Do i Go back to work or move on to new things

Hi Everyone


This is my first post on this forum so hi my name is Jackie Im 45 and have just finished my tretment for stage 3 BC.  I have had a mastetomy 4 lots of chemo and 18 lots of Herceptin the last one wss on tuesday hooray !!!.  I sill have further reconstructive operation to go through but am thinking this is a postive thing as it will make my boob look better.


I work in a School as as a special needs TA an also work in the after School club.  I initially had  6 months off last year to get through my treatment.   Then was kind of forced to go back in Septemeber due to my pay being cut down to half, so as a single parent with two teenage boys off i went back, still under going numerous hospital appointments and stil having  Herceptin every  3 weeks.   This i found tiriing and extrmely difficult to cope with.  But i plodded on.


Then in January I was called into the Headteachers office for an informal chat so thought nothing of it.

Then i was questioned over my treatment  etc then she said to me so iyou have been going out for currys whilst you have been off !!! as you can imagine i was taken back why would she even say this to me am i not allowed to go out couldnt think of wht she was talking about, so obviously i got upset.  Then she said that someone had come into her office and tital tattled about me going out.


Thiis really tipped me over the edge that after everything i had been through someone still had the nerve to **bleep** about me would they have liked to have gone through what u had been through over the last year i dont think so.


To cut a long story short it was a post put on facebook of a casserole that i had cooked anyway.  My immediate reaction was to jack the job in but was persuaded to get myself signed off until treatment had finsished which is what i have done.


My dillema is now do I go back in April my heart is saying no and my head is saying i dont need the stress of looking for work and go back but am very nervous about it.


Would love any ones opinion on what to do or move on


Jackie xxx


Dear me, jk45.  I never fail to be astounded by the depths of maliciousness colleagues can stoop to.  I recall reading a few ladies on here commenting that colleagues have said, on their return after a gruelling year of treatment, that how did they enjoy their time off?!! Well, we all know how exciting it is to go for our cycles of chemo, don’t we?!!!

I was concerned about going out for meals etc during my treatment, and checked with my union [at the time I was a High School teacher, but have since retired]  They told me that when you are unfit for work, you are unfit for the rigours of the workplace, but are free to go out etc without any negative implications for your job.  Cancer treatment is bad enough to deal with, and would be unbearable if you could not have the odd treat or day out etc!!

Your Head is totally out of order with her unpleasant remarks.  Are you a member of a Union?  I would advise you to take your Union rep in with you during any further meetings with this individual.  

I needed two spells of long-term sick leave related to BC, which threw up some issues, and the help of my union was invaluable.  

Hi JK,

As a JK myself, I felt compelled to reply!

In normal life, I’m a manager of approx 150 staff, & NEVER would I even suggest such a thing!!!  I’ve sat opposite people who have had time off & clearly had not a thing wrong with them, & would not have the insensitivity or gall to say anything so stupid.  This woman obviously has no idea how to lead or motivate staff & I am amazed that she has got to her current position with her obvious ineptitude.  But to the point…!  If I was you, I would go back to work with head held high, safe in the knowledge that you will never be caught on the back foot by the principal again.  That’s just my opinion, but here is some professional advice;

  • Contact your Union & arrange a meeting with the principal

  • Make your Principal aware that cancer falls under the Disability Discrimination Act, & therefore you have certain entitlements (worth reading up on)

  • Bring some information with you regarding BC & its treatment as she seems so uninformed (even with chemo, you still have to eat!)

  • Explain to her the impact her comments had on your recovery (it’s obviously causing you stress)

  • Put all this in a letter as well as the meeting (or instead of if you prefer) so that she is given every opportunity to understand

  • Start taking note of all your conversations with her

I’ve been very fortunate that the company I work for has been very good to me.  That said, I’m still very nervous about going back (my brain has turned to cheese post-chemo!), so can’t imagine going back into that environment.  I don’t believe you should be pushed out of your job because of someone else’s ignorance though!!!  I really hope everything works out for you JK.