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Any teachers returning/returned to work after breast cancer?

13 REPLIES 13
Lane
Member

Re: Any teachers returning/returned to work after breast cancer?

Hi Tina jinks , I to have been left with peripheral neuropathy in my finger tips and my toes I have been taking amitriptyline which has helped I work in health visiting and do walk a lot and use my hands and have been assured by oncologist surgeon and gp that this will eventually get better
Guest user
Not applicable

Re: Any teachers returning/returned to work after breast cancer?

Hi
I too work as a TA in a special school. I tried a phased return of 3hrs a day....by Thursday i was exhausted mentally and physically. Plus i have peripheral neuropathy in my feet....i couldn't walk by Thursday. My doc signed me off again. Trouble is my pay stops on 4th April(same day as my dads funeral)
I dont know what to do. I truly cant do the job and actually i dont want to. My HR dept say i should maybe look at early retirement( im 49). Then look at doing something else. I have esa but thats not enough. I have a family. Any advice gratefully received. My heads spinning. Ps im on Gabapentin to try help my feet . x
pauline52
Member

Re: Any teachers returning/returned to work after breast cancer?

Hi there, Im new to this forum and one week post mastectomy, so just starting to go out a,bit. I completely understand your reservations re return to teaching. My situation is that I am employed as a supply teacher; I am with an agency who are quite unscrupulous and whilst I am a primary teacher, they 9/10 send,me into secondary or special needs.i too feel i don't want to return, but have also discovered I cant get any benefits whilst off! So no additional income on top of my husbands modest salary. We have taken the decision that health is more important, although difficult I know. Going for results tomorrow and drain out today. I wish you well whatever you decide.take care x x x
riversidedawn
Member

Re: Any teachers returning/returned to work after breast cancer?

If you can afford it, don't rush back to work. I was made redundant from an admin job during chemo (nice eh?) April 15, went on to have rads and 6 ops in total. I took on casual work exam invigilating from November 15 so it was a gentle return to work, but even 6 months later I found covering 4 exam sessions a week was too much.

After counselling, Macmillan hope course and joining a hospice support group I finally returned to the work place in September 16 (2 years after diagnosis) working in school HR 4 days a week, school hours (24 a week). Last term I was exhausted and very nearly gave up. I'm settling into the routine now but still need my Wednesdays off when I do very little.

It takes time to recover, don't underestimate it. Be kind to yourselves, and tap into any support available to you. The physical and mental side effects can be long lasting.
tric7400
Member

Re: Any teachers returning/returned to work after breast cancer?

I'm a teacher too I finish my RT on Feb 2 and go back to work on Feb 6 following 10 months off! I'm scared too mostly worried about if I'll cope and the dreaded getting up early, my energy levels - after spending so long at home sleeping and listening to my body I don't want to start ignoring it.. I don't have anybadvice other than be open at work about your feelings and expectations and tell students and colleagues what they can do to help you - this is what I did but I haven't gone back yet so I can't say if it will work, already i am not sleeping worrying about it - but I guess it will be fine! We got through BC what's a little work ❤️
Lil
Member

Re: Any teachers returning/returned to work after breast cancer?

Hi Platinum,

I was diagnosed in February 2016 less than 3 weeks of moving house. I had a mastectomy in March, followed by 2 sessions of chemo, the 2nd session resulting in an anaphlatic reaction. This meant my treatment has to be reassessed. I have herceptin and perjeta, administered via IV now. I returned to work on amended hours in June but then had radiotherapy at the end of August into the middle of September. As I still need to attend hospital for targeted treatment every 3 weeks I was told to take full advantage of sick leave. I have a sick note until the beginning of Feb and am totally undecided what to do. Having worked full time in early years, as well as being the key stage leader, I know the pressures of returning to work. I was left with restricted movement in my arm following radiotherapy and am currently having physiotherapy. My full pay will end in February but I have lost a lot of my confidence and as you say, I hardly recognise the staff and changes made in my absence. I would go back to a staff that I have not worked with, the acting phase leader was a long term supply who usually worked in poor schools (my school isn't a poor school) and changed everything as if our school was the same. I feel totally devastated but equally, feel that I need to 'finish' my time. I was going to retire at 60 (next year) and just feel as if I've left, ending my career on a low point in a job I absolutely love. I see my oncologist tomorrow and depending on the latest feedback will probably make a decision one way or another. I wish you well in your decision making. We've been through a lot, but once back in the workplace that is forgotten. Good luck xx

carrie35
Member

Re: Any teachers returning/returned to work after breast cancer?

I had my op The week before xmas holidays and went back after the xmas break so I only had five work days off but three weeks in total. I worked all through radiotherapy and produced the school show. For me it was a way of dealing with it and trying to be normal. Things change so quickly on schools it is easy to feel left behind however also once back in the swing colleagues and kids forget you have been off. Give it half a term and you will feel different.

Platinum
Member

Re: Any teachers returning/returned to work after breast cancer?

Hi MichelleHx

All the best with your recovery from surgery & good luck with the chemo. My experience of chemo (Taxol) was that it messed up my immune system while I was having it & there was no way I could be in school while I had a  PICC line in.  I have been on full pay for 6 months, now on half pay (& will probably drop to zero pay but appreciate that my situation is different to yours!).

May everyone stay great for you, being positive really, really helps and don't be afraid to accept help when it is offered.

Take care of yourself,

Mary xx

Runningfree
Member

Re: Any teachers returning/returned to work after breast cancer?

Hi Michelle

hope you are recovering well (make sure you do all the exercises you will hopefully be told about, it is SO worth it in the long run!).

I am so sorry you have found yourself in this place at your age. It's such a lot to get your head round but once the surgery is done you are on your way.

I am a nurse and have just celebrated the first anniversary of my grade 3 invasive Ducati bc this week.

My mx was end of November 15, chemo started jan16 and my herceptin ( HER2+) started may with tamoxifen.

I am older than you but was very fit and have stayed pretty fit( carried on running throughout). But chemo obviously can affect your wbc amongst other things so if you need it I wouldn't even think about work until that's all over. I picked up everything my school age kids brought home. I went back to work in September.

If you don't need chemo, give yourself time to recover,physically and mentally, yours is a frantic and stressful job as it is. Also I would consider a phased return to ease you back in. If you do need chemo I would say you would realistically be off until summer hols??

My pay by the way worked out as 5 months full and 5 months half.

i hope your house move goes well, just try and be kind to yourself. No heroics. Surprisingly work managed quite ok without me whilst I was off; better to have you back when fit and well.

sorry if my post isn't relevant, just wanted to wish you well with your recovery. I must admit this year has gone really quickly, surprisingly!

all the very best

cath.x

And you should be positive! Just take each step as it comes. Chemo for me was ok, if you need it you'll deal with it.

and this forum is ace.

x

MichelleHx
Member

Re: Any teachers returning/returned to work after breast cancer?

Hi, I was diagnosed with dcis and went off sick from 17th Oct, had mastectomy yesterday and docs suggested and signed a sick note till 17th Dec. However, yesterday I was told they found invasive cancer cells too so my need chemo will find out in new year. My head and school have bee great, but we are about to move house. Any experience with pay or when to return after chemo as been told with chemo won't be able to be in classroom....

 

All a bit of a world wind as only 28 and all happened in 2 months, but everyone ha been great and staying positive as got so much faith in NHS x x x

Kiki2
Member

Re: Any teachers returning/returned to work after breast cancer?

Hi Platinum, 

im a primary teacher and I only work part time but I still went back on a phased return after my op. I had 8.5 wks off as I didn't need chemo or radiotherapy. Be kind to yourself as it does feel very strange, I felt it was a bit as if I'd been living in a protective bubble during recovery and suddenly I had to stand on my own two feet again. It did affect my confidence and I struggled  with the first couple of observations. You are bound to be worried about the physical risks posed by some pupils and you need to minimise the risk to yourself from this. Build up your hours gradually as you will be very tired and like nursing it isn't a job you can do safely if you are not feeling well enough. Good luck with your return, best wishes Nic xx

Runningfree
Member

Re: Any teachers returning/returned to work after breast cancer?

Hi Platinum

whilst you are waiting to hear from fellow teachers out there I thought I'd say hello!

I am a trained nurse a few weeks into phased return.

So many changes since my op (end of November ), why does that happen??!

i started at 4 hour days with an increase of an hour a day each week, got stuck on 6 hour days as days were so full on. Have been off on a/ l this week but will start mon on full hours, eek.

I am still on herceptin which I find can leave me extra tired at times, and have limited sleep still ( which I blame on tamoxifen!!) so I have been starting slightly later in the morning. I have also not taken on full duties straight away; concentrated on a smaller group of patients, avoided situations where time restrictions might cause my chemo brain to melt down ( e.g. drug rounds)! As everyone knows why I have been off they are all fairly supportive and interested ( at the moment!!), which I think helps me reflect on it a bit each day. There have definitely been good and bad bits, I know I often have more of a ' patient head' on!

I'm sorry if this is no use but wanted to wish you well with your return.

Stay calm, make sure you have plenty of breaks, particularly in intensive situations. it's still the same job underneath it all, you might be a little different, but you'll sort out your limits and limitations in time.

Very best wishes.

x

 

Lizzy_BCC
Member

Re: Any teachers returning/returned to work after breast cancer?

Hi Platinum, 

 

I am sorry to hear you are feeling anxious about working. I am sure users have had similar concerns and will be along to share their thoughts and support soon. You may also want to read our page on Going back to work after treatment. 

 

In the meantime please do call our helpline on 0808 800 6000 who will be able to talk through any questions you may have and offer a friendly ear. 

 

Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm
Late opening Wednesday 9am-7pm
Saturday, 9am-1pm

 

Best wishes, 

Lizzy 

Platinum
Member

Any teachers returning/returned to work after breast cancer?

Hi,

Have been off since January, and work have agreed a phased return starting December & continuing January (subject to approval from GP & consultants).In the time I have been away there have been many changes - Head, Deputy Heads, colleagues, the building itself! - and although I am welcome back I feel like a newbie. How much of a challenge have people found a return to teaching?  I work in a special school and feel a bit vulnerable when I consider how some students can behave & I NEVER worried about that before.

Any thoughts or comments welcome.

Platinum