Work colleagues after return

Hi Ladies, 

Anyone else out there struggling with colleagues after returning to work?  

I’ve just returned to work after 8 months off for treatment.  I work in a GP practice so had to avoid patient contact whilst going through chemo and other treatments.   I returned to work 6 weeks ago on a phased return, and although my manager and some of the staff have been very supportive, I’m finding that certain staff think I’ve been on a “jolly” for the last few months and therefore not pulling my weight since being back.   I’ve returned as the line manager for a small team of secretaries and struggling to cope with the tiredness of returning, coupled with the guilt of not being there to support the team.  My manager is very supportive as has had first hand experience with cancer patients before, but I’m finding it very hard to address th balance with others.  I’ve even thought of leaving to find a new role, but how do you start something new after our journey?? 

Part of me would love to take on a new challenge, but so drained and tired both physically and mentally by the treatments and trying to return to a “new” normal I’m totally torn.  


Would value any any comments from anyone currently going through this, or those a bit further on.  


Thannks in advance Jo xx


Ps I had surgery in October, followed by chemo and radiotherapy for grade 3 cancer 

Blooming heck ,how can anyone think you’ve been " on a jolly" for the last few months!!I had the opposite problem really as very few of my colleagues knew why I had been off and when I went back I was really not on the ball for many months.I did really struggle with tiredness and inability to concentrate .I reckon it took me at least a year to really get back to anywhere near normal .I think a lot of us have had to look at our working hours /role to reduce stress .Are you on phased return ?

Hi jo, you would have thought in a doc surgery that they’d be a lot more understanding! They must have written letters for patients in a similar situation.

As Jill said it really does take time to get back to anywhere near normal.

I was made redundant during chemo (April 2015) which was a relief in a way as I’d been trying to do a few hours from home and was struggling.

I did some casual hours in a secondary school over the exam period November 15 to June 16. Then took up a permanent position in the office of the schools trust in Sep 16.

It isn’t easy starting a new job because you don’t want to tell everyone your medical history but I felt they needed to know in order to accommodate my limitations. I work school hours 4 days a week and negotiated an hour for lunch instead of the usual half hour, plus Wednesday as my day off. By October half term I was so exhausted that I was tempted to leave but kept going. It’s taken me until now to adjust, and find a routine which works for me. Nearly three years after diagnosis and my energy level is still low, I have to pace myself and be selective about what really needs doing (walking the dogs) and what I can leave (housework).

It’s good that your line manager is supportive, it’s very difficult if you are managing others. You need to be kind to yourself and take time to get back to your normal hours and pace of work. It certainly hasn’t been a holiday whilst you’ve been off having treatment! But I can understand that it’s difficult to return to a manager role when you’re not feeling yourself.

Take your time, discuss with your manager, and your colleagues if you can. Starting a new job might seem like a good idea but job hunting is stressful and exhausting, it’s difficult to find something suitable for the new you and there’s no security if a few months down the line you need to reduce hours or change your work pattern in any way.

I hope you can find a work life balance to suit you. Take it easy.

Dawn x

Hi Corrina

I had chemo from Nov 15 - Mar 16 then surgery and rads and returned to work in late Sept 16 after 12 months off. I can honestly say the first few weeks were a blur I work for the NHS and had a phased return of 4 weeks then remained part time (4 days) using leave till I stopped herceptin at the start of Jan 17. Please dont worry about the fuzziness and wooly head feeling I had it to and its all gone now (probably had by about easter this year to be honest) its stressful returning to work so this wont help with the memory side of things toi. Meet with your bosses tell them how you feel, figure out strategies that help you get round it whatever works for you if they can do it they will.
One of mine was even though I sat in meetings and knew what I was going on and fully participated if someone stopped me before I had written what had happened in them down and asked me to do something else I would often forget bits so someone else at the meeting kindly reminded me of my actions in an email after the meeting this was done on the QT so only my boss and the other person knew. My boss even stocked up on post it notes and notebooks for me as she realised for the first few months I literally had to write everything down or I would forget. Im now an expert at to do lists. Ask can you split your breaks , maybe take a few minutes longer at lunch a couple of tea breaks get outside see daylight get fresh air and it makes the day seem less tiring. I found when I was trying to carry on as normal colleagues seemed to not give a flying fig about me but the minute I said im sorry I need help as I cant remember things very well at the moment, im exhuasted , achy etc they really did step up. Sometimes people think you want to go back to “normal” which you do but your new normal may involve a few more post it notes, short breaks (or even just photocopying for other people because thats easier than thinking at a desk)

Take care and do talk to your bosses x dont take any s**t though you are entitled to work if you want to and they should go as all out as is reasonably possible to help you

Jen x

Hi Jo, how awful. Maybe your colleagues have no personal experience of this. Can your line manager help with your colleagues at all? I have found taking a few supplements to be helpful with tiredness, co enzyme q10, B vits, probiotics and Epsom salt baths have helped with aching limbs. I also do very little or nothing when I’m off (weekends) while I get myself together and have taken 1 day a week A/L so I can counter Letrazole.
I have the opposite to you, my colleagues have been lovely, my line manager and senior however now feel they’ve been ‘good enough’ to me (returned full time Sept, been placed nearer to home as it saves me 1hrs travelling per day) Now they want me to return to the other work area which I don’t feel ready for. We all have cross site contracts so others could cover a little longer. I Work within the NHS too.
I too will look for another job but am not sure where I will even start! Good luck with your colleagues! Xx