Being diagnosed with myeloma can be overwhelming for so many reasons. In the beginning, you aren't sure how the disease will affect you, how aggressive it might be, what your reactions to medications could be, and how long your lifespan will be. On top of all of those serious and pressing questions comes another (to patients and caregivers alike), "Should I continue working?"
Myeloma Financial Coach, Diahanna Vallentine, presented to her Chapter within the Myeloma Community Events Program on April 6th to hit this topic. In her role as a professional financial advisor and former myeloma caregiver, Diahanna has had plenty of experience with people questioning whether or not continuing to work is right for them after being diagnosed with myeloma.
Her presentation is full of sound advice, and the Q&A afterward is full of applicable and creative answers to some tough questions. Make sure to watch or read the summary below!
There are some obvious needs why one might need to continue working, such as income, employer insurance, or other family needs. However, there might be more reasons to continue working that are less obvious, such as the sense of community and self-worth that comes from being in the workplace, or even the simple need for normalcy in a world that feels like it's being uprooted.
As a newly diagnosed patient (and maybe later down the road as well), you will want to consider these things before making the decision about whether or not to stay in the workplace:
After gathering this information, when you talk to your boss or employer about your diagnosis, it's important to know what your rights and options are. Who do you talk to at your place of employment, when do you talk to them, and what do you say?
A lot of the conversation will depend on your familiarity and comfort level with your manager and coworkers. The most important part to know is that you are not required to give specifics about your illness. What you do need to communicate with them is that there might be effects you experience that will cause you to not do your job the way you are supposed to be doing it.
Follow the following guidelines:
Make sure that you consider all of your options before making your decision of whether or not to continue work, especially when it comes to health insurance. Look at COBRA and its cost as well as ACA (affordable care act) options. Review your life insurance. Review Health Savings and Flexible Savings Accounts. Understand the ACA (affordable care act) and buying from the marketplace. Be aware of your rights to file appeals. All of this is very important information to consider when navigating the workplace with a cancer diagnosis.
Diahanna explains much more during her discussion such as the FMLA, ADA and Rehabilitation acts, and what reasonable accommodations in the workplace could look like for those who need them.
Watch the video to learn more from an expert and don't forget to see if your questions were answered in the Q&A!
If you are would like to hear more from Diahanna, register for the Myeloma Financial Coach Chapter by clicking the button below.
about the author
Audrey joined the Myeloma Crowd as the Community Program Director in 2020. While not knowing much about myeloma at the start, she has since worked hard to educate herself, empathize and learn from others' experiences. She loves this job. Audrey is passionate about serving others, loves learning, and enjoys a nice mug of hot chocolate no matter the weather.