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I Have Had Enough of the Stigma

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Member

Re: I Have Had Enough of the Stigma

I will admit the emotional side of everything I'd been through hit about two months after all my intensive treatment finished and I was planning my return to work. Its still difficult to think about everything I've been through, even with psychology support and medication. I know its going to take a long time, but I've made some good friends in the local support groups.

I worked throughout testing for secondaries in my bone, I had just returned to work the first time, fortunately this was ruled out. Then lymphoedema hit with a related cellulitis that is being very stubborn to leave! There never seems to be an end and I feel so unfit physically now as everything hurts!

I returned to work for the second time after a final surgery in March, returning this time was much easier, I was offered a phased return but as I had already reduced my hours, I didn't feel I needed it. I worked one week then put into shielding as identified as extremely vulnerable. But its given me more time to rest and I'm not getting as much fatigue or pain as I am less active with not being allowed out for anything! In some ways its been a positive to help my recovery, as it has given me more time I needed emotionally, and I feel so much more like myself now and have reduced medications to a minimum. I had been worried to take more time due to finances as I'd already had a year off, and I've had some decent time with my family at home.

I love my job and my friends there, but I know its not the best role for me physically now, so I am looking around, but I want to know whatever I choose to move too is the right decision made looking at all the pro's and cons.

I do feel guilty I am not helping out on our frontline, but I dread to think how my family would have coped with it if I'd become ill due to work or worse.

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Re: I Have Had Enough of the Stigma

This current situation is since January. Worked for most of radiotherapy, was off for a couple of weeks (went back to early) and then off again prior to Christmas.

Determined to stay at work, because not sure how I would come back if off again and have to have faith in the system. I guess it is difficult for everyone in this current situation.

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Member

Re: I Have Had Enough of the Stigma

Thank you. Going through the ‘process’ but not helped by this current situation. Have now self referred to OH - not going to let it beat me. 

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Community Champion
Community Champion

Re: I Have Had Enough of the Stigma

I’d get your doctor to sign you off, you should not be getting put in this position. Ring the number on here for some guidance too if they can. Unfortunately it does appear that more and more we are made to feel like it’s us that makes it awkward for everyone else when we return to work because it makes everyone uncomfortable 🙄 just try and ignore them they are not worth a precious  minute of your precious  life, you look after yourself and you have nothing to feel uncomfortable about, you my lovely are amazing and strong and can be anything you want ❤️ Just sorry to hear a bit of understanding and kindness isn’t what you are getting, you wouldn’t be the first of us or unfortunately the last ❤️ 💕💕Shi xx

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Re: I Have Had Enough of the Stigma

Only those who have experienced BC get it.   I have found that it has profoundly changed my whole life and way of thinking.   Life goes on but not quite the same.  Don't get me wrong I am still here and I am incredibly grateful for that but........!!!!

How long have you been back at work?   I am struggling with being ignored and humiliated in front of colleagues by my line manager and have now been asked if I would consider mediation, having put HR on the spot by asking "is this the manner in which HR deal with situations like this and if so do you feel this is acceptable?"  Colleagues are embarrassed and anxious now because of how obvious the situation is and this is not acceptable to me.  Meeting to be arranged and the thought of this is causing extreme anxiety, how did it even get to this point, I had BC and came back to work words fail me.  Don't give up you have fought BC.  Big hug 

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Re: I Have Had Enough of the Stigma

I am finding work life after BC very hard. Mainly due to an unsupportive line manager. Employer and union involved, but at times it feels it would be easier to give up work.

Some colleagues are really supportive but not sure they get it. Indeed I find it hard to understand the change in me.

 

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Member

Re: I Have Had Enough of the Stigma

I'm also a nurse, my manager didn't send me a card or make contact with me while I was having treatment. Emails weren't acknowledged or replied to. I had to involve union rep to get back to work. A few colleagues kept in touch. 

Just had more time off to complete some treatment and same has happened again.

I'm looking for a new job!

I don't talk about my treatment with colleagues, apart from the couple who are friends. I felt so isolated during treatment and my local support group was a lifeline.

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Member

Re: I Have Had Enough of the Stigma

Hello lifeisforliving. My lovely lady, this feels me with such sadness, you have been through so much....if only people could take on board what breast cancer is all about, this is the second time for me, now I only discuss my treatment with understanding ladies who have been unfortunately and had breast cancer, purely because they understand.

We are the winners and the end of the day hold your head high.

 

big hugs from me to you Tili xx

 

 

 

 

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Re: I Have Had Enough of the Stigma

Hey LIFL,

It particularly saddens me that perhaps 'something is missing' when nurses post on here. Such immense respect for you all; will always remember Liz, who was there to keep me ticking over through the night, after my op. 

I am sad to read your post. Cancer is Cancer and the impact is immense.  (With respect) No one deserves less than a helpful and supportive manager. Majority of ladies on here abhor  'the pecking order nonsense' which is seemingly purely down to ignorance. I kept my hair, but people seem equally fascinated with the fact that I did, than that I didn't. I may one day need to be reprimanded by a handsome police officer (lol) if one more " you look so well" tips me over the edge', when I am feeling less than "well". Totally get what you are saying. Hug. X 

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Re: I Have Had Enough of the Stigma

Ignorance it bliss they say!!!

"you look well" was used when I popped in to see my work colleagues who are all nurses by the way which isn't helpful when you know you look exhausted because of no sleep for months.  My line manager commented in a phone conversation "well as you have been relaxing" while I was off and then in a return to work meeting told me that "well if i wasn't paying you you would have been back earlier" , "oh I have spoken to someone whose cancer was much worse than yours and if I was to get cancer god forbid I would want the one that you had" my radiotherapy finished on 6.12.19 and my Occupational Health Doctor appointment was booked for the 13th January 2020 and I returned to work the next week.  Spoke to my Union Rep, Doctor and Breast Care Nurse all of whom were shocked by the comments.   I wouldn't wish what I have been through on anyone.  Big love and hugs 

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Re: I Have Had Enough of the Stigma

Yes I completely understand. I’ve told my manager and HR I don’t want to discuss my BC with anyone, unless I bring it up. I’m dreading going back to work, feeling overwhelmed by people asking how I am etc. Yes we are still on treatment and for a long time. I’m on Letrozole for 10 years and zoladex injections for the next 3 years. Please zoledronic acid infusions every 6 months and loads of appointments to attend xx

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Re: I Have Had Enough of the Stigma

Sunflower 14, thank you for discussing this. It's a minefield, on top of what we have already had to deal with. Majority are very supportive, but for me it is dealing with the minority which is in danger of wearing me out. It's so hard to explain. I get questions like "are you still getting treatment". I try to answer that in all truth that the brunt of treatment is, yes, over but I'm still 'on the books at hospital' aka no ticket to paradise just yet. And years and years of Tam (which is driving me potty).

Truthfully I find being frank works best with most, but it's still hard getting yourself back to normality. Its simply a weird thing, reintegrating into work after a prolonged absence. 

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Re: I Have Had Enough of the Stigma

Hi

 

Im not back at work yet but I’ve had comments like ‘you haven’t even had chemotherapy’ questioning why I’m not back at work. Another ‘aren’t you bored at home’ ha.

beggers belief it is, no one seems to understand. I mentioned the comments at the welfare meeting the other week and my boss is going to do some work with work colleagues to explain about cancer treatment. 

 

As I’ve said I’m not back at work yet, but I know if I did go back now i would be too vulnerable, I’m just not strong enough just yet xx

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Member

Re: I Have Had Enough of the Stigma

Thank you so much Tili

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Member

Re: I Have Had Enough of the Stigma

Wonky, my heart goes out to you, please take care and don’t give up, one day at a time as I always say.....unfortunately I find the only people who really understand what you’re going through is the ladies who have had breast cancer.

 

take care my lovely lady, 👍️ Tili Xx

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I Have Had Enough of the Stigma

I have pushed myself and patiently explained, but the bottom line is there is far too much ignorance and insensitivity towards BC in 'the work place'. 

The attitudes of some simply take my breath away. 

I think I would prefer to live on beans on toast than endure the hypocritical attitude. Has anyone else on here taken the plunge to wave goodbye to work? I'm after girls on their tod views, point being scary decision without backup (second income etc).