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Going back to work post active treatment

9 REPLIES 9
Maynesamantha
Member

Re: Going back to work post active treatment

Hi,

I've also been told to quarantine for 12 weeks, so that will take me to the end of June. Unfortunately my physio appointments have been cancelled so they will need to be rescheduled once the quarantine is lifted.

I'm planning on a phased return in September (once kids back at school), i'll need to build up to 12hr days, so depending on whether i'm working in a day unit or back in A&E, thinking 6hrs for two days first week, 8hrs for two days second week, 10hrs in the third and then 12hrs in the fourth week. Also only planning on going back part time (2x 12hr shifts per week) this side of Christmas and then if feeling strong enough i'll move to full time in January.

While in quarantine i'm focusing on eating healthy and building my strength up with small exercise classes each day.

 

murphsmum
Member

Re: Going back to work post active treatment

Hi Brumrunner

 

My issue now is that I was supposed to be back at work this month but because I’ve been told to ‘shield’ it’s now looking like June, thought it was 15th but keep hearing it’s maybe been extended til the end of June now? 

I think I should still go back on a phased return as I can’t imagine going straight back working 40 hours a week after being off for 10 months, as it will be by June. Not sure how work will take to that idea.

Brumrunner
Member

Re: Going back to work post active treatment

Please take your time.

I crashed, quite drastically, 2-3 weeks after I finished radio; and was wiped out for 2 months.  Then a slow return.

Graded exercise made a huge difference to my recovery - I would urge you to try and fit some into your day (weight or HIIT in particular)

I wish you well

Chelle56
Member

Re: Going back to work post active treatment

Hi Murphsmum

I too have started thinking about when to go back to work on a phased return. I will finish rads on 6th March and am thinking of returning first week in April as rads nurse said side effects tend to peak two weeks after treatment finishes so give yourself another couple of weeks after that.

I work 3 days a week, 7.5 hrs a day so am looking at building up days and hrs over the four week period eg 1 day first week 4.5 hrs, 2 days second week 5.5 hrs, 3 days third week 6 hrs etc until I would go back to normal pattern from week 5.

You and your body have been through a lot so give yourself time to recover. If you go back and find and find it too much  you could give yourself a set back. You are covered by the disability act so if you start to struggle with your full days you could always discuss the option with your manager of a temporary reduction in hours over a longer time period if this would help.

Remember you and your health are priority, personally I wouldn't make any firm commitments for a return until you see how you are responding to the rads treatment and if you get any side effects.

Sorry the reply is so long winded.

Keep smiling x

murphsmum
Member

Re: Going back to work post active treatment

Hi

 

I’ve started thinking about when to go back to work. My radiotherapy starts on Monday, 15 sessions, I had this idea in my head that I could possibly go back at the beginning of April but having read a few posts re r/t I’m thinking maybe not.

I have spoken to my manager and am going to go into work to see him to discuss how to work it. I’ll definitely be going back on a phased return. I work 10 hours a day 4 days a week (4 on 4 off), but not sure how to work it. I wondered about 5 hours a day four days a week but not sure.

I had this idea that I would just go back and start where I left off. Think I’m probably the only one that thought this as my husband said “I didn’t expect you to do that”.

I think it’s going to be strange not going to the hospital every week, I drove to the city where the hospital is yesterday and felt drawn to the hospital, it felt strange going there and not going to the hospital? I read one story where a lady had said she saw the hospital as her safe place. I know what she means.

Wonky
Member

Re: Going back to work post active treatment

Hi MayneSamantha, 

 

I think Joemic sums it up well (we both returned to work at same time).

Me?

Was looking forward to going back as I didn't want C to define me, I wanted to be defined as a professional who has served the country my entire career. 

 

Shocked how tired I was (and am) physically and mentally. 

 

Talk to your manager and colleagues openly, you may "look OK" and will naturally try to "behave OK" but better to manage everyone's expectations, including your own. 

 

I was told it takes a year to get back to where you were (at work) ; four months in, I am beginning to think that was sound advice. I'm doing OK and have fantastic empathy from manager/ colleagues - they are all encouraging me to be less hard on myself!

 

Difference between 'being off work' and being too much 'in work-mode' - long transition after what we have been through.

 

So, my advice is don't commit to anything you can't take a step back on, keep it flexible. Take all the 'slack' offered to you whilst it is on offer.

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

Brumrunner
Member

Re: Going back to work post active treatment

Take as long as you need.  The NHS will finish you off - and won't care - if you are not careful.

12 hour shifts are truly awful when you are fit and well!

Joemic
Member

Re: Going back to work post active treatment

Hi

I've not since returned to work following active treatment so maybe some of what I have found may help you.

I had 2 surgeries, 6 rounds of chemo and 15 rads. I finished on 4th Oct, I gave it a further 2 weeks for any skin reaction to reach its peak and a further 2 weeks to recover and returned to work on a phased return on 4th nov. I did q day the first week, 2 days the next then 3, then 4 and finally back to full time hours on the 5th week.

I suffered very little fatigue during my treatment but oh boy I hit it big time upon return to work, it was a godsend that I had a phased return. My job is very similar to yours and believe me it is so difficult initially, you're trying to return, catch up with what you've missed, still keeping up with the kids not to mention other things like cooking, washing etc. I had a bit of chemo brain going on too, very frustrating especially when you have a job which relies on your memory so much. Colleagues reactions can also be wearing, not that they intend to be but hey your heads a mush.

 

What I'm saying is it is an incredibly taxing time when you return even if you (like me) are so looking forward to it. Because I had been off so long I had accrued all my yearly leave allowance so have not yet, apart from once, worked a full week. The one full week I did was not successful - although I fulfilled the hours, the fatigue and subsequent meltdown was not so good. I still won't be doing a full week until after the Easter holidays due to bank holidays and rest of my leave. I am shattered at the end of my day and thats 8 hours, I honestly couldn't do 12 after 8 hours my judgement starts to falter and I get too tired to think straight, you will need to think seriously how many hours you can cope with in a day as you need to be on the ball. Being at work is different to being at home, you don't realise how much easier it is to pace yourself at home (even with kids) than it is at work until you do it.

If I were to do it again, I'd have taken a bit longer off before returning - you're very soon back into the role and people soon forget what you were off with. If you can afford to take as long as you can, your body and mind will thank you for it. I'm thinking about dropping a day but am going to give it a bit longer before making that decision. In my opinion 12 hr days are a no no for quite a while.

Sorry for waffling and hope you find a suitable solution for yourself, occie health should support you with this.

Joemic x

p.s I am still enjoying being back at work😊

Anniej
Community Champion

Re: Going back to work post active treatment

Hi, what a dilemma. For me I would get my medical team to advise on my physical ability, then I would check my own emotional status. As the two are so interlinked I feel you need to be absolutely top notch for both. I am very glad I’m retired from my teaching as no way could I have managed myself and the physical and emotional demands of my students. Stress is not good for cancer patients, so you must bear that in mind. I was told that rads can affect you up to two years after the treatment, and I have found this to be true with some pain and stiffness in my arm pit and boob....what’s left of it! 😯 I think you need to discuss a phased return to ease you in, but also the possibility of reduced hours. Your body, as you know as a nurse, has been through a very traumatic experience and rushing back before you are ready , I feel, is not a good idea. Hope you get sorted. X

Maynesamantha
Member

Going back to work post active treatment

Hi all,

 

im coming to the end of active treatment for TN grade 3 breast cancer. I had 14 rounds of chemo, conservative breast surgery and 20 rounds of radiotherapy which ends next week.

 

I'm thinking about when to return to work, I am a nurse and love my job but there is no way I’d be able to manage full time and 12 hour shifts. I’m meeting with OH mid March to discuss rtw, they are encouraging a phased return which is great.

 

I have 2 children (11 and 9) who have been resilient but are expressing anxiety at me going back to work, so I have more than money or job to consider.

 

The main side effect I’ve had throughout is fatigue, I hit a wall around 3pm each day and I generally in bed by 9 each night.

 

Im looking for advise really on how long after active treatment is good to return? I’m thinking May, but my husband is keen for me to rest and go back in September.