Hi there, I'm in total agreement with this being up to each individual. Nobody should feel under pressure to go back to work before they feel ready. It's a difficult one though, as once you start to feel better it's tempting to think about getting back into those routines we had before treatment started. I think it's really important to consider that feeling okay going about life day to day can be a million miles from feeling okay doing a day's work in an office/school etc, particularly if you cannot take breaks whenever you feel the need.
I was diagnosed with TNBC in Feb this year, started chemo in March, 3xFEC then 3xTax, surgery in August, then 15xrads which finished on 14th Oct. I'm planning to go back to work in January on a phased return. However, I have said to my HT (I'm a primary school teacher) that should I get to the end of the year and feel that I'm not ready, I'll be extending my sick leave. I'm going in next week to discuss phased return and start to get my head round everything again. I've also heard that my council have what's called 'keep in touch days' which are paid days when people who've been off for a while can go into work and spend some time becoming familiar with the workplace again - for me, probably getting computer access set up again, looking at new developments etc. - so I'm going to ask about that and see whether I can use a couple before Christmas to help me get the feel of it all again. Maybe worth finding out if other
I was diagnosed in January 2014, surgery february, chemo ended in August and Rads in September. When I was diagnosed the BC nurse said if I had Chemo to expect to be off work for at least a year.
I didnt believe her but I do now. nine months on I still feel very tired and cant see me going back to work till the new year. However I also feel that I need to get back to work to get some normality, I will get a phased return, my manager has been brilliant and I know that I wont be pushed by him to return early.
Throughout my treatment I have been constantly been told that everyone is dfferent and what works for one does work for another. So for me, the return to work question is about listening to my body and how I feel, being honest about how I feel to myself and my manager, and to not feel presurised to go back to work too early. I just hope I can follow my own advice.
Hi Gill. Thank you for your reply. I am going to talk to my head teacher about going back to work on a phased return. I keep hearing they are eager for me to return though but I am not going to rush into it. At the moment I haven't been able to start radiotherapy as I've had a seroma and a wound infection. Hopefully when I see my consultant tomorrow he will say I can go a head with it. I think it's going to be November now before I can start the 18 sessions allowing for the 2 weeks planning. Take care, love Sheila
I think this is much too early personally. I had surgery, chemo, rads finished jan this year had 7 months off went back March 2014 phased return but i felt that this was the time i need to be at home to recover fully. So really only had I month after all treatment was finished. Unfortunatlely i wasnt in a position to stay noff work any longer than 6 months due to then being on half pay. You do get very tired and I know it is good to get back to normal but I would give yourself more time love Gill
Hi. After reading the responses to lisacs question I am wondering if I am being too eager to return to work. I was diagnosed in March this year and started chemo in April followed by surgery in September and now waiting to have radiotherapy and start on Anastrozole. I was intending to go back to work after Christmas. I am a teaching assistant and was told to stop work as soon as I wa diagnosed because of the risk of infection from the 4 to 6 year olds that I worked with. I know I am very fortunate to have long holidays but it is a very demanding job when I am there and the only break I get all day is 30 mins at lunch time. I am now wondering if may be I am being a bit unrealistic after reading this thread and may be I should give myself more time.
You will need to be assessed by occupational health because you have been off sick for a long time and they will almost certainly recommend a phased return. Has anyone apart from your boss been involved in discussions about your return? If not then you should talk to HR. It doesn't sound right that your boss is talking about a change in your work patterns at this stage.
The only other think I can think of is that there will be a limit to how much sick pay you are entitled to and you need to know if you are in danger of hitting that limit.
Your employer should have all this information set out, ask for a copy.
I also work for my local council and i returned to work on a phased return agreed by HR and their doctor. I then used up my outstanding annual leave. So I have spent the last 6 months as part time. Have a chat to HR and see what they can offer.
Good luck, Kat x
Mid Jan this year I had a lumpectomy because of grade 3 stage 2 breast cancer. I then had 6 rounds of chemo 3 weekly, 20 bouts of radiotherapy, am now on Tamoxifen for 5 years. All this has left me fatigued, aching; probably effected my fibromyalgia, nerve damage, inability to get a proper nights sleep. Believe it or not I am OK with all this; better than the alternative, but I feel no where ready to go back to work in any capacity. My boss is trying to make me go on to nightshifts, something I didn't have to do before! I am still on long term sick but am beginning to feel that others think I should be thinking about going back soon. Why? How do I convey in a way that makes people understand this is not possible and may not be possible for a long long time; going by documented side effects and issues. My boss even said " I'll cut to the chase, when are you back?" I wanted to swear at him. I've told the union if and when I go back I want a new job; I work for the local council and believe there must be a job out there that will fit in with my new needs I.e. reduced hours and no shift work. I'm wondering if anyone else has been in this position and what happened? How long were you off?