Return to work?

I have just completed 5 days of radiotherapy following a WLE and SND in October. Clear margins, very good news.
Throughout radiotherapy I have felt fine, a bit sore but that’s it. I understand that fatigue and other symptoms may kick in at some point. Should I stay off work and rest for a few days, maybe go back next week? I know this could all be moot as I could wake up tomorrow and not be able to get out of bed.
I’m a headteacher and can go back any time and do have cover for a while.

Hello @romabe99

It sounds like you have been through a lot recently and at this point you need to put you first. I would say don’t rush back, let yourself recover as much as possible before getting sucked back into your normal life. Whilst there is cover for you, work will manage.

Give yourself some time before making the decision final.
You’ll know when you are ready.

Goof luck xxxx

1 Like

Dear Romabe,

Well done, brave lady for getting this far, also thinking ahead and getting life back to normal by going back to work.

I think a little bit longer. my opinion is please don’t rush back being a headteacher is an extremely busy position. I would suggest you take care of yourself and maybe thinking a few weeks time possibly reduced hours, we all feel very well sitting at home, however, going back to work another story.

Take good care, wishing you well going forward with lots of health and happiness

Hugs Tili :rainbow::pray::rainbow::pray:

It does vary tremendously. I took about 3 months to get fully back up to speed, but I think that is the longer end of things. I would say feeling fine at home is feeling fine at work is not the same thing. I frequently felt fine, but then I would have moments when all the energy suddenly drained out of me and I would have to lie down or sit quietly to recharge the batteries. Annoyingly, these moments did not correspond with how active I hade been beforehand. I worked from home, gradually increasing my in-person hours. So If you can organise your working life so that you can accommodate the unexpected, I would say go for it. Being back at work was a return to normal!

HI romabe99

Thank you for posting.

It’s good to hear that you have completed your radiotherapy following wide local excision and sentinel node biopsy in October. It’s understandable that you are wondering about when the right time is to return to work.

As @Ahbc21, @Tili and @LolaGraceKate say everyone is different and it is important to think about returning to work carefully and taking time for yourself to recover from your treatment. It’s good that you are feeling well apart from some discomfort, but many people do find that they feel more tired than expected once treatment finishes. As @LolaGraceKate says this is not always easy to predict.

It can be helpful to discuss your plan to return to work with your treatment team, occupational health or Human Resources (HR) department and your manager. Your employer is required to make reasonable adjustments to help you return to work, such as shorter working hours or less days initially for example.

Talking to someone who has had a similar experience can often be helpful. Our Someone Like Me service can match you with a trained volunteer who’s had a similar experience or has a similar job to you. You can be in touch with your volunteer by phone or email and they can share their personal experiences to answer your questions, offer support or simply listen to how you are feeling.

You can ring the Someone Like Me team on 0114 263 6490 or email them at, so they can then match you to your volunteer.

Many people are surprised at how emotional they feel when their treatment finishes. You may be interested in our resources that are particularly for those who have come to the end of their main hospital treatment. These are known as our Moving Forward services and include our Moving Forward booklet and Moving Forward courses.

The courses are open to people who have had a primary breast cancer diagnosis and have finished their hospital-based treatment within the last two years.

Through supportive, open conversations in a safe, confidential space, you’ll connect with people who understand. And you’ll find the tools you need to feel more empowered, confident and in control to begin to move forward with your life.

You can attend Moving Forward either at our face-to-face course or take part by joining online. Find a course near you or register for an online course via the links above or call us on 03457 077 1893.

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