back to work

I can’t believe I go back to work tomorrow, after having been off since the beginning of May. It has been such a long time and I’ve had such a crap time!

I’ve got to say though that I’ve really enjoyed not working these last couple of months when I’ve been feeling pretty good and I’ve been able to watch go on bike rides, watch tv, see friends, go on the computer etc etc. Now it’s time for a reality check and to have to go and do what normal people do eg: go to work! It’s going to be so strange, I’m still wearing my scarf although my hair is growing fast it’s a bit too short to reveal yet.

How’s everyone else been going back to work?


Hi Jude

I haven’t been off work now since June but am/was planning to go back in the next month or so however work don’t seem to be making it easy for me to go back part time (planning on a phased return to work) so am thinking I might have a small battle on my hands - not what I need! I know all about DDA so will be pointing it out to them if necessary.

Are you planning a phased return to work?

My hair is coming through nicely and I could probably get away with not covering it now but just not 100% confident to do that yet so will wait a little longer.

Ruby xx

Hi Ruby

My work have been fantastic, paid me in full the whole time I have been off. I’m going back to work 2 days a week for 2 weeks, then 3 days for 2 weeks, then will be back to my usual 4 day week.

That’s all you need your work being difficult, it’s in their interest for you to return on a phased return because if you return full time and it’s too much you will go off sick again and that won’t help anyone!

My hair just needs to grow about another 1/2 inch and I’ll be able to reveal it but at the moment it’s a bit strange looking.


Hi Jude,

I have been really lucky, I have worked whenever I could, my employers have been marvellous. Over the two years of various treatments I have only had five months off, 8 weeks being the longest period ( I enjoy my work so I hated time off). This has helped me keep some kind of routine to my life. I am a routine’s person, sad I know but what ever rocks our boat yeah.

One thing I have found delicate to address is that the team I lead have supported my work so well they know my job inside out. The added responsibility they have had to shoulder has given them a sense of empowerment. That’s quite right of course, however I am having to ‘take the reins back’ so to speak, this is proving sensitive handling. Still onwards and upwards

Good luck to you all.


I wish you all the best of luck for your return - you’ll be fine - may take a little while to adjust but you’ll get back into the swing of things in no time.

My work haven’t paid me while I’ve been off and I’ve had no choice but to be off. Anyway like I said above I can feel a fight brewing!

Ruby xx

This is my third week back. I started by doing 2 half days and am doing 3 half days this week, building up to 4 etc until I reach 5 whole days eventually. I felt really tired the first day but ok after that until today as until this week I had 2 days off between each work day. I am due to see occupational health again before attempting any whole days. I work in the NHS and we have a very good policy covering phased returns. (I would say this as I am responsible for the HR policies, but never thought this would be one I would need to use myself).
I was worried about going without my wig but decided to do so and everyone says my very short hair suits me. Not too sure about the colour though as I no longer have red hair - it has come back a mixture of blonde (or possibly silver!!) and a sort of brownish colour.
Good luck

Hi Anne,

Can I ask, have you dropped your hours to do the phased return, or are they paying you for full time? And who did you arrange it with, HR or OH, or both? I too work for the NHS, I want to go back at the end of this month, but am a bit scared that I can’t cope straight away - I haven’t worked for 3 months and my decision making mechanism has packed its bags and gone on hols. At least I hope its only on hols!
Best wishes

PS reading back through this is sounds very nosy, please forgive and ignore if too personal

Don’t know if NHS is the same as teaching, but I start a phased return on June 1st & will go back onto full pay from day 1. Jojo, it is your HR person who will sort out your phased return. Have to say everyone at my school & county HR dept have been great about everything, I will have been off a whole year by the time I start back.I dont feel so worried about going back now,knowing I have a long time first to get fit again, both physically & mentally - & I do appreciate how lucky I am in the arrangements that have been made!
Cheers all

Hi Mand
Sorry to but in, but were you on full pay for the whole year?


Your manager should refer you to occ health and HR will probably be involved in meeting with you and your manager to discuss this referral both before it and afterwards. Occ health should set out a reasonable phased return for you, in writing, and then you can agree the exact detail with your manager. It does vary a bit between trusts and was a bit different for me because I work in HR so just met with my manager who is the HR Director. It is our policy to pay in full during the phased return for a defined period of time, but this is up to your Trust’s policy and isn’t national policy. If I am still unable to work my full hours once that period is finished, then my pay will be adjusted accordingly.

All the best

Hi Alice… 6 months full, 6 mnths half, which, I think is the usual - i do have long unbroken service ( 22yrs) so have recieved the max. I have also been able to claim incapacity benefit since going on half pay, I would have not thought of doing this but the county council that employs me sent me all the forms etc
Mand x

Hi all,

I also work for the NHS and was off from work after my operations and treatment for five months. Because of my length of service, I get 6 months half pay and 6 months full pay. I returned to work three weeks ago after seeing Occupational Health who organised a phased return for me and then wrote to my Manager to inform her of the plan. I worked 2 part-time days the first and second weeks and
3 whole days last week. This week I will be doing 4 whole days. I must admit I have been more tired on the days that I am not working. I expect it just catches up on me when I’m home. Occupational Health said that if I’m finding it too much, I can always take days off as I have 18 days holiday left till the end of March which I’ll either use or lose. My Manager said I can carry 5 over to next year. I am seriously thinking of not returning for a full 5 days as I don’t know whether I could cope with doing a full week now.

Wishing you all well.


Dear All
I never thought I would be saying this , but was pleased to return to work last week . I have been off sick for 10 weeks ( no chemo/ rads) and I am now doing a phased return . I also work in the NHS and my manager has been fantastic. I will be taking some outstanding annual leave in March to help me gradually return to full time work .
I felt woolly headed on the first day ( forgot my password to open my pc) and tired in the evening .
Good luck everyone
Ladyinpink x

ps I have the option of collecting my work email at home if I am tired and want to make the hours up at home.

I also work for the NHS, I had 7 months off, after diagnosis whilst having op, chemo, went back whilst having radio, got very tired, a returned phrase to work is a very good idea, like JUDET1 says you don’t want to go back & then be off sick again, I did just mornings then built up to back full-time, still get really tired now after 8 months being back, still having herceptin until June 08. Take it easy, stay positive, best of luck to you all
Lovely x


Breast Cancer Care are currently working on an employment project and we would really value your input (for more details see

* How much do you know about your rights and employment? We have 6 short questions online which we would like to ask you which will help us with our campaigning work. Responses are anonymous and it will not take more than a few minutes to complete.

* We are looking for people who may be interested in talking to the media about breast cancer and employment. If you would like to find out more please email <script type=“text/javascript”>eval(unescape(‘%64%6f%63%75%6d%65%6e%74%2e%77%72%69%74%65%28%27%3c%61%20%68%72%65%66%3d%22%6d%61%69%6c%74%6f%3a%6c%69%7a%7a%69%65%6d%40%62%72%65%61%73%74%63%61%6e%63%65%72%63%61%72%65%2e%6f%72%67%2e%75%6b%22%3e%6c%69%7a%7a%69%65%6d%40%62%72%65%61%73%74%63%61%6e%63%65%72%63%61%72%65%2e%6f%72%67%2e%75%6b%3c%2f%61%3e%27%29%3b’))</script>.

* If you are interested in finding out about events we are planning on the issue in Scotland, Wales and England, or you would like to receive our new employment resources at a later date, please also express your interest by emailing me at the address above.

Thank you!

Best wishes,

Lizzie (Policy and Campaigns, Breast Cancer Care)