Struggling At Work After Returning

Hi Ladies.

Quick time- line. Diagnosed May 2019. Lumpectomy and rads. Back to work after 5 months. Hit me very hard but I felt (in retrospect) that I had to conform to the general perception that I was ‘through it’. Starting to feel normal again, then lockdown. Basically was coping less and less each week that went b. GP signed me off with “severe anxiety” three months ago.

Employer seems to be trying to understand, but the conversations are torture. Was perceived as a Breast Cancer ‘Warrior’ / hero etc (the hype has not helped me) when I was in truth shaken to the core by the diagnosis and the treatment. Plus I have nerve damage/pain for life because of what the treatment entailed. 

Made my very best efforts to ‘be normal’ again, but unable to cope with levels of stress at work, I would have done pre-BC.

Employer seems to not know what to ‘do with me’ which is just adding to anxiety as no ‘reasonable adjustments’ in the frame, yet but I’m desperate to get them in place so I know what I’m going to be doing once I feel up to getting back to work. Vicious circle. 

He went down route of ‘exploring’ the nerve pain - could my GP confirm it? Not exactly a helpful conversation for me and although GP has confirmed the site of tumour etc has led to this being something I just have to accept as part of the bargain, she said it is impossible to prove I am in pain on a daily basis. Conversations get weird thereafter, as regards pain relief as an option. My answer is NO as I’m not prepared to take pain relief on a daily basis for the rest of my career.

Although manager and I have got past this particular matter (I did offer to send a photo of what remains of ‘it’ in all it’s post op/rads glory with its lumps and bumps and contortion, he is now on the tack of do I have PTSD. Tbh I think I might have, I was petrified for a solid 6 months (hated hospitals from childhood). 

Feel he simply has decided that it’s all just too much hassle, accommodating the ‘new me’ which consists of 1/3 the old me, 1/3 a woman in daily pain and discomfort and 1/3 a ‘basket case’. 

It is a very weird situation to be in, given chances are very high that I am one of the lucky ones, yet the aftermath has taken an enormous toll on me. 

Anyone experienced anything similar? Any and all advice would be appreciated. Wonky

Sorry to hear that Wonky.

I don’t really have any helpful advice other than it sounds like you need time.  I rushed back to work and in hindsight realised i went back too early - found it quite stressful and just wasn’t able to cope in the way I would have pre BC.  My brain was still too full of their stuff and often felt ‘full’.

Could you possibly work part time temporarily?

Regarding pain relief - have you thought about trying any complimentary therapies to see if they help - Akupunktur possibly?

Wishing you all the very best!  Sorry not to be of much help.

Hi there, I’m currently feeling similar. I was diagnosed in Feb2020, 6mth horrid chemo, lumpectomy, MICAP reconstruction, radiotherapy and then 42wks of Kadcyla which ended 2 sessions early due to neuropathy. 

I have worked through the majority of the time apart from a couple of weeks for the op. Looking back I’m surprised I did really as there were rough times.

However, now it seems to be ‘well done you, that’s all done’. But it’s not, still joint pain, neuropathy, not sleeping and Im struggling to concentrate at work