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The New Normal: Returning to Work and The Americans with Disabilities Act

By Abby Henry Singh May 1, 2013Pearls of Wisdom Blog

For cancer survivors, the end of treatment isn’t the end of the cancer journey. Recovery comes with its own set of challenges. During treatment, you are often too busy to reflect on your situation. You focus all your mental and physical energy on fighting cancer. After treatment without the busy schedule, you will finally be able to process your diagnosis and consider what comes next. As you develop new routines or pick back up old ones, you will create what has been dubbed by other survivors and cancer professionals as a “new normal.”

Your new normal may include working again. If your new normal includes returning to work or searching for a new job, you need to be informed. Know your rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). For more information on how the ADA specifically applies to cancer survivors, click here.

If you are applying for jobs, use discretion when discussing your cancer diagnosis. You should answer questions honestly, but you are not required to disclose your exact diagnosis. If a potential employer asks about a gap in employment, keep your answer short and emphasize your ability to do the job. Your employer only needs to know that you are capable of performing the duties in the job description.

On the other hand, be realistic and honest with yourself. It may take you a while to be running at full speed again. If possible, try taking on a decreased number of hours or work part time at first to see how you do. If possible, attend a refresher training course. Don’t compare yourself to others. Be patient. The most important thing to remember is recovery takes time, and everyone’s journey is different. Life moving forward may not be the same as your life pre-diagnosis. However, it can be just as rewarding if not more so.


Abby Henry Singh

Author Abby Henry Singh

Manger Content, Outreach, and Outcomes Abby Henry Singh is a native of Sevierville, Tennessee, and a graduate of Belmont University with a bachelor’s degree in English and history. She has been a member of PearlPoint Cancer Support for over 5 years. Previously, Singh was the Program and Outreach Manger for the Lupus Foundation of America, Mid-South Chapter where she worked to raise disease awareness and support those diagnosed with the disease through educational programs. She is a member of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority and the Belmont English alumni book club.

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