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Back to work

38 REPLIES 38
Sue H-S
Community Champion

Re: Back to work

Hi Bella boo, great another lady with a horse! If you follow this link and have a read all - it will give you as much information as available. I did not know either and the nurse at the CT scan put the injection into the arm, where I had my surgery. So with a bit of luck the 'once' is not going to make a difference. It is a shame, that although we are told about the risk, no one really explains. It was actually my chemo nurse, which told me - and she advised me never to use that arm again for any injections, etc. http://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/lymphedema Lot's to read -and once read, it may raise some questions you may wish to ask your team. xxx
traceyfizz
Member

Re: Back to work

thanks Bella , i am not sure what to do i guess im jumping the gun a little i havent ruled out just having my other breast reduced will be able to look forward after next week x take care x

Bella boo
Member

Re: Back to work

Hi Tracey I had an immediate reconstruction with subpectoral implant and ADM. Well that's what my notes say 😀 I know it as the pig skin hammock reconstruction...fluid build up doesn't sound pleasant I hope they get it sorted. I've got two drains attached due to the reconstruction so fortunately no fluid build up just a snazzy shoulder bag to carry them around in.

 

I've got a quick check at hospital tomorrow and then full results like you next week. I've given up thinking of what the outcome might be as I've got it wrong in my head several times so flexibility is the name of the game and I'll just go with the flow till I know next week and then have a melt down if appropriate at that stage 😅 Xx

traceyfizz
Member

Re: Back to work

Hi,Bella glad to hear youre doing ok must say the mastectomy not as bad as i thought , although i am waiting for a call back from my breast care nurse as the fluid build up is increasing daily so may have to get it drained but hey ho could be worse , my results from lymphs next week so fingers crossed for us all , can i ask which type of reconstruction did you have ? x

Bella boo
Member

Re: Back to work

Hi Sue,

 

As I wasn't expecting the full lymph node clearance I haven't researched or been given any information about the consequences of it. However am a little concerned re not having blood taken from it as the nurse in hospital did just that? I was never asked which arm surely they would know not too take blood?

 

Think I will have to do some googling today to see what I can and can't do. Also concerned about the injury bit as well. I have a horse and we're not unknown to part company as she can be a tad spooky. What would happen if I fell off and injured that arm?

 

sorry for questions but no one has spoken to me about it I was just told they were doing full clearance. Is it something my physio will discuss with me in a couple of weeks?  Xx

 

 

Sue H-S
Community Champion

Re: Back to work

Hi Bella boo, so glad to hear you are doing ok. It will take some time for the swelling to go, but go it will! There tends to be a maximum of a two month window between op and chemo. They will want to have the pathology results first, before deciding on final treatment. I am starting my chemo on 19th of this month. Having joined the relevant threads and having done lots of research - well prepared. So we are on the road to recovery! oh, just a tip, you may have already been told - I only just found out. The arm on the side where you had the op and node removal must not be used for any injections, bloods, etc. It increases the risk of lymphedema considerably. Also, as if it was that easy - avoid any injury to it! Any questions you have, as you journey to being well - just ask. As I am a little ahead of you - happy to share my experiences. Hope you heal quickly! Xxx
Bella boo
Member

Re: Back to work

Hi Tracey and Sue,

 

Sorry for delay have just found these  posts as still trying to navigate round this site. Came out of hospital on Friday having had mx and immediate reconstruction with 3 drains. Unfortunately had to have full node clearance as the SNB showed one of the two taken was cancerous so they took them all for biopsy. Am doing ok and managed to have a bath today, well a sit in 3 inches of water but it was nice. 

 

Tracey when you have a reconstruction here's a tip don't look down after the operation without being able to see a mirror. I looked down and thought what on earth had gone on, also didn't take into account that the drains were still in which affected the look. Having had a proper look through non drugged up eyes I am quite happy with my reconstruction and that's before the swelling has gone down.

 

Just the wait now for the drains to be removed in 10 days time along with the results from the nodes and pathology report on tumour. Next step chemo,just need to find out how long between op and chemo.  

 

More waiting now but a little further down the road to recovery 😀 Xx

 

 

 

 

traceyfizz
Member

Re: Back to work

lol hope so, i am not sure what to do yet all i do know is that my other boob needs reducing definitely which my consultant says they can do eventually so that makes me happier x

Sue H-S
Community Champion

Re: Back to work

Hi Tracey, strange, isn't it - we fear it so much - and suddenly we are 'sort of ok' with it. Yes, good idea to wait - I had my reconstruction done and no one thought I would have to have chemo and radiotherapy. So probably will have to have another op to replace the implant, should it either shrink or become hard. Lets just hope they can still maintain my 'bud', lol. x
traceyfizz
Member

Re: Back to work

Hi.Sue, advised against immediate recon as may need radiotherapy and to be honest i am really pleased with my scar and how it looks i did think i would be freaked out but quite the contrary , glad for the time to think about it all .

Sue H-S
Community Champion

Re: Back to work

Hi again Traceyfizz So glad to hear and I shall keep my fingers very firmly crossed for you - as for all others who have just had their op and are waiting for results. Have you had a reconstruction or are you waiting to complete further treatment, before considering it? xx
traceyfizz
Member

Re: Back to work

well had my mastectomy and lymph biopsies yesterday and apart from the pain inbetween meds i feel ok back on the 26th for my results fingers crossed , hope you are ok Bella and are recovering well .

traceyfizz
Member

Re: Back to work

haha thanks sue ...that would scare the neighbours x

Sue H-S
Community Champion

Re: Back to work

Just make sure they are not under wired!
Sports bras tend to be best for larger breasts, they will make sure you won't 'pop' out....
traceyfizz
Member

Re: Back to work

Good luck for wednesday Bella i am sure youre right about the labour thing  let me know how you get on.  i am also on the lookout for front fastening bras , asda do some might investigate its gonna feel so weird i am quite large breasted am scared i will fall over lol think  baggy clothes will be my saviour xx take care

Sue H-S
Community Champion

Re: Back to work

Hi Bella, in hospital I had a front opening pyjama top with short sleeves And then straight to the big baggy top - As the jumpers were baggy and stretchable I easily managed to get into and out of them, and they hid the 2 drains I had. It is challenging to pull anything off over your head for a little while. After a week I tried on a shirt and just about managed to get it on - arm with op in first! The other one is more bendable, lol. You may have some loss of sensation and numbness in the back of your upper arm, which will go eventually, but it is a really weird sensation. Now 5 weeks after op - it has nearly all gone, which is great. I hope they have given you the exercise sheet - it is so important to do them to ensure you get your strength and flexibility back. The other challenge, which you may have hear of - is that you are not to shower for a little while. So strip wash with a sponge! after a week I decided to have a bath, with enough t water to sit in, but not to reach too high - it was bliss to be able to wash myself down properly again. But try and sit yourself in a dry bath first with someone around, if you can. You need to see whether you can get back out again, as one arm may not have enough strength to push you back up to get out. Good luck ! Will look out for your posts - any questions - however trivial they may seem - just ask! Pm me, if you want to ask things off forum - always here to help. xx
Bella boo
Member

Re: Back to work

Hi Sue thanks for the info re bra had bought one that was front fastening but think I might need to go a size larger not in cup size but around my chest as I think the one I've got is already a bit tight. 

 

Re the tops were you able to get tops on or did you need shirts with buttons on the front. I don't know how well I'll be able to manoeuvre my arm to get in a top?

 

Tracey I don't know what your feeling but I am certainly up and down. I've got my radioactive injection tomorrow and node biopsy wed and it's starting to feel very real. Have just packed my hospital bag for wed. The last time I did that was when I had my son 20years ago. Never been near a hospital or doctors often in that time so a little apprehensive. The only thing I can think of is that a 23 hour labour must be far worse that a four hour plus operation that I will know nothing about. Fingers crossed I'm right 🙂 xx

Sue H-S
Community Champion

Re: Back to work

Hi Tracey, You are doing just fine!!! Of course you were down after those news! So understandable. The ensuing treatment would affect the implants, if you had made that decision - and then it would have to be done all over again. That will probably happen with me - as radiotherapy was not initially on the agenda, lol - so my healing and softening implant will now likely shrink later this year when the time for it comes - and then the negotiations for replacement once we know how much it has affected it. I just keep my fingers crossed - that my newly constructed skin bud (nipple) will survive all of that! Keep us up to date - we are here for you - and yes we meet our challenged head on - some of us with gritted teeth others with a stoical attitude. Good luck on your journey - we are all travelling that road- just in different modes of transport, lol xx
traceyfizz
Member

Re: Back to work

Thanks Sue i was quite down when i knew i coulnt have a reconstruction for at least 6 months but now i think more positively it will give me time to recover and think about what i want to do , i didnt think initially i would need radiotherapy but now it may be the case but we get on with what life chucks at us dont we ? my meltdowns are a little less frequent now lol but its a life changing experience for us all and it helps to chat to others x

Sue H-S
Community Champion

Re: Back to work

Hi Bella boo, another few tips - which you may already be aware of - I bought a sports bra - front zip (makes things much easier) from M & S. However, did not count on me being 'swollen' - so buying one, which was my size did not help after the op. One needs to buy one which is one size larger with a cup size smaller - so a 36B would be a 38A. I found it uncomfortable to wear, as the stitches where rubbing on the fabric, when I mVEry pretty number, I must say. Although not needing the pockets - it was so much more comfortable. Swelling went down after about 3 weeks - so back to normal size. You may also leave with your drains still in place. They give you a nice fetching bag to keep them in. A loose, long baggy jumper, sweat shirt or t shirt will hide it well. xxx
Bella boo
Member

Re: Back to work

hi Sue thanks for the reply and the heads up re final diagnosis at least I'm prepared now should things change. Re the implant I'm thinking tennis ball 🙂 till things settle down.

 

Thanks Lexi re advice on other sites etc, good to hear you are doing well. There are so many other things to sort out other than just your treatment. As people have said its a marathon not a sprint and I'm just passing the start line. So many positive stories on here and I'm always up for a challenge so let it begin x

lexilou3
Member

Re: Back to work

Hi all,
Well done on finding this site early and gaining such great support, it took me much longer...
As mentioned everyone has different results and treatment plans, in addition to their own unique home environments and associated support strategies.
I would urge you to look at the advice pages here and on the Macmillan site re work, benefits and additional support you may be able to access due to your change in circumstances. Maggies Centres are also fantastic for hand holding, and guiding you thru this quagmire
Good luck with treatments and being where you want to be.
LL , 2 years post diagnosis, 18 months NED x

Sue H-S
Community Champion

Re: Back to work

Hi Bella boo, Your final treatment confirmation will depend on the results from pathology a couple of weeks after your operation. Great to see you are preparing well! It will be over, before you know it - and often not as traumatic as imagined. Initially I was diagnosed with a 2cm Grade 1 or 2 lobular invasive after ultrasound, which changed after my biopsy and MRI scan to a 3cm Grade 2, ER+, no node involvement. So we (surgeon and Bc nurse) all thought initially - mastectomy - (I am not a large lady 38B) and chemo perhaps not necessary. Hence the decision for the reconstruction straight away. It was done in Haywards Heath, West Sussex by Mr. (removed due to Ts and Cs), who is a specialist in onco plasty, a relatively new specialism. My smallish size and pertness made it possible to have the kind of op I had with a great outcome. As it was, when the final results came back from pathology it was an 11cm cancer, whose size just did not show up on the MRI, as many of its 'tentacles' were single strand cells. Thankfully nodes clear, which is apparently a small miracle! I am so happy I opted for the mastectomy - at least the thing is gone! I now have clear margins - the chemo is a must and the radiotherapy will make doubly sure that nothing is left in the site. i.e. it kills any cells, which may still be there at the operation site. Unfortunately it may affect my implant - shrinking and hardening is possible. Should this happen I have been assured that they will replace it to ensure the outcome will be as good, as it is now. I am sure you are aware that the implant will not feel quite like as if you would have your breast enlarged. If your breast has been enlarged it tends to be positioned underneath your your breast tissue. In our case, that is obviously not the case. So you may wish to be a bit more careful with that side in the future, as it is not as well protected, as it would be in a breast enlargement. It may initially feel hard and a little strange and perhaps look, as if it is not in the right place. Don't panic - it takes well over 6 weeks to heal properly, although with luck you can drive after 2. There will be bruising visible on the outside - and of course bruising and trauma inside. It all needs a little time to heal properly and for the tissue to heal and relax. Hang on in there - for me getting the final results was the worst part of my diagnosis. I hope yours will simply confirm initial findings, which happens most of the time. I certainly sympathise with that others react more dramatically! For me, even now with chemo - it is - lets get through this and get on with things again. It is not going to kill me tomorrow or in the short term, so what is the problem....perhaps I am stupid, who knows....time will tell. Good luck for Wednesday - let us know how you are getting on. xx

Bella boo
Member

Re: Back to work

Hi Sue,

 

i did did laugh when I read the bit about 'fooled you'. That's exactly how I feel I keep expecting to turn up for my SNB on Wednesday only for them to say oops sorry we made a mistake your ok!! I know that's not going to happen but everyone else's reaction seems a bit more dramatic than my own has been. Other than a couple of wobbles I've not had a meltdown yet but I'm sure I will at some point. I'm quite a practical, pragmatic person so am just off to the shops to prepare my hospital bag as I can't drive after Wednesday so need to be ready.

 

can I just ask a question. I'm having a mastectomy and reconstruction on the same day followed by chemo and Herceptin injections for 12 months. Why do you have radiation as well and where if you have had a reconstruction? My consultant hasn't mentioned radiation so I'm just a bit confused.

Sue H-S
Community Champion

Re: Back to work

Hi again traceyfizz, your consultant is right - as radiotherapy can cause issues with a reconstruction - i.e. the implant can shrink and/or become hard/ encapsulated. Mine was done, because no one expected the final results to be what they are. So should something happen to the implant because of the radiotherapy, due after chemo, they will need to adjust/replace what is there. And you are quite right, one step at a time. I am just one of those people who wants to face possible challenging things on my own - in advance. Hence my meltdown when the final diagnosis came. Was able to keep a straight face at the appointment - sort of very numb inside, but turned into a snivelling heap when I got home - for a day. I knew then that chemotherapy and radiotherapy had to happen and made sure I was well informed for when I saw my oncologist consultant 2 weeks later to discuss the what, when and how. It made the appointment much easier for me - and also for the oncologist. After all - having to give people difficult news most of the time cannot be easy for them either. I don't like bad surprises, as that makes it harder for me to cope. So preparing and having prepared for the next 'hurdle' is giving me now a welcome rest period - where everything is near normal - before I work my way through the next step. Each and everyone of us is different - and there is no right or wrong way to approach every step. Good luck! You are doing just fine - xxx
traceyfizz
Member

Re: Back to work

Hi.Sue you are so prepaired i find it hard not to look too far ahead and people say to me take it one stage at a time and of course they are right . I have to wait for my reconstruction (if i have it ) as my consultant feels it would be best especially as i may need radiotherapy its confusing really as some have it immediately even with radiation hey ho i suppose he knows best . Counting down now to the 11th , i wish you all the best youre doing so well x

Sue H-S
Community Champion

Re: Back to work

Hi Tracceyfizz, Thank you. It is kinda weird really and I am surprising myself - I am still waiting for someone to tap me on the shoulder and go - ha, ha - fooled you - you will not be able to cope and it is all dreadful - lol. The operation was fine - I did not see it or felt it as losing something - just scooping the bad stuff out and replacing it with something, which won't get sick. I really am totally amazed at how well all has healed and my new boob just looks fantastic - even the scars are already fading! And I am only 5 1/2 weeks post op! I have been very lucky that I had a surgeon who was prepared to fashion a 'bud' out of my skin, too - so although pale - even a nipple! It can be 'inked in' when all is well again. I did have a melt down for a day when my diagnosis was much more challenging than previously thought after the pathology results. It initially looked, as if I could get away without chemo and radiotherapy. Unfortunately that is no longer the case. I am inwardly a little worried about being able to work productively from home and out and about, when possible - when chemo starts around the 20th May. But I tell myself - I cannot worry about something I do not know and that I shall cope with, whatever it will be when it happens. As I am on my own, no partner or family - I have to work to support myself and pray that it is doable. I certainly have every intention to do so. It will keep my mind positively occupied. Wig bought, human hair replacement eyebrows on order - medication organised for eventualities - dentist done - so all prepared for when it starts - well in advance. I even donned my new wig (with my long hair underneath) for some business appointments - so see how I would feel and how others would react. I felt great - no one noticed - so that gives me great confidence for when the time comes. My thoughts are with you - it is a very challenging time with ups and downs - Don't worry too much about the injection for your nodes - they need to see exactly where they are, that is all - so they can remove only the ones they want and not damage anything else. Take care of your self - I shall look out for you - as and when you need some support. We are all here for you. xx
traceyfizz
Member

Re: Back to work

Hi Sue , you are coping very well and getting on with it brilliantly I hope I am the same it is hard but there are lovely people with loads of advise like you x good luck
traceyfizz
Member

Re: Back to work

hi Bella , went for pre-op so all set for the 11/5 i am really up and down just want it over , got told im having an injection of radiation on the morning of op to check my lymph glands .....now im trying to picture myself with only one boob lol . good luck for the biopsy keep me posted xx

Kmk66
Member

Re: Back to work

I work for a small company and told everyone via email. The main reason I did this is because I knew I wasn't  going to get in to the office as I am a commuter (80 mile round trip, approx 3 hours daily driving) so I didn't want people jumping to their own conclusions about where I was. I also told other companies that ring me regularly that I was available via email only for a number of months which has allowed me to continue my working relationship with them. Everyone is different and everyone's work situation is different so Its a very individual choice what to say and to whom.

 

I finished full time on the Friday 19th Feb, 5 weeks after diagnosis, and had my op on the Monday 22nd. apart from 3 days to recoup after surgery, I've worked part time (20-25 hours per week) at home since. As well as financial reasons, it's kept me sane continuing to work as a bit of normalily remained plus kept me in the loop. 

Sue H-S
Community Champion

Re: Back to work

Hi ladies, so sorry to see you here, but we are a great bunch and will support you through your journey, which is beginning now. I was diagnosed late January and actually started a new job on Feb 1. Continued working, as normal and told my boss 2 weeks before the op. It is a small company, no one else knows - he is being very supportive. Only my closest family and friends know about my diagnosis, as I hate the change in some ones face, when you tell them. The operation, whatever it may be for you - is probably not as traumatic as you may think, especially if you are able to have a reconstruction at the same time. Yes, you might be scared, which is totally understandable and quite normal. I worked from home week 2 after my op (March 24) and went back properly week 3. No problems at all.I had a mastectomy with sentinel node biopsy and reconstruction. The stitches rubbed a bit against the post op bra, which can be a bit sore, but that is all. Now waiting to start my chemo treatment, as diagnosis after pathology results post op, where not as good as the surgeon and I hoped. Another hurdle, but hopefully the last one. I intend to work as much as possible whilst the chemo treatment is going on - working from home when fatigued or at low immune system. My thoughts are with you all - the early days of diagnosis are the worst - it will get better!
Bella boo
Member

Re: Back to work

Hi traceyfizzi, how you getting on. Got my sentinel biopsy on wed so it's just starting to feel a bit real. Heaven knows how I'll feel before the big op xx

helly18
Member

Re: Back to work

I worked until the day before my surgery just to keep my brain space occupied which it did it's a really personal thing.  I only told my manager and my team to start with but when I finished and found out I would be off for a while I did say that i didnt want it broadcasting  but if people asked outright that was fine. I work in health care and most people were just concerned. It's work well up to now and has filtered out over time. Good luck everyone. X

traceyfizz
Member

Re: Back to work

yes same to you Bella  i am hoping i get through next week but if not i will finish a bit early ..... one day at a time x

Bella boo
Member

Re: Back to work

Hi traceyfizz

 

i have my mastectomy on the 11 th May as well. Ive got a sentinel biopsy next week to check the lymph nodes but am having the a mastectomy and reconstruction on the 11 th. I've just stopped working as I can't provide the focus I need to do to do a good job. I don't know what's to come but am positive that it'll be a good result in the end but just a bit of a journey to get there. Best of luck and I hope it all goes well on the 11 th.xx

traceyfizz
Member

Re: Back to work

hi, i work in a nursing setting and i must say that i find it  helpful that my collegues are aware,  i am soooo up and down at the moment and i dont have my mastectomy until the 11/5 so am working until a couple of days before . I think i would ponder too much if i wasnt keeping myself busy x Good luck everyone

Jobey68
Member

Re: Back to work

Welcome Sonya, I told my boss and a few work colleagues who are also good friends, I know the news filtered around which I didn't mind as we are all quite close knit at work , other than that it was only immediate family and there are many that don't know still, I just hadn't felt the need to discuss it with everyone and it's been lovely to bump in to friends and just chat about normal rubbish knowing that they have no idea! Don't feel pressured in to telling everyone Xx Jo 

Jill1998
Community Champion

Re: Back to work

Hi Sonya,I found it very tough going back to work after I was diagnosed and very hard telling people ,in the end I only told my boss and 2 work colleagues as I didn't feel comfortable with sharing this with people I didn't know well and trust .
sonyacheet
Member

Back to work

Hi there. I got my diagnosis on Thursday and went back to work today. It was OK, we had lots of observations as the local authority made a visit so everyone was on tenterhooks today. My boss has been great, she really seems to understand that this isn't just a physical journey, its an emotional one as well. I had a really bad day on Friday, just spent the day crying. The weekend was OK. Just spent a lot of it sitting down after a painful experience at the hospital on Friday. I have only told 5 people at work so far and want to keep it to myself for a bit longer. My boss is happy for me to tell people as much or as little as I like. I'm training someone to take over my role when things change so I'm being kept busy which is good.
Sending good wishes and good luck to everyone xx