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Balancing work and breast cancer treatment

Meet two courageous women who have spent the last year balancing work and treatment for breast cancer. When I spoke to them, they told me they consider themselves lucky. They are fortunate to work for an employer who has given them flexibility and encouragement throughout their treatment. As co-workers they also had each other to give them support. 

I'd like you to meet Lisa Tighe and Kathryn Bass, who are my guest bloggers. Lisa is director of Human Resources and Kathryn is Chief Financial Officer of Greenspoon Marder law firm in Fort Lauderdale.

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Every woman who has battled breast cancer has a unique story to share; but, at the center of each story is a common theme: the importance of a strong support system.  For us, two long-time co-workers, our support systems emerged from what many would consider an unlikely source.

Lisa: I never saw it coming.  I have no family history of cancer, and I got regular mammograms.  Yet, last July, I became one of the statistics, “one of eight.” 

My first instinct was to prepare my husband and daughter; then, I realized that instead of spending the coming year preparing to die, I could fight for my life.  Now, one year later, I have short hair and a few scars, but I am cancer-free.

Like many women, I had a tremendous support system, including my husband and daughter and, quite notably, my employer.  Greenspoon Marder allowed me and my daughter, who also works there, flexible work schedules and armed me with the technology to work when and where I chose.  Not a day passed without a phone call, text, card or gift from my co-workers.  They even rallied around the cause and raised $12,000 for the Susan G. Komen For the Cure® foundation in just one month!

Now, it’s my turn to pay it forward, and I am thankful that I have that chance.

Kathy:   Breast cancer is humbling, to say the least.  I’ve learned to accept help, which is something that does not come easy to a person with a stubborn streak. 

I was diagnosed just five days before my divorce, so my support system came in the form of my mother, friends, employer and my staff.  Lisa was a tremendous resource for me, because she had already experienced the process and was very open about what to expect.  Greenspoon Marder allowed me a flexible work schedule.  My co-workers, especially my Accounting Controller/assistant/friend, were a tremendous help,  taking me to doctor appointments, caring for me after chemotherapy, and making sure I had what I needed.  They have become like family. 

Last week, my staff held an “end of treatment” party for me, coinciding with Greenspoon Marder’s week-long fundraiser for Susan G. Komen for the Cure®.  It’s amazing to see everybody coming together for a great cause, and it makes me believe that, together, we will find a cure someday.

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