How did you balance being a mother, work, and cancer treatments? What advice would you give to others in similar situations?

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member1474 (Survivor (1 year)) - 03 / 07 / 2012

Like all questions of work-life balance, this one is hard to answer because it is so personal.

My top priorities in life are spending time with my kids and husband, spending time with family and friends, and excelling in my job (I am a PhD-level microbiologist). I also had to learn how to excel at being a patient while still having time and energy for these other focal areas. In the heart of illness, my health trumped everything else. However, everything else could take on a new form. Instead of walking my kids to the playground, I laid on the floor and did puzzles. Instead of going out with friends, friends watched movies on the couch with me. Instead of going to work and performing an experiment, I worked on writing projects on my laptop at home. In short, I tried to keep my other priorities, but I adjusted my expectations for myself in them. And if I had a down day where I felt awful for whatever reason, I didn't force myself to tackle any of these other priorities.

My first piece of advice is to let your health take priority. You can't perform your other priorities if you are dead.

My second piece of advice is to continue to function at some level in your other priorities. This will help you maintain your sense of self-worth, keep you in close contact with your support network, and speed your recovery.
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