PLease do not go back until you feel ready. I too am a teacher and know only too well how difficult it can be. I went back about 2 months after chemo which I now think was far too soon for me. I have now been back about 10 months and I am really struggling. I feel like I am now crashing and maybe this wouldn't have happened if I hadn't rushed back.
You have got a lot to cope with especially now that you have got to have yet another op. The sec comments were at best insensitive. This sort of attitude is also so short sighted. It will be better for you and the school if you go back when you feel ready. Trust your instincts.
I went back to work 12 weeks after my masectomy (I had immediate rconstruction on the same day) I am a teacher. Which was only 13weeks after being told I had breast cancer. For me I needed to get back to work to prove to myself I was well...for some normality. I have young babies and didnt want to accept I was ill. Everyday was exhausting and my confidence was so low. It has not been easy as another teacher has been horrid to me and made my life so miserable. I am 7months post op. Everyday when my alarm goes off at 5.45am I am grateful I am well enough to be getting up for work..but it is exhausting and once you are back thats it. I was told by my head any time off I take now will be investigated but not to take that as a threat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If your not up to it wait, you will know when you are ready. My husband says 'your health is your wealth' x
First of all, like the others have said, don't pay any attention to this woman. She may not have meant it in the way it came across, but she doesn't have a clue what you are feeling and unless she is a surgeon, how the hell does she know what your op entails? She is obviously watching too much Holby City!! Yes, there will be people at work who gossip about you and think that you are milking your time off, or don't think you need as much time etc etc. That unfortunately is the way of the world where "office gossip" can be really malicious sometimes. But equally, there will be people who do sincerely empathise with you. Whatever their feelings and thoughts about you, it is unwise to go back to work until you feel better and I think you will know when that is. I am back full time now, and I only had very minor surgery compared to most and rads, but it has taken me nearly a year before I have felt well enough and even now, I have bad days when I feel exhausted. Having cancer really knocks the stuffing out of you both physically and mentally and I honestly feel I will not be the same ever again. People's sympathy is very short lived also and soon they have forgotten that you have been ill and expect everything to be back to normal.
One thing I have learned though is to be much tougher and much less sensitive. I don't really care what others think of me and whether they feel I should be doing more or working harder etc. Its your life and your well being so concentrate on getting stronger and stuff your stupid secretary woman!
Ignore this secretary woman, she is a fool. And why would you feel guilty? You have had treatment for cancer - you are entitled to time off work to have treatment and recuperate.
There is a nasty modern culture in this country of hoiking people out of hospital within days and back into employment within weeks. Whatever happened to R&R? It takes a long time for the body to heal properly and you shouldn't be pressured into returning to work (least of all by some berk of a secretary).
My onc thinks you shouldn't even consider hoping to feel "normal" until you reach one year since diagnosis. I know some people work all the way through treatment and jog to chemo(!) and well, y'know, great for them - but for most people and certainly people with kids it is a horrendously debilitating few months to try and bounce back from.
I am now 2 months since finishing rads and am finding that my energy levels are improving each week - but it is a slow process.
Ignore people, they haven't a clue - as Valentine says do what you feel is best for you.
Vodka - Forget what the secretary said. She's not the one going through it and she has NO IDEA how you are feeling and what you are having to cope with. You and your medical teams are the ones making this decision and you are the only ones who can make that informed decision. Every job is different. I've just gone back to work after having my last chemo in Dec but I have a desk job which I can get on with in peace. Coping with children is a lot more stressful.
I work only 3 days a week and it has been agreed that I can start with working only 10-4 for the first few weeks. And I'm still exhausted after that. Factor in travelling time as well and you've got a lot to cope with.
Remember your health is the most important thing at this time. Ignote any comments by ignorant, tactless people and do what is best for YOU!
When do you go back to work?
I finished all treatment on 30th Dec 2008. I am still of work as i don't feel like i have much energy also i have pain in my shins and other joints which can be really sore and no pain killer has helped.
I work with children and the other day i had to have an updated disclosure done so i went into the school to hand it in, (i did this as i had to have my passport etc photocopied) and some comments were made by the secretary which have upset me -
sec - is that you comming back
me - no not yet
sec - oh!
it's not so much what was said it's the way it was said. I've been off for nearly a year. i was intending going back after the Easter hols but am due to go back in for further surgery and the people at my work know this. the sec that made the comment - i told her about my next op and she said "well thats fairly straight forward nowadays", but she said it really sarcasticly, "that's key hole now". i said no not for me i've been told that i'll have a cut along my bikini line, she just huffed and said "oh well". The op i'm getting is a full hysterectomy as my cancer is er+ they were going to take out my overies but as i have gyna cancers in my family the whole lots coming out, so it's precautionary.
I would love to be at my work instead of going through this and feeling like c**p.
the secs assistant said that people dread the thought of coming back but once they get into the swing of things they are ok.
I know that, but there is a difference of just needing to get into the swing and being fit enough for that swing and i don't feel fit enough.
i felt that the sec i am talking about was really nasty, or is it just me. I am now feeling guilty about being of work and am getting paranoid that everyone is talking about me.
I went in to hand that form in and say hello to everyone, i went in happy and came out upset.
sorry for the moan.