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