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Feelings about returning to work

9 REPLIES 9
lexilou3
Member

Re: Feelings about returning to work

Hi
Macmillan do a fabulous booklet about work, your rights etc. I wanted to return to work but was terribly fatigued. Occupational health wrote a detailed plan gradually oncreasig my hours by half a day a month,,, plan spread over 6 months. I resigned from this position having got to 22.5 hours per week, i felt so stressed and had to look after myself.
waveylocks
Member

Re: Feelings about returning to work

Hi Craigsie,

The cotton wool feel you describe is a se of the treatment. Some call it chemo brain. I find its at its worst when I'm tired so one good strategy is pacing. I try to gently build my stamina up in the hope that I tire less easily. In your workplace make sure they build in a slow phased return as well as regular little breaks -this will help u to sustain. I keep written lists these days as I don't seem to retain info as well. 

Hope it all goes well for you. Xx 

Craigsie
Member

Re: Feelings about returning to work

Maryland and Katy - thanks for drawing attention to the article. Katy I have been getting increasingly anxious and distressed about the 'cotton wool' feeling not shifting as I can't imagine how I could return to work feeling like this, and am worrying about it even though I have a couple of months to go before I expect any pressure from work. I would love to be getting back to doing something productive but probably need to make sure I don't rush it (note to self!!!). 

katyrootoo
Member

Re: Feelings about returning to work

Thankyou ladies.

 

Peter Harvey's- After the treatment finishes then what? made an interesting and informative read- thanks Maryland.

Butterfly318
Member

Re: Feelings about returning to work

Evening Katy

 

I can only tell you how i did my return to work.  I had Chemo first and worked through this,  I worked a compressed week Monday - Thursday  and my Chemo day was Thursday so had that day off each time plus the Friday and then worked from home on the Monday, going back in Tuesday.  This worked OK and kept some nomality for me.  It was tougher than i admitted at the time.

 

I had 3 lots of Surgery (April May and June) Therapeutic Mastopexy followed by Re excision but still not clear margins so had Mastectomy.  I then had Radiotherapy in the early August.  Following this i stayed of work until the January.  I saw Occupational Health who were great, they referred me for a work station assessment, car assessment (Community Nurse) and gave me a very slow phased return over 8 weeks.  week1 2 x half day   Week 2  3 x half day etc.  I thought this was really cautious but to be honest it was necessary.  I felt very fragile.  I worked for 8 months before going off for reconstruction.  I only worked 3 or 4 days (using holidays up) and this was enough,

 

I had reconstruction August 2014 and then returned October 2014 after three months off.  I have since had every alternative therapy know to man, counselling, CBT, Mindfulness.  I try to look after myself and work is important but i am tired a lot of the time.  I am still in there but it is a very different me....... 

 

Do you have an occu[ational Health dept. who can help you set a realistic phased return.

 

Take Care and Be Kind to yourself.  Gilly x

FizzB
Member

Re: Feelings about returning to work

Hi Katy. It's a huge, huge step. Be kind to yourself, take small steps and do just as much as you are able. I felt very similar when I started my phased return and felt panicky and terrified in case the "me" I remembered was gone for good. The relief and confidence that came when "me" returned was amazing. You are still there, but you are exhausted. Give it time and take it easy. It will get better. It's like training for a marathon, it's hard work, it can be painful but it's necessary, it takes time and you absolutely will get there. Healing and patient thoughts heading your way xxx
ChristineP
Member

Re: Feelings about returning to work

Hi Katy, be kind to yourself. You have just completed a triathlon of treatment which is bound to leave you a little more exhausted than you may imagine. Radiotherapy can cause immense tiredness, and typically the worst of that is about 10-14 days after finishing the radiotherapy. After that things get better, slowly. Your body and mind have gone through lots. Be kind to that body and mind. Going back to work is good. It helps recovery and a sense of normality. But please take it easy. And when one day you feel very well, remember to take things easy too, avoiding to get over exhausted the next day having done too much on that well-day. Pace yourself gently.

For me going back to work after my treatment was very important to me too. It was not easy. But worth it. Writing down how you feel each day and keeping a log of what you have done and when you do to much helped me cope with the return to work.

Does your employer offer any counselling or CBT to help you work through this?

Big hug, x

Maryland
Member

Re: Feelings about returning to work

Hi katyrootoo.........can't help you specifically with the return to work, as I chose (Onc thought I was barmy, but supportive) to work in a school all through treatment (with chemo and nadir days off), WLE, FEC-T and 23 rads. On a personal level I felt I needed this level of 'normality', as I didn't think I would cope well with several months off and a phased return to work. After treatment had finished during the summer holidays, I felt that sense of 'loss' almost as no hospital visits planned for months! Also wasn't sure if when I went back to school in Sept, staff would expect me to have miraculously 'recovered'.......luckily they did not! The article below, a bit long, but brilliant, is well worth a read as it helps to put all our feelings in perspective i.e. it's OK to feel like this and it will take time for our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing to heal. It does get better, I promise..three years out for me and life is great....does take time though, small steps, sometimes one forward and two back....hope this helps a little.....you take care x
http://www.cancercounselling.org.uk/Peter%20Harvey%20-%20After%20the%20Treatment%20Finishes%20then%2...

June_BCC
Member

Re: Feelings about returning to work

Hello Katyrootoo

 

Welcome to the forums, this must be a very difficult time for you but you have come to the right place for support from our experienced users who I’m sure will be along to support you soon.

In the meantime maybe you would like to talk things through with a member of our helpline staff who are there to offer emotional support as well as practical information. The free phone number is 0808 800 6000 and the lines are open again in the morning and normal hours are Monday to Friday 9.00 to 5.00 and Saturday 10.00 to 2.00.

 

Best wishes

June, moderator

 

katyrootoo
Member

Feelings about returning to work

Hi there, this is my first post so please be gentle.

 

I had chemo, lumpectomy and radiotherapy for primary breast cancer. Treatment finished 2 weeks ago and I was eager to return to work.  After 8 months, the end of treatment left me on a high and I was ready to take on the world. I agreed to work with reduced hours and turned up for work last Monday. I managed a day and a half before I caved in. I hadn't banked on my body and mind to let me down so quickly. I couldn't think straight and felt like I had let myself and my colleagues down. I have been wanting to return to 'normal' for so long. The shock of not feeling anywhere near 'normal' has really knocked my confidence. I don't recognise who I am anymore. I ache, I'm tired and have cotton wool for a brain. The end of treatment gave me a chance to take control again, but I fear cancer may have stolen something from me. I feel that others expect me to be over it, just as I, myself, wanted to be over it, but I feel like I've been chewed up and spat out again and left to get on with it. How can I return to work when I'm feeling like this? Any suggestions lovely people???