going back to work

I have made the decision that I need to go back to work, and although management are being really flexible, I am really nervous about it, and worried that I will not be able to do my job properly and fit in all the regular scans, herceptin, and chemo when I need it. I am also worried about coping emotionally, as I work with people with serious medical conditions, but feel I need to work for as long as possible so we have some financial security, and so I can feel useful.

Some of you know that I am getting married next month, but today, cannot even get excited about that.
Sorry, having a day feeling sorry for myself- any thoughts on work issues appreciated.


Any advice/comments from

Can’t really help on the work issue front. I have chosen to give up work and study fulltime for a degree
However I know what its like to have days feeling sorry for yourself so wanted to send you good wishes

Jools xx

Hi India

Can’t help on the work front, as not worked for last 3 years cos of having babies and being a stay at home mummy. Although there are lots of people on this forum that do and will probably drop you lots of positive messages.

Can relate to feeling sorry for yourself though, as I do this quite often too, part of coping I think. Take care of yourself and hope you feel better soon.


Hi India,

Know how you feel 2 years ago I gave up work for surgery and wanted to go back to work asap even though I was to start Chemo. I did go back and did one week in three as a supply teacher, I was nervous about going back, but things quickly fell into the routine of what I know. People do ask questions but often they are scared as to what to say to you.

You will be fine after that first day and wonder what you were worried about I am sure.

Good luck

Treakle xxx

Hi India

I made the decision very early on that I wanted to work as much as I could throughout my treatment. Luckily I only work part time (9.30 to 2.30 each day) in an administrative role, so it wasn’t too taxing. I was scared when I first went back (after having 2 weeks off, from diagnosis, scans, sentinol node biopsy) as I work for a big company and having been there for ten years, I know a lot of people. Obviously word had got round, so I had a deluge of e-mails and visitors to my desk intially, but everyone was so supportive. I work in HR and four of the girls there are very close friends, so it was good to have their support too.

I tend to have the Friday off when I have my chemo, and the following week off sick, and then go into work until my next chemo. My Employers have been fantastic and right from the beginning, put no demands on me whatsoever.

Personally, I have found it good for me to be at work when I can. It’s great to see my friends, and talk about other things rather than my illness. It actually makes me feel “normal” for a few hours ! Having said that, I am ready to go when it gets to 2.30pm - not too sure I could last till 5pm !

Anyway India, please don’t apologise for feeling sorry for yourself - we all have our down days, and this is the place to come to when you do !

Good luck with whatever you decide, and good luck with your wedding too obviously !!

Lots of love

Julie xxx

Hi India,

I really identify with your “feeling useful” - I had a real need for that. I’ve just finished my chemo, and have worked throughout with one week off after each chemo and 2 weeks at work. It helped me to have everything as normal as possible, and as I was around most of the time the transition to headscarves was accepted almost without comment! I realised when I had to go to an exhibition at my son’s school that if I had not carried on working I would not have had the confidence to go.

I don’t think the quality of my work has been fantastic during chemo, but equally I don’t think anyone minded!

Good luck with the wedding


I have just finished chemo and am now thinking about returning to work. I have saved up all my annual leave (since March!) so can go back very part time initially. I was working as a District Nurse, and on returning to work the first time on my first day back i had to deal with a chap having chemo, and feeling very low - it was really hard. I have recently changed my job ( which meant I was not entitled to any sick pay!). Dealing with over 75’s who are generally well will hopefully be a bit easier!!

The staff where I work have been cooking one or two meals per week to help keep us going, I have been amazed at their generosity, and help. I have been at the surgery for 20+ yrs, so they have seen me through marriage, children - one of which nearly died of meningitis at 2 days old, and breast cancer.

I have worked throughout my treatment (23hrs per wk)… however having some set backs for surgery and my bloods being very low. I work in a reception area in a hospital. The ‘team’ have been wonderful - if I have a bad day I can get off early…I also have my chemo at the same hospital, which certainly makes it easier. I am having more pain now and that is more difficult to work through especially with the general public!!! Hope to get the pain sorted today so should be on top form next wk.

If everyone at work knows your situation it does help and people are very kind however it is very tiring talking about your situation all the time, luckily we are busy on reception so we get a good selection of other subjects to talk about. How are the plans for your wedding are you able to get a honeymoon… all that will help with getting back to work and put you in a more positive mood… days get so down sometimes, but feeling useful and getting on with a normal? life all helps…

Keep your chin up and the very best for your wedding.

Thanks for all your helpful comments- I’m feeling much better this week after having spent a weekend camping at a festival with our 3 year old up to our eyes in mud.
Wedding is only 3 weeks away- beginning to look forward to it.

Wisden-I hope you have got your pain sorted out. I know from my work that there are loads of good pain medications, so you shouldn’t need to be suffering, but sometimes its a matter of trial and error.

Much love to everybody,

Thanks India - pain fine now with my gp and hospice nurse plus back up of the hospital where I work I do get instant treatment and meds as you say you have to try different regimes and it’s the bit in between that gets you down and as my bloods were low it all takes its toll as everyone here knows… back on form and the steroids keep me smiling…

Just a quick one why ‘India’ my very favourite country next to Nepal many years spent there.

Hi wisdens.
Glad your pain’s been sorted out now.
It’s India because I met my husband to be there when I was working in Calcutta nearly 10 years ago.

Hi India - Heatherlou back on the secondary forum. Got results of various scans etc. and it now looks like my lungs are a spread. Was not expecting it at all as feeling really well and virtually sailed through chemo. Still I have to accept the diagnoses. Funny how we seem to go hand-in-hand. As I was expecting different results, I had arranged to see my work’s medical advisor tomorrow to talk about going back to work. I only want to do a couple of hours a day - but think it will be good to get back to as normal a life as soon as I can. Also planning to marry as my partner and I have two young children (6 and 8) and I need to think about their future.

I work at a university and they are very supportive and I know there will be no problem with appointments, days off, etc. I can’t remember what you do for a living.

How is your treatment going - I have finished 6 x FEC and now on Tamoxifen.

Often think about you. Love Heather

I managed to work through Taxotere, by taking 1 1/2 weeks off, 1 1/2 weeks on. Luckily I had a fairly easy time of chemo and my job is part-time admin and not too demanding.

When I was off work I was bored silly. I’m very glad I came back to work after treatment because it keeps me busy and stops me brooding. Let’s be honest, the money is useful too. My partner could support us both but as long as I keep working, I can afford the occasional treat :slight_smile:

People seem surprised that I still work - there seems to be a feeling that as I’ve only got limited time left I shouldn’t be wasting it at work. Honestly I don’t know what else I would do with the time off - I don’t feel inspired to do good deeds or work for charity, I’m a bit of a lazy mare and if I didn’t work I suspect I’d slump on the sofa watching daytime TV!

Good luck with going back to work and have a fabulous wedding day :slight_smile:

hi im due to go back to work in october after nearly 15 mnths out. in one way im looking forward to getting back to normal? if ever. but theres a bit of me that quite nervous as to wether i will manage the workload. i work in retail so can be very hard standing all day. but i feel i need to get back into the swing of things again ,since ive been out weve had a major overhaul,so lots of new ideas ,new management etc, i think its a strange thing this illness as it can change your outlook on things enormously,but deep down we are still the same person. keep looking forward and i m sure your wedding plans will start to excite you again, new beginings!!! love lynn x