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Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

42 REPLIES 42
delly
Member

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

Hi Girls

Totally confused - that's disgusting treatment from your employer !!

Wavey (Ange) and Sue - Spot on. I'm voting for both of you next election !! 

 

Hope everyone's "better" than can be expected and hope everyone keeps strong in fighting the battle on the other secondary ill effects of Cancer i.e.Employment issues.

 

Love to everybody on here

Delly-whoop-whoop! xxxxx

Sue H-S
Community Champion

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

Hi waveylocks,

Oh, I so agree with you on awareness of employers, the public, etc. Especially as it does not only affect those of us with a bc diagnosis and treatment, but also all others, who have been diagnosed with cancer and have or have gone through treatment. 

It is a very challenging task to address this.

If you think back – cancer was never much in the public eye years ago. Now, come October, it is being pushed into the public eye, which is great. It will take time for people to really understand, what it means that 1 out of every 2 people born post 1960, will face a cancer diagnosis. And then, what that is likely to mean....

Yes, the images we see are more about overcoming it and strength, rather than the challenges we really face. Sort of understandable. As the public has the knack of turning away from ‘bad news’ stories. However, for those of us, who are or have been there, it is sometimes very annoying to see.

If the true picture of cancer, the consequences of cancer treatments and the challenges it leaves us with, were publicised - how many would ignore their symptoms, turn away from treatment they so desperately need? How much higher would their anxiety levels be – when they face diagnosis?

All things, which need to be very carefully considered. It is such a very fine line…

Some cancers may be curable and never return, I don’t know, as I have not done the research. We know ours cannot be cured and we cannot be guaranteed it never comes back. I am sure there are many other cancers out there, like that, too. Some people recover well and quickly, others don’t. It is so darned individual. But the public will only ever look at the good side – human nature – and presume it is like that for everyone. Words like cure, survivor, etc. are so often used – probably to keep people thinking positive. One cannot cure BC, as yet, and I am sure many other cancers not either. I am a survivor, but I do not know for how long.

I started to engage with my local radio station to raise awareness with regards to work place difficulties – but as it often happens, when you have something challenging to say – the answer often is absolute silence.

There is only so much time and so much money, which would enable a cancer charity to address these issues. Research into why a specific cancer, research and trials of latest possible treatments, support forums, nurses accompanying us through our journey, financial support, counselling support, etc., etc. eats up the funds available. And then there is the question of priority. And rightly the priority is prevention, treatment, survival and supporting the journey through treatment.

I believe Macmillan are trying very hard, behind the scenes, to engage with government and relevant organisations to help address the challenges around employment and employers.

Looking at it from a purely commercial point of view….why should an employer pay us the same salary, when we cannot provide the same work, as we did before? Why should he retain us, when he cannot find a position for us, which we could manage, even at a lower wage – when he has no position as that?

And yes, in turn – why do I have to suffer discrimination and unemployment, because I was unlucky and have cancer? After all - it is not my fault.

It is simply horrible!

There are things that can be done, to at least address the financial distress so many suffer. But it will take much time and effort to put these things into place.

My thoughts are that if one was to raise the NI contributions by 1% and ringfence the raised funds for cancer. Not only to help with treatments, etc., but also to create a cancer specific benefit area with the DWP. Where, for example – the employer gets a good percentage of the wages, he has to pay, to keep someone, who is not as productive, due to treatment, etc., employed. That would lessen financial strain and ensure we would have the safety of a job and reasonable income. The employer would have to apply for it, so we would become visible to the system, too. This could then be tied in with education of the employer with respect to the Equalities Act and raise the understanding of the effects of cancer and treatment.

Just my thoughts - having experienced financial hardship because of, discrimination because of and lost my job because of.........

Hugs

Sue x

waveylocks
Member

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

Completely agree with you Ladybower!! Though under the Equality Act your employer should not put time limits on medical appointments as its considered a reasonable adjustment.....so you should not have to make the time up. Its out of order they have imposed that threat even if so far the appointments have occurred within their time frame of three hours.  Hugs xx 

waveylocks
Member

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

Hi Vicky,

Thankyou for your kind understanding post. You are so right the people on here are a lifeline & such support as well as amazing! Am so sorry to hear that you too have had to tread the bc path....as well as the redundancy / job conflict that so many of us seem to end up having to face. I really hope a lovely new job comes up & whatever it is you end up feeling that it is much better then what you were doing before. Also wish you a speedy recovery from your reconstruction....am going to have a DIEP come the spring -bit nervous but dertermined!

 

Re my hair -sadly its nearly two years since I completed chemotherapy. I have classic hair loss related to Doctaxel. The dermatologist is not optomistic. My loss is on the top & sides -those areas have some very thin non growing hair with scalp showing through -the rest is extremely fine & poor quality so difficult to do anything with.....hence wigs. I do have lots of wigs so can ring the changes from short to long to wavey/straight, light/dark!!!  

 

I do think people in general are very ignorant about the effects of cancer treatment.....most people expect you to return to normal and I really think the media is largely responsible for this.....much of the publicity for research focuses on images of people looking and appearing well after sucessful treatment thereby inferring that everything is back to how it was. Its a big massive myth and I do wish the media and charities would address this. Its hardly surprising therefore that it leads to misconceptions in the workplace and consequently ill treatment and prejudice.

I really hope the breast cancer moderators pick this comment up and pass it on!! A better informed public/employers might lead to us all receiving better treatment in the workplace......

sorry will get off my soap box now!!

 

big hugs 😊😊 xx

Sue H-S
Community Champion

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

Hi TotallyConfuse,

 

Well done you! You were absolutely right to do so. I do hope that it did not have any negative consequences with your employer.

At the right point in time you may wish to point out to him re any apppointment you have, which is related to your diagnosis, even if it might be counselling or a Moving Forward course - they HAVE to let you go - 

this is a part of the relevant bits of the 'reasonable adjustments' which have to be made for you under the Equalities Act 2010. If you have had a diagnosis you now fall under that for the rest of your life, not only for the period of active treatments.

Stay strong, stick up for your rights. YOU and no one else is important. Look after yourself physically and mentally.

Hugs

Sue x

TotallyConfuse
Member

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

I was told last year that I couldn't go to my mammogram appt, that it was a routine appt and not urgent! I went!
NAZ
Member

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

Hey Delly..

Sorry to hear you are struggling with the mental health demons.. are you receiving any helpful therapy? How's the recon journey going?

 

No, we didn't get to meet did we? I got a job this time last year, in a primary school, but sadly it ended at the end of December . due to school overspending (or something to that effect), so am back on the job hunting saddle once again! Am thinking I would love to be self employed, but unsure what doing..

 

Anyway, sorry to hijack this thread and sorry to all you ladies you are struggling with twats of bosses and employers, it really isn't fair! They have NO idea how a diagnosis can affect a persons, physical, emotional and mental well being, so if you can break free from their clutches and look for something else, then do it, I say (although easier said than done due to finances, pensions etc).

 

Best wishes to all.. take no nonsense!

 

Delly, if you ever fancy that trip into Liverpool..let me know..x

 

Naz x

delly
Member

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

Corrrr - Victory

What a lovely, lovely message to waveylocks and thank you so much for your wishes.

Bestest of luck in your job search, darlin girl. Hope you get something real soon. And hope your boobs settle down soon and remain LEVEL !!

Much love to you and every else on here

Adele xxxxx

VictoryV
Member

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

Hi Waveylocks,

I am so sorry to read what a hellish time you are having.  As if it's not bad enough having to deal with cancer treatments and all the side effects but to have to put up such crap from your work colleagues is horrible.  Why are some people so cruel, it breaks my heart 😞  

I had Docetaxel too, I do remember being told I would lose my hair but Onc never mentioned the risk of permanent hair loss although I did some research and knew that was a possibility.  I now feel very fortunate in that my hair has come back. I really feel for you and hope you find a solution.  I did meet a lady just after my chemo and her hair had started to grow back except right around the crown of her head, which was totally bald. I don't know which chemo drugs she'd been on but bless her she was so brave, wore no hat, scarf or wig.  I bumped into her about 7 months later and her hair on the bald patch (which was a large area) had started to grow back. I know you said you'd been told your hair loss was probably permanent and you don't mention how long ago you were on Docetaxal but sometimes our bodies just amaze us, I so hope at some point in the future your hair grows back ❤️

I'm unemployed, was made redundant in October, though I'd not been at work since December 2015. I need to start my job search soon and this makes me very anxious.  I'm recovering from breast reduction surgery on my good side which I had done on 19 December. Had tumour removed via WLE in Dec 2015, they also did therapeutic mamoplasty to reshape what was left of the breast.  This left me very lopsided, I pushed and pushed at my breast care unit to get the reduction surgery on my good side done before Christmas so that I could recover and be able to start looking for work in the new year.

I worry that being out of the workplace for over a year will hinder my chances of getting work.

All of our lives have changed thanks to cancer, reading and sometimes contributing on this forum has been an absolute lifeline to me.  Especially when you can't sleep in the wee small hours and there is no one to calm those runaway thoughts going through your head! 

 

Delly - thank you for your kind words recently, lot of love and I hope you get news on your evaluation and other ops/tests you are waiting for. ❤️

Waveylocks - I hope your work situation gets sorted out and so hope you get some good news on the hair front, I'm sure you look gorgeous in your wigs but I totally get that you want your own hair back. ❤️

 

Happy New year to all you lovely ladies, here's hoping for good times in 2017

Hugs, Vik

Xxx

waveylocks
Member

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

Awww bless you Adele.....yes Minoxidil was thought about but decided against as medic worried it eould make heart damage worse that was caused by Herceptin. Ive tried various sprays & lotions but no joy. Onc just changed estrogen blocker to see if that helps. None of the medics are optomistic. Mostly likely cause is Docetaxel.....big law suit going off in America for lying about the incident rate. Joined Taxotears now known as Ahead of our time. Invested in a few wigs so can ring the changes at least! I had no idea this could happen.....they warned us about so many rare ses but not that one.....though the medics do know....lol.

 

Do feel its ok to PM me Adele 🙂 hugs xx

delly
Member

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

Sorry Ladies to take this thread off it's path/purpose. my apologies.

 

Hi Again Wavey, dear friend. Yeh, I have to admit Psychi is that much more daunting and frightening than PsychO.

Do I remember correctly, that you're a fellow singleton? I'm sooooo sorry bout your hair. Yeh, "I'd" feel upset and gutted about it too, especially as you say it may not grow back. There are various treatments you could look into that work on stimulating the follicles again. Haven't seen them around or advertised for ages now. I'm not talking creams, I'm talking a sort of small helmet that you put on and it passes a very low level electrical charge - like pins and needles - over the scalp. You use it everyday for so long. Then there's Regain (Minoxidol) you can get in Boots/other chemists. It's a bit pricey. BUT, was your hairloss caused by certain of the previous chemotherapy drugs you were given? It isn't listed as a side effect of Herceptin. And are you still having to take Herceptin?? I'll check out that sci-fi sounding helmet for you right now. But have you also tried creating a thread to ask others who may have suffered permanent or have been told it may be permanent to get in touch?? I do soooo feel for you - it IS important to most of we women, and especially if you ARE single.

I'll take a look and get back, maybe better by pm, rather than take the thread off course, do you think. Am sure Sue's no doubt helping with your employment matters. Have a huge respect for that girl. Something needs doing to bring such problems to the higher powers. I mean Governmental there. Maybe with and or through the help of BCC, or other cancer orgs.

Loadsa love to you and everyone else on here

Dellywelly xxxxx

delly
Member

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

 
waveylocks
Member

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

Hey Adele,

So sorry to hear about you struggling mentally.....it can be such a lonely road too as its still even in this day & age a bit of a taboo subject. So sending u the biggest warmest hugs.  The impact is massive but am so glad you are taking action and fingers crossed get some good support early in the new year.  

I myself am struggling with the fact that my hair has never really grown back since chemo -looks like a clown so not a great look for a girl -still wearing the wigs...lol. Probably permenant now am told. Vain me is gutted. My breast care nurse said she'd refer me through to their psychologist back last June but have never heard a word....sure dont move fast! 

 

Am looking forward to this new year -ever hopeful that 2017 will bring more joy then tears.....2016 was definately round the other way!!

 

stay in touch sweet lovely Adele....big hugs xxxx

 

Happy New Year Everyone!! Xxxx

delly
Member

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

Hi Wavey, hope you've enjoyed your Xmas and New Year. 

Thanks for asking after me, am up and down, but at least I have got the ball rolling, hopefully soon into the New Year. Waiting on mental health evaluation (ooo errr), cataract op, back on the finish recon horse and a few other tests. 

Hope you can and do get all your nasty work issues sorted to your advantage darlin.

I hope it then helps you with improvement to your health.

Much love

Adele xxxxx

 

 

waveylocks
Member

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

Hey Delly lovely talking to you once again 😊👏😊....youre right my boss hates confrontation so avoids it like the plague.....and am afraid in that process he indirectly condones bad behaviour and will not intervene even if it happens right infront of him....lol.. So yes part of the problem. Lol.. Whenever theres any bullying or discrimination that persists you can be sure the problem always goes higher up in the system....sad fact. 😔

 

How are you Delly?

 

Happy Happy New Year Everyone!! May 2017 bring you laughter, fun joy and health.....lets carry on enjoying life to the full!! Cheers!🎉🍸🍾🍾 xxxx

delly
Member

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

HiLovely  Ladies,

 

Wavey - Dear friend, long time since we met on the posts. But I feel very unhappy for you, about the reasons you are on this thread, and am frankly abhorrent at your treatment. Plus you keep mentioning that it's your work "colleagues" who are creating your problem, not your BOSS. So why can't HE do something more about it wavey.

 

That was an excellent post from Sue, you should print it out and thrust a copy under their faces to be forced to read. I could feel the frustrated passion and power behind it. Well done youhoo Sue. I can see the two of you in cahoots campaigning, certainly have my vote behind you.

 

In the meantime, again, I wish everybody on here a HAPPY, HEALTHY NEW YEAR that's also EMPLOYMENT PROBLEM FREE!!!

 

Much love to you all

DellyDingDong xxxxxxxxxxx 

waveylocks
Member

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

Thanks Ladybowler too right!! Thankyou for your kind words of support. 😊

It certainly seems to be a heartless world we live in. And am sure if they spent a couple of days in my world they would review their opinions. Lol...

hugs

Xx

Sue H-S
Community Champion

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

Hi waveylocks

will pm you

 

Hug

Sue x

waveylocks
Member

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

Hey Sue, 

Thankyou for your lovely post 😊😊😊 Such wise words and yes so  sadly true.

I am interested in looking at these organisations that you mention.....would you mind privately posting me a bit more info and I will do so too. Am not keen to post on here as am mindful its an open forum... many thanks xx 

Sue H-S
Community Champion

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

Hi waveylocks,

My heart goes out to you. What an awful environment to work in - especially as you say that the organisation works with disabled people.

It does seem to be, that if a disability is visible it is easier for people to speak up for their rights. But when it is not visible, as with us - there seems to be the attitude of pull yourself together, you are putting it on, you are being lazy, etc.

And this is where our challenge lies. As we are all so individual and the effects of our diagnosis and effects of treatment are so individual - the law has no way of defining 'reasonable adjustment' to cover us adequately. What is a required reasonable adjustment for one of us - may be not for another one of us.

It really does appear, that if one cannot do one's job, as one did before it all started -one is simply not good enough and is put onto the rubbish heap. What has our society become.....?

People still do not understand what a breast cancer diagnosis really means - it is seen as a single type of cancer, it is believed that once you had your op and treatment - all is well again. People do not have any idea what our treatment actually does to our bodies and what medications we have to take for a long time do to our bodies, too.

From  the day of diagnosis - we are between a rock and a hard place. Yes, we make the decisions - but what decisions to have to make. There is not a single decision we can make - which will guarantee us that all shall go away. That we shall be as we were. No op - and it will kill you, no poisening of your whole body, increasing risks of other cancers, mild cognisive disfunction, fatigue and much more - it is more likely to come back elsewhere and kill us - eventually. No radiotherapy and increasing risk of leukemia, damaging healthy tissue in your body, increasing fatigue - it is more likely to come back. No hormone therapy, which robbs us of the hormone that makes us female, gives us the certainty of a lack of a healthy love life and osteoperosis - and it is more likely to come back. 

Whilst we have to deal with our decisions and their consequences, try and rebuild our health, self esteem and body image - we have to perform like circus animals to appease our employers. Showing any vulnerability - and it is seen as weakness and weakness is not acceptable in the working world of today.

It is bl..dy hard. And only we know how hard it is. 

Sometimes I think of the phrase used in law - innocent unti proven guilty...in our case we are guilty until proven innocent. We have to explain, get others to understand, lay ourselves bare - to get any understanding at all, if we ever do.

It is not right, however that is, unfortunately, the way the working world is.

As we get older, changing jobs is not an easy thing to do. Many of us may not have a partner, who can keep us 'afloat'.

However, staying in a poisonous environment is not a solution.

As you said - you fought so hard for your life - so now the time comes to adjust and live it.

I do not know exactly what you do - but I am aware of many small organisations supporting disabled people in local communities with varying schemes, who are crying out for people with specialist knowledge. 

The best way to fight negativity is with positivity - turning the good aganst the bad - taking the anger of the unfairness and turning it into energy to find something new and possibly far more fulfilling.

May 2017 be kind to all of us - 

Happy Healthy Positive New Year!

Hugs

Sue x

waveylocks
Member

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

Hi Everyone,

Hadnt lbeen on here for a while and found this thread. Sadly it rang so true for me too....lol so sorry you girls have been going through it with such Ignorant people. Now would never wish cancer on anyone but sometimes.....

 

sadly am joining your ranks. I do work for a big organisation. i work In the field of disability. Ive worked in my current position for 10years but in the field for several decades. I know my stuff & loved my job. My boss has been fantastic my colleagues dreadful . I saw Occ Health....their attitude was to suggest I retire....lovely....but they did then make suggestions for reasonable adjustments most  of which are still not in olace. Apparrantly it is an optional thing as most employers get away with murder using the word 'reasonable' to say its not operational to wriggle out of most adjustments. In my case one of the adjustments recommended is being able to park my car close to the office as I still suffer with fatigue (all the treatment has affected my heart leaving me weak etc..) however a year on Still no parking. The latest horrid round of insults and actions from colleagues ended up with my GP signing me off as stress at work and she was horrified at my colleagues behaviour saying she will not allow me to return until they sort them out, discipine them and put adjustments in place. My boss says -what can I do. Ive tried so hard but no one is listening to me.....this is my boss saying this not me!! Suspect am heading for the door too.....theyve been very quick to send me an appointment with Occ Health. Union are rubbish....and say its not discrimination but ignorance (so thats all right then!!). How can it be ignorance when I work in a team who deals with disability day in day out!! Ridiculous!!!

 

Anyway moan over. If my employer is not prepared to sort it out life is just too short to stay in such a toxic dysfunctional environment!! Didnt fight for my life to end up dealing with such stupid crap to be honest! Like the idea of a small business venture.....just need an idea then I may well join you. May your venture be very sucessful 

 

big hugs to all you brave ladies soldiering on!! We will overcome!!

And here's a cheer to 2017 -not long now! May it be a happy and prosperous one for everyone. 😊😊🍸🍾🎉 Hugs Xxx

delly
Member

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

Hey Naz,

Good to see and hear you sweetie. We never did do that Liverpool meet did we. Have been greatly struggling with mental issues etc. Are you doing okay?? Did you get your work or retraining sorted??

Loadsa love 

Delly xxxx

NAZ
Member

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

Hey Delly

 

How's it all going? 

 

Jusr to say, 58 is never too old for a career change.. OH's ex was a teacher for over 25 years.. bullying forced her out and now she's happy as Larry working on the till in Asda. Okay she has her pension etc but what a career change! 

 

Naz x

delly
Member

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

Sorry - I'm an alien invading your posts.

 

Riverside - long time no cross posts. How the devil are you, apart from man probs. Try a woman instead!!! - faaaaar more sensitive. Tho' perhaps can be a bit too sensitive in certain respects !!! Tell him yours is a life threatening disease - his is just Chronic and relatively easy to sort with a new, bionic knee replacement. Know loads of people who've had successful new knee ops. Keep venting your frustration on here, in the company of a load of wonderful, supportive women, Sue, Charys, Janey, yourself, all of whom I've shared laughter and tears with on this Forum.

Victoria - hope you're doing well. I'm soooo sorry you've had to endure such a nasty, quite frankly sh*tty time with your employment issues. as if you've not had enough to cope and deal with.

I do so hope you find a suitable alternative niche workwise. Bit in the same position myself, plus getting on a bit now at nearly 58, for dealing with a career change of direction. Wish you heartfelt luck with that flower.

 

Orangegirl (that's particularly tough for you), Platinum., Butterfly, you're in excellent company on here with Jobes, Charys, Janey, SweetSue. Hurts me that you've had such probs and much ignorant treatment.

 

Wishing you all a very Merry Xmas, and a Happy, Healthy, Successful New Career, and Cancer FREE New Year.

Much love

Dellywellydingdong xxxxxxxxxx 

Sue H-S
Community Champion

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

Hi riversidedawn,

Yes, in some respect, one can laugh about it - thoughts like 'manflu' come into my mind.

However, I could imagine, that you find it very challenging at times as you may feel a lack of understanding and support for what you have been through and have to live with for the rest of your life.

In some ways, it reminds me a bit of a childrens' squabble, where he always wants to trump you, lol.

It is such a good example of the lack of understanding, unless someone has gone through the same or similar thing.

Please, please never feel bad, because you cannot be the way he wants you to be. There is support available from a Macmillan centre, if there is one anywhere near you. They are always there to listen and help and support.

Hugs

Sue xx

 

riversidedawn
Member

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

Hi all, I was diagnosed sept 14, throughout my treatment my husband compared everything to his painful knee (admittedly he has now had a full knee replacement).

Towards the end of my chemo and after 2 ops - one emergency because of infection - he moaned that he wished he could feel normal again, fed up with knee pain. My response was "you should try having cancer, have your body mutilated and pumped full of poison". He kindly pointed out that "you've only been ill for six months, my pain had been six years!"

Another time on comparing our respective pre and post op care I commented on the fact that he was given a drug to help with recovery from anaesthetic but I wasn't - his comment was that I didn't have major surgery but he did!! No I only had two tumours removed along with my breast and lymph nodes - nothing major about that eh?!

He also repeatedly asked the oncologist how long it would be before I had more energy and could drive so that he could have his knee op!! He booked it about 3/4 through my chemo when I was at my lowest lowest point with depression, insomnia, and generally feeling s**t!!

Onwards and upwards ladies, at least we can laugh about it!
Charys
Community Champion

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

I know what you mean Janey, I can hardly bear to read some of these accounts, and (I'm not a violent person at all) but feel like doing a tour of the country slapping these ignorant unsympathetic half wits. It's the very last thing you need at a time of 'fighting for your future life', some loser pushing and making life deliberately hard. Sorry for you ladies. 

Sue H-S
Community Champion

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

Hi all,

I wish Janey 2 would be right, re Macmillan - it would be nice for them have pro bono lawyers, who help us deal with these specific challenges. Although, I must say, their info on the website is really good.

When I started negotiating with my small employer, I actually gave him the links, so I would not have to put absolutely everything into writing.  As it is, I don't think he read it.

We do not have an HR department, only being 6 full time and two part time employees, so I was called to an HR meeting with an ad Hoc paid HR consultant, who really had no idea either, lol - but they had taken note, of me informing them that I now fell under the Equalities Act or Disability Discrimination Act, as most still know it. So, apart from having to explain about cycles, cumulative effects, compromised immune system, etc. - they just did not get it. As a BDM I was expected to continue cold calling in industrial estates and town centres. Such a healthy thing to do with a compromised immune system and fatigue, isn't it? My suggestion of a 'reasoable adjustment' replacing the cold calling with telephone canvassing from home - was turned down. Surprise, surprise. This also meant that I was forced to take the week post chemo off on statutory sick pay, leading to financial losses to me, rather than being able to continue working from home. And, of course, when back for the rest of the time -I was still supposed to hit my target of pesonal cold calls.

Today was my first day back - 13 days post last chemo - and I was requested to attend the office on Thursday - tomorrow. (I tend to be home based). Which, of course I turned down. My highly compromised blood counts will not be able to cope with a filthy small office, which is also inhabited by a really nice, but slobbering, boxer dog each day. But of course - I now have to have the meeting next Monday.

He really expected me to be fully fit today! So again, I had to educate him, explaining that recovering from chemo and bc treatment is not like having a broken leg or the flu. And I have radiotherapy to come yet!

Mind you - most of our communication has been and is in writing - and guess what - I have talked to ACAS and the Equalities commission from the outset. It certainly is a nice body of evidence I am collecting.

But I am so angry - that we have to fight our corner so hard - when we are going through the rigours of treatment and - not being too dramatic - fighting for our future lives.

Sue xx 

Janey2
Member

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

This thread is beginning to read like a horror story of constructive dismissal and rights being ridden over rough shod. I'm so sorry about the treatment so many of you have received and I just want to take them all to court and am sure the big wigs are relying on all energy being expended on fighting BC with none left over for the work challenge. I do wonder if Macmillan do employment as well as work support? Hugs xx
VictoryV
Member

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

Hello Ladies, hope you don't mind me joining your thread which I've been following for the last few days.

I am on garden leave from my company which will end in redundancy next month, they told me they wanted to make me redundant during my chemo. I had to endure 3 meetings with HR, a Union rep and someone who had replaced my boss as he too had been made redundant.  I tried my hardest to be composed and professional during those meetings (which were over the phone), but I ended up a sobbing wreck! They just didn't know how to handle my situation and although they didn't say anything downright nasty or stupid they just couldn't grasp the enormity of what they were putting me through while I was also trying to deal with chemo. It's taken me several months to come to terms with losing my job and I am petrified at the prospect of looking for a new one (interviews etc) but I have also realised they were such a toxic company to work for (American global IT company) with their constant staff cuts and putting people under unbearable pressure.  I have no idea which direction to take next, I'm planning on doing some voluntary work at my local hospice so will see how I feel after that. 

My mother-in-law (not know for her tact) and I were chatting last week and she was asking if all my treatment was finished and I was better (lol), so said I was waiting to hear from the Breast Care Team about a further operation. I had a WLE and SNB in December and consequently my left boob is almost half the size of the right so I wear a prosthesis. I told her that until I'd had that operation to reduce my right side and even me out I didn't feel that I could move on emotionally.  Her response was "but you must be used to it by now"!! 

Words failed me and I changed the subject!!! 

On the plus side I have had friends who have said lovely things to me and kept me going this tough time.

Good luck and hugs to all you lovely ladies

Vik xx

 

OrangeGirl
Member

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

Breast cancer just like the common cold! WTF!! Awesomely ignorant comment! Some people do seem to see breast cancer as having cancer 'lite', nothing compared to 'other cancers'. It still kills a woman every 45 minutes........
Butterfly318
Member

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

Dear Orange Girl

 

You don't need anybody else to tell you what s**ts they have been.  I work in a large team in Psychiatric Services.  I can honestly say Managers, Team everybody were lovely and two girls in particular who were colleagues have become really good friends.  When the chips are down i would want either of them covering my back.  I was diagnosed in October 2012 so a way down the line now but i do still remember some dreadful things that people (who i thought were friends) did say.

 

I had Chemo first to shrink a large tumour, then surgery and rads.  One friend (Doctors receptionist come Trainee Consultant) said would i like her to come with me to the next appointment as i was clearly confused thinking i would be OK.  It must have spread if i was having Chemo....... Another friend was trying to be encouraging saying    'You'll be fine they can do allsorts these days,  Breast Cancer is just like the common cold nowadays'....... I hope she never gets this cold...

 

People are strange.  My Mother in Law and Sister in Law have been bizarre. Questioning why my legs are weak and feet numb (muscle waste and peripheral neuropathy) if the Cancer was in my breast.  I never mention any ongoing difficulties but an unknowing friend told them this (they were questioning / grilling her.....) I would never not speak to them or be rude, they are My Lovely Husbands family,  but i am civil and that's where my contact ends.    

 

Looks like some voluntary work / me time and planning what you are going to do next.  I have been lucky to reduce my full time role to 24.5 hours and can just manage this.  It really is tiring.  I wish you well and hope you have the opportunity to find something fullfilling where you can give yourself the time you deserve to recover.

 

I must check out '**bleep** it Therapy'.

 

Take Care  Butterfly xx   

OrangeGirl
Member

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

Im reading

 

"F*ck it therapy" 

The profane way to profound happiness by John C Parkin

 

Your words and this book are making me realise, through my exhausted haze, that I did make the right decision to leave and I need head space to figure out the next step.

 

Trouble is, I was good at my job, when it was going well, it was great - nothing so satisfying. It had great highs but awful lows too when mean clients were just not reasonable or understanding, when things went wrong through nobody's fault. In effect, if I was allowed to do my job my way, it was my dream job. That's why I'm so sad. "Follow your dreams" - it was my dream, it just went sour.

 

(For the curious, I was a small animal vet with a special interest in feline medicine. Who's going to treasure all my little elderly cats with their little elderly owners now I'm not there? Also, word of warning: do not say to set up my own practice! That's even more stressful for a whole host of other reasons. My partner is a Director in his practice, our relationship wouldn't last having two bosses of two business in one house! I can certainly see why vets have the highest suicide rate of any profession.......)

 

 

 

Sue H-S
Community Champion

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

Hi Charys

so wise! I can only echo your worlds.

Not that I have had to face stupid, inappropriate comments from my small employer or friends  - but have many other challenges, such as actually having to educate my employer in matters HR. Reasonable adjustments have not been made and I know I shall lose my position by the end of October, as I cannot perform the way they wish me to, because of this.

And as you say - as one door closes another one opens. 

I have been re evaluating my life. No more career girl for me! Such a waste of energy and time and for what? Exhausting myself even more - trying to live up to others expectations - trying to 'fit' - be at the beck and call of others. I think not.

Of course we have to earn money to pay the bills - absolutely.

What did I do about it? I have just started my own little business, which I can do from home. Allowing me to manage my physical resources, rebuild my health - and work with my local small buisness community of a personal level. And I can actually do something I really enjoy and am passionate about - that alone seems to raise my energy levels - and it feels so good!

Hopefully it will give me the income I need. Once it does, it will also give me the time to start raising awareness and campaign to change precisely this attitude, and the lack of knowledge that mainly smaller employers have, towards anyone diagnosed with cancer.  And there are other things to do, too. Not all is about fundraising, as much as I applaud those, who do it - and funds are desperately needed.

For me, my 'mission' is to change perceptions and raise understanding - so we, and other cancer patients, do not have to face additional stress and hardship, when fighting so hard.

Sue xxx

 

Charys
Community Champion

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

Sorry but LOL at the notes Platinum's sister took, I wouldn't trust her to minute any meetings at all, ever. Jeez.

 

Orangegirl, you are welcome. I am a massive believer in any experience in life, major negative ones included, bringing personal development and a change of direction that could be the absolutely best thing for you! I had a life-changer 18 years ago, it was a trauma (not cancer) that made me incredibly ill for many many months, but I don't regret it, it brought me new insight, made me a more tolerant, caring person than I was before and much much stronger emotionally. I changed career afterwards, downgraded majorly as it happened, but found where I was happiest and where I could gain the most personal reward (and give to others). Essentially I understood 'me' better.

Never look backwards, always forwards. You have, as Platinum said, gained more skills through your breast cancer experience, and there are so many age old saying like 'when one door closes, another opens...' and 'that that you live through makes you stronger'...they are so true!

 

x

Platinum
Member

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

Dear Orange Girl;

Your ex boss made totally inappropriate comments - it's a small business that has neglected to train staff in HR & clearly needs educating in how to deal with colleagues who have life changing illnesses. Swines. You have the strength, positivitiy & new skills (which come from dealing with breast cancer) to move on.

Re other inappropriate comments; one of my older sisters accompanied me to an Oncologist appointment to take notes. As far as I was concerned I was discussing the side effects of my chemotherapy; when I read her notes they started "The consultant - a boy - listened to Mary whinge..." which made me feel I should have kept quiet.

Make sure you look after yourself Orange Girl; take care, Mary

OrangeGirl
Member

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

"......you now have the chance to find something where you can focus yourself anew. It might be something totally and utterly different, miles from where you started, but those cross roads in life can lead to new opportunities."

 

Charys: what an uplifting, thoughtful thing to say.  Thank you. 

 

Although, I'm not impressed with what your family member said to you!

Charys
Community Champion

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

A 'cancer holiday' ....what in the name of all that is sacred???? That's an amazingly sick phrase if there ever was one! Yeah, cos you had some fantastic fun  time off fighting for your future lIfe ! With an attitude like that, your best out of it. You could never regain a good working relationship with them anyway, after being so let down. 

 

The most inappropriate/ hurtful thing that was said to me was by an immediate family member. It was literally days after diagnoses, this person came over and only wanted to talk about themselves, nothing about me and my feelings. I had given so much to this person over 10 years and put my own life on hold to support them, so I expected a little back. I got upset and started crying saying I was so scared.....my words of comfort were....' Well, let's be honest you've just been lucky not to have anything serious to this point in your life, just time to be an adult now and get on with it!' 

 

You know what orange girl, cancer can change people and their priorities, it makes us subtly reevaluate the importance of elements of our life. I don't think it makes people weaker, but stronger and more in touch with other human beings and the world becomes clearer about what is right and wrong. It is a life changer, but then you know all this.....what I'm saying is that good can come out of this.....you are clearly a highly educated person, and you now have the chance to find something where you can focus yourself anew. It might be something totally and utterly different, miles from where you started, but those cross roads in life can lead to new opportunities. 

 

 

Jobey68
Member

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

I work with a lady who has every ailment going .... All in her head ..... I did think having been diagnosed with cancer it might make her stop and think but oh no she will listen to me for 5 mins and then go back to talking about her earache! 🙄🙄

Janey2
Member

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

What total ****s!! I think you have grounds for constructive dismissal but understand your lack of energy. Sad for you too. Colleagues have been wonderful but my manager has been quite distant. I'm trying to think of funny things but struggling, other than the team referring to my Usain Bolt hugs - one arm bent to protect and one arm outstretched! Hugs and thinking of you xx
OrangeGirl
Member

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

I don't think it registered in my mind until afterwards and then when I've told other people, their reactions (as yours!) have just reinforced how utterly inappropriate it was! 

Jobey68
Member

Re: Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

Jesus I'm surprised you didn't deck him one!! No one gets it unless they have been through it do they, My boss had cancer 15 years ago and was amazing when I was diagnosed and I did as I pleased and no questions asked as he just totally understood , it such a shame you have felt the need to leave but completely justifiable, you shouldn't have to deal with comments like that Xx
OrangeGirl
Member

Boss referred to my time off as my "cancer holiday"!

I walked out of work on Friday working no notice. Just left a letter for them to find.

Dx Sept 2013 (aged 39), single mastectomy (no recon - awesome tattoo though!), 6 x FEC100, RT x 15, lasted 10 months on Tamoxifen - no further treatment. 

Back to work after 7 months off and always felt I was being made to 'pay them back' for the time I had off. 

Had a crisis meeting with 2 of my bosses a few weeks ago and warned them I was on the brink of walking out when one of them referred to my time off work as my "cancer holiday"! He quickly corrected himself and laughed it off but it grew and grew in my mind and what with many, many other last straws I walked out last week.

Now, I'm not sure I will take it any further (it's a small private business, no union reps, small working world, don't want to burn any bridges etc) but I feel incredibly sad that I have had to walk out of a job I'd been in for 12 years (qualified for for 18 years). It could be the end of my career in that field as I am so bone-crunchingly exhausted with the whole thing, I can't see me wanting to work like that again.

Should feel relieved but just feel incredibly sad.

 

Any other wonderfully inappropriate comments been made to people? Cheer me up!