I finished up at my job and had a week off before starting my new job. On the Monday, I went for my routine breast screen appointment, and after a biopsy later that week I was diagnosed with early breast cancer.
Due to my family history, it was decided that I would have a bilateral mastectomy. I called my new employer Healthcare Australia (HCA) and informed them of this and offered for them to give the job to someone else, as I could not start when arranged and my future was uncertain.
They did not hesitate in keeping the job for me, allowing me to come in before my surgery to start to learn the job. They helped me feel a little normal and provided great support. I then went off and had my surgery, and required two weeks longer off than expected. Again, I called HCA and offered for them to employ someone else and again they were great, telling me to take my time, get better and return when I could.
This support at such an emotional and uncertain time was brilliant. Given that I was an unknown entity to them and could provide no certainty about my future, their support of me, and ultimately, my family, was superb. At a time when nothing else about my future was what it once was, my sense of self had taken a hard battering, and myself, my husband and two boys were experiencing emotional turmoil, knowing I had a job when I was ready was the only certainty.
I was lucky – no chemo, no radiotherapy – just the dreaded oestrogen blocking drugs. I am now working at HCA and loving it because I am surrounded by great people, which is no surprise given how well the place is managed from the top.
Knowing my job was here was a key contributor to my recovery and return to a ‘normal’ life.