Back to work worries

Hello all,


My surgery was exactly four weeks ago and I’m starting (dare I say it) to feel a bit like my old self - although I’m still wearing dreadful bras all day and night, just finishing antibiotics to clear up infection in wound and have what feels like a golf ball in my armpit caused by swelling. I’m still waiting to hear if I need chemo or not (probably another week or so). After that I’ll start radiotherapy. My issue is that I’m starting to feel guilty about being off work. I decided to step back from it about a month after diagnosis and have been off since mid March. Someone is having to cover for me at work and I know it’s putting a strain on them and the rest of the team. I could probably manage to go back on reduced hours/duties but if I’m honest, the thought of it makes me feel ill. I certainly couldn’t deal with anything serious that was presented to me at work. I’d probably just run away and hide or say something totally inappropriate. It’s hard enough concentrating on a trashy novel, let alone slot back into work and yet I still feel as if I should be able to cope. I don’t feel poorly exactly but I suppose I do still feel emotionally vulnerable. That’s probably never going to go though now or is it? I feel so confused. Really don’t know if I should try and go back to work now or leave it until after radiotherapy. I know everyone’s different and the sensible answer is do what feels right but at the moment I feel like I might never want to go back. Work has pretty much driven me since the age of 22. Without it I feel cast adrift but, at the same time, I’m kind of enjoying the float! Sorry for the essay. Any shared experiences gratefully received xx

Hi Ali
Your right…the sensible answer is go back when it’s right for you and it sounds like your not ready. Don’t worry about everyone else, do what’s right for you. I didn’t work at all through my treatment. Only just started now, cautiously, which is a year on from diagnoses. I think maybe the sensible thing now is to see first whether you need chemo, because that will affect your ability to work. I found the fatigue challenging at times and was glad that I decided to take the time out.
Sending a hug x

Thanks, Sue. I appreciate hearing about your own experience. I think staying off for now is the right decision. They’ll cope without me and I’ll just have to get used to being a home bird for a bit longer x

Hi Ali, I don’t work so can’t share experiences . However, I have read your post with a sympathetic eye, and to me you have answered your own questions. If you want to run away, feel vulnerable and  ill then I would say you are not ready to go back. Nor, I am sure, would  your colleagues wish you to return under such stress. I feel your health must come first at this point. Best wishes with your decision. X

Hi there,
I know what you mean. I had a lumpectomy and lymph nodes removed last week and although the consultant suggested I’d only need a week off, my GP and others say that the emotional side of things needs longer.
I guess we may not necessarily be in pain or look ill, but inside we are not our usual self. The mind takes me down so many paths and I feel I just need time to be right now, not sitting at a desk being bombarded with emails I don’t have the concentration or patience to answer. But…I still feel guilty for being off work and that it may be frowned upon.
I suppose my point is that sometimes we need to just float and that we’ll know when it’s time to come down again. Take care xx