Pink Slip

My last day worked was November 4, 2011.  Per my company’s policy, an employee is terminated after being out on disability for one year.  So I guess today is my last day.

It’s a formality, really.  I’m too sick to work, and it’s unlikely I’ll ever be able to return to my project management glory.

Long ago I came to terms with the fact that the business world has moved on without me; everyone’s replaceable.  Still, there’s some sort of finality knowing I’m a “terminated” employee.

When I was first diagnosed, no one knew the extent of my disease.  I thought I would have a lobectomy, maybe lose a whole lung at worst, have chemotherapy, and return to work.  Everything seemed so cut and dry.  I assured my colleagues I would be back and maybe even as soon as January.

But I had only dipped my toe in the cancer pool.

A week or two passed, and I started to hear about the extent of my illness.  Still, there was hope I would have a miraculous response to a new drug, Xalkori.  Maybe it would knock down and control my cancer so I would feel good enough to return to work.

I was chest-deep in the pool.

It’s well documented where the story goes from here.  I showed mild improvement during my first 2 months on Xalkori.  By month five (May) I was in the hospital due to its toxicity, and the scan showed my cancer had progressed once again.  I had three months of one chemo cocktail, then three months of another.  The only result has been more cancer.

No, this certainly isn’t where I thought I would be.  31 and disabled, now treading water in the deep end of the pool.

Teddy Roosevelt said “do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

I am home; I have a pillow and a blankie.  I think I shall nap.


7 responses to “Pink Slip

  • lyn

    Dear Jessica,
    I am swimming in the same pool as you. I am in the Uk and worked as a nurse in the operating theatre. I thought i would be having 4 months off work following a lobectomy or like you say at worst a pneumonectomy. Only when they opened me up it had spread throughout the lung and into the pleural space, so they just closed me up again. That was in March 2011 and I haven’t worked since.
    I am lucky that my cancer has responded well to Iressa (I have the EGFR mutation) so far. Just waiting on the next scan to tell me whether I can carry on for another few months without worrying.

    I really hope some treatment starts to work for you, you are way too young to be going through this, god bless x

  • gethealthynewjersey

    I really love this entry! This blog entry really is true for so many people surviving lung cancer. thank you for expressing yourself, i am a big Fan of ur blog!! I shared it on my Facebook page called Cure Lung Cancer Now!

  • Matt

    You are not replaceable, trust me… some people are, not everyone is. No one can replace you, they can only hope to live up to the standard you set before them.

  • HP

    Dislike!! I can’t believe it’s been a year battle for you already. And I’m bummed that your tenure w Citi is no longer. I still champion the thought that we’ll see your smiling face within our leaky roofed space and burnt popcorn smelling kitchens. Summers of 105 degree conference rooms and winters with everyone having their own space heaters… Embrace the blankie and your bunny! We still love you!

  • Andi

    Just because someone takes over the workload you were doing, as a person you are not replaceable.

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