I have gone back to my 2-day a week job (and I do quite a bit of voluntary work the other days) after 10 months off for chemo last year. I work in a small team, two colleagues are very good friends and one of the admin staff was diagnosed with bc just after me. We are all women and it's a healthcare environment. I tend to tell my two closest colleaguse when there's news and they pass it around for me. Everyone has been really supportive, but don't bother me with lots of questions. Not sure how aware the others are of the implications..
I waver between thinking i want to pack it all in as I have limited time left and what am i doing going to work of a morning!, and thinking that i may have quite a few years to go and work keeps some sort of normality to life, and structure to my week.
I agree work helps you forget about cancer for some of the time.
Think I said this in response to someone else's post - so apologies for the repetition. My immediate boss anda few close colleagues know the whole picture and passed the word around my other colleagues - but not all the implications. As far as anyone else is concerned I answer questions in stages - the universal 'how are you' gets 'I'm keeping fine thanks...' . If they ask whether I'm cured I will say no, this is maintenance treatment. If they want to know what that means (and it's only good friends who ask as a rule) I tell them. After ayear back though I get the impression that most peopel have successfully forgotten the real situation - and that suits me just fine as if they aren't thinking about it them I'm probably not not thinking about it either. It fels bizarre sometimes though to be working on a 5 year business plan knowing full well that it's very probable that I won't be around to see it come true. Quite good really - I can plan anything I want and not face the consequences!
My colleges were just told that I have BC and am having treatment but that was some time ago. they do not know that I know have secondaries or am having more chemo.Well I suppose they will find out soon enough as this time I am going to lose my hair ,which I didnt last time.As I work out in the community and am on my own for most of the time I really don't see a lot of my colleges.But some one is bound to notice some thing.One thing is I have a very good boss and will probabley ask her to warn everyone when it happens so as not to be to much off a shock.
I'm not working at the moment (too tired, can't face it etc) but my job is there for me to go back to should I choose to.
I'd be interested to know how much or how little people tell their collegues about this, as facing the questioning is one of the things that very much puts me off.
Hi - I have just returned to work about 12 weeks ago after nearly 2 years off -I am 41 and have breast cancer with secondaries to liver and bones -though stable at moment- my Gp took some persuading to let me go back. I initially returned to work under Permitted Work rules with the DWP -this means you stay on incapacity benefit, and can work upto 16 hours a week, or earn a max of about Â£88 -they allow you to do this upto 52 weeks. Its a great way to test if you are able to cope with work. I was lucky -with my salary, i only had to work 6 hours a week, and I have done these hours over 3 days and 2 days to get back into swing of things. I am now at stage where I will be increasing my hours (if my latest scan results are ok -fingers & toes crossed!) and so will be signed off sick -GP willing that is, but I understand that you can apply for linking rules where if you becomes ill and unable to work you can return to your previous level of incapacity benefit, without too much fuss. I have to say I have really enjoyed getting my brain to work again, and being amongst my friends and colleagues -its great to be 'normal' again for a while. One thing that does concern me is the DLA -which i get higher care and high mobility and it was given under special rules -ie terminal illness. Some people tell me I have to declare i am going back to work -others say that as my diagnosis has not changed I dont need to tell them -anyone any further advice? Good luck to you Mel -just dont push yourself too hard especially if you are still undergoing treatment! Debbiexx
I'm the same as you Sue that I don't miss work at all and I thought that I would. I've just replaced one lot of work for another lot (which is unpaid!).
I didn't really make the decision not to return to work as it was taken out of my hands as my spine was in such a bad condition initially and then I found out 3 weeks after that that it had spread to my liver.
I'm 53 and enjoying not getting stressed (I was an HR Manager) by other people's problems! My husband also decided the following year (have been out of the work place for 4 years now) to take early retirement and we've been lucky that we can afford it and I know it's not always an option for some people.
I've decided to take early retirement on ill health grounds (I'm 52) I didnt want to get cheated out of retirment time! I must say I love it, shame about the cancer secondaries(bone) but I can't do anything about that.......Sue xx
Glad all went reasonably well, Mel. I went back today after having most of the summer off and am exhausted! Always am though after a break so think it is just a matter of getting back into the swing of things.....Kay xx
started back at work last week and although I got very tired it was ok. But then I didnt do a lot just shadowed someone else to get back into the swing of things.It was good to have something to take my mind off the shit that is going on in my life
I have continued to work, I was off for about 10 weeks after the intial shock and to give me time to get my wig etc but have continued to work. I am fortunate that my job is at a desk or driving it does not involve at lot of standing and walking or it would be impossible.
It is great to get a sense of normality again (or as normal as it's going to get) and to have a bit of banter and laugh with people. Instead of sitting about worrying, however i do appreciate that not every has this luxury and are too ill to work. Obviously if that happens to me then I will stop, fortunately I have an insurance policy that pays 75% of my wages for as long as I remain on the sick so I don't have financial worries when the time comes.
I decdied to take early retirement on ill health grounds after my not good primary diagnosis and tretament. I was 56 and reckoned that as I was probably going to die earlier than expected that I'd like to do some of the things I imagined doing in the imagined later retirement. Now I am lucky to have a casual part time job on an education advice line (days of work flexible...I do 1/2 days when I'm not on treatment and none when I am.) Otherwise I lunch, do matinees at theatre, exhibitions,, read and shop and yes spend a bit too much time on breast cancer forums. I wroked more or less full time for 34 years and I love retired life...goodness at this rate I'll be singing the praises of this being one of the pluses of cancer! I am lucky to have a good pension, no mortgage and a lump sum which I'm working my way through.
One more for the roll call - I went part-time while on taxotere but I'm on Arimidex now and back at work full-time. It's quite a demanding job physically - lots of travel, and I've thought about giving up but like the other responders on here I find it keeps my mind off this nasty disease and I enjoy the interaction with friends and colleagues. My company has been very supportive - setting up overseas offices with video-conferencing for example so I don't have to travel as much - but I do feel pretty knackered at the end of the day. Happier than if I were twiddling my thumbs at home though...
It depends very much on personal circumstances though - it's whatever works for you! I have lung and liver secondaries, none in the bone and I think that bone secondaries are often more disabling.
Good luck Mel
Thanks everyone for what you have said that is the way I feel that I need to be busy have spent enough time feeling sorry for my self (well sometimes I still do).Have a good boss so hopefully will get on ok
I've also worked full time throughout, I have just started my 5th cycle of Xeloda. but will go home early if tired. I also find it better to be busy
I too am still working - with preschool children, 4 days a week. Did reduce my hours slightly in the autumn whilst on Taxol but now on xeloda, am back to my full hours though doing more of the paperwork from home.
As Ruth says though, do go with what feels right for you. I personally find being fairly busy and still doing something that I am quite good at (boast! boast!) and makes a real difference to others, helps me cope with all the other s**t associated with this disease. But others react differently and there is no right solution.
Hi Mel, I still work. I work 32hrs a week driving a school bus and haven't missed. I drive young special needs children and I'm sure there is a lot of germs floating around my bus. I have been lucky and really haven't caught anything. Funnyface
I've got bone secondaries and am still working fulltime. I'm on zoladex/arimidex and bonefos, the only side effects are menopausal symptoms so I have no need to stop work or cut my hours - I'd even go so far as to say being active helps to off-set the hot flushes.
Just remember that treatment; your response to it; and your ability to work are all very individual things - don't compare yourself to others, or even to yourself, before treatment. Just go with what feels right for you.
I have worked full time since secondary diagnosis - but i have had days where i have worked from home as my work is 100 % based on computer and telephone so this is fairly easy to arrange. For me it has helped although it isnt always easy every day listening to people's petty concerns when I have this hanging over my head, it is quite a demanding job but I have managed. I am probably going back to round 2 with the chemo and then I will see what to do. Please remember this - you are covered by the disability discrimination act and your employer is obliged to make reasonable adjustments for you - so maybe they can take out some of the physical aspects of what you do, or you can think about what would be best for you,. When you know your treatment plan you will be in a better position to approach your employer,,,I hope it gos OK and it should as they have legal obligations to make it OK if they can,
I don't quite know my treatment plan But have been off since April and feel that I need as you say some normality to take my mind of this.I am also the only breadwinner and have a morgage to pay. I do a job that can sometimes be quite physical and yes I do get payed if I am off but feel that sitting at home is just making me more depressed .I am having a phased back to work so am only starting back part time to see how thing go. I just wondered how others got on
I saw your other thread about being dx with liver secondaries and I'm so sorry that the scans have shown that it's there. I was dx with bone 2ndaries in April this year. I couldn't get my head round anything for a while and took time off. Once I knew my treatment plan I felt more focussed and wanted to return to keep some 'normality'. I am coming to the end of 4 months chemo and have worked, part time, on my 'good' weeks. I am contract only so, unfortunately, I don't get paid when I'm not in but as my OH is the main breadwinner this hasn't caused us any problems, just a bit less money 😞 When I finish chemo I'll gradually work up to the hours I used to do. My job involves computer and phone work so isn't especially tiring which has made it possible to continue, the only time I've avoided work is on my low immunity days if I'm aware of any colds etc going round the office. I hope when you know what your plan is you can work around it, it certainly takes my mind off things!
have got secondaries and have decided to go back to work is any one else working thought treatment or are you unable to. Some advise please would be help full