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What do I tell my employer?

9 REPLIES 9
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Re: What do I tell my employer?

Hugs to you MaryJane for dealing with employer so well. glad they have been supportive (sounds crap the HR sending to wrong person tho!)

i was the opposite didnt want to have to keep telling everyone so was glad for them to let the other colleagues know.

it does seem overwhelming when you have all scans/checks in the run up to chemo but once they are out the way it seems to settle down.  i'm now down to blood checks & chemo every two weeks & managing fine so far with work. my employer is allowing chemo days to be taken without using sick leave or holidays so i've been very lucky and can save this for the time off needed for operation in january.

I hope you have something nice planned before chemo starts - i took a couple days off and had a long weekend with friends & family (few gins too).

take care x

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Re: What do I tell my employer?

Hi

Having cancer is hard enough without all the added worries.

I work for a small co who pay 8 days sick at full pay.

I was upfront after my January diagnosis and covid ironically worked in my favour as we are all working from home and even when I was at my worst through chemo, mostly I was able to sit with my laptop.

My boss admitted the impact was minimal to them but it has added pressure as I feel I need to be 'seen'.

I have radiotherapy to go and will need to manage potential additional fatigue and have been told if necessary use some of my accrued holiday - feels harsh but we've all been asked to use holiday (and I have no plans). 

It is a dilemma as health is priority but so is paying a mortgage.

Hopefully you will feel able to work much of the time, from a mental standpoint, it has helped my wellbeing but there have been times when it would have been nice  not to have to worry.

Keep up posted

lou

xx

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Re: What do I tell my employer?

So I emailed my 4 bosses, pressed send and then messaged my immediate manager and asked him to call me when he had read it which he did. Feel so much better for having overcome that hurdle - with hindsight it was just one more step on this long journey.  Response has been supportive but have realised I need to own the message to feel in control so have said I want to be the one to tell others and not just let grapevine run riot. (Was triggered by despite having said this is confidential and please don't pass on was immediately replied to with "hope you don't mind but I've just told..." I did mind. ). As a result although still not many I feel I have spent most of the past two days talking to people about my cancer which is hard.

I have chemo date for next week so can now focus on handing some stuff over to others and not feeling guilty about it - plus bombarded with appointments (CT, MRI, ECG, chemo nurse, covid swab) so can't do much else.

Worst contact was HR who made me cry. I asked them for copy of sickness policy & explained why and they sent to wrong person - my namesake in another part of business.  Deep breath. Move on. One more day.

 

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Re: What do I tell my employer?

Hi MaryJane

its also worth remembering that you are having treatment during a pandemic.

this is my 3rd BC and this time every decision By the team has factored in the risk of Covid 19.  If you have a job that is exclusively working from home then you may be ok to work ( if you feel up to it) but you can’t take any risks that will delay your treatment. When I go for chemo each week my temp is taken twice before I even get thru the door at the unit.  If anyone has a cough or loss of smell or taste then, again, no chemo that week, even if they feel fine.  When I previously had surgery I was signed off for a week.....this time round, I had to self isolate for 2 weeks then was signed off by hospital for 4 weeks ( for a lumpectomy) as Surgery can weaken immune system and makes you more at risk of catching Covid.

I have made the decision to stay off work until after all my treatment is over, but I get sick pay for a year and realise that not everyone gets the same sickness benefits.

With regard to your UTI, I’m sure your antibiotics will have kicked in and be finished before you start chemo..... in my trust you get your pre chemo assessment 7 to 10 days after the initial oncology appt then start chemo the day after the assessment.

Good luck, hope all goes well from here on x x

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Community Champion

Re: What do I tell my employer?

Hi MaryJane, Welcome to our lovely forum but sorry you find yourself here.  It’s really tough at first and each time you tell someone new it’s like reliving the moment of diagnosis again.  I hated having to tell everyone, especially my nearest and dearest.  At work I told my boss face-to-face at the end of the day so I could cry and leave the building immediately after and I left him to tell everyone else in the office as I found it all too traumatic.  You are not obliged to discuss your illness but I found it helped to gain better understanding from my employer.  I managed to work through chemo with a couple of days off for extreme tiredness.  Your employer have to allow you time off for appointments.  I found my work was a good distraction otherwise I’d have been thinking about cancer all day and searching Dr Google.  Here’s cancer research & McMillan info on employment: https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/coping/practically/the-disability-discrimination-act-e... 

https://www.macmillan.org.uk/cancer-information-and-support 

Hope this helps.  

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Re: What do I tell my employer?

Thanks Ladies.  I have oncologist appt Monday at 9 so think I will see what he says but then like the suggestion to email. Line manager is off this week which doesn't help. Am thinking I will suggest I need to stand down as project lead to take pressure off (me & them). Husband says one step at a time but I am a planner & dates sent for MRI scan and CT scan clash with meetings so I can't hide from this. Last two weeks when waiting for HER2 etc I have been on annual leave so able to just talk to family which has helped but this week I am back at work. Am very private person normally so this is tough but will hopefully be easier once I've told them.

Meanwhile I now have a UTI and am on antibiotics so worried this is going to delay everything. Can you have chemo when on antibiotics?

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Re: What do I tell my employer?

Hi MaryJane

i was in exactly same position 4 weeks ago. i just sent an email to my boss and copied CHO, line manager into it. i just said i was emailing as found it difficult to put things to words, explained diagnosis and that chemo, op, radiotherapy be involved. didnt know what order by then but just gave them the heads up - they have been great so far and have been keeping them updated regularly - i started chemo on wednesday and managed to do some work though not the usual - every day is different. wednesday thursday was fine then yesterday i was wiped out. today ive been ok again. 

its difficult to get your head round it at the start but most important thing is you getting better. i hope your employers are as supportive as mine. i still plan to work full time but i'm becoming more aware of what my body needs in terms of rest and the reality of it all. i took couple days off before treatment just to have some time with friends/family before hand.  my boss is looking suggesting to use sick leave/holidays flexible on days need it. been told from consultant that will need at least 3 weeks off after operation.  

lucy

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Community Champion

Re: What do I tell my employer?

Well, Maryjane, there are a lot of ladies out there who felt just like you do now. I’m sure you will get plenty of help to sort your situation . I’m retired, so didn’t have the issues you have. I would say quite firmly, that your health comes first, not your work. No one knows how your body will react to the regime you have described. I know ladies who have continued to work during chemo, and others who couldn’t . Everyone is unique and reactions are so different to the same treatments. I would suggest HR be involved so that you are well informed of your rights and entitlements before making any decisions. Legally you should be supported by your firm at this time. If not, Macmillan and Maggies Centres have dedicated staff who can help with benefit claims. You don’t say what chemo you are having, but some are much harsher than others. Your Onco and BC nurse will be aware of the usual side effects and could advise you. Fatigue, lack of appetite, nausea and insomnia are quite common, so be prepared. The nurses on here can give you some good tips and are available via posts and phone. Wishing you the very best on your journey. 🍀💐🤞

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Community Champion

Re: What do I tell my employer?

Hello Mary-Jane , welcome to the forum .Such a lot to get your head around in the beginning ,very overwhelming .I found telling people very hard - I couldn't face going into the office so I rang my boss and asked her to meet me in the car park and sat in the car blubbing while I told her !!! Could you e mail your boss that way you can think carefully about what you want to say and it's less emotional .I didn't have chemo but from what I've read there will be a lot of factors that impact on whether working alongside it is manageable including how you respond to your treatments ,how flexible your employer is and the other demands you have in your life .Hopefully one of the ladies who have been through chemo will be along to advise .Always lots of support here from people who understand how it feels.Jill x

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What do I tell my employer?

Newly diagnosed. HER2+ so will be chemo first & seeing oncologist next week. Expecting chemo  + herceptin then surgery, radiotherapy & hormones so feels like full works. Very scared & emotions up and down. I need to talk to my work but don't know what to say. Will I still be able to work at all? Office based role but set up to work from home due to covid. I am lead on various projects so can't just dip in and out. Am used to being in control but next few months have no idea of what to expect. So how do I plan anything?  What do I tell them I will be able to do? Want to put head under duvet and hide, not talk to male bosses via skype!! Help.