Cancer and Careers held a webinar on December 13th that covered the topic of body confidence and self-confidence in the workplace in their balancing work and cancer series.

This hour-long webinar had Sage Bolte, Ph.D lead the discussion. From her website:

Dr. Bolte Dr. Bolte is a nationally and internationally recognized educator and speaker on the topic of sexual health, intimacy and relationships in illness.

Awards she has received are very impressive, which include Hematology-Oncology Social Worker of the Year from The Leukemia Lymphoma Society in 2013 and The American Cancer Society’s Doctoral Training Grant Recipient for three years in a row, from 2008-2010.

Dr. Bolte’s key focuses on her discussion were the following:

 

Cancer and Careers webinar key topics

 

Some items during her discussion that really resonated with me were:

 

31% – 67% of survivors struggle with body image changes

 

Dr. Bolte noted that this is probably even a bit low. I myself have had some issues when it comes to body image after coming out of cancer treatment. I feel very untrusting of my body, as I routinely look at my neck near my lymphadenectomy scar for any other lumps or anything else abnormal. I also put on some weight during and immediately following treatment, which puts me at a weight that is the highest I’ve ever been.

 

(On speaking about your cancer journey) Put yourself in the other person’s shoes: How would you react? What would you want to know and not know initially?

 

This is such a great way of thinking when it comes to talking to coworkers about your personal cancer journey. I underlined what I found to be most important: how would you react if told? This made me think about how I should really start with letting individuals know that I’m in remission now and I’m fine… starting at the end, essentially, to ease any type of worries about it.

Identify negative thoughts // Offer a counter thought // Choose a positive behavior

This was in a section appropriately labeled “create positive responses.” It’s easy to focus on the negative. Or the should have / could have of things. I really liked this simplified workflow of if you’re thinking something negative, stop, offer a counter thought to it, and then choose a positive behavior to act on it.

 

Cancer and Careers Create Positive Responses

 

Conclusion

 

I found this webinar to be extremely helpful how I interact with coworkers about my cancer diagnosis and journey. There was also an opportunity for Q&A the last 10-15 minutes, which really allows you to have direct input for questions.

You can view the slide deck of the presentation here.

In fact, I got so much out of it that I immediately registered for their upcoming 2018 Balancing Work and Cancer Webinars series. You can too by following this link.