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WORKING & CHEMO

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Re: WORKING & CHEMO

I carried on working during my chemo earlier this year, but I had a couple of days off each cycle then worked from home the rest of the first week. I also tended to do slightly shorter days. For me it was important to carry on doing something normal, but it was only possible because my work was supportive and was happy for me to do whatever I felt up to.
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Re: WORKING & CHEMO

Ooops sorry geeG x
Member

Re: WORKING & CHEMO

Very well put Ggee.
I've chosen not to work as work in community with famiies & children. Also can be emotionally stressful at times so no brainer for me. C x

Member

Re: WORKING & CHEMO

Thanks Jo - it was getting a bit confusing…

Working thru chemo cycles? It is increasingly clear to me that some can; some want to; some can't… Depends on your job, your Life, your personality, your coping mechanisms … your support factors … and your body's responses… (and you just have to accept that if Body sez "No" - then "No" it is… Sometimes You Just Have To Put Your Feet Up And Be Gentle WithYourself…) … and what is possible and 'do-able' one cycle may not be so next cycle.

I am fortunate to have very supportive managers and HR dept, a 50% hours agreement for the duration of chemo and radiotherapy, and the flexibility that this can then be more or less hours according to what I feel able to/want to work … … would Everyone could be so fortunate…

For Christmas, give yourself the honour of being Your Own Best Friend. … (along with your other Nears And Dears of course…). Hugs … x
Member

Re: Working during chemo

Hi all,

 

As pointed out by Geeg we had two threads running with the same topic so I have merged both together, hope you all find this okay.

 

Best wishes

Jo, Moderator

Member

Re: Working during chemo

Thanks for pointing that out Geeg  I will have a look and try to sort it.

 

Jo, Moderator

Member

Re: WORKING & CHEMO

Still doing okay about to start rads. still working ..The full 11 hours most days...but will go with my body and call on help again as I need it..
hope your doing okay.
Member

Re: Working during chemo

I've also worked right through as a childminder with oncologist approval. as already said I was told most risk is from within watch food injury and mouth wear gloves and I had parents who agreed to keep sick children away. I also run a toddler group.
I did have tiered days with more sleep and another childminder stepped in but only on week one an hour or two a day. managed without any illness...
only the side effect ones.
hope this helps.
Member

Re: Working during chemo

Note to Moderator - there seem to be 2 threads with exactly same title - it is a bit confusing… anything you can do?
Highlighted
Member

Re: Working during chemo

Hi,
I worked during chemo, I had mine in 3 weekly cycles so used to take the chemo week off, I only felt ropy for a few days so i was quite lucky, my little girl was 3 when I was diagnosed last year and we managed to keep a fairly normal family routine going. I found working wad really good for me I felt so much more normal when I was there could walk out the door and leave the cancer at home!
Good luck and best wishes,
Emma
Member

Re: Working during chemo

Hi Toastmybrain

 

Your name is very apt to how I have felt the last couple of days, but like you am beginning to feel slightly less nauseous this evening.  Mmmm mixed fresh fruit juices sounds lovely, I have added that to my shopping list thank you, I have been struggling with fluids!

 

I understand what you say about being a bit confused and discouraged to return to work by people, the thing is that they really do not know how they would react if they were in our position, it was the same for me, but I made the decision that I feel was right for me, like you I am no workaholic.  All we can do is try it and see!

 

I wish you well when you go back to work but dont beat yourself up if it doesnt work out for you.

 

My very best wishes xx

Member

Re: Working during chemo

Hi toastmybrain.......I worked full time throughout chemo and radiotherapy from March to August over 2 years ago, as a school business manager, with the full support of my Onc.

Due to my working environment, she was very strict about the days I didn't go into work, the 'nadir' or low white blood cell count days. I had FEC-T. For FEC it was days 10-14, although I was extra careful and used loads of anti-bac hand sanitiser on days 8 and 9 as two of the FEC (can't remember which ones) have a very slightly earlier 'nadir' start date. For 'T' (Docetaxol, Taxotere) then the 'nadir' days are a little earlier on 5-9. The advice she gave me was that we are more at risk from ourselves than others during these low periods as even with the most meticulous care, avoiding crowded places, people with colds etc.....germs are everywhere!!! I followed a 'pregnancy' type diet i.e. no shellfish, unpasteurised foods, runny eggs, soft cheese etc., wore gloves when doing housework or gardening etc. to avoid cuts and grazes; drank plenty (cranberry, barley drinks) to help prevent urinary type infections, and kept mouth scrupulously clean as mouth ulcers can quickly become infected (particularly if masked by oral thrush). I did tend to avoid very crowded places but as germs can live on most surfaces for many hours anti-bac became my best friend! I managed to work for approx 8/10 days out of 15. As the effects of chemo are cumulative, and when I changed from FEC to T, I did get increasingly tired and more slow towards the end. The best advice I can give is to do what feels right for YOU. Give working a try if you want to......see how it goes and adjust if you can. There was no way I could have been signed off for months, as I needed to retain a level of control as my body felt like the property of the hospital!!!! In hindsight I wouldn't change my approach as it worked very well for me. The Deputy Head was very supportive and I occasionally went home early, came in late or just worked half a day when it got too much! Staying at home brooding and worrying, and coping with a prolonged absence and phased return would have driven me loopy......Hope that helps, at the end of the day though it is YOUR decision and yours alone. All the very best for your treatment and hope that whatever you decide works well for you......At times, I almost felt 'guilty' going to work rather than being 'signed off' however I am totally at peace with my decision and it definitely helped rather than hindered my recovery......take care x
Member

Re: Working during chemo

Thank you J sol.

 

I am at home at the moment and i look to return to work from next week for as long as I can. I am not a workaholic but work defines me as a person and that balance in life is what i am looking for. Same as you, i have a very flexible work environment that allows me to choose my time and date , but so many people said stay at home and prioritise your health. So i felt a little bit confused and discouraged to return to work. But thank you for your reassurance, it really helps to know what other people are doing and how it worked for them. So far I am on my day 3 after chemo and the quiziness is beginning to wear off, especially after plenty of mixed fresh fruits juice, it really helped... Hope you can carry on and keep strong and soon will be all over, isn't it?

xx

Member

Re: Working during chemo

Oh, thank you Chascat. My girl is 4 too and i really don't like the idea of not being able to have fun with her. I go to soft play very often but was dreading to keep away. I suppose you're right, you got to do what you got to do and yes, sitting at home is dead boring. Is only so much you can reach fro home and all my friends and family carry on with their life, i feel so so left behind... But I don't want to risk it either so i really needed to know what everybody else have done during chemo. Thank you

x

Member

Re: Working during chemo

Hi.  Like you I had my chemo on Friday 5th but it was my second one.  First time round I had it on the Thursday went to work on Friday feeling ok but felt rough as rats for a few days afterwards so took a few days off work.  This time I feel the same and have therefore cleared my diary for Monday and Tuesday and hope to go back on Wednesday.  I had the same response as you from the chemo nurses to the oncologist that it was my decision whether I continued working or not, they certainly didnt discourage it. 

 

I aim to continue to work as much as I can but am also determined to listen to my body, so if I am not well I will not be going to work, work is important but your health is paramount.  I am lucky in that my boss has been very supportive and is happy for me to dib in and out when I can, I have worked for him for 15 years and he knows I dont have time off unless necessary.

 

I was advised and have also decided that if any of my work colleagues come to work unwell i.e cough or cold then it is my responsibility to go home not theirs (day 7-14 is when we are most vulnerable I have been told).

 

I hope you dont suffer too many side effects over the next couple of days and also hope your plans to work work out ok for you, I must admit it has helped to keep me from feeling sorry for myself at home and given me a bit of normallity.

 

My very best wishes  xx

Member

Re: Working during chemo

I should also add that my daughter was 4 when I was diagnosed and we still had the normal family days out etc too x
Member

Re: Working during chemo

Hi TMB, I worked all through my chemo, at first I sat back expecting to feel very ill but apart from feeling queasy for the first couple of days I felt fine, one week after my first infusion I was bored rigid and decided to return to work, I didn't take any further time off, would go for chemo in the morning and go straight to work afterwards. You just need to apply a bit of common sense, I always gelled my hands and insisted that anyone who came into contact with me did the same, nobody minded and if you know here is somebody in the office with lurgy then stay away but i would say if you want to go back and it's safe to do so then go for it. Take care CC x
Member

Working during chemo

Hi All,

I just had my first chemo session and a picc line fitted in on Friday 5th Dec. So far so good apart from the feeling of sickness and a bit drained it hasn't been too bad for me, but i'm sure is more to come. 

I was just wondering if anybody managed to work and continue as normal while on chemo. Considering i don't feel too bad i'm looking to return to work asap. I work in an open office and i love my job however i don't want to risk my health over it. I've asked all the doctors I could and I get the same answer: It's up to me! So i was wondering how this goes in practice. Thanks ladies

Member

Re: WORKING & CHEMO

Hi Jannie13. Well done you  for completing chemo whilst working, your post is reassuring. Now that you are finished with chemo I hope things are going well for you.

Member

Re: WORKING & CHEMO

Hi I finished chemo about 8 weeks ago I've worked right through taking time to rest when needed I had 2 weeks for first chemo to assess side effects have done short days in the first weeks...but I'm a childminder managed infection risks with help of Co worker and great parents who stayed away when any sign of illness. I had 2 hospital visits but not with infection...side effects.
so it can be done and for me kept me going and motivated.
Member

Re: WORKING & CHEMO

Many thanks to all for your comments and advice.  I can see bits of myself in all of you.  At the moment my employer has/is being really supportive, but am beginning to see some signs of frustration. not when I have time off for chemo but all the other things that go with it! i.e, having PICC line flushed through and dressing changed weekly which has to be done by District Nurse who will not give me a specific appointment so it can mean waiting all afternoon, having bloods taken and oncologist appointments.  I was getting quite exhausted trying to fit these appointments around work and then suddenly realised I should be fitting work around the appointments (health more important, easier said than done!).

 

Second chemo done today, a bit frustrating to say the least, had bloods done yesterday, only to get a call this morning to say they had mucked them up and could I go in an hour early to have bloods redone.  I duly arrived at 11:30 had bloods done immediately and then the big nothing until 3pm, I am not good at waiting and was almost climbing the walls with anxiety by the time they got to me.  The thing I find most frustrating is the lack of communication, if only they updated me on status it would have made so much difference. Hey ho, all done now.

 

I have read all of your comments to my husband Terry and he said 'what amazing ladies'.

 

Thank you all and I wish you all the very best with your treatments.

 

Jane

Member

Re: WORKING & CHEMO

Hi Folks - I think the working / not working question is a tricky one. There are so many factors concerned that you have to find your own solution.
Much as we are told when to expect WCC to be low during our chemo cycles it is not monitored closely enough to know exactly where you are at… as my neutrophils have been consistently low the day before each FEC chemo I can only guess that they are consistently low most of the time … so taking the train into the centre of Glasgow during the rush hour, and working as a low grade administrator in a large open plan office, is probably NOT my wisest choice as far as my immunity is concerned… but if I were still working as a physiotherapist in a busy Intensive Therapy Unit and Surgical wards there is NO WAY I would be able to be working just now!
However, I am 'Me' at work, have fabulous colleagues and brilliant bosses in my current post … Occupational Health are also being very supportive, so we have an "aim to work 50% hours if able & don't if not" agreement, plus keeping a record of any extra hours I choose to do along the way which will supply a buffer if I need more time off later on thru chemo and/or radiotherapy.
This is working really well for me - largely possible as my daily responsibilities are fairly low key, easily shared/covered and with no managemental requirement over others.
Initially an 18 month contract post, I was just entitled to 5 weeks full pay/5 weeks half pay re sick leave, and chose to return to work at 4 weeks after mastectomy & DIEP reconstruction. This re-established "being back". Staged return was good, evolving into the 50% arrangement thru chemo and radiotherapy (due finish somewhere around Easter 2015).
I feel good about this and my employer seems equally satisfied. As I go forward into the Docetaxel phase I wonder how this will be (WCC due to be lower is my understanding) - Public Hols and annual leave over Christmas will give me almost a full cycle off work - and chance to find out my response and side effects - and review working strategy for the final 2 cycles…
Having this amount of autonomy and flexibility is great for me - focussing on work has helped me cope with the nausea so far, and I am sure I am more focussed on home requirements and achieve more when I am not working. But it would not be possible for lots of folk, nor appropriate for everyone.
Good Luck in your decision making. x
Member

Re: WORKING & CHEMO

Hi j sol, good luck today. Wishing you no side effects. I think you very brave women. Love Caroline xx
Member

Re: WORKING & CHEMO

Hi girls, following my mx on 20 Oct I was considering returning to work as recovering really well from op & having guilt trip about not being there & Im a bit of a warrior where my work is concerned. However, as I work in community with familys & children I've been advised not to. Also, had first chemo on Tues & had terrible reaction & then theres the old white blood cells dip to consider. So, all things considered I've finally come to terms with the fact that my health is the most important issue & although I am very committed to my work I am not superwomen. The thing is as you mentioned safronseed once we are back to work (phased return or not) tis business ad usual. Unless colleagues have been threw BC they cannot understand the impact. The decision for me been easier I am not the main earner in our house. Dont try to be superwomen girls but I know we are all different & our work really does define some of us. Be kind to yourselves. Love Caroline xx
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Re: WORKING & CHEMO

Hi I decided to go back to work after my first chemo cycle when I knew how it would affect me and the side effects I would suffer.  For me it was the right decision as it was what I needed at the time to boost myself and try to get back to some sort of normality.  I made a list of reasonable adjustment requests for my employer ie firstly that I would not travel to any meetings for outside my own base, I would not line manage any staff directly and thirdly I would start at normal time which was 8am ish but finish when I felt I needed to - this was usually around 2.30pm when I was wacked but still needed enough energy to drive myself home and avoid the rush hour traffic.   I was lucky in that I had a good employer and a job where I was office based and had only small risk of infection etc.    It worked for me and I managed to work throughout and also through Rads which I found the most taxing due to travelling to hospital which was 25 miles away (50 miles round trip).    With hindsight though I tried to do too much and be too 'brave'.  For some reason I felt I had to proove that the cancer/treatment hadn't got me and some days I was so fatigued and unwell I am not sure how I managed it.  So I would say be kind to yourself and don't push yourself too far.  Also watch for workmates/colleagues - whilst mine were very supportive at the begining I did find that they soon forgot that I was having treatment and expected me to do an awful lot more than I could and because I was back at work and looked relatively 'normal' to them they did not recognise or realise what I was going through - my manager was based 100 miles away too so he did not see first hand what was going on either and I was too proud to say I was not coping.    I am normally a very confident and capable person and I also found that the cancer diagnosis and treatments made me lose a lot of self esteem so things that I would normally have tackled head on I found far more difficult.   I did manage it though and only had 3 days off  during the whole treatment process - again I was lucky in that my 'bad days' fell at weekends anyhow.   So in a nutshell don't push yourself too much, be kind to yourself and don't try to be super woman.    good luck x

 

Member

WORKING & CHEMO

Good morning.  I will be having my second round of FEC-T today, must admit not looking forward to the next 4/5 days now I know what its like, although compared to some posts I have seen I think I got off fairly lightly.  Apart from the few days off after last chemo I am still working full time and would like to continue to do so if possible as I found myself getting far too anxious and down being at home on my own.  Any tips from others who are further on in their treatment about continuing work whilst having chemo?