My last radiation treatment was Wednesday, April 12th and my job interview in Silver Spring was on April 18th. I had very short hair and was burned from radiation but I decided to jump at the opportunity to get my life going again immediately after treatment ended.
I decided to apply for this job, which focused on strengthening public health laboratories internationally, because of my experience with the diagnostic process in Rwanda. Of course, I had a Master of Public Health degree and my background was well-suited for the position but my personal experience drove me to this particular role.
I went back and forth on whether I should disclose my experience with cancer to the interview panel and ultimately decided to. Despite being slightly worried about the implications of disclosing cancer, I wanted to be true to myself by being transparent and trusting in the good of people. I only discussed cancer when they asked my reasons for wanting this position and the rest was all about my past experience and qualifications. At the end though, I decided to be bold. I told them that I really wanted this job and while I’m not sure if they’re legally allowed to ask me about my cancer situation, I wanted to assure them that cancer would not impact my ability to do the job or to travel.
Something I said must have resonated with them because they called me within an hour and asked if I could come back for a second interview before I left DC. I had a trip to New York that weekend for a wedding, so I rearranged my travel plans to make it work. Everything was falling into place and I got the offer on May 2nd, less than a month after I finished treatment.
They agreed to give me a little time to sort out my life in Florida before moving so my start date was June 1st. It was all a whirlwind though. I had to arrange to get all my medical records from each doctor and confirm my survivorship plan as I was no longer in active treatment. I knew I’d be living with my best friend who happened to live down the street from my new office, so I didn’t have to worry about a place to live. But I did have to figure out a long-distance relationship. Yikes. Not ideal, but doable.
We made it all work and by the end of May, I was in Silver Spring with my best friend, ready to start my new job and move forward with my life!
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