oil or cbd oil.
  • Plan for the utter exhaustion of radiation, and plan for naps.
  • People want to help you. Let them help you.
  • Do your research before you make a decision.
  • You need to stretch medicinally through radiation.
  • Take care of all of you--not just your radiated parts.
  • This too shall pass.
  • Calling your Radiation Oncologist a Radonk-a-donk (RadOnc) may improve your radiation appointments.
  • Thanks to Rose Lee, Patron Saint and Radiation Martyr.
  • Thanks to J-Zee, Patron Saint of Letting People Explain the Dumb Things They Say on Social Media--we are all just muddling along.

Shades of Cancer Survivorship

We talk about the big spread of survivorship encompassed under the cancer umbrella, and the tribalization within the community.

  • Be humble and be kind, not obnoxious and a jerk.
  • You never know what someone else is going through: "the cancer experience" is not always universal.
  • Know your context within the cancer community.
  • Your motivation matters, especially if you are a cancer maven.

Cancer Fatigue

We discuss how exhausting this whole cancer thing is, and try to figure out what helps.

  • Treatment to cure can directly or indirectly interfere with sleep.
  • Do what you have to in order to get a good night's sleep a few times a week.
  • Doctors will happily prescribe medication to help with the insomnia. Most of these are pretty addictive.
  • There are several supplements hat can help: valerian root, magnesium, etc.
  • Exercise
  • Think about making your best nest: pillows and a comfy mattress can make your stays in bed much more pleasant.

Colon Cancer with CrespiCreme

Christina teaches us all about colon cancer, and talks about what it's like to go through treatment as a health care professional.

Cancer Etiquette

Listen as we discuss the social norms at the hospital, and our best practices.

  • In the waiting room, use headphones and avoid phone calls.
  • Be considerate to the people who are having the worst day of their lives.
  • Be aware that other people exist, and that they don’t cope like you cope.
  • Do not prescribe: let people subscribe to your input.
  • Do not one-up other patients.
  • Don’t call strangers to Jesus. (Confirmed that Mimi and Leanna were both called to Jesus by the same disciple, and neither answered the call.)
  • Read the room, and have your parties in private.
  • Friends and family are the buffer. They need to be super aware to manage the patients and the bystanders.
  • Friend’s and family, if you hate the hospital, don’t insist on being at the hospital. Know your limitations. Know what you CAN do, and do that.
  • If you are sick, don’t come to the hospital or wear a mask.
  • Communication is a two way street.
  • See “What did you just say?” for additional guidance on handling the ridiculous things people say.
  • If anyone knows Dr. Dre, help us put Beats in Cancer Centers so we don’t have to yell at any inconsiderate people.

Getting to know your 2.0 post-cancer

We have so much to cover in getting to know your 2.0: from Leanna's First Descents surfing adventure to a career after cancer with The Time Between is! Also, happy first birthday to Thanks Cancer (ie Mimi and Leanna friendiversary)!!

  • We are a new tribe of survivors (carcinopaths!) that have the luxury of a 2.0 after cancer.
  • The big c: cancer, chaos and change.
  • You are a physically new self AND a psychologically new self.
  • The hard restart is an opportunity… and difficult and confusing and weird and surreal.
  • You need a 2.0 because your 1.0 was stripped bare. You couldn’t exist as your 1.0, and the "before" can feel like a different lifetime.
  • After rebirth, you get to create yourself with everything you know as a grown up.
  • Be open to different ways of rebuilding yourself.
  • You are going to fail inevitably as a part of the process. Fail fearlessly. Fail again.
  • Explore your 2.0 like you are in high school: fashion, ideas, taste, choices, identity.
  • Incorporate water into your life. Drink the water. Be more like water. Swim in the water.
  • You are a teenager. Let yourself be a teenager and understand that other people won’t give you the understanding that they would give a teenager. Cuz you look like a grown ass person.
  • Let yourself be surprised, and maybe carried away a little bit by your 2.0.
  • For a cancer community, check out The Time Between Is http://www.thetimebetweenis.org/ for how to approach your career after cancer and finding meaningful work.

The Cancer Card

Hear us talk about the cancer card in this mini episode.

  • Have fun with the cancer card.

  • If you use it strategically and excessively, people will stop with the sad eyes because you are too ridiculous.

  • Use it to spend time with people you love and who bring you up.

  • When people offer you cancer perks, accept with grace.

  • People want to help you. You need help. Let them help you.

  • Say yes more than you say no, especially if it is no effort on your part.