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Time off work post mastectomy - feeling anxious!

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Re: Time off work post mastectomy - feeling anxious!

Hi Lucy, 

Yea I am a bit worried it’s quite quick but everyone including the nurse on the helpline thought it sounded ok. I’m just hoping that once I get into it and back with my lovely colleagues il feel better again! I was very lucky not to need radiotherapy in the end as all my margins were clear. 
That being said the past couple of days I’ve been wiped out! Bit sore and no energy! Was a struggle to do a short walk yesterday when I’ve been getting out for long walks recently to clear my head and keep active! I’m a bit worried that I’ve got some sort of late fatigue after the surgery, but that was early April. Or it could be the weather I suppose! 
Hope you’re doing ok? 

Becky. Xx

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Re: Time off work post mastectomy - feeling anxious!

Hi Becky,

im glad your meeting went well and you’re happy to have a plan. Just a thought, is there any Lea way if you find it a struggle? It sounds quite quick for a phased return as others have said how tiring they’ve found it going back especially after radiotherapy. Perhaps having that as a proviso might help so that you’re not putting yourself under too much pressure. 

If your boss genuinely doesn’t understand why you need a phased return perhaps explain about exhaustion/fatigue which can become debilitating for a long time after. It can build up even after treatment has finished. I’m sure there’s plenty on the breast cancer now sure about it. 

Min glad you’re taking the nurses’ advice and I hope you get plenty of rest and relaxation xx 

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Re: Time off work post mastectomy - feeling anxious!

Hi Lucy, 

So my meeting with my boss went well and I now have a plan which has made me feel a lot better. I’m going to do a morning on Friday 12th then have the weekend off, then do half days for a week then back to full time. I’m a bit worried it may not be long enough but I have spoken with one of the nurses on this sites helpline and she thought it sounded ok. Hoping getting back into it will keep my mind busy and focusing forward rather than back! The nurse also said to be kind to myself so that’s my plan for the next 10 days or so before I go back. No more worrying/guilt!! 
my manager did ask why I felt I needed a phased return, but I think he meant it as in what are my worries and limitations etc. That’s what I’m trying to take from it anyway and not find something new to worry about haha! 

Thank you for your advice, and to everyone else who had commented 😊 

Becky xx

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Re: Time off work post mastectomy - feeling anxious!

Aww Becky I know that feeling. I had to have monthly meetings with my boss which I found very daunting. I’m sure it won’t be as you imagine, they’ll just want to support you. 

Ive found my confidence/self esteem has completely gone since my op not that I had a huge amount before it. It’s very early still for you and a lot of adjusting, understanding, accepting and a bit of grieving is yet to be done. I really didn’t understand all this a year ago and if I could pass anything on to you is to be kind to yourself. I know I’ve made myself worse by struggling with guilt and frustration. Good luck lovey, I’d love to know how it goes xx 

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Re: Time off work post mastectomy - feeling anxious!

Hi Lucy, 

I guess I feel the same as you in the sense of being ‘dropped.’ I think it would have been really helpful to speak to my nurse in person. 
Regarding reconstruction she told me on the phone that they were starting to have their meetings about them. I think the hospitals by me have not been hit by corona as hard as other areas. She said to ring up to register my interest. I’m not expecting anything for at least a year though. 

Thank you, I’m really hoping to feel more at ease! I’m even worried about having the conversation 🙈 

Becky x

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Re: Time off work post mastectomy - feeling anxious!

Hi Becky

I had WLE and SNB Jan 7th, 15 sessions of radiotherapy and went back to work 1st April as I wanted some normality back in my life. I did a 6 week phased return as per my doctors instructions. Going back to work is very tiring, even during a phased return,  and everything has completely changed due to Covid and Social Distancing.  Don't stress about how long you have been off, take all the time you need physically and mentally. You have been through a lot and need to process things, you will have good and bad days with your emotions, hopefully more good than bad. I still don't think I have processed everything yet and have days at work when I feel I should have stayed off longer as the slightest thing iritates me. Just go with your true feelings and don't feel presurised into going back or guilty about staying off. You need some you time to heal properly

Take care and stay safe xx

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Re: Time off work post mastectomy - feeling anxious!

Hi, 

i hope your manager can put a plan in place for your return as it sounds like it’s something you need. 

Thats interesting you were told to chase the recon up in July. My next appointment was supposed to be in June but that’s been cancelled. I never expected to still be like this a year on and I’m resigning myself to the fact that I doubt that will change until at least next year. 

Ive found not having the next appointment scheduled really hard as it feels like I’ve just been dropped. Then the thought of having the recon becomes more difficult. I really don’t want to stay as I am as it’s quite unsightly so I’ll just patiently wait. 

Good luck for tomorrow xx 

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Re: Time off work post mastectomy - feeling anxious!

Hi Lucy, 

Its such a rollercoaster isn’t it! I’ve just counted the weeks and for me I had my op 6 weeks after my first appointment! That’s mad! It’s crazy to go from weekly appointments to nothing as well. 

I’m beginning to feel like being at home is sending my head round in circles. I’ve got another two weeks off, but I feel getting back to a routine will do me good. I’m hoping to feel more at ease after seeing my manager tomorrow.  But will try not to think about it for the next few weeks! I think it would be easier if it wasn’t for this virus! Was meant to be having a holiday last week which would have been amazing, but obviously cancelled. 
It sounds like you did make the right decision if you’re feeling happier now. 

I too am awaiting reconstruction. Mine was delayed due to the covid situation. My BCN told me to ring up in July to chase it up. Im rather apprehensive about having to go through another Longer op plus longer recovery, but I do want a boob again. No idea how long the waiting lists for such things are!

Thank you so much for your advice 😊

Becky x 

 

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Re: Time off work post mastectomy - feeling anxious!

Hi Becky, 

I was diagnosed in feb 19, followed by a sentinel node op in March & had a single mastectomy in April 2019, just Letrozole after but was supposed to have immediate recon but it couldn’t be completed in the op due to previous surgery. 

My treatment was completed in 11 weeks and to be honest didn’t have time to comprehend what had happened to me. I was numb before surgery and completely fell apart after. I’m still no where near getting myself together now but slow improvements are being made. 

I was signed off during my treatment but after I was no where near ready to go back. I saw my GP regularly and she extended my sick leave which at the time I felt terrible I wasnt coping and going back to work as I should be. To be honest it just made everything I was feeling so much worse. 

My advice would be, only if you’re able, give yourself the time to recover but please take the pressure off worrying about work, it won’t help you. During the time I was off I realised I didn’t want to go back, i no longer enjoyed it and I finally resigned. I’m not 100% sure Ive done the right thing but at the same time I don’t miss it and I’m happier at home. 

I’m still waiting on what recon I can have which obviously has been delayed further so the emotional recovery continues. Only now I’m beginning to realise how unwell I’ve been and as everyone has told me, give yourself time and be kind to yourself. Take care of yourself lovely xx 

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Re: Time off work post mastectomy - feeling anxious!

Aww thank you so much for your reply Jan. 
I’m planning to pop into work tomorrow to see my manager about how a phased return would work. I’m hoping il feel a bit better once I know there’s a plan in place. 
Thank you for the link, I will have a read too 😊 

Covid makes everything harder at the moment. I think I was meant to have a follow up appointment with my nurse, but it was cancelled and I just got lots of leaflets through the post. It’s just weird after going to the hospital every week for like 2 months to then not see them at all! 

Becky X 

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Re: Time off work post mastectomy - feeling anxious!

Hi Becky

I’m so happy your treatment is completed and you are contemplating returning to work. I’m sorry I can’t answer your questions, having no experience myself. But what I can do is say that I believe the emotional toll of a breast cancer diagnosis and everything that follows is much greater than we give it credit (?) for. I had the whole cancer package and I consider emotional and mental wellbeing to have been well over half of my experience. It sounds like you have a wise b-c care nurse (as most of us do) and she’s clearly saying go at your own pace. There simply are no rules in any aspect of the cancer experience - one person carries on working during chemo, another feels like a zombie; one person bounces back after surgery and does all her exercises religiously, another is wiped out by the general anaesthetic for weeks and can bare pronounce ‘exercise’ let alone do it more than twice daily!

You also have to factor in the current worries around the pandemic and whether your workplace is fitted to social distancing (I suspect not) when you have had little contact with the world for 3 months and might be extra vulnerable. Could you consider a gentle phased return, assuming the working conditions are all in place? It’s impossible right now to consider alternative therapies to help you with your emotional healing but I found regular listening to Progressive Hypnosis’s Manifest Healing (YouTube) saw me through my 9 months of treatment and beyond. You might also find something in this article you can identify with. It was posted by a nurse in one of the forums but gets lost so here’s the link: https://www.workingwithcancer.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/After-the-treatment-finishes-then-wha...

The writer really understands the ‘then what???’ And you may find it helps you come to terms with some of the less practical issues you raised. I hope so anyway - I read it regularly.

I wish you all the best as you find your own way to move forward after such a difficult time (understatement but everything else sounded like hyperbole lol). Take care,

Jan x

 

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Time off work post mastectomy - feeling anxious!

Hi, 

I was diagnosed with high grade DCiS in March and had a single mastectomy and slnb at the beginning of April. I was signed off work until the 1st June and after speaking with my BCN she advised me to take an extra two weeks as I was getting sore when doing 10 minute drives - about the distance to work. 
So with the extra two weeks i will have about 10 weeks off post op. I worked all through the diagnosing, biopsies etc and even went back into work after my MRI. 
Even after speaking with my nurse and Macmillan I still feel guilty and anxious  about work. I feel that because I’m not having any further treatment that I should suck it up and get back to it. Just feeling anxious about going back. I work in a busy pharmacy, so lots of rushing about and standing for long periods. Plus dealing with the general public. I’m worried I won’t keep up. Plus with covid as well.

Does 10 weeks sound ok for the mastectomy and biospy? Everyone at work is super understanding, it’s just me putting pressure on myself! I know I’ve still got some emotional healing to do as well, as I’ve been feeling quite lost the last few weeks. But I also can’t remember how I used to feel about work before all this. It’s so hard to know what decision to make! I guess I’m a bit worried that the more time I take the more anxious about it il become. 

Any advice is greatly appreciated. 

Becky x