Kate Brouse, Cancer Survivor, talks about her experience
When Kate Brouse found out that she had cancer, she knew it might mean that she was going to have to make changes in her work life to keep working and going through treatment.
The first step was realizing that she was going to have to have time away from her job as Business Development Lead for NTI@Home, a nonprofit organization that helps Americans with disabilities find at-home job opportunities with training and job placement services.
There were times where she knew would have to go away from her computer and turn off her cell phone to take a nap.
“NTI was very accommodating, and it was important to have an employer like NTI,” said Brouse, a Florida resident. “You have to make sure HR (human resources) is aware of the situation and your direct manager and direct report knew that you are going to have good days and bad days.”
Working for a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to helping others, NTI@Home has a plan to help Brouse get back to her job as the lead for business development.
“I love my job,” said Brouse. “I’m doing a lot of outreach for us to let people know about us. I like that I’m able to do different things.
“Our mission to help people makes me feel that my employment is actually making the world a better place for some,” Brouse added. “Most of all, I love working for NTI because NTI really cares about us as employees, and I have never seen a company that cares more.
“NTI has far and away exceeded any other company that I have ever worked for. I have worked for a variety of companies, some great, some others just eh; NTI blows them all out of the water as far as really trying to make a difference for the people we serve and really trying to make a difference for the people who work at NTI.”
With radiation treatment on her hand, which was being treated for cancer, Brouse had burns on her body and was at the point of exhaustion.
At that point, she knew she had to make sure she got her rest when she needed it.
“They (NTI@Home) were aware of the potential situation,’’ she said. “There are really varied types of cancer and the type of surgery you had and how you react to the radiation.
“Individuals react so differently. You have to keep an open line of communication to your direct report and the human resources side.”
Brouse says the support she received from her family was a big help in allowing her to get back to work. Her mother left a fridge filled with pre-made meals.
“Not everyone has that kind of support,” she noted.
One piece of advice Brouse gives for anyone in a similar situation is to learn to step away when your body tells you to.
“It’s hard to unplug, especially since we are now all working at home,” she said, “but you have to unplug and walk away from it.”
(NTI@Home helps Americans with disabilities find at home employment in call centers and on IT help desks for government organizations, Fortune 500, and large and small companies. You can register for training and job placement at www.ntiathome.org.)