Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
PeeJ

Hi, just new and saying hi, uh, Hi...

Recommended Posts

Hi, I'm Perry. I'm 50 years old and was operated on in January 2003, stage 1 NSCC. I think that's right. I really didn't pay much attention to the Drs. I just wanted them to hurry up and get it out. I had the upper lobe of my right lung removed. I was really fortunate it was found so early in May 2002, during a routine chest x-ray from my annual physical. The spot on the x-ray was only 5mm at that time. I couldn't believe my primary care physician saw it on a lousy x-ray. By the time we watched it with CT, then verified with PET scans, then the biopsy in January, it had grown to 1.5 cm. No other cancer was found anywhere else. I thank God for my blessings. My surgery was fantastic,my recovery was amazing. I was back singing in my church choir 7 days after my operation. Very little pain, except for the staples in the incision. I think I had worse pain from bicycle wrecks as a kid. Again, I praise God.

I was back to work after being off 8 weeks. Funny thing though, I was fired after being back at work after only 3 months. Seemed I didn't know how to do anything right anymore. Everything I did, I was told I should have done it another way. Everything I said, I was told I should have said it another way. I tried to be quiet, but then I was accused of witholding information and not being a team player. Anyway, I'm unemployed now, feeling great physically, but really worthless mentally. I don't think I'll be able to get another job equal to the one I was fired from. I'll probably be broke in another month. I live alone, as my marriage of 26 years ended in divorce 4 months before I found out I have cancer. People tell me to cheer up, and I try, but it usually only lasts a couple days. The company i worked for even denied my unemployment claim. They are really amazing too, because they are like the largest private corporation in the world, so the $80,000 in med bills I cost them so far shouldn't have been that hard on them. Well. here I am. Hi.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

Nice to meet you. I am glad you are feeling good physically, and about the job, I don't know what to say, I am an assistant animator for big studios like Disney and have been out of work for two years with the exception of three small jobs, I am going to be homeless soon, or it feels that way, so I hear ya, just hang in there, and keep trying, it has to get better. You survived lung cancer you can do anything.

Welcome

Stephanie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

appeal the denial and ask for a hearing from the unenmployment place--

I believe you are entitled to a hearing when a company turns it down, it is not always the last word---

regards eileen

-

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi, PeeJ! Congrats on beating the lung cancer and catching it early. If your scenario is correct, it sounds like they were out to fire you. I think, too, you can appeal about the unemployment -- I think you can go to an arbitor or something. I would check into it. Don't just roll over and accept it. I hope you can find another job soon. Good luck. Don

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello, Perry,

The National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (www.cansearch.org - toll free number is (877)622-7937 - 1010 Wayne Avenue, Silver Springs, Maryland, 20910) has a publication titled Working It Out: Your Employment Rights As a Cancer Survivor.

Please contact them and request a copy of this pamphlet. There is excellent information on how to handle employment discrimination.

There are filing deadlines for registering a complaint under state and federal laws. Please don't allow what they have done to you to slide. If they've done this to you they most likely have done it to others, and will do it again in the future. And it's just plain wrong...

American Disabilities Act: File with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Call the EEOC Public Information System in Washington DC at 1- (800)-669-4000 for information on the nearest EEOC regional office, as well as the appropriate state enforcement agency. Call for info and publications that explain the Americans with Disabilities Act and how to enforce your rights under the ADA at 1(800)669-3362, or go to www.eeoc.gov

There is also the Federal Rehabilitation Act, the Family Medical Leave Act.

Contact your state division on civil rights, or human rights comission, or an attorney experienced in job discrimation cases.

Wishing you well,

Fay A.

[/i]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Fay. Sounds like you have been at the job a while, and then all of a sudden they start finding your work inadequate? I usually think lawsuits should be avoided, but find a good lawyer if you can't get a resolution through the company

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting how these things work...

I too was fired within 3 months of returning to work - and for performance or lack thereof - or so they said.

Interesting twist to my story was that they had given me a $15,000 bonus for performance and a $25,000 retention bonus if I stayed on after the acquisition (by a larger company) - all of it, one month prior to my diagnosis.

Not one to lay down and cry - I filed a complaint with the EEOC and after the investigation was permitted to sue the company - I won - they paid - I laughed all the way to the bank.

The suit had zero impact on my career nor did my next employer care. I found a great job and stayed employed until my second bout with cancer.

Due to the severity of my condition (lung cancer, ARDS, asthma), I am now on 100% disability but comfortably retired on 60% of my former salary.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

Thank you for your support and information on this. I have filed a charge with the EEOC and they have accepted it and are investigating. It takes so long though, and I'm about broke. I think the reason my former employer denied my unemployment was so I would have to present my evidence to them duing the unemployment hearing. Then they could be better prepared to lie to the EEOC. I guess I'm going to have to just hope the unemployment people see what's going on and rely only on my testimony. I can't show them too much because this is a huge company and they are so proud of all their "tax deductible" contributions and their "stated" concern for causes and ethics in all their press releases, but they have lied to me and about me continually since I had returned to work. Oh, get this! My picture is even on their corporate website for representing them in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life last April. Too funny.

Oh yeah, interesting, s_meksvanh, I too was a top performer before my diagnosis, as I was recognized and named "Quality Employee of the Month" for August 2001 and had received escellent reviews and $22,000 in raises the last two years. It's so funny, because actually, my work was probably even better after I returned from surgery. I was really upbeat, focused, and ready to start my "second" chance at life, spiritually, emotionally, and physically, after my operation because I had dedicated my life to Jesus Christ on December 8, 2002, and the operation and recovery were so amazing. The severe depression I was suffering from since I first learned of the "spot" in May 2002, had disappeared. I even asked my doctor if I could get off the antidepressent medication I was taking, because I felt so postive. My doctors and the hospital people were so amazed at my total committment and faith in God during the whole illness and recovery. I felt like a celebrity because everyone wanted to see the lung cancer recovery "poster child". lol

The things I was fired for weren't performance problems though, but "behavioral issues". When another employee lied about me to my team lead the second week I was back, I was reported as being "argumentative" because I defended myself. It didn't matter that the guy lied about me and it could be easily proven. When my boss lied to me on an issue, and I confronted him on it, he called me "crazy" for imagining things. I called his supervisor and asked for a meeting to discuss my problems with my supervisor. She said she hadn't been aware of any problems with me and said she would investigate it. My computer accounts were cancelled two hours later, I was placed on suspension, and put on probation for "behavioral problems".

I figured I could beat this, but when I came back from suspension, my biggest hurdle was that the people that were to evaluate my behavioral progress, were the people that I complained about to the department head. Needless to say my "behavior" didn't improve in their eyes and I was written up again after another month. This time my major incident was because the same employee that lied about me the first time got belligerent and threatening in a phone conversation with me. I tried to report him to my team lead and supervisor. They didn't answer their phones, so I left them voice mail on the issue and asked them to call me back. Neither returned my call or acknowledged my complaint for two days. After the two days, I find out that the guy that threatened me was so upset that it was my fault because I made him mad. HR this time investigated the issue, without even talking to me to find out what the issue was, and I was deemed the aggressor. My problems again were because I defended myself against more lies told about me. I guess I should have learned the first time and not defended myself, but if I had done that, I probably would have been written up for the lies.

So, after being put on another 30 days of probation, I learned to keep quiet and only speak when spoken to. I was so scared of losing my job and insurance then, I was a wreck and could hardly sleep. Depression came back big time, but my faith in God hasn't waivered. I quit working out at the fitness center during my lunch hour and worked through my lunch hour and stayed late working overtime to make sure I could get all my assignments complete, which by the way seemed to be increasing from my team lead. My weekly meetings were fine, until the next to the last one of my 30 day period where my supervisor criticised my e-mail on a technical issue to be too long and refused to even look at a method I suggested to back up user data that would be faster and not cost the company the $2000 that the current method being used did. Turned out the current method was my bosses idea, oops. Strike 3, I'm out.

Anyway, I want to thank everyone for their support. I too, now realize the stigma put on lung cancer survivors. People just will never understand how it effects me more mentally than physically, having had it. I will go public with this and start naming some names, once I get a lawyer to advise me. I will not let them or anyone else get away with doing this to someone else, whether it was "accidental", or not.

By the way, the company is not McDonalds, but please don't eat anymore egg mcmuffins if you can help it.

Thanks for your support,

Perry J

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am much relieved to know that you did file a complaint with the EEOC. Now you should consider filing for Disability so that you will have an income and medical coverage while the investigation takes place. What State are do you live in?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fay, thanks so much for the advice. I haven't thought about applying for disability. I guess I could give it a try, but I feel kinda foolish applying for it, because I'm really in great shape for being 50, except for only missing a third of my right lung. Heck, I'm even playing softball with my church on Monday nights. Pretty good too... :-) My major problems are psychological and my depressive moods from being out of work and reliving the events of the abuse I was put through at work the three months I was there. I can't sleep over two or three hours a night and wake up with nightmares of the closed door meetings. The only way I'm able to cope with them is because I'm active in my church 5 days a week and God and my support family there is always able to put me in my proper perspective. Like I said, I was so blessed that my cancer was caught so early. I have the constant fear like everyone else that it might come back, but the only treatment I have right now is quaterly CT scans to monitor it. Even those are hard to take though. The first one I had after my operation showed another new spot on my right lung. The follow up after that 3 months later showed that it hadn't grown any so my Dr. dismissed it as scar tissue... whew. That was another reason I was so scared losing my job, because that first scan had that spot, and I was scared I was going to have to go through the operation stuff all again, and maybe even more, like chemo or radiation.

Thanks again,

PerryJ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perry,

You were doing so good and will again. I am lost as to why you cannot get unemp. Didn't they let you go.... I don't know much about unemp for I was never involved in it except many many years ago when i got laid off from IRS for the summer months. Do know some about SSDI and SSI and would suggest that if you do decide to file, you also state as a disability psychological problems too. If you feel like you can work now with the lc issue, then they will prob deny you on that issue for your medical report will prob show how well you did. That is why i am says to also put psychological as a disability. If you do get denied on both disabilities, make sure you appeal all the way....

Hope that company burns in he////////. If I have any stock I will sell it....don't want to have any business with them.....whoever they are....

You sound like you are working out your difficulties and will soon be back on track and headed in the right direction...God be with you...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PeeJ,

I have some questions on HOW you returned to work...

I, too, work for a Fortune 500 company. I received calls from my nurse caseworker within my first week of at-home recovery. I talked to her about twice a month while recovering from surgery, the entire time I went through radiation and the first two weeks of the Iressa therapy...and THEN, I started back to work.

I wasn't allowed to return to work at full-time right off. In fact, I am FINALLY back to full-time this month! My company wanted me to ease back into the work environment and I began at four hours a day. I had a standing Monday morning appointment with my caseworker to evaluate my health and hours for the next week. My guys were so happy to have me back that they worked with the limited schedule wonderfully. (I'm the only support for 100+ people.)

I have had some issues with work SINCE then due to a small FIRE that sent me to ER with smoke inhalation. My bosses (I have two) were on the "we have worse stuff than that, it could have been a chemical release" kick and pushing for me to get a corporate job...well, having moved to the production world from the corporate world, I had NO desire to go back to it! My nurse caseworker was on my side from the getgo on that one, that if they were pushing about all the bad stuff that is in the plant they may have more than my issues dropped in their lap (read "sued" by many employees). I won!

I read that you were singing in the choir a week after surgery, that you're feeling GREAT and you are wonderfully fit for a 50 year old - but there's a lot of mental stuff involved with cancer and "treatment" and I'm wondering if you overexerted yourself mentally/emotionally?

I also wonder how a company that "let you go" can deny your unemployment claim... Does not compute...

Good luck on that case!

Becky

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

I think if you are fired from a job because of performance, behavior, attendance, etc. problems, you do not get unemployment if the company contests it and wins. If you are laid off due to lack of work or fired for unjust reasons then you can collect if you win the hearing. If you decide to apply for disability then you would be saying that you cannot work and this would probably not help your case. Sounds like you definitely need an attorney. Anyway, welcome to the group and I wish you the best of luck.

Jenny

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey, thanks again all who have responded. I know my condition pales compared to all of you who still have to get treatments. You are all in my prayers. Becky, yeah, I think you are right that I might have tried to come back too fast. I was really on a natural high though and ready to move on with my life, especially it being a year after my divorce. It bothers me that I had no counseling from HR when I came back after recovery from surgery. I asked them after they fired me if they knew that I could have asked for acommodations being a cancer survivor and the psychological problems that I had told them about through the ADA, and they said they knew. I never found out, until I started doing all this research after I got fired.

Honest though, my surgery and recovery was so easy, it was hard to believe I even had cancer. Because the spot was seen in May and during the time we watched it to see what it was, I had intesified my physical workouts where the guy that did the breathing tests found it hard to believe that I had been a cigarette smoker. My cardiovascular system was really in good shape because I took out my frustrations and stress by exercise. But once they started beating me up mentally at work, I lost interest in that too. Yeah, and they can deny unemployment if they fire you for "misconduct". They can even deny me COBRA if they want to. In fact, I don't see how they couldn't deny that too, if my misconduct warranted no unemployment, surely it warrants no COBRA. I'll just have to wait and see what happens to my application.

Thanks again all...

Love,

Perry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

I too agree with many that you need an attorney however you can start the ball rolling by filing a complaint with the EEOC. Try and put some of this down in time line form a journal of events be very precise as this is paramount in these types of cases. It is my understanding that you can not be denied Cobra ( you will have to pay for it) but to my knowledge you are entitled to this whether you are fired or resign - generally a time frame by which you need to sign up. Hope you health continues to be good - you have nothing without it!

Take care

Botley

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey there Perry.

I can relate to your fast recovery as I too recovered quickly after my left pneumonectomy. I was out riding my bike around the block after the first week home from the hospital. However, I can't relate to your bummer of a story about getting the bum's rush from work. Life shouldn't be so difficult. Good luck, and take care.

David P.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi, just checking in again. Hope all that have read are still around and doing well. Well, I won my unemployment hearing and am receiving my $250 dollars a week. It doesn't go very far when your COBRA health insurance costs $500 a month. I have been given the right to sue by the EEOC, although they couldn't find any evidence of discrimination one way or the other.

Cargill filed a restraining order against me after I won my unemployment hearing, so now I have the added expense of hiring a lawyer to fight that so I don't have a record of stalking against me. Cargill claimed I was harrassing and stalking them because I called their offices 18 times in 3 months trying to get the last of my personal effects from my office. It's so funny because the transcripts of my calls are pleading with them to please call me back, which they wouldn't do. Cargill's attorney offered to pay my COBRA insurance and contact the American Cancer Society to hold sensitivity training sessions to Cargill's management so they wouldn't harrass their next cancer victim if I would drop my EEOC claim. I don't think so. Cargill likes to proclaim their community involvement with their motto of "Cargill Cares". Problem is, I don't think they really care unless it is a tax deductible contribution.

It's really been great though going through the legal proceedings. Cargill's evidence against me is actually supporting my claims of them ganging up against me behind my back. They gave me a copy of an email that shows they were actually collecting evidence against me without my knowledge within 2 weeks of my return from sick leave. I never realized they were out to get me that quick, I never really had a chance at all.

I am a little dissapointed with the cancer support groups out there, though. I think I have a landmark open and shut case proving discrimination of lung cancer survivors in which the five-year survival rate is 15%, but it seems none of the organizations want to get involved. I guess it would hurt their chairman's salary if they lost any tax deductible contribution that Cargill contributed.

Anyway, thanks for all your moral support. I think I'll be able to get through this month ok, so I don't think they'll start reposessing stuff until after the first of the year. Oh, one note of praise though. I just celebrated my 51st birthday yesterday, and one of the church members where I attend, asked me if it would be ok if he nominated me for election as a deacon in my church. Wow, and to think a year ago to the day I was in the Polk County jail, naked, and on suicide watch. What a difference faith in God and a year can make.

God Bless,

PeeJ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am so sorry that you have had such bad luck since your surgery.

It is amazing how companies can 'make excuses" to get rid of someone...

Look at it as their loss. Surely something better is out there for you!

God closes a door, he opens a window, it just may take you a while to find it!

Congratulations on a wonderful outlook! I am sure that God is not through with you yet..and is working on something wonderful for you!

Lynne

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PeeJ,

Hang in there and good luck on sueing your company. I had a similar situation, mine involved FMLA and discrimination. I am trying to decide if I want to sue, I really should. The company is non profit and works with low income and elderly for housing. They are always in the news and one of the board members is a previous State Senator here in California and others are judges and attorney's for housing and re-developement. I could really raise a stink. I believe it is one year from term that one has to file suit. Mine time frame would be up April 2004. Stephanie am I correct on this? You said you work in HR.

Good Luck and prayers for you...

Karen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why doesn't anyone really help? I've called or e-mailed all these charitable organizations, and nothing. I went to the unemployment office last week and told my "counselor" why I was applying for a job not even making half of what I was a Cargill, and his reply was "shi_ happens"...wow.. what a wonderful world we live in. Happy Holidays. :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...