Random Meanderings from halfway up the Radio Tree

Hallo all. I followed this site with fierce devotion when first dx’d in Sep then flipped into abbc (anything but breast cancer) mode when awaiting results of SNB and start of treatment. SNB was all clear TG and tomorrow I end week 3 of 5 of rads. I have fairly pressured job with 2 1/2 hour daily commute so hospital suggested I stay off til New Year. Does this seem reasonable to any of you who have been through this? I feel okish but do get tired (don’t sleep v well - tingly ankles, restless legs and rumbly stomach keep me awake at night since starting Tamoxifen) and maybe a little cranky:). Have any of you changed your work patterns since being diagnosed? I’m thinking of asking to go part time when I return. I’m all over the shop really, have started meditation course and have the attention span of a gnat ( which is probably an insult to gnats!). Sometimes I feel like a fraud and that the doc made up the tumour as I feel ok aside from the effect of 2 lots of WLE, SNB and a pink/blue boob with sadly shrivelled nipple bear no evidence of BC. Then I get tired and blubby and annoyed with myself so I eat too much cake & chocolate. I expected that this experience would give me greater insight & wisdom than continued guilt at how much I eat, worry about work and people’s perception. When does the eureka moment arrive? PCBxxx
Ps if I sound less than grateful with my good prognosis, I apologise - I am when not in the midst of a ranting ramble.

Could anyone tell me what SE stands for? I think it’s night sweats but not sure? Thank youx

Hi PCB, se means side effects , well that’s what I have always thought it meant! I had different treatment to you, but if you feel a bit more time off would help you, then why not take it. Bc is much more than just physical , the emotional impact should not be underestimated. Good luck x

I agree - it sounds like you need some time off to deal with your treatment and properly look after yourself - emotionally and physically. As somebody said to me recently - a few weeks off to take care of your health isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things is it - and I thought - they are right!

Take good care,

Jacqui x


I found it difficult to think I’d be off for so long, by the end of my treatment which should be in April I’ll have been off work for ten months. I may be able to do a bit from home in the coming months, but there’s no pressure I’m very lucky.but I’m so glad I haven’t hd to work, some weeks I feel fine, but the week of chemo is a wipe out, and having any kind of treatment is very hard physically and mentally. So would take the time you can and don’t beat yourself up about it!

X alison

I’ve started to do a bit of work after having had horrendous chemo(starting Nov last year), mastectomy and radiotherapy. I’m finding it a real struggle and really don’t want to be there. The problem is it’s my own business. I’ve had people running it while I’ve been off but they’ve had to cut down now. I feel that after all ive been through I need time to come to terms with things. I know I need to cut back again otherwise it will make me ill.
You must take as much time as you need to fully recover. I’m good at saying this to others but not myself.
Work can wait. You’re the most important thing.
Polly xx


I am wrestling with returning to work too. I really want to get back to ‘normal’ but now I am finding that I am worrying about getting my return to work all wrong! I would really appreciate any advice about when is ok.

I usually work as a teacher, 8 am to 5.30ish and then some evenings working at home. I stopped work on 30 August and had my SLN and WLE on 31st August. I had a lot of support from work. In fact they have been wonderful. I was allowed to go in as a ‘parent helper’ and do some admin and office work. I didn’t find it taxing at all and everyone was making sure I took it easy.

For RADS i was advised not to be in school. For my own health re infections etc and also because I could not have an ‘easy day’ or time away if I felt rough. Also it would be unfair to land the pupils with a teacher working at half steam etc!

So Monday sees me finish 4 weeks of RADS and although I desperately want to be back at work by the end of November. I am scared I crash and burn, or don’t have the energy, patience and mental ability to plan, deliver and maintain a high standard of teaching. I don’t want to sit at home for another 2 months though!

When should I approach Occupational Health re return to work if my sick note runs out on 25th November. I was planning to go to them Monday to plan phased return 28th but hubby says I’ll have no idea how bad RADS fatigue will be then? I am very conscientious about my job and stress myself out, put myself under pressure at the best of times. Is this why I’m worrying?

I am so, so confused? It’s making me teary (not depressed), just keep filling up at stupid things!

If you have read all of this you are very patient, thanks

C x

Crabbit- I’m also a teacher start my 4 weeks of rads on Tuesday was told by my breast care nurse not to expect to be back till at least 8 weeks after I started… She said it’ll prob take 4 weeks to recover. Since July have taught for 4 days… Hate not being at work but know that once I’m back it’ll be all go. I’m aiming to start back phase return mid Jan to go back full time after half term. Hope this helps but everyone is different

Hi Butterfly,

Yes thank you it really does help. You are right though, once back ‘in the saddle’ it is all go, relentless, fun, busy, exhausting, demanding and we have to be so switched on and resilient. It’s just too important to muck up. Think getting the phased return right will really help.

Good luck with your RADS, I hope they go well. Hope things go well in Jan too.

C x

Hi Crabbit,
I’m also a teacher (moved to KS1 this year)and gutted at having to leave my adorable class after 3 weeks. I too feel really well ATM (not started chemo yet)and was feeling guilty until my ex gave me a dose of reality - he said ‘the reason you’re feeling well is that you are not working 15 hour days and stressing over planning, SLT, targets etc’ and he was absolutely right, never mind being round snottly little noses when immune system is compromised! So, I will be popping in when I feel well to keep in touch and, when the time comes, will do a phased return. Luckily my cover is excellent and the school have been v supportive. my surgeon and bcn both suggested September for going back!! Seems ages away and no doubt I will be a little rusty but hey ho.

Hello ginger,

It’s funny. I was telling myself the same thing yesterday. I feel fine and then need a nap by 2pm, but feel fine. You are right, truth is I feel fine because I’m not working and I know how lucky I am to be supported financially in that by my council.

My trouble is with me and my attitude. All health care professionals keep saying is ‘you will know when you are ready to go back’. Trouble is I don’t. Only been off sick 11 days in 11 years (and some of them were really for my son, ssshhh!)so rude good health and used to working through things.

I had my class of 11 and 12 years old for two weeks til my op and must admit I cried once I got them out the door safely the day before the op. Lovely class who don’t deserve the disruption. Why does it not happen when you have a ‘challenging’ class lol?

Good luck with it all and take care of yourself.

C x

Rads do leave you very tired. It’s not just the treatment itself but the daily grind of going to have them. You will probably feel the need for naps for quite a while after treatment is over. Plus it is completely normal to have days when you feel all ‘tired & emotional’ - you’ve been through a lot!

For those of you who want to suss out what common terms and abbreviations are you should check out these threads : -



Nymeria x

Oh goodness. I’ve just signed back in having regained control of the iPad from the 7 year old Romeo who spent the weekend looking up songs that describe the love he has for his 7 year old girlfriend (who doesn’t know she’s his girlfriend so ssshh don’t tell anyone). Anyway having just read all your lovely replies, I feel very grateful for the sound advice. I do admire Crabbit & Ginger & Butterfly at the best of times for doing a great job with our little angels but especially when you do it after an experience like this.
Thank you again for your loving caring posts (and for explaining what SE means - a KS1 student would send me to the back of the class for not figuring that out:0).

Love and positive energy to you all xxx

Hi PCB, young love, how sweet!

Just sending back your good wishes, hope things all go well for you too!

C x

Crabbit - stay in your Yew Tree for a bit longer! I was told not to THINK about work for at least 4 weeks after rads finished. I left it 6 and then started back, because, like you, I love my job and am really committed. I had a phased return planned, which was WAY too fast because there is such a huge difference between feeling OK at home, and going out and about and doing things, and working. Night/day. Day/Night. I found that after 3 hours I could hardly walk up a short flight of stairs to my office. Now, 3 weeks in, I can do a 4 hour stint, and then need a sleep. And that’s 3 times a week! What’s hard too, is that some of the “leisure” things I do are, actually “work” (like being a school Governor), so last week I went to a Governor training session as well as work, and it ws too much. I don’t think we DO know when to go back (as per health prof’s)… my HEAD wants to go back, but my body ain’t up to it! Mind you, I had chemo too, and that makes a difference. My first week back, I felt like I had cotton wool where I used to have a brain, but I had an hour with the Chief Exec last week, and you need to be nimble to keep up with him, so I was encouraged… exhausted, but encouraged! BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF! (THAT’S WHAT BCN KEEPS TELLING ME!!) Jane

Hi GIJane,

Thank you too for your advice. As usual I have gained much more of an idea from the forums here than anywhere else.
I was thinking about it today, did a (dummy run)if you like, dropping my 4 year old off with childminder at 8,then went to shops and by ten o’clock my gait resembled that of a granny so I was thinking to myself,‘you see you silly cow!’.

Anyway my boss has been lovely. She has said to wait and see what the doctor says before discussing any phased return.

I will haul up the rope ladder for a wee while longer then ;).

C x

Me again! One thing my doc told me that I mused about on another thread is to plan a holiday if possible for after treatment. So I have left LOTS of articles lying open around the house depicting lovely holidays for poor, tired, emotional, BC babes ie me. Will sure help my mood swings if DH books one:0) xxx


Holiday at this time of year??? I cracked and broke out the credit card for Gran Canaria; mum, son and I all going on 19 Nov. I didn’t ask permission in case they said no. Lots of factor 50 and long sleeved tops for me but I’ll get my little white legs out!

Enjoy your break, wherever you go.

Take care Carolyn x