I had about 3 - 4 days off sick after each chemo then worked the rest of the time, mostly from home. I am an engineer with a mainly office job so not so much of an infection risk. I normally travel up to Scotland 1 - 2 times per month for site visits but was strongly discouraged from doing this during chemo. I found I needed to carry on working to give me a sense of at least some things carrying on as normal, otherwise I would have just sat around the house all day thinking crazy stuff and probably ended up in a psych ward.
I didnt work because of infection risk, I work with teenagers many of whom live independently and some of that involves visiting some real dives! I had 3 FEC first and if I am honest could have worked through that. If my employer had allowed change in role temporarily or home working I would have taken them up on it. Then came Docetaxel.....no way could I have worked through that.
By the time chemo was over, though, I was chomping at the bit to get back - I needed some normality, something other than BC in my life.
Do what you can, but listen to your body was the best advice I was given.
Hi.....I'm a school Office Manager and worked throughout chemo and radiotherapy (with the approval of my Onc) as personally I needed to retain a level of normality.....Mar to Jul 2012. Had chemo Tues, worked Thurs a.m. and Fri a.m. then full time except on the 'nadir' days when white blood cell count likely to be low (although I had the 5 daily injections). Think these were days 7 to 14 on one chemo and 5 to 10 on the other (don't quote me on that!). I would say that with the 100% support of my school I managed this pretty well, with some reasonable adjustments, although the cumulative effects were evident by chemo 5....took me 5 minutes to walk across the playground instead of the usual 30 seconds!! Looking back now I realise how much less productive and generally 'slow' I was and prone to silly mistakes! However I guess you 'live in the moment' and it felt OK at the time. For me, and actually for my school, it worked well...I don't think I could have managed a long period of absence and a phased return (too much of a control freak!), the kids (who have special needs) came with me every step of the way.....they are now very proud of my 2cm hair!!! As other posters have said, it is entirely up to you; none of us know how chemo will affect us....I did have some horrible side effects but actually dragging myself out of bed to go work was what I needed! Most mportantly, listen to your body, and do what you feel is right for you.......good luck whatever you decide, and don't forget it doesn't have to be set in stone....x
I'm a staff nurse (and I work where I was treated!). I took exactly 12 months off from my job. I personally didn't cope with being diagnosed at all and apart from the infection risk, just didn't feel I could care for people with cancer when I was now exactly that! A person with cancer! I felt I needed "looking after".
However, I appreciate, we are all different.
Just be aware, that even though on week 3 of your chemo you will feel better than weeks 1 and 2, your immune system is still compromised. And as we know, hospitals are rife with bugs and people carrying bugs. Personally I would avold any places where there are large numbers of people.
Also, week 3 was better for me on FEC than it was on the Taxotere. I still felt wobbly and doddery on week 3 of that cos it knocked me absolutely sideways.
best of luck
I'm a PT working in the community. I was worried about whether or not I would cope ... Unfortunately there is not much scope for doing non-clinical in my job, and I was worried about not being able to be there (physically or mentally) consistently enough for my workload of patients. I was relieved when my oncologist strongly advised me not to attempt it, and in point of fact my supposedly "good weeks" didn't really work out as such when I was on my first four cycles of Adriamycin/Chlorophosphamide. One week was spent recovering from my port surgery, and the following cycle I developed dvt/pe problems! Now I'm on weekly Taxol, and have "good days", but not very predictably, and if I overtire myself one day, I pay for it the next!
My sister in law, however, managed to work through her treatments, at least two weeks out of every three, and her employers let her work the hours she could manage, and leave early or even work from home as required. I should mention that she has an office type job, working in HR.
If you can manage it, and you want to, there are certainly benefits from keeping yourself occupied with something other than cancer! It all comes down to the individual circumstances and personal choice. For many people needs must!!
I start chemo on 4/6/13. I really would like to go back into work during the 3rd week of each cycle provided I'm up to it.
I won't be doing any clinical work (I'm an OT working in an A & E dept) but admin work so to reduce my exposure to colds etc.
Has anyone else managed to work during their chemo?