Back to work - how long do you leave it?

Hi - this is my first ever post following a mastectomy and TRAM flap reconstruction last November. My Consultants said I’d need 3 months off work and I’ve now had 2 months of that time. I’m thinking that I need more time as I’m going back to a pressured job which is new to me. I don’t need further treatment re radiotherapay or chemo but I have to start Tamoxifen and it hasn’t been prescribed as yet so I don’t know how long that will take to get into my system and whether it will delay my return to work. I’m interested to know what others have done following the same operation and commencing tamoxifen re work and how you’ve felt generally at this stage. Many thanks - look forward to hearing from you.

Welcome Brook! Sorry i can’t answer your question as i’m still waiting for my surgery, and i think a lot depends what your work involves as well as what surgery you had and whether you need other treatment (Chemo radiation etc). There’s another thread running in the Newly Diagnosed section called “Working with bc” where quite a few other girls have shared thier experiences, maybe look in there?
Glad you have found us, although none of us chose to get cancer we are all here to learn more and support each other and I have found enormous encouragement from others - like yourself, being beyond surgery and thinking about getting back - i’m still waiting to know when to go off…
to be honest part of me is saying “I’m entitleed to six-months full pay and i’m dam well taking it”, but actually i want to get back, i love my job and im all fingers and thumbs after even two weeks off. But i know i will need to be very ready, and i’d like to go visit my friends too if i gets a chance… :slight_smile:

What i can also say is i’ve been doing tamoxifen three months now and it gives me the head-fluff, i have brief storms in my head and can’t even do simple things and that could make some work tricky, especially if its already stressful. But everyone is different, you might get totally different effects, the main thing is it stops cancer, well it seriously reduces recurrences.

Hi brook, hope you are doing ok!
I would break yourself into work again, a ‘staggered return’ would be best option, you have had major surgery, do not underestimate how tired you will be!
I had mast/Tram recon following six mths of chemo. After tram had to have oopherectomy(ovarian ablation), and 10 months of Herceptin infusions every three weeks.I still get really tired now. was dx in Jan 2007.
I switched from Tamoxifen as made me feel ‘weird’, tried a couple of others but am now on one which suits me( do you think I can remember the name of it?? no!!) one of the effects of all of this is my total lack of ability to find the right word, name for things in conversation etc…very annoying!!
Whislt it is incredibly boring being stuck at home, not being able to drive, lift things, put washing in etc just remember be kind to yourself!!
This is no race, its not about showing to people how ‘well your coping’ blah blah, its about getting you fixed and well again!!
If your work is very stressful, and stress comes in many guises from looking after little children and running a home, to a high pressure job, you are going to feel the effects of that stress!!

I wish you well,I would definately find out about a staggered/staged return to the workplace.

Thank you for your comments - I hadn’t seen them because I’m so new to the website I didn’t know they had been put on after moderating! I still haven’t got my Px for Tamoxifen so its all delayed but I’m seeing my GP next week so should have a clearer picture then. I’ve agreed to go into work on 2nd Feb for an Away day and said that would be a good measure of how I feel - which is fine really now - without the Tamoxifen!!! Thanks for you rcomments - its a lonely illness without this forum I think.

i has a mastectomy in march 2009,i then had intense chemo and radiotherepy,i was ok while i was having the treatment but i have now started on tamoxifen and dont feel to grand,i have dreadful hot sweats and feel odd!!! most of the time,i really want to go back to work but cant yet,the oncologist tells me it will all settle but the length of time depends on each individual,

I went to work for the day this week and was exhausted afterwards - I then thought it might be better if I did more at home so my body gets used to being busy again - I was so tired after 3 days of increased activity I could have cried through frustration - I’m returning to work in 2 weeks - on a staggered, phased return basis, but I’m a bit worried about my tiredness levels - bang goes any form of socialising I think for the first few weeks and quiet days in between work!

Hi Brook

You must listen to your body and not fight the exhaustion - as if you would be able to! I am also trying to get back to work after 8 months of treatments - surgery, chemo and radiotherapy. I think maybe we underestimate just what has been done to our bodies! My doc keeps signing me off work and advises me not to go in but I have tried to work for a few hours a day for the last couple of weeks and get exhausted, even though it’s a desk job, and it gets worse each day! Not helped by fact that, as a result of chemo, I am getting bad joint pain, every joint but especially the knees, for which I am on quite strong pain killers which make me woolly headed and even more tired! I know I’m probably expecting too much too soon and pushing myself too hard but if you don’t try, you don’t know what you can do. No gain as my husband says. I hate feeling like an invalid and want to get back to normal again but I feel far from 100% and wonder if I ever will again!

Anyway, take it easy (says me! - just finished painting the spare room!) and don’t rush things. The doc told me that if I overdo things now it could hamper my recovery.

Dae x

Hi Brook
I too had a mast/tram flap in nov 09. I started my tamoxfen bout two weeks after my op.i would say after about three weeks i started with the hot flushes and the mood swings. the mood swings have subsided for the time being, i was up one minute and down the next not good!the good thing is taking the tablets have stopped my period so far…every one is different though,. I didnt need the radiotherapthy or chemo either…As for going back to work im going back in two weeks phased in, i expect to be exhausted. i will put an update on here how i get on… take care