I posted a fairly depressing story the other week re poor treatment and bullying since returning to work. While that still goes on I have applied for a new job - 3 applications, 3 interviews - job offer on first interview. I was open from the outset about my illness and absence.
They respected that and offered me a job based on experience.
The job is not as well paid, has less holiday and not such a good pension arrangement but has done wonders for my self esteem - there is still life in the old dog yet! It will provide me with a gap before I start applying for other jobs or I may find that financially and emotionally it suits. In any event it has given me the confidence to continue working. It is not the answer for everyone - I know but it is certainly very encouraging and I've already cracked open the champagne!
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Dear Happy Shopper
It is hardly surprising that you have lost your confidence after everything you have been through. You have done extremely well to have coped with things so far.
There does seem to be a common thread in all these postings of lack of sympathy/empathy from employers once you have returned to work.
My own experience was of considerable support by Occ Health and my manager during my absence; total lack of interest, by my manager, in what I was doing for the first few months after my return while I was gradually increasing my hours and now an atmosphere of mental aggression!
Prior to diagnosis I had a temporary position of managing the section while consultants were preparing for restructuring. The plans were implemented in my absence and one of the new positions was ringfenced for me. I was interviewed for the post 5 months after returning. My manager subsequently resigned and the consultant took over as temporary manager. Since this time I have had 'rigorous' discussions with her centering around my suitability for the post and had it been her decision I would not have got the post. Why? I,m too old, none of the other managers want me, the job has moved on and my skills are not relevant, I will become isolated from the younger members of the team if I don't maintain my numbers.
The last two points may be true. The reality is that I have been given a full time job 2 x 50% of different roles. In effect I have been told that the main bit of my job only accounts for 30% of my time and even that is a struggle to justify. The remainder of my time I should be asking my colleagues what support I should be giving them! So here I am previously the manager begging for work from my colleagues to justify my existence and prevent me being isolated from the team because I haven't delivered as high a return as them! There isn't the work available to deliver that return.
I am now applying for other jobs but this is not going to be easy - being 52 with a head full of grey chemo curl! The salaries on offer for the types of job I am interested in are much less than I currently earn. My mind is full of self doubt as to whether I can actually do another job and it is very difficult to stay positive.
Ideally I would like them to accept that there is no real role for me and make my post redundant. This is a strange request in the current climate but it would certainly reduce the work stress and is financially more comfortable than handing in my notice without a job to go to. However with 26 years in the pension scheme this is something they will be reluctant to do. Any advice on how I could persuade them of the benefits to them of this course of action would be much appreciated.
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How fantastic to hear stories like this.
Throughout the treatment we often think we are the only one in the world going though this dreadful process and it is so helpful to hear positive stories of people who have come out of the other end of the tunnel. Being the 3rd generation female cancer sufferer (there being no medical or genetic link between our cancers) I hold on very tightly to the fact that both my mother and grandmother were a lot older and in the case of my grandmother have access to treatment not available in her time.
It is of great comfort to hear the success stories providing hope for all - keep them coming.
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I was sent for routine CT and bone scan last week in preparation to starting chemo on Tuesday. It is a bit scary not knowing the outcome although onc said that there was unlikely to be anything of concern. I had 1 node from 18 affected and some spread to tissues beyond original lump Grade 2 classification. They considered ECT but decided against since I have no history of problems.
I know that we are all different but there does seem to be a different approach depending on where you are treated.
All the best
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I'm a careers adviser in a university and mum to 2 lovely teenagers and wife to a wonderful husband.
On a positive note with my current health is that I am at home more and able to spend more time with them all as well as giving me time to re consider my priorities and values. Am considering some serious life/careers changes when I complete the current treatment plan and as a careers adviser seem surprisingly incapable of helping myself! Would love to know what others have done to change their lives following cancer?
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Wow this is a fantastic list. Still nervous about first chemo on Tuesday 17th but have an ample shopping list to keep my mind off things.
Was referred to local cancer care support centre who offer alternative therapies and have booked for reflexology a week after first chemo. Will let you know how I get on. Tried Reiki today - but will reserve judgement as to whether it was really for me.
Many thanks to all of you from whom I have gleaned ideas for self preservation for the duration of the chemo!
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This is a first for me - contributing to a discussion board! Having read the entire sequence of events I just wanted to add to those comments of support from all the others.
My situation is further along the line than yours - I have had the surgery and begin Chemo next week. Have been lucky to be in a supportive environment without the type of issues which you are currently experiencing. I did feel however that I have some similarity to you in that I have two girls 12 and 14 - who we have kept informed all along the way. At first I was concerned whether they were old enough to understand but the understand at their level and ask questions where they don't understand. They never really got worried until I went into hospital but having been home for 5 weeks now have returned to being relaxed. When I asked my older daughter to let me know of any concerns she said that she would start worrying when I started worrying! I must be a better actress than I thought! My conclusion was that children are much more resilient than we give them credit for. It is important to them to see their loved ones happy as that gives them security but on the other had they would feel let down if they were not included in our journey. They have both lovingly provided support ( my younger one gives me foot massage now and again!) and are growing up in the process to understand their need to take greater responsibility for the running of the home. I believe that whatever the negative side of what I am going through they are gaining benefits in shaping them as adults of the future. I also feel that by including them at this stage it will make it easier in the future - if the seas should get more stormy as it were. I savour every moment I spend with them and the whole experience has brought us closer together as a family.
As regards the PC - surely Rob the nob is in such debt to you the ownership of such an item should not be up for discussion - does he have any other valuables you could suggest he leave behind so that you can recoup some of the debt?
As everyone says seek the support of your friends. I have been amazed at the notes of support I have had from friends with whom I had nearly lost touch. All have offered practical support in some way - even at a distance. I believe that they would be really offended if I didn't take them up on it. Even neighbours, who I scarcely know, have offered to help with shopping or inviting me in for a coffee & chat - and you often find that taking up these offers of help benefits both of you in different ways - so don't think that you are being demanding on them. They wouldn't offer support if they didn't mean it and you often find that all these contacts have really positive stories to tell which help your confidence in facing the next stage of the journey. One friend has put me in touch with a friend of hers who has just been cleared five years on having had a similar diagnosis to mine!
Will be thinking of you this week Chrissy you have a lot on you plate but you seem to have found that inner strength I have heard so much about in these circumstances which carries you through. Cherish your family and support network I am absolutely convinced they are happy to share your journey and support you through the times ahead.
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