Cancer Coaching brings Lisa a new work-life balance

By Cancer Foundation on May 27 / 2016

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Lisa Yull has always put her loved ones first. As a single mom with two teenaged daughters, her girls are always her first priority. This life-long habit continued even after she was first diagnosed with colon cancer.

Her initial diagnosis of colon cancer came just before Christmas 2010. It was difficult news but she wanted to be strong for her girls, so she delayed starting treatment until after the holidays. When her cancer reoccurred four years later and surgery was scheduled for December 2, she prepared every aspect of the holidays in advance so her daughters wouldn’t miss out.

And Lisa attempted to put others ahead of herself when she returned to work with the RCMP. However, it was a bigger challenge than she expected. A month after she returned, she realized jumping back into full-time work was too much.

“All of the effects of cancer seemed to hit on mass. It just seemed like everything crashed down at the same time,” she says.

While physical recovery was difficult, the mental hurdles were just as challenging. By chance Lisa drove by the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation. She remembered the help she received there after her first diagnosis. Lisa knew right then what she needed to do. She set up an appointment with a Cancer Coach.

“My Coach challenged me to look at setting goals for myself, as opposed to setting goals for everybody else. I’m very much about making sure that everybody else is okay, and forgetting about me,” Lisa says. “But if I don’t take care of me, I’m not going to be able to take care of anybody else.”

Through coaching, Lisa learned the importance of slowing down and making herself a priority.

At her Coach’s suggestion, Lisa joined the Cancer Foundation’s Work and Cancer Survivorship program, designed to help navigate the physical and mental challenges of returning to work after cancer treatment. In those sessions she not only received support from the Cancer Coaches, but gained understanding from other survivors who had made the transition back to work.

“I used to wear the business suits, the high heels and the nylons, and I can’t do that anymore. When I mentioned this to the group, a woman said, me too! And it was right away we discovered this connection, this commonality. It’s a silly thing, but it really isn’t.”

Lisa has since adopted a more gradual transition back to her workplace, and with the support of her employer and colleagues, is doing it on her own terms.

“My folks at the RCMP are fabulous, they’re making the accommodations that I need.”

The Cancer Foundation’s Cancer Coaching programs are only possible with the support of generous donors like you. Thank you for giving clients like Lisa the guidance and resources they need when faced with cancer.

Lisa’s attitude is that moving forward – in work and in life – often just means managing things with a new perspective.

“I strive, I thrive, and I live well – I just live differently.”

Watch Lisa’s Video



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