Is it normal to NOT want to go back work?/?

Hi all im 26 with 2 boys age 7yrs and age 22 months. dx with high grade dcis begin of october this yr. Im 6 weeks post op from masectomy and reconstruction ld flap. I had my results from masectomy and snb no invasion and the 6 lymph nodes all clear, im now waitng for results to see if i need tamoxfin as they are testing it for estogen, i get the results end feb 09. (thtas the bit about me lol) just so you got a view to whats being going on lol.

The thing is i cant face going back to work , i have no interest what so ever i loved my job and worked hard doing it b4 the dx, but i just cant face or dont want to go back, i just want to be at home with my boys and not be here there and every where. I feel well in my self and scars are healing well. im not sure what to do next as i havebeen signed off for another 4 weeks, but surley my doc wont sign me off again and i have not told my work how i feel so they are expecting me back sooer rather then later but i cant mentlly do it
does this sound normal has anybody else felt this way.

it may seem im being a little selfish as a lot of the post i have read is how ppl they want to get back to normal or working through chemo etc and i have not even had to go through chemo or rad etcso i do apolagise to those who think my moan is a little cheeky.
would be glad to hear from someboy who could relate to this work thing or these feelings lol

Yes that sounds very normal to me!

I think it’s a bit early to be worrying about whether you want to go back or not. Some people do and some don’t. It is a massive thing to happen to you so don’t put yourself under any pressure to decide anything. You have a sick note for another 4 weeks, so spend that time getting better and try not to worry or make any big decisions.

I didn’t work through chemo and didn’t want to go back to work either. Give yourself a break and think about how you feel next month.


Oh, chukkie

I’m not a younger woman but I’ve been through what you’re going through - of sorts. No, I take that back. I’ve not been through what you’re going through because when I was dx my sons had well and truly flown the nest and I already had grandchildren. So no, I can’t say I know what you’re going through at your young age. What I can say is that, if you can afford it, take all the time you need to come to terms with your diagnosis and prognosis and everything else. Spend time with your family. It’s still very early days with you. This is a big thing you’re facing. Take time out. Your partner will also need to take all this in, and you’ll need to be there for him/her and your extended family, and you’ll have to have the stamina to cope with that and all that that entails … we’re women, it’s what we do!

If it’s doable, take time out to prioritise.

Good luck to you, and good luck to all of us.
Maureen xx

Hi faith11,

My brief history - diagnosed July 07 with stage 3, grade 3. Chemo for 5 months before mx and full anc in Jan 08 where they found cancer in 12/22 lymph nodes. Some signs of mets in 1 vertebrae and ribs but having treatment for that. I was 42 at diagnosis but no kids (never had a maternal instinct !).

I had been working full time as a mortgage adviser and been with the company almost 19 yrs.I was signed off work immediately and had absolutely no pressure to go back within certain timescales - my manager was great and said if it takes a year, that’s how long it takes but you must get yourself right and don’t do anything reckless ( v nice especially coming from a bloke!). I was lucky in that I had full pay for 7 months then 4 months half pay and had a critical illness policy and virtually no mortgage.

Right, the point I’m coming to. I aimed to go back to work after a year off, initially on a phased basis, as I felt fine through & after treatment and it would be an attempt to get back to normality. So in Aug I went back doing beginners stuff for 2 half days a week and it was so traumatic - I couldn’t cope. After 4 weeks I rang my bcn as I was due to see the surgeon the following week, went to see her, was in floods of tears for an hour, she told the surgeon everything and he was so lovely and told me I had gone back far too early after all my treatment and that I may never be well enough to go back. I felt I’d let everyone down and it’s taken almost til now for me to accept what I’ve been through & how it’s affected me. I’m signed off now til March so that’ll be 20 months but a couple of weeks ago I put in for ill health retirement as a long shot and that’s supported by my medical people. A major decision having always worked full time since leaving university (and even there I worked part-time!)

Reading lots of the posts on here I have felt I was the only one who hasn’t been brave enough to stick it at work but now I know I need to do what is right for me and seeing them all at work a couple of weeks ago, where things have obviously got worse with the current situation, I know I’ve made the right decision. If I don’t get retirement, my doctors have told me they will support an appeal and I will stay signed off. It’s been so hard and I haven’t had kids to worry about - only a partner who hasn’t worked since I was diagnosed as he’s looked after me and done things I couldn’t manage. Yes, it’s not easy financially but I have done what I think is prioritised stuff.

Apologies for rambling on but I hope it’s helped and know that you’re not the only one !

Best wishes to all,


If thats what you feel and you can manage financially then take time out or give up.Life is too short for any of us and you have young children,enjoy watching them grow and only go back to work if and when you have/want to.Bc is so hard for any of us so focus on what matters,yourself,your family and coping with dx and treatment.You are so young to have this,I was 62 at dx,retired and with grown up children all with children of their own-all my children are older than you dear chukkie.Take hold of your life and put thoughts of work aside until the impact of dx and treatment has sunk in and you are a few months down the line…Love to you from Valx

hi all thank you so much to all of you who have replyed to share your own thoughts and experiences it has been a huge help for me.i have finally relised my children are only little once and you only get one shot at life, so after xmas if i still feel 100% how i do now i will hand my notice in as im already stressed out with my 2 little ones not sure why guess its all this bc stuff thought was coping well but think i bottle up and let it all out on here so dont want work stressing me out so think i will chuck itin for a couple of yrs.
i feel lots better today but do have bad days every week which im starting to get use to lol
thanks everybody for your kind reassurance and words.
hope every one is well love to all of my kind buddies xxxxxxxxxx

Hi all,

I’m glad their are other people who are dreading going back to work! I seem so out of touch and unfortunately a promotion which was promised to me had to be given to someone else because I was off sick and they needed someone… I took a job that wasn’t challenging on the promise of promotion when the position arose… waited almost a year… and they gave it to this woman who couldn’t do her job before and all she does is complain that she hates the company and the job!!! She wouldn’t have the job if I hadn’t got bloody cancer so she should be counting her blessing! Sorry… rant over! That did make me feel better though, lol…

I think i’m going to have to start my own business or something because I’m only 24 and I’m already fed up of the 9-5 and not being given anything challenging enough!

Faith, you’re right with the only live once mentality! Bc is rubbish but it doesn’t half give you perspective!

Erin xxx

Hello, i went back to work in November after dx Feb 08.

Sorry. i must have pressed something. I had chemo, rads and now ariimidex. i will be doing full time work next week.However I am really struggling mentally. As well BC my dad who i lived with died in October and my partner got rushed into hospital at chrisitmas. He is thankfully now ok. I have to work full time to pay the bills but I do not know how long I can hack my job. I feel lonely and unappreciated and my closest family think i am selfish if I speak to them about how I feel as they have their own worries. It seems if the message is life is hard, get on with it as you have no choice. I amtrapped in a no win situation.


Dear Rach

For further support and a ‘listening ear’ please call our helpline, they can also refer you onto other support we can offer you such as our ‘Peer Support’ service. This telephone service aims to quickly put you in touch with one of our trained peer supporters, who has had a personal experience of breast cancer. Our peer supporters are from diverse backgrounds and ages and have experienced different types of breast cancer and treatments. They are ready to listen, offer skilled emotional support and share their experiences and understanding.

The number to call is 0808 800 6000 weekdays 9-5 and Sat 9-2

I hope this helps.
Best wishes


i was dx in sept 08 and had mastectomy with immediate reconstructive surgery (tummy tuck) 2nd week of october 08. op lasted 12 hours i was in hospital for 7 days as i was very anaemic. i’ve recovered well but slowly, i still get exhausted easily. i am more or less back to normal except for the tiredness, i have days where i feel as if i can hardly wake up. my tummy still gets very tight and my arm aches if i over use it, i also get stabby pains in both my tummy and arm/breast area. i have fat necrosis on the top side of my breast which is unfortunate as it is very visible and i am still quite swollen under my arm although i had no lymph nodes removed. i dont need any further treatment which is great news. i am not back at work yet and i’m off until end of january when i go back to my doctor.

i have 2 kids at home 12 and 26, i am 49. i do feel guilty that i am not back at work although my doc doesnt seem worried about it. i am not keen to go back yet as i dont feel ready yet physically or mentally, mainly because of the tiredness, i cant face the thought of being exhausted all the time again, doing my 9-5 job then coming home knackered!! i am sleeping much better at night but still have some nights where i wake up frequently as i am so uncomfortable and i then have difficulty getting out of bed in the morning. i have found it frustrating to have to adjust to not having the same energy levels as i did before i had cancer, doc reckons that i had it for at least a year before being dx.

i am very glad to hear that there are others out there who feel the same way as me. maybe the real truth of it is that i am enjoying my enforced slower pace of life and i am not keen to go back to my old lifestyle of cramming in too much!!! sorry if this is a bit rambly!


Dear Peggysue

I didn’t feel like or able to return to work for at least 5 months after my treatment and even then I found it exhausting and compared to some, I didnt have that much done (WLE and radiotherapy). I think it depends on what you do for a living also - mine is quite physically and mentally demanding so I do get really tired. To be honest, since having BC, I would leave work at the drop of a hat if we could afford it and there isnt a day goes by when I try to think of how we can rejig our finances to allow me to leave or at least reduce my hours. I think before BC, I just blindly plodded on in a job I didnt particularly like because we all do. Now, I value my life far more and dont want to waste a single minute of it if I can help it. Dont feel guilty about being signed off - you havent really had a lot of time off and I would suggest you rest until you feel much less tired.

thanks for your comments cathy59. i did enjoy my job before but was extremely tired and kept on going without really giving it much thought until my diagnosis. now that i have been at home since october i think my priorities have changed and its only now that i realise how tired i was both physically and mentally. my work have been very good to me so i dont have any worries there, but i think you are right and until i feel ready to go back i dont think i’ll be doing anyone any favours.

also the festive season has made me face up to a few realties about my new appearance which i wasnt having to deal with before christmas and now i feel that i need some time to readjust to the new me. a visit to the lingerie dept is needed as i am fed up with my playtex cross your heart bra!!


Hi girls - I feel very much like you all do - I was dx with widespread high grade DCIS in July and had a MX with immediate tram flap recon. I am due to go back to work in 3 weeks and I hate the thought of it. I got 6 months off so I can’t complain but I really worry about how I’ll get on as I don’t sleep well either - I have all the same discomfort you are describing - then I can sleep in for hours in the morning. I’m in my 50’s with no kids at home so I feel so lazy but I wish I could just jack it all in too!