How to carry on with everything else

I was diagnosed 4 days ago with bc and today I feel abit more accepting that I have it (although this might be that doctor has put me on anxiety tablets as I couldn’t stop shaking and hyperventilating for 2 days, and maybe they are working and calming me down a bit).
This might sound trivial, but can anybody share with me their experiences when they first found out regarding going to work. I don’t know whether to go to work until my surgery or to stay at home as emotionally I don’t know how I will be.
Everybody keeps telling me that that is the last thing I should be worrying about, but I’m worrying about everything at the moment.
Just like to say what a great site this is also and what a great bunch of ladies you all are, its helping me alot.

Hi Ourlass
gosh i remember i was so so shocked i could not eat or sleep and i definately could not have gone to work. Everyone is different some people i know have found going to work was actually helpful for them. I was looking after babies and children which is physically demanding and i knew i was so tired i would not cope.
You should not worry about work just think what is right for you and only you can decide.
We are here for you and any help i can give online i will.
I was diagnosed Oct 2005.
I thought life would never ever return to any normality as i was in a dark tunnel with nothing but misery at the end.
It doesnt last and you will be better once treatment starts we have to be.


Hiya ourlass,

sorry to hear of your recent diagnosis but ‘welcome’ to this site. You are in good company here and I’m sure you will find it an invaluable as I have since I was diagnosed in March.

Well, I was diagnosed in March, age 34. I had a mastectomy and total axillary node clearance a week after diagnosis and started chemo in May. Will be having chemo 'til Oct then its rads, hormones and Herceptin to look forward to. Not!! LOL.

Anyway, I haven’t actually worked since the day I was diagnosed. Initially there was simply not enough time before the op to go to work as it all happened so quickly. Besides, my head was all over the place and I would’ve been next to useless! I had then hoped to go back between surgery and chemo but really didn’t feel able to. I am an instructor in the RAF and just didn’t think I would be of any use to the recruits!! Work (and the RAF) have been awesome throughout. I thought I may be able to work a little during chemo, as I know lots of people do, but the nurses at the chemo unit and my oncologist all said that if I don’t absolutely have to work then its prob best not to. This was largely down to this risk of infection but also to just enable me to concentrate all my energies into getting better and getting through the chemo without too many problems.

The upshot of it all is I have now been made ‘non-effective’ at work until at least my chemo and rads are over. This is great for me as it allows me to just focus on myself and getting better. I still have very regular contact with my work colleagues and try to pop in whenever I can. They all say that I’m well away from the place at the moment as there’s all sorts of cr*p going on so I’m quite pleased really! I have been given some work that I can do from home but I’ve been suffering with the dreaded ‘chemo brain’ lately so haven’t actually started it yet!

I hope this helps a little and I’m sure you’ll get many more responses,

I wish you well as you start out on this ‘journey’. Take care and be sure to let us know how you’re doing,



I was diagnosed on Monday. I am coping quite well, but everyone is different. Personally, I prefer to keep going to work and keeping busy. The way I dealt with it was to tell the people I work with straight away, as well as my immediate Manager. I work in Local Government and manage a small section of staff.I also e-mailed a select number of people, who I deal with at work and told them, so that they would know that I will be having time off work in the future. You will find that everyone reacts differently. Some people will speak to you openly and some will either avoid you or just ignore the fact, as they don’t know what to say. However, most will wait to see what your reaction is. If you feel strong enough to go to work, I think you will find it better to carry on in as normal away as possible. I have found if I keep busy I can put it to the back of my mind, although, of course it is always there. I am not normally the type of person who talks about personal things, but I have found it puts people at ease if I am open about it. I got a bit fed up of telling people after a couple of days though!

My husband works at the same place and a lot of people have said how sorry they are to him but have not spoken to me. Don’t be surprised if people don’t talk to you directly about it. It isn’t because they don’t care, but just that they don’t know how to deal with it. This will be even more likely if you are very upset.

The other thing with telling a small number of friends and colleagues is that some have come forward and offered lifts when I have my treatment. It is at times like this you find out who your real friends are.Some people are really kind.

Anyway, as I say everyone is different and you need to do what is best for you. If you do decide to go to work, speak to your employer and tell them what you feel up to doing and warn them that you may break down. I don’t know who you work for, but I am sure they will understand. Depending on the size of your organisation you may find that they have had to deal with the situation before.

Take care and lots of love. Julie.

Thanks so much for taking the time and responding to my msg.
I know only I can decide whats best but its nice to hear other peoples views who are going through it all.
I really appreciate all of your advice ladies. I think I might be able to think more clearly when I get told when I can have the surgery.


Sorry to hear your recent diagnosis, i was in your shoes a few weeks ago and posted a similar message to you, there are so many lovely people on here and loads of support, i have not been to work since i was diagnosed, i have decided to spend the time concentrating on myself and resting before and after chemo etc, only you can really decide what you want to do but listen to your body and think of yourself
good luck and let us know how you go on
galen xxx

Hi ourlass

I worked the 2 weeks between dx and my first operation - I must use the word ‘work’ very lightly as they put me on simple jobs as my mind wasn’t focused on my normal duties- i found this time in work to be very beneficial as i spent at least half my day talking things over with stacks of colleagues and it helped me immensily. I had hoped to work between treatments but have not been back since first op in March although I have regurlar contact from work which also helps

You could always pop in for a few hours and see how you feel there - if it’s too much just return home and no-one would surely mind

all the best