Hello Catherine G,
I am so sorry to hear of your diagnosis. I second the advice of Cowgirl1918 and Sams Wife. Since you have already had surgery, it is not clear to me from your message whether you will need surgery again or not. But if you do need surgery, finding a top-notch surgeon is in my view really, really important. Because if the surgery is messed up, then your future life and treatment can be messed up as well, regardless of how well your prognosis looks. Ideally (again, my view) you would want the surgeon and oncologist to work together, preferably at the same institution. If that is not possible, then you have some choices to make. IF your diagnosis is cut and dry then sometimes you just need a competent colorectal oncologist, who are often just implementing and following established treatment protocols anyways. But if your situation is complicated, then having a top-notch oncologist who is on top of the latest treatments and perhaps clinical trials would be crucial.
If you do live/work in the DC/Baltimore area, then I would urge you to explore the following surgeon and oncologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore:
1. Jonathan Efron -- who is literally one of the best colorectal surgeons in the nation. I have had five major abdominal surgeries in my life and the latest one with Dr. Efron was by far the best experience. The guy is skilled, seasoned, and talented. Moreover, he saved me from having to have a colostomy bag. http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/profiles/results/directory/profile/0024566/jonathan-efron
2. Ross Donehower - oncologist. Excellent and extremely knowledgeable and compassionate. http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/profiles/results/directory/profile/0002087/ross-donehower
There are also plenty of other experienced and respected surgeons and oncologists in the DC/Baltimore area -- so, for what it's worth, this is a good area to be in if you have cancer.
As Cowgirl1918 said, you are probably in it for the long haul, so if I were you I would have my surgery (if needed) and treatment close to where you plan on living in the long-term. On the other hand, you will need some assistance especially after surgery and perhaps with the chemotherapy as well. Like, ktwmn, I worked full-time throughout my chemotherapy, but my workplace was super-supportive and I have a wife and her family nearby for support.
In terms of long-term/short-term disability that is often something I think you would apply for through work, so you should check out their policies. I am not very knowledgeable about these benefits on a Federal or Social Security level, however.
Perhaps in an ideal world, if you had enough finances/support to simply not work for a year so that you could concentrate on your fight and getting healthy I would go for that. But I realize that is rarely the case, and many cancer patients prefer to work through treatment anyways, as part of the healing process.
In any event, I really hope you find a path that brings health and happiness to you.