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doctors / senior executives/ headmistresses returning to work


Re: doctors / senior executives/ headmistresses returning to work

Thank you all for the helpful advice, which all makes so much practical sense.

I thought I would be back by now 10 weeks post surgery, still don't have oncotype results (political negotiations)

I need to go back to feel normal. Manager said trust policy 4 weeks of phased return, but since then I spoken to executive directors and occupational health and a longer phased return has been agreed

I think 3 half days of 3 hrs for 3 weeks,
and building up from there, probably will do more admin/management from home
Plan exercise/gym at least 3x week
Rest in the afternoon
i think this is going to take 3-6 months

I should not be deciding at this point whether I should renegotiate my contract to sensible sessions, as it may not be the correct decision for me

What I do know is that it will help my recovery to go back to work and start feeling normal. You will generally know that is the case, it wasn't the case 2 weeks ago

Re: doctors / senior executives/ headmistresses returning to work

Hi, I have just returned to work in stressful long hrs role, (55hrs plus before diagnosis). Started on mornings 3 hrs and 3 weeks on am back to 4/4 and half. Am quite tired but its manageable. Was supposed to go back full time on 16/6 but due to a few issues have delayed this now and being reviewed again on 6/7. I am sticking out for a balanced approach because simply put I am scared of the relationship between stress ( which I was under for most of last year) and bc. So I have been going to the gym in the afternoon and then coming home and sleeping. That's was is working for me, but I guess we are all different. Good luck and I hope your employer is sympathetic and helpful to you. How are you in yourself ? X x

Re: doctors / senior executives/ headmistresses returning to work

Im interested in this thread - bilateral mx/chemo in middle of - due for last on jlu and planning return to work start August on phased return.  Im going to ask for 3 mornings a week to start with as have been hit by tonne of bricks with chemo but have to get back for financial reason (am single parent) - job long hours and stressful.  Im concerned that I wont be able to cope and wondered how you were finding your phased return - is it realistic to suggest 3 half mornings for a couple of weeks - then 4/5 mornings leading to some full days or have you found it better to do full days with days off?  Just wondered peoples different experiences.


Re: doctors / senior executives/ headmistresses returning to work

I had 2 really good days, and thought I could think of going back to 1 non clinical session - been exhausted for the rest if the week
I think you are all right, need to take my time!, and take it slower

Re: doctors / senior executives/ headmistresses returning to work

Devils advocate here.

It is possible that you may have a swift recovery, and you may be back at the helm with minimal disruption.

One thing i have learnt is to listen to my body and my needs. The breast care nurse seemed.really disappointed that I was still so fatigued and this resulted in my feeling a double failure for not re-engaging with.my former life more rapidly & being fatigued.


Be kind to yourself, especially if your decisions affect others lives.


LL xx

Re: doctors / senior executives/ headmistresses returning to work



as you say your return will depend on Oncotype results.  3/4 months probably isn't long enough.  I found the psychological impact massive.  I work in Community Mental Health Services with Enduring mental illness, forensics and subsance misuse.  Big responsilbilty and need to think clearly, make rapid accurate decision.


I had 6 x FecT100 during which i worked (i was not client facing) then wle x 2 followed by m/x then rads. I took 8 months off work and returned on phased


  • 2 x half day week 1
  • 3 x half day week 2

Very slowly increasing to 4 days over a two month period.  I have since had some further reconstruction surgery and took 3  months off.


It is two years since i finished Chemo and continue to suffer fatigue, have had every alternative therapy known to man, counselling, mindfulness etc..... 


I have very much had to be kind to myself and take cues from my body.


Hope this is helpful.  Take Care  Gilly x

Re: doctors / senior executives/ headmistresses returning to work

Thank you lexicon. Very helpful advice
N x

Re: doctors / senior executives/ headmistresses returning to work

Hi all,

Once referred to occ health and asked pertinent questions about my health, work, social support a very detailed plan was devised, essentially increasing sessions by half a day a month. Due to the fatigue i experienced this sounded challenging, to anyone fit i have no doubt it sounds stupidly slow.

Occ health also stated as hours / work patterns increased, fatigue would worsen a little as stamina builds.

I have spoken with ACAS, Macmillan, Breast cancer care, my union - all brilliant sources of consistent advice, not just opinion, and found the EMPLOY charter on this site a great tool.

Good luck with your return to work i hope it is ss smooth as possible for you.


Re: doctors / senior executives/ headmistresses returning to work

thank you for your reply, i am senior clinician, clinical director etc.. in an acute speciality.
with bilat mastctomies i have been told that i no longer need radiotherapy, and as i was node negative, chemo will depend on my oncotype which is awaited. i am assuming that i will not need chemo at his stage
the difficulty is balancing clinical duties - which ones, with senior management roles. It may be easier to start with management and then clinical. Does 3-4 months sound too unrealistic?

Re: doctors / senior executives/ headmistresses returning to work

Hi NA123 I hold a very senior position in the NHS. I also have clinical background. You do not say if you are having further treatment? Idol lowing surgery am currently having chemo and I have decided not to attempt to work. Some ladies do so personal decision. My decision was largely based on the fact I have felt too unwell and that my job needs to be fully on top of my game. I would suggest phased return needs to include adequate gaps between days ie 1 day then 2 days off. We cannot escape the long hours but gaps between should help.

doctors / senior executives/ headmistresses returning to work

i'd love to here from women in emotionally demanding,highly responsible positions with need for rapid decision making, long hours of work and management and admin at home
how much time did you take off?
phased return ? what does that mean under these circumstances?
the emotional impact of the diagnosis, and effect on confidence and self belief and how that impacted on return to work
6 weeksof phased return does not sound long enough when being back at work means 10hour days, plus additional paperwork and meetings
at the moment i could not contemplate work, but i want to be realistic when approaching it. currently 4 weeks post bilat mastectomy, with immediate reconstrction - i thought would be feeling much better and returning at 6 weeks but....