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Working during radiotherapy

12 REPLIES 12
AnnieV
Member

Re: Working during radiotherapy

@adoptedmanc 

Ah thank you for wishing me well for tomorrow. I’m literally counting down the hours. Well done for tomorrow for getting to the end of 15! I am trying to mentally prepare for the tiredness; I am a tired person anyway so can only imagine I will be shattered!

Looking forward to getting out the other side xx

adoptedmanc
Member

Re: Working during radiotherapy

Hello @AnnieV 

Good luck with your first radiotherapy session tomorrow 🤞

I have my final session of 15 tomorrow and I’m feeling completely wiped today. At my review meeting yesterday I was warned that the effects are cumulative, and the fatigue is likely to continue and to peak in around 2 weeks (just as others have mentioned on this post)

xxx

Lisa65
Member

Re: Working during radiotherapy

Personally I felt better during the radiotherapy than afterwards,  my radiotherapy team advised me to take a further 3 weeks off work once the treatment had finished and I am very glad I did as the fatigue was worst from about 10 days after the last session, gradually lifting about 2 and a half weeks later.

But again,  everyone is different! 

Lisa

Chrissy7
Member

Re: Working during radiotherapy

Commencing Radiotherapy in a couple of weeks, following Therapeutic Mammoplasty  2 weeks ago. Planning to be off work until after the treatment is complete.  You mentioned " brilliant cream " for your burnt skin - please could you share the name / supplier of the cream. Many thanks x

adoptedmanc
Member

Re: Working during radiotherapy

I don’t think you should underestimate the psychological and emotional impact of a cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Whilst I’ve had lots support from family and friends, right up until a couple of weeks ago I’d only spoken to people “who know someone who…” I realised that I really needed to speak someone who actually has. 

I finally got a chance to speak to my friend’s mum who had BC 20 years ago which was really helpful who warned me that the side effects of the RT can catch you unawares: I feel OK after my first session, physically the most uncomfortable bit is having to lie on a bed that looks like it belongs in a medieval torture chamber with your arms above your head, I’m due to have 15 sessions and am anticipating that doing that every day for a week will make me very weary! 

AnnieV
Member

Re: Working during radiotherapy

@adoptedmanc 

Yes I feel the same. My first appointments came through in post today & my first treatment is 20 October, 13 weeks & 2 days after surgery.

I feel wobbly & frightened all over again. Been exhausting just to get everything confirmed & now it is in black & white it is really happening. 

The cancer is one thing but the emotional/ psychological drain is quite another especially as you say, not used to being a hospital patient.

At least I am working from home until it’s over & right to do so as letter confirmed should minimise contacts / social distance etc.

My line manager has been pretty understanding so far.

Hope you feel ok after your first session. How many do you have? I have 10; five whole breast and five boosters at tumour site.

xx

 

adoptedmanc
Member

Re: Working during radiotherapy

Hello @AnnieV 

I know what you mean I felt like I was taking things in my stride, right up to the point I went for my planning appointment (!) My BCN also told me some people arrange their appointments around work, but only you know how you feel  

However prior to my diagnosis I’d had very few medical treatments or procedures and I am finding the whole process quite surreal. I don’t know if the fact you can go into hospital for a “procedure” for any number of reasons, however there is only one reason to have a course of radiotherapy, has anything to do with it, but heading into the radiotherapy process did feel a bit like I was dealing with my diagnosis all over again. 

I had my first radiotherapy session this morning: there was a 45 minute wait as there had been an issue with the machine, I have to confess I was very glad that the delay was not going to impact on a return to work/the office. 

If you are able to have a conversation with your work about how it may impact your ability to work I would strongly recommend doing so

x

AnnieV
Member

Re: Working during radiotherapy

@adoptedmanc 

Oh wow that is a quite different experience to mine. The emphasis seems to be on getting back to work / normal as soon as possible after surgery (after a three week sign off) & going by what oncologist told me on phone this week, you can schedule radiotherapy around your working day! Well time will tell I suppose. I mean if you are really struggling with radiotherapy surely they will consider signing you off, but I suppose I would have to ask!

Planning for the unknown is tough 

xx

adoptedmanc
Member

Re: Working during radiotherapy

Hello

As you rightly point out everyone is different and facing different circumstances. I had a difficult time in my head reconciling work commitments following my diagnosis, thankfully I have a very sympathetic and empathetic boss who told me in no uncertain terms I wasn’t needed in work and to take all the time I needed. I got very little help or guidance from my BCN and was told I’d get a sick note from the ward for 2 weeks following my surgery, so in my mind I thought I’d be well enough to return. A conversation with my boss convinced me to remain off work pending my RT. 

At my appointment with my oncologist we established I do the same job as her husband, and she told me if she was me I shouldn’t contemplate a return to work until I was climbing the walls to go back, she recommended at least 6 weeks off to recover after the RT finished: I was very grateful for her advice. 

You also shouldn’t underestimate the affects of COVID (I had it just before my diagnosis and had to delay my initial follow up appointment) I have heard (anecdotally) long Covid is more common in women possibly due to women tending to try and work through illness. 

Hope this helps you, admittedly it’s hard to put yourself and your health ahead of work commitments but if you can afford to, take all the time you need. 

Good luck x

Eglis
Member

Re: Working during radiotherapy

Hi

I went back to work after my radiation finished.  In hindsight, it would have been good to have a few weeks off afterwards as that’s when the fatigue hit me.  We have an inbuilt thing in us to keep carrying on don’t we..... do what feels right for you and don’t rush anything.  The experience is so different for us all.   I was desperate to get back to normal but now realise it’s no longer the old normal.

Wishing you all the best in this stage of recovery.

m123
Member

Re: Working during radiotherapy

I worked part time for the four weeks of rad, then had two weeks entirely off at the end. Fatigue etc builds up so I probably could have stopped work in the last week, but I figured I had to go out for the appointments so I might as well keep up at work a bit. I rested a lot but also went to lots of gym classes (it was all pre-covid).

In hindsight I should have had a more gradual return to work to allow for the fatigue but it was ok.

And yes, drink lots of water! And talk to the nurses if it all starts to get a bit much, in case there are ways they can help. I got a brilliant cream that helped with my burnt skin towards the end.

Shi
Community Champion
Community Champion

Re: Working during radiotherapy

Annie ❤️ Drink lots of water during rads, I had 20 rads and found by 3rd week the fatigue caught up a bit and was having extra snooze in the afternoon. I didn’t work at all throughout treatments. You do what’s right for you and take it a step at a time, get creams ready to slap on for afterwards to help preserve the skin you do end up like a bit of sizzled 🥓 few creams that have worked well are from organics aloe Vera and tea tree gel, moo goo, e45, aveeno but you will find the one you get on with ❤️ Get vest top too so no rubbing being caused by bra if you are wearing 1. Hope this helps, others will pop on with tips and tricks to help too ❤️💕💕Shi xx

AnnieV
Member

Working during radiotherapy

Hi there

This is probably a very difficult question to answer. I am due to start radiotherapy soon and not knowing what to expect with side effects etc, do I just continue working until I feel I can’t or do you get signed off at the outset (like when you have surgery)?

I have arranged to work from home anyway until RT is over as I have come down with Covid despite being double vaccinated. I am now paranoid about catching something else or Covid again before RT starts & finishes & causing delay to the treatment.

Just wondered how others got on with working & RT treatment.

Annie xx