Friday, March 27, 2009


I read an article today about a woman who works in a very public position at a job that I imagine would be very demanding, and she did her job secretly fighting breast cancer.

I think what people can do under stress is amazing. I think her next steps as far as helping the fight against breast cancer are an awesome way to use her experiences and position to help women in the US avoid fighting that fight.

But I was concerned about two things and would like your thoughts:

1) By continuing to work full speed without letting on to anyone that she was secretly hooked up to pain packs and such, is she creating an impossible standard for women to follow? I get where she didn't want pity or to be left out of important projects, but let's say, hypothetically, not wanting this to ever happen to anyone that a woman doing the same job finds out next year that she hypothetically has breast cancer. Will she be expected to meet the same high work standards? What do you think?

and 2)
The article says:

But she said protecting her children — 9-year-old boy and girl twins, and another 5-year-old girl — came first. She would keep it a secret from her three children, too.

"Once I heard my doctors out and what the recommended course of treatment was, I really felt like it was best for my kids that I get all the way through it, deal with it privately and then when I was done with everything I would be able to share with them why Mommy had surgery and show them that I was going to be OK," Wasserman Schultz said.

I don't have kids yet, but I seem to remember being about 9 years old when my mom had a non cancerous lump removed, and being pretty freaked out about it. I think I would have been more freaked if no one told me what was going on. What do you think? Would you tell them? Once again, I don't have kids, so I can't claim expertise here...


  1. Ooh, that's some heavy stuff. I think it's clear this woman has amazing strength. Depending on the job, I'm not sure I'd say anything either, especially if it's a high-end job and she's afraid of being left out or behind. I would hope that if the company was aware and it happened again, they'd be smart enough to handle each on a case by case basis. One woman might be able to keep up her heavy workload, another might need to take it a little slower.

    As for the family? I absolutely 100% would tell my family and my children. Take that with a grain of salt. I don't have any children, so who knows how my position might change once I do. All I can do is think of how I would feel if my mother never told me. Kids are perceptive. I'd rather know than be kept in the dark. Besides, I think I'd be a little hurt if I found out later that my mother didn't think she could trust me with the information.

    Gosh, what a great conversation starter. Thanks for getting my brain going today! Finally!

  2. Thanks for your thoughts, Stephanie!

  3. It's possible that it may set high standards for the next person, but then again, I personally wouldn't of shared what I was going through in her place unless I truly couldn't function.

    As for not telling her family, I don't know. I believe the best thing would be to let them know.

  4. Thank you Eve for your thoughts! I know from my own experiences that I also probably wouldn't say anything unless it was impacting my abilities to do the job.

  5. I just don't know. If I've learned one thing from motherhood, you just can't judge anyone until you've walked a mile in their shoes.


I'd love to know what you think: