Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

I walked out of work on Friday working no notice. Just left a letter for them to find.

Dx Sept 2013 (aged 39), single mastectomy (no recon - awesome tattoo though!), 6 x FEC100, RT x 15, lasted 10 months on Tamoxifen - no further treatment. 

Back to work after 7 months off and always felt I was being made to ‘pay them back’ for the time I had off. 

Had a crisis meeting with 2 of my bosses a few weeks ago and warned them I was on the brink of walking out when one of them referred to my time off work as my “cancer holiday”! He quickly corrected himself and laughed it off but it grew and grew in my mind and what with many, many other last straws I walked out last week.

Now, I’m not sure I will take it any further (it’s a small private business, no union reps, small working world, don’t want to burn any bridges etc) but I feel incredibly sad that I have had to walk out of a job I’d been in for 12 years (qualified for for 18 years). It could be the end of my career in that field as I am so bone-crunchingly exhausted with the whole thing, I can’t see me wanting to work like that again.

Should feel relieved but just feel incredibly sad.


Any other wonderfully inappropriate comments been made to people? Cheer me up!

Jesus I’m surprised you didn’t deck him one!! No one gets it unless they have been through it do they, My boss had cancer 15 years ago and was amazing when I was diagnosed and I did as I pleased and no questions asked as he just totally understood , it such a shame you have felt the need to leave but completely justifiable, you shouldn’t have to deal with comments like that Xx

What total ****s!! I think you have grounds for constructive dismissal but understand your lack of energy. Sad for you too. Colleagues have been wonderful but my manager has been quite distant. I’m trying to think of funny things but struggling, other than the team referring to my Usain Bolt hugs - one arm bent to protect and one arm outstretched! Hugs and thinking of you xx

Dear Orange Girl;

Your ex boss made totally inappropriate comments - it’s a small business that has neglected to train staff in HR & clearly needs educating in how to deal with colleagues who have life changing illnesses. Swines. You have the strength, positivitiy & new skills (which come from dealing with breast cancer) to move on.

Re other inappropriate comments; one of my older sisters accompanied me to an Oncologist appointment to take notes. As far as I was concerned I was discussing the side effects of my chemotherapy; when I read her notes they started “The consultant - a boy - listened to Mary whinge…” which made me feel I should have kept quiet.

Make sure you look after yourself Orange Girl; take care, Mary

Hello Ladies, hope you don’t mind me joining your thread which I’ve been following for the last few days.

I am on garden leave from my company which will end in redundancy next month, they told me they wanted to make me redundant during my chemo. I had to endure 3 meetings with HR, a Union rep and someone who had replaced my boss as he too had been made redundant.  I tried my hardest to be composed and professional during those meetings (which were over the phone), but I ended up a sobbing wreck! They just didn’t know how to handle my situation and although they didn’t say anything downright nasty or stupid they just couldn’t grasp the enormity of what they were putting me through while I was also trying to deal with chemo. It’s taken me several months to come to terms with losing my job and I am petrified at the prospect of looking for a new one (interviews etc) but I have also realised they were such a toxic company to work for (American global IT company) with their constant staff cuts and putting people under unbearable pressure.  I have no idea which direction to take next, I’m planning on doing some voluntary work at my local hospice so will see how I feel after that. 

My mother-in-law (not know for her tact) and I were chatting last week and she was asking if all my treatment was finished and I was better (lol), so said I was waiting to hear from the Breast Care Team about a further operation. I had a WLE and SNB in December and consequently my left boob is almost half the size of the right so I wear a prosthesis. I told her that until I’d had that operation to reduce my right side and even me out I didn’t feel that I could move on emotionally.  Her response was “but you must be used to it by now”!! 

Words failed me and I changed the subject!!! 

On the plus side I have had friends who have said lovely things to me and kept me going this tough time.

Good luck and hugs to all you lovely ladies

Vik xx


This thread is beginning to read like a horror story of constructive dismissal and rights being ridden over rough shod. I’m so sorry about the treatment so many of you have received and I just want to take them all to court and am sure the big wigs are relying on all energy being expended on fighting BC with none left over for the work challenge. I do wonder if Macmillan do employment as well as work support? Hugs xx

I know what you mean Janey, I can hardly bear to read some of these accounts, and (I’m not a violent person at all) but feel like doing a tour of the country slapping these ignorant unsympathetic half wits. It’s the very last thing you need at a time of ‘fighting for your future life’, some loser pushing and making life deliberately hard. Sorry for you ladies. 

Hi all, I was diagnosed sept 14, throughout my treatment my husband compared everything to his painful knee (admittedly he has now had a full knee replacement).

Towards the end of my chemo and after 2 ops - one emergency because of infection - he moaned that he wished he could feel normal again, fed up with knee pain. My response was “you should try having cancer, have your body mutilated and pumped full of poison”. He kindly pointed out that “you’ve only been ill for six months, my pain had been six years!”

Another time on comparing our respective pre and post op care I commented on the fact that he was given a drug to help with recovery from anaesthetic but I wasn’t - his comment was that I didn’t have major surgery but he did!! No I only had two tumours removed along with my breast and lymph nodes - nothing major about that eh?!

He also repeatedly asked the oncologist how long it would be before I had more energy and could drive so that he could have his knee op!! He booked it about 3/4 through my chemo when I was at my lowest lowest point with depression, insomnia, and generally feeling s**t!!

Onwards and upwards ladies, at least we can laugh about it!

Sorry - I’m an alien invading your posts.


Riverside - long time no cross posts. How the devil are you, apart from man probs. Try a woman instead!!! - faaaaar more sensitive. Tho’ perhaps can be a bit too sensitive in certain respects !!! Tell him yours is a life threatening disease - his is just Chronic and relatively easy to sort with a new, bionic knee replacement. Know loads of people who’ve had successful new knee ops. Keep venting your frustration on here, in the company of a load of wonderful, supportive women, Sue, Charys, Janey, yourself, all of whom I’ve shared laughter and tears with on this Forum.

Victoria - hope you’re doing well. I’m soooo sorry you’ve had to endure such a nasty, quite frankly sh*tty time with your employment issues. as if you’ve not had enough to cope and deal with.

I do so hope you find a suitable alternative niche workwise. Bit in the same position myself, plus getting on a bit now at nearly 58, for dealing with a career change of direction. Wish you heartfelt luck with that flower.


Orangegirl (that’s particularly tough for you), Platinum., Butterfly, you’re in excellent company on here with Jobes, Charys, Janey, SweetSue. Hurts me that you’ve had such probs and much ignorant treatment.


Wishing you all a very Merry Xmas, and a Happy, Healthy, Successful New Career, and Cancer FREE New Year.

Much love

Dellywellydingdong xxxxxxxxxx 

HiLovely  Ladies,


Wavey - Dear friend, long time since we met on the posts. But I feel very unhappy for you, about the reasons you are on this thread, and am frankly abhorrent at your treatment. Plus you keep mentioning that it’s your work “colleagues” who are creating your problem, not your BOSS. So why can’t HE do something more about it wavey.


That was an excellent post from Sue, you should print it out and thrust a copy under their faces to be forced to read. I could feel the frustrated passion and power behind it. Well done youhoo Sue. I can see the two of you in cahoots campaigning, certainly have my vote behind you.


In the meantime, again, I wish everybody on here a HAPPY, HEALTHY NEW YEAR that’s also EMPLOYMENT PROBLEM FREE!!!


Much love to you all

DellyDingDong xxxxxxxxxxx 

Hi Wavey, hope you’ve enjoyed your Xmas and New Year. 

Thanks for asking after me, am up and down, but at least I have got the ball rolling, hopefully soon into the New Year. Waiting on mental health evaluation (ooo errr), cataract op, back on the finish recon horse and a few other tests. 

Hope you can and do get all your nasty work issues sorted to your advantage darlin.

I hope it then helps you with improvement to your health.

Much love

Adele xxxxx



Hi Waveylocks,

I am so sorry to read what a hellish time you are having.  As if it’s not bad enough having to deal with cancer treatments and all the side effects but to have to put up such crap from your work colleagues is horrible.  Why are some people so cruel, it breaks my heart :frowning:  

I had Docetaxel too, I do remember being told I would lose my hair but Onc never mentioned the risk of permanent hair loss although I did some research and knew that was a possibility.  I now feel very fortunate in that my hair has come back. I really feel for you and hope you find a solution.  I did meet a lady just after my chemo and her hair had started to grow back except right around the crown of her head, which was totally bald. I don’t know which chemo drugs she’d been on but bless her she was so brave, wore no hat, scarf or wig.  I bumped into her about 7 months later and her hair on the bald patch (which was a large area) had started to grow back. I know you said you’d been told your hair loss was probably permanent and you don’t mention how long ago you were on Docetaxal but sometimes our bodies just amaze us, I so hope at some point in the future your hair grows back <3

I’m unemployed, was made redundant in October, though I’d not been at work since December 2015. I need to start my job search soon and this makes me very anxious.  I’m recovering from breast reduction surgery on my good side which I had done on 19 December. Had tumour removed via WLE in Dec 2015, they also did therapeutic mamoplasty to reshape what was left of the breast.  This left me very lopsided, I pushed and pushed at my breast care unit to get the reduction surgery on my good side done before Christmas so that I could recover and be able to start looking for work in the new year.

I worry that being out of the workplace for over a year will hinder my chances of getting work.

All of our lives have changed thanks to cancer, reading and sometimes contributing on this forum has been an absolute lifeline to me.  Especially when you can’t sleep in the wee small hours and there is no one to calm those runaway thoughts going through your head! 


Delly - thank you for your kind words recently, lot of love and I hope you get news on your evaluation and other ops/tests you are waiting for. <3

Waveylocks - I hope your work situation gets sorted out and so hope you get some good news on the hair front, I’m sure you look gorgeous in your wigs but I totally get that you want your own hair back. <3


Happy New year to all you lovely ladies, here’s hoping for good times in 2017

Hugs, Vik


Corrrr - Victory

What a lovely, lovely message to waveylocks and thank you so much for your wishes.

Bestest of luck in your job search, darlin girl. Hope you get something real soon. And hope your boobs settle down soon and remain LEVEL !!

Much love to you and every else on here

Adele xxxxx

Hey Delly…

Sorry to hear you are struggling with the mental health demons… are you receiving any helpful therapy? How’s the recon journey going?


No, we didn’t get to meet did we? I got a job this time last year, in a primary school, but sadly it ended at the end of December . due to school overspending (or something to that effect), so am back on the job hunting saddle once again! Am thinking I would love to be self employed, but unsure what doing…


Anyway, sorry to hijack this thread and sorry to all you ladies you are struggling with twats of bosses and employers, it really isn’t fair! They have NO idea how a diagnosis can affect a persons, physical, emotional and mental well being, so if you can break free from their clutches and look for something else, then do it, I say (although easier said than done due to finances, pensions etc).


Best wishes to all… take no nonsense!


Delly, if you ever fancy that trip into Liverpool…let me know…x


Naz x

I was told last year that I couldn’t go to my mammogram appt, that it was a routine appt and not urgent! I went!

Hi Girls

Totally confused - that’s disgusting treatment from your employer !!

Wavey (Ange) and Sue - Spot on. I’m voting for both of you next election !! 


Hope everyone’s “better” than can be expected and hope everyone keeps strong in fighting the battle on the other secondary ill effects of Cancer i.e.Employment issues.


Love to everybody on here

Delly-whoop-whoop! xxxxx