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BC and returning to work

83 REPLIES 83
Guest user
Not applicable

Re: BC and returning to work

Don't forget that you should have a risk assessment before returning to work. This will lay out what's been aagreed between you and the HT with regard to your reduced duties.
HJU63
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

Hi Helm,
I think that it wouldn't hurt to have information for employers on the site.
However, I am working for managers who are just not interested and so would not seek out information from any website (Macmillans is very good for employers). I have now been back at work 8 weeks (phased) and in that time have seen my manager just 3 times (2 in the corridor) and he has only asked once about my return and how I was doing and that was because HR had told him to (and he made sure I knew this).
So, I think the good managers and organisations out there make it their business to find out the information and talk to their employee. The rest of us just have to make-do.
Helen

Helm
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

I think what might be useful is if this site and other perhaps had a section for employers - to help them understand what cancer recovery may or may not entail and to help them to know how to help staff returning to work, or needing time off for treatment etc. and to encourage them to view staff who have/have had cancer as still valuable employees.
Any thoughts on this?
Buffy3
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

Hi Karen, am pleased to hear your school is treating you well. Most teachers I have met seem to have had a positive experience. I am sure the issues I am having is because of two teachers, in the past, who have gone on long term sick and have played the system. I think the head is being advised by hr to follow these proceedures. Ironically we have a ta in school too who has same condition but has only had informal return to work meetings without hr involvement. Work that one out!
Sam, I hope the dates work out for you. I am sure you can pop in and see your class if you feel up to it.
Take care,
Buffy xxx
samjs
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

Hi all,
Buffy sorry school are still being hard on you. My school is still treating me well had a meltdown Monday lunch time and they sent me home, I also took Tuesday off. Went to to see Bcc Bccyesterday and asked about how long to recover from op and didn't get a solid answer. School has now engaged with a supply to cover until I am ready to return after the op. It makes the difference when they are supportive.
What I found hard was telling my class I wouldn't be there after half term as I was having an op. As a chorus of oh nos were said, one little girl burst in to tears. She then told me she was worried about me, how I didn't cry then I don't know.
Sam x
karen12
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

Hi Everyone, Haven't posted for a while but have been keeping up to date with all your posts. Mel you are having a rollercoaster time with hr and school - hope it settles for you after half term. I returned to work at Easter and had a 4 week phased return and have been full time for the last 3.5 weeks. In the mornings I'm good, In the afternoon I'm grumpy and by the end of the day I'm knackered. In saying that school have been very very supportive and give me time out (in school or to go home) whenever they can cover my class. Next term I will get double planning time and in the new year (Sept) possibly 2 days to finish a bit early. All small things but aimed at easing my workload. School are great and the head is totally supportive and asks often how I'm coping and is there anything that can be done to help. I have NEVER spoken or met hr either at primary or now after secondary diagnosis (I had 5.5 months off this time). It is disappointing to see the differences we all experience and I am posting mine to show there are some good employers out there (I teach in a Local Authority Primary School)
I am so glad I have made it through to half term and am looking forward to resting and having family time. Have got my 4 weekly appointment with onc at Christies on Tuesday and we pick our son up at the end of the week from London where he's finishing his first year at uni.
Hope you all have a good weekend
Karen x

Buffy3
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

I totally understand where you are coming from. I dont think the hr have a clue to be honest about our treatment. She is paid to do her job which is to support the school. I have half a term to be phased in then 6 weeks summer break...just hoping I will cope ok. May suggest doing a 4 day week with weds off to rest. Not making any plans yet. Take care.
HJU63
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

Hi Buffy3, as you say HR are being very high handed. It may be worth talking to your union about where you stand as you are now covered by the Equality Act 2010. In many cases absence due to cancer treatment is treated differently in any absence management process - worth asking if you haven't already.
I am still without any management support but have decided to make the best of it and create my own job. I am currently working 3 days over 5 but this week have hit the fatigue big time - fallen asleep as soon as I have got home every day. Thank goodness its a long weekend. I am trying to accept that I am this tired but can see that I have been fighting it - I don't want to feel "ill" anymore or incapacitated. Some people (non cancer) tell me to listen to my body and be patient but I am soooo frustrated. It has crossed my mind this week that it could be a very long time before I am capable of working full-time and also being able to do anything outside of work - wondering if I should maybe go part-time from Sept (new academic year) on a temporary basis - but of course the money would be part-time. No easy answers methinks!

Buffy3
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

So true Morwenna, I finished EC chemo in the middle Feb for bc + bone mets. I had a good response but the main remaining issue is when the fatigue hits. I've also started letrozole to maintain my response (fingers crossed) which has also wiped me out. Having said that I've only had one really tired day this week which was after I came back from a 3 day break so to be expected a bit.
Just emailed a copy of the letter from work to my union who said the comment about terminating the contract was 100% hr, also mentioned that hr never had the nerve to mention this during the meeting. Hey ho lets hope my return is successful and I cope ok. xx
Morwenna
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

I really think that a lot of HR depts do not understand cancer fatigue issues. It's simply not like other conditions with finite recovery times.
Buffy3
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

Hi, my phased return starts after half term. 3 mornings and building up to a full week by week 6. I have recieved a rather formal letter penned by hr whjch refers to the final stage of the managing sickness policy...if i am off again then my job maybe terminated!!! The problem with this disease is you never know what is going to happen. I have just finished chemo and am on letrozole/zoladex and hoping that this is maintaining my response (I have bone mets too). It just seems extrememly heavy handed, on one side they say we will support you and the other side if you are off again its no job for you!!!! I can understand a school needs a deputy but I do feel that the support isnt really there for me. Oh well Ill wait and see.
I am also worried about the fatigue. If I overdo things I am exhausted and need to sleep. I hope this will improve and that I will be able to do my job on my return. Where do I stand if I want to cut my hours/days? I guess I would have to give up my deputy head role, I just want to try n get the normalty back in my life.
I hope everyone else has had support ftom their employers.
Take care
Buffy xxx
Guest user
Not applicable

Re: BC and returning to work

Sorry you are having a rough one today. I am off today with a stomach bug - I seem to be picking up everything going at the moment. Hate to think what my sickness score looks like - but I dont really care anymore.
I am back to full time but I am total zombie by the end of the day. I am trying to start at 8 so I can finish by 4.30 as that leaves time for a rest before I have to do dinner etc. I am in with a new management now and for all they have made the right noises, I am just waiting for someone to twig the treatment mornings and consultant appointments......
I took part in a trial for Macmillan called restore - they are trialling an online programme to help manage fatigue and I have found it really helpful. Silly thing is it uses CBT type techniques that I have used myself with teenagers I worked with = had never thought of applying them to myself. In it you set goals - SMART targets (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, timely) and it helped me to reduce targets to what I can achieve.
Hang on in there - and laugh at cancer cos you are winning!
Kahren
HJU63
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

Update: So, 7 weeks back now. No sign of a manager since my rtw meting 4 weeks in. Pretty much fending for myself been trying to turn the management lack of interest to my advantage. Hit a brick wall today - soooooooooooo tired and still only working 3 days over 5. I hate this tiredness and the reality that my body can't withstand the intensity and hours of a normal job. Beginning to wonder if I have tried to do too much to soon - but then I get to beat myself up with the inadequacy stick (I'm good at that). REALLY angry with cancer today and a bit low because if I can't do this job, what will I do? No time to feel sorry for myself - hot flush starting!! Positively sizzling.

Buffy3
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

Helen, its not you. I think others dont quite know what to do or say. When I was 1st dx the men didnt kniw what to say so they totally ignored me. I had a long chat with them eventually. My boss was concerned about my mental health...which has not been an issue for me...I get down like everyone but bounce back. I was chatting to my bcn who thinks that is her issue in that she hasnt dealt with things. There really are lots of misconceptions out there and I think that C to many people is a grey thin ill person. Treatments have moved on but perceptiobs havent. This needs addressing in some way. Oh well good luck with your decisions. Its hard, I want to return but the orher side of ne quite likes being a lady of leisure. xx
HJU63
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

Hi Buffy,
good to hear that the meeting went well. I have found that I can cope with work as long as I allow myself to rest when not in work - the initial temptation was to act as if I was fully fit and fill my days. I have found work more tiring than normal, even part-time, it is the intensity and emotional side of work that tires me not just the physical. So, be kind to yourself; my advice would be to allow plenty of time to rest when you can.
I finally had my rtw meeting almost 4 weeks after my return - it was as appalling as I expected. There was no "how are you", there was a "Julie in HR says I have to ask how your phased return is going" so no real interest there and there was the ignoring me by reading a document when I explained how the lack of support had affected me. It was like having a meeting with a sulky child not a professional manager. I am now sitting, waiting and deciding what I will do next. Everyone but the managers feel that the teatment I have experienced is not acceptable but I have no confidence that my managers manager will take any action. I too have got information from Macmillan to give to the management/HR.
I find that I am uncertain what I really want to do workwise - do I want to continue in my current role (though I just don't feel that I fit like I used to), do I want to do the same job elsewhere (would it be any better) or do I want a complete change? I met so many fantastic people as I was treated for BC and feel that they do something very worthwhile, whereas my job doesn't reallly add value in that way. Or is this just a reaction to the way other people now react to me - some seem to only be able to see cancer and not the person: does anyone else find it amusing the lengths others will go to NOT to say the word cancer. The best one I heard recently was "personal difficulties" to describe my 12 months away from work.
Helen

Buffy3
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

Hi Sam, they have to make reasonable adjustments as we are protected under disability act and going to appointments should be seen as this. I think my school will be ok now as long as I manage to cope. I have the added issuecof secondary bone mets too. Hope all goes well for you.
samjs
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

Hi, Buffy,
Sorry to hear you are not getting the support you deserve at work. I am also a teacher and at the beginning of the C journey. Lucikly my head has been fabulous and asks me after every weekend how I am. The only negative thing I have to say about work is that with two afternoons of appointments next week DH hinted I swop my PPA to cover one of them. I was having a bad day and didn't respond, I just went straight to the head. I understand it is tricky to have teachers off sick but I have never been one to take time off so I expect a degree of resoect and understanding at this time.

Hope you are feel ok

Sam xx
Buffy3
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

Hi, I thought I'd fill u in after my meeting about return to work. I took my union with me, and I have to say it was a good meeting. I'd worked out a possible return to work and presented this to my head. Am being allowed to work from home in the 1st week for one day. It was amazing how they (hr) went on about reasonable adjustments too. So have a sensible 6 week phased return and I shall only do what I feel I can.
This was a formal meeting however and will be recorded as such. I know my head is worried I wont cope, she was more concerned about my mental state of mind which I thought was quite amusing!!! Also she was worried that I was so ill (during chemo!!!!). I had to point out that I was being poisoned which is why I was so ill.
I really feel there is a lack of support for employers and I guess why should there be. I have spoken to MacMillan and they sent me a pack but I havent given it to them yet. She also said the school have now bought into a counselling package, I wonder if maybe other staff need to access this to get their heads around the diagnosis!
Well feel better after the meeting but realise the hard bit is to come, phasing back to work. I hope everyone else is coping well with return to work. I am still do not understand why this was made so difficult by hr in the first instance. I had enough to cope with without references to ill healtg retirement or capability through ill health.
Kind regards
Buffy xxx
Guest user
Not applicable

Re: BC and returning to work

Helen - what can I say? If you get chance - go for the jugular!
HJU63
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

I have just found out that although I have been back a month - and I did everything/ provided all information required of me when I met the HR manager on the 08/04 ....... they haven't paid me for April! You couldn't make it up!

karen12
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

Hi Mel,
This all sounds so wrong and I'm sure your union will be able to explain exactly what can and can't be done. Try not to worry and spoil your weekend. Keep us updated.
Karen xx

Buffy3
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

Dear all, jusr thought Id update you all! It would seem, from the official letter that I am not having a return to work meeting but a formal first meeting!!! I guess they classed the joke of a meeting in October as an informal one. This does not seem right to me at all. OH have supported me with a phased return to work as have my doctors and gp.
They are definately trying to put me on the capabilty procedures as they sent a long policy with the letter. I am getting more and more cross about this. No one asks to be ill....I am wondering if they are incorrectly following their own policy.
I meet with my union rep next week. I am sure they will be able to explain what they are doing. All I know is tbe tone if the letters is nit suportive one bit.
Night all xxx
Mel
Buffy3
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

Hi, zometa is amazing stuff for healing. I am hoping my mets have healed too. My hip feels much better. I am the deputy head in the school, am meeting my union in a coffee shop and the formal meeting is at school. I was supposed to be teaching groups this year and management in pm. Hoping this will continue next year. Dont overdo things. Mel xxx
karen12
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

Hi Mel,
I hope you get something agreed that works for you and not just school. Yes I'm back in class and have been since my first day back (It's a mixed Y3/Y4 class). Would have been nice to go back and have some non-contact time to get my head sorted out!! Anyway I'm there now so watch this space.
My diagnosis came about by chest pains which I thought were muscular from recon etc after primary - turned out I had 3 broken ribs - broken by the bone mets. They seem to have healed now thanks to the zometa.
When are your meetings?
Karen x

Buffy3
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

Hi Karen, Ive been off since July last year. I had a really bad hip pain which caused me issues with walking. Had rads for that which is now sorted. Was put on tomoxifen + zoladex + zometa...the tomoxifen didnt work and mets spread so was put on ec chemo which I have responded well to. Just started with letrazole and continuing with zometa + zoladex. I need to work out how my phased return will look. Mornings may work well and build up my hours. Its so hard to know what to do. Are you in class still?
I am hoping to do management stuff...talk of groups next year! Who knows my head changes her mind every fee minutes!!
Take care
Mel xx
karen12
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

Hi Mel
Yes I'm secondary bone mets. Have just finished 6 treatments of zometa. Started the everolimus and exemestane combo in December and everything seems to be going ok. A mixture of side effects each month but they don't all come together (thankfully). Tirednes and aching and clicking joints are the main concerns as they are there all the time. Shouldn't complain but sometimes it helps to have a bit of a moan.
Mt phased return is 4 mornings wk1. 4 mornings and 1 pm wk2. 5 mornings and 2pm wk3. 5 mornings and 3 afternoons wk 4 (one afternoon off is ppa). Wk 5 onwards just a normal week!! and normality returns.. really not sure about managing the full time bit but will try it and see what happens. How long have you been off Mel?
Karen x

Buffy3
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

Hi Karen, I am not sure why hr are involved to be honest. Its fairly straight forward really as OH have laid down the phased return. Week 1-2 days, wk 2 -4, 3 days and building up when ready. Not really rocket science. I am concerned about my lack of energy some days. This is improving though. Are your sx bone mets? What treatment are you on? Ive just start letrozole....hot sweats at night...grrr. Am glad you have have had support. My school do everything by the book
Mel xxx
karen12
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

Hi Ladies,
I am on my 3rd week back at work after being off since secondary dx last Oct. I have been very well supported - they really couldn't have done more for me. I am on a phased return over 4 weeks when I will hopefully return to full time hours. The only thing I can say is nothing prepared me for how tired I would be, the lack of concentration and feeling of being so disorganised. I also feel very lazy as I can't be bothered to do much when I get home - luckily my family are great.
I teach in a primary school and although everyone one jokes about a 9-3 day and long holidays this is so not true - the amount of work that I should be doing at home or after school is just not getting done. I do love my job and only qualified during my primary diagnosis and treatment when I continued to study and work through chemo etc. Now 5 years down the line I don't have the same energy levels and look at life differently with my secondary dx.
Mel I hope your school would be as supportive as mine - I haven't even seen hr and have sorted everything with the head who is great. Good luck at your meeting.
Sorry if this is a bit long winded. I hope it posts as mine keep disappearing recently.
Take care everyone
Karen x

Buffy3
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

Helen, there have been some other situations in my school where people have been off long term sick. They were treated quite poorly by the head...it was her who was stressing them out by all accounts. I heard some of the converstations about these colleagues. I am well aware that they were nit treatd very well. They now have a new hr team...no longer the local authority...she has already flexed her muscles...wrongly may I had at an informal meeting. Also I am aware that they have asked certain questions of OH about early retirement...I am 42..not ready.

Brromstick lady (love your name) I can appreciate where you are coming from totally. It really is stress we could all do without. I am good at my job, worked for 20 years for this authority. What do get back? £71 from NI contributions....grrrrrrrrr.
I will report back on outcomes. It actually makes me cross enough to want to bribg this out in the open....bye bye job then though 😉
Take care
Mel xxx
Guest user
Not applicable

Re: BC and returning to work

I won't go into long details here but I symapthise strongly with what you ladies are going thru right now - been there and have T shirt etc. All I'd say is definitely get your union involved - without them I'd have given up and resigned. I had no support whatsoever from my managers, indeed the opposite in that I needed to work from home as I had pre bc, and they decided there was no work available for me - I had to go into the office which for reasons of severe depression I couldn't do - people phase me basically. I was signed back in Aug 10, and 2 weeks after signing back they deigned to tell me this - as others say you are so weak physically and mentally you may be able to cope with 'normal' life but things like this just tip you over the edge. After so much hassle and politics and lies ("we've offered her work and she's refused it" - they didn't even contact me to say how are you let alone have something to do!!) I was finally made redundant end May 11. I took my pensions and was going to look for other work requiring no skills such as retail but then got back pains and have gone down the sec bone dx route.

Now, nearly 2 years later,. I'm fairly content with being retired and glad I'm not working - but I still wish it hadn't taken so much out of me at a time I didn't need it - if I saw my ex manager on a pavement my steering in the car would 'fail' and I'd mount it to kill him, I feel that badly!
HJU63
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

Hi Mel, so sorry to read that you feel you will not receive support when you go back. Why do you think this will inevitably take you down the capability route?
Surely a school could cope with a PT deputy head - may even be an opportunity for a job share or development for another member of staff.
Still no sight of a manager (4 weeks in). I am now at the stage that to get any satisfaction (for me this would mean that someone in management agrees that the lack of support was not acceptable) I will need to involve my union. I am reticent to do this as to me it seems extreme and is likely to become more antagonistic than I like. On reflection I wonder if this is why all the poor managers/unsipportive organisations can get away with the lack of support - we, the recently treated, have to make a decision about how we use our limited energy and in the main have to give up the fight for appropriate treatment in the workplace. Very sad.
Mel, I hope the meeting goes better than you currently expect. Let us know how you get on,
Helen

Buffy3
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

Dear all, I hope your work woes have been sorted out. I have now been called for a formal meeting at work...been sent the policy...and a letter saying I can take a union rep. Oh have suggested I have a return to work phased back in. I dont understand why this process is made so stressful. I know my old boss would have gone out of his way go support a return to work without all these formal meetings. I am aware this will eventually take me down the capability route. Ironically I did this training last year 😞 I have heard of some great stories about heads supporting their staff back to work. Maybe I will get amazing support, but have that strange feeling its going to be made difficult. I am meeting my union next week before my meeting so we can discuss the way forward. I know its hard for a school to function without a deputy head but its much harder to be dealing with bc + sx to bone + chemo etc. I just hope I will cope ok. Am aiming to go back part time initially phased return and then by Sept my oncs think Ill be fine for returning to my usual job. Well lets hope so.
Good luck all
Mel xxx
Buffy3
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

Hi Helen, I still cant believe all this. Have you got work to do yet? I have now got a meeting arranged with the head and hr. I am taking my union with me which will wind up my head. This worries me a bit as I have to work with her after this meeting. In my case the hr woman was giving incorrect advice at a previous meeting I had in October. If my return to work meeting had just been with my head teacher I wouldnt need to take the union with me. I did visit last week..it was really lovely to see the children. I work in a school...one of the chlldren asked me if Id had my haircut. Its growing back quite a bit since chemo...they were used to seeing me with long blond hair.
Good luck everyone with returning to work
Mel xx
HJU63
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

Well, third week back now completed and still no sign of a manager! They have started to close ranks and treat me as a "naughty child" all because I have asked for a return to work interview. On the one hand I am really appalled by the way I have been teated but on the other I just dont think I have the energy to fight for appropriate treatment. It's really stressing me out.
Helen

Guest user
Not applicable

Re: BC and returning to work

Just lost two posts! SSP for me, and it is about to run out. Basically, I can return full-time or not at all. I am an agency worker and need a phased return. I have no union. ACAS say my problem is down to disability rights, and the disability people say it's necessary to go to ACAS. The general opinion seems to be I have rights under both lots of legislation, but that they would be difficult to enforce. I presume my agency and "temporary" employer know this.
Rattles
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

I am posting in case any of those having problems live near London as there is a workshop being run there by an employment solictor. It is 11-1 on 19th April and if you are interested I can give details. I was going to go but cant't as I have a pre-op assessment.
I had to beg my employers to pay me sick leave (it hurt my pride!) for my next op. To be fair, Ive had 2 cancer diagnoses in 4 years but I worked through my first treatment (had a great manager). Then they adopted a rolling year approach to my sickness which meant that I ended up being on half pay sooner than I expected. My new manager is supportive to be honest the system is rubbish, OH were rubbish (the OH woman cried when I told her about my situation), they failed to keep appointments or develop any plan. As a result, I have just self-managed. Its fine but hard, very hard.
If you google 'The Haven' and look at the calender it should be listed. And anyone from BCC, there is a real need for a service to help people to negotiate a return to work- there is welfare rights advice and support but not employment law. I ended up reading on law myself and while there is legilsation it seems a bit hit-and-miss.
Good luck and don't give up! Rattles x

Buffy3
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

Hi Helen, I cant believe what you are being put through by your managers. I am no expert but I think you may need to speak to their manager. They clearly do not know what they are doing. Have you spoken with MacMillan about this? They may be able to support you. Are you in a union? I am using them in order to make sure everything is done legally. It is so wrong that they are being so unprofessional about your return/job. You are protected by disability act..I know you know this...there is a downloadable version on their website.
As I said I dont know very much but just sending you a big virtual hug. I know how it feels. Your hr should be doing more.
Take care,
Mel xx
Guest user
Not applicable

Re: BC and returning to work

Have just sent a reply but seems to have gone AWOL!
Basically all I wanted to say was afriend who is a HR director advised me that the Occupation Health Department of any large organisation should be closely involved and advise the employer re phased return, special requirements etc etc. She advised me, as I had received no support from my Local Authority employer to self refer to the OH. Maybe worth you contacting them ASAP and requesting urgent meeting.
Good luck
HJU63
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

Anyone out there from HR? I need some advice.
Back for my third week and still no sign of a manager. One is now on annual leave and the other refuses to see me as he is too busy. I requested a return to work interview, by email at the beginning of March and received no reply to my requests. When I went back to work on the 04/04 no one made any contact with me at all. I have in essence been attending work as I have no work to do and don't yet know what training/retraining I need. I have spoken to my HR Manager and she says she has spoken to both on several occasions but to no effect. I have no faith at all that when I do eventually see a manager that they will have planned for my return or have considered what I need after a 12 month absence. My only option now seems to escalate this and talk to my manager's manager who joined whilst I was away and I don't really want a complaint to be the reason we meet.
Any thoughts on what I can do next?
I am finding myself feeling very upset and tearful about work which is very unlike me.
Helen

Buffy3
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

Hi Beeny, I am getting more and more cross everytime I read a new post. I cant believe it really that we are really not supported. I contacted MacMillan about work and time off. They can help you work out the benefits that will help. Ive been off since July and am currently on half pay, I have secondaries in my bones too which complicates it a bit. For some reason i took out critical health insurance when i took out the mortgage...they have paid up...did you...i didnt actually realise this at the time.
The othet thing I am getting cross with is the governments rhetoric about benefits...totally clueless. I want to work...didnt ask for this, there is little support from employers (with a few exceptions) and this part is as hard as dealing with the illness itself.
Take care,
Mel xx
Beeny
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

Now I'm really worried!! I'm a Registrar at an independent school, and have just discovered that I will be entitled to 17 days sick leave on full pay, then I can use up the 12 days annual leave I have left and after that it will be SSP of £87 a week. I also am expected to make up any time I take off for medical reasons in the meantime, or take it from my annual leave. I was in an MRI scanner for over 2 hours this morning having MRI-guided biopsies taken, and was at work before and straight after. I will be having a bilateral mx and SNB in a week or so's time, followed by rads and chemo. I had some great idea that I could actually go back to work after 3 or 4 weeks; as a single parent with a mortgage and teenage kids we can't survive on SSP! I think I've been utterly deluding myself from what I've read! I was mildly annoyed to discover that teaching staff get a far better deal of 3 months on full pay and then 6 months on half pay, while admin staff get 20 days in every rolling 12 months. Ho hum!! That's my pity party over, thanks for letting me blow off steam here!!
Buffy3
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

Helen, that is unbelievable. Where is the compassion in our world? Too many bad experiences out there. I know people struggle with how to deal with this illness but we are just the same underneath, with feelings. A bit of undetstanding would go a long way. Sending positive vibes to all those employers who cant or wont deal with us in an appropriate manner. None of us asked for this illness...like you I need to get a sense of normality in my life. Only when I return will I know if I can carry on as before.
Take care
Mel xx
HJU63
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

It is great to hear stories of such positive treatment. I agree that some management training is needed - a friend and I have been talking about doing this for a little time as we are both involved in management development. I don't think that there should be a one size fits all approach but there are some really good examples of how to get it right in the previous posts.
My situation just continues to become more and more bizarre: one manager has now flatly refused to meet with me (he did this in writing!!) and the other has admitted that he has not thought about my return at all and is too busy to think about it now. So I come to the end of week two having not even seen a manager and have no expectation of meeting with one anytime soon. I have, rather cheekily, asked if I can take paid leave until they do have time to plan for my return and meet with me. Haven't had a refusal yet .... here's hoping! But truth be told, I want to work, I want to get my old brain cells working and become engaged in something that has nothing to do with cancer, illness, hospitals and all that jazz.
Helen

Buffy3
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

Thanx Trudie...have messaged you....probably same info..chemo brain and all that xxxMel
scone
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

I too can report positive feedback.
I went into work the day after my dx to inform them of my position and left that day and didn't return for 6 months whilst I had mx and chemo.
Througout my sick leave, I was in constant touch with work went in to see them on their encouragement about 3 times, this for me was a huge step forward as it meant I was able to face colleagues wearing a wig which I would be doing on my return.
I went back to work 3 weeks after last chemo and I was doing a phased return, the first week I just worked 9-3 but by the 2nd week I was doing my usual 8-5.30.
I was fully briefed on what had gone on during my absence and told that as soon as I was feeling tired I must go home, because they were so understanding with me, I never once left work early.
I have since had 3 recon operations and had additional time off, each time I have had fantastic support and it was made clear to me to only return when I felt ready.
Jude

Guest user
Not applicable

Re: BC and returning to work

Hi Buffy
I was really horrified by the way your school are treating you, I know how hard you will have worked to achieve your current position. Can't they see beyond the cancer to the skills that you brought to the role previously and help you get back into your job so they can reap those benefits again.
My school have previously had a TA off with BC for 9months mx and reconstruction, perhaps that helped.
Another friend of mine is a TA in a primary where the Head has had BC and is ideally placed to understand the impact on work and home life. My friend, who had a WLE, has just finished chemo and is about to start rads. The worst person in her school has turned out to be the Head who cannot bear to look at her or talk to her and avoids contact as much as possible. We are at a loss to understand why the one person who should be able to empathise and set the lead for other staff is behaving like this.
Perhaps SMT need to be given specific training on working with individuals dealing with cancers and other illnesses.
I do hope things improve for you.
Best wishes
Purplemama (Trudie)
Guest user
Not applicable

Re: BC and returning to work

Pleased for you Helen! What a relief that must be. I know the idea of recurrence is quite high on my list of anxieties-I -will- try -not -to -give -in -to.
I managed my first really full day today which feels like a triumph too! I am tired but it is a satisfied tired, if that makes sense.
I agree it is good to hear of the really positive experiences. I think that it would be really good to be given a "Dealing with Work" pack amongst the info you are given at the beginning of treatment. One of the documents I looked at talked about agreeing a communication plan as you go off that covers contact while you are off and agrees the plan for return. I think it would have helped me no end.
Any way, enjoy an evening off - work can wait til the morning!

Kahren
Lozzarooney1
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

Oh Helen I'm soooo pleased!! What a relief.
Celebratory drink tonight me thinks!
congratulatory hugs! 🙂 🙂 🙂
Lozza x
HJU63
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

Yippee!! No biopsy needed today - all looks ok and so I enter the land of NED.
Now, I just need to sort out the daft b**gers at work
Helen

HJU63
Member

Re: BC and returning to work

Thanks Lozza. I am really quite anxious about this, stomach is full of butterflies and I have not been concentrating well this morning at all. I am sure I am worrying about nothing but I still don't seem to be able to stop. Thanks for the good wishes, much appreciated
Helen