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stevenl's picture
stevenl
Posts: 587
Joined: Jan 2010

Good morning everyone,

Just wondering if a person can still work when going thru chemo and rad? Seems like most everyone gets pretty sick. Just a question, my mind is wandering a little this morning.

Steve

Dazey
Posts: 86
Joined: Sep 2009

I had 6 weeks of IMRT - 30 treatments - no chemo. I worked full time through out the series and drove myself to and from treatment( 45 minutes each way). I only took off the last week of treatment because of family visiting. Everyone is different - don't look at any one experience as the benchmark. Also, take each day as it comes and be prepared for many wanderings of the mind - best wishes as you embark on this journey - and keep coming back to this board - it has helped everyone! Dazey

Landranger25's picture
Landranger25
Posts: 207
Joined: Nov 2009

Wouldn't of worked for me. I had 3 separate weeks of chemo while doing 33 radiation treatments. Chemo really messed up my brain (chemo brain) and on chemo #2 had a toxic reaction. Spent 3 days taking hydration the following week. I couldn't even watch a 1/2 hour TV show. Just couldn't concentrate on one thing for that long. Like Dazey says though, everyone is different. I had short term disability benefits so I used them. I was off for 13 weeks. Good luck.

Mike

cwcad's picture
cwcad
Posts: 117
Joined: Nov 2009

It would be my suggestion to not work through treatments.

With that said there are a whole host of people that have continued to work while in treatment. These people are my personal heroes. They are certainly tougher than I. Almost three years out from treatment and I have no intention of going back to work. I am still unfit for duty. I am in awe of anyone that continues to work through radiation and chemo.

It can be done. One can walk on a hot bed of coals. But I wouldn't do that either.

stevenl's picture
stevenl
Posts: 587
Joined: Jan 2010

Thanks Dazey, MiKe and cwcad

I can see that no two cases are alike. We'll see if I can walk on a hot bed of coals.

Landranger25's picture
Landranger25
Posts: 207
Joined: Nov 2009

If walking on a hot bed of coals can get cancer out of me, I can do it! (and so can you)

Mike

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8058
Joined: Sep 2009

I went through nine weeks of chemo (three three week cycles) and wven weeks of concurrent chemo/radiation (35 daily doses). I worked and drove myselve the the seven week regime (daily radiation and amifostine injections).

I did work from home during that time and would visit the office weekly. I primarily do computer realted work, so I was afforded the ability to connect from home and use my work computers in a virtual windows setup (just like being in the office and seeing my computer screens)....

I saw many people working on cell phones and laptops while actually having the chemo pumps hooked up to them. In my case I was allowed to do my work when I felt good, and wasn't on a strict hourly regime. Being salary made this much easier for me....

The days that I received chemo I was usually wored staying up until 3 or 4 in the morning, probably from the steroids and other chemicals pumped into me those days. The big plus was I never had to get dressed (working in pj's) and my two choclate labs loved having me home, and I enjoyed their constant loving and affection they were giving me....another side I guess, is that it allowed me to concentrate on something other than being sick. I had deadlines and reports, and had people depending on me. But I also knew that if I was too sick, they were supportive and wouldn't ask me th do something I didn't feel I was up for.

It's doable, but everyone is different, you'll just have to see what works for you.

Good Luck and God Bless,
John

stevenl's picture
stevenl
Posts: 587
Joined: Jan 2010

Hey John, Mike

Thanks for the encouragement guys. I have 2 black labs that are a lot of fun. After
what you said I think I'll give em a quick hug. I know that any thing that
takes this off my mind will have to be a blessing. I am a bricklayer foreman, that
foreman stuff just means that i don't have my trowel in my hand anymore. I know
already that this will be a challenge as my job requires climbing scaffold, Ladders
and things like that. I don't think i have to worry too much ,I work for a great
company and my boss is very likely to just pay me while I am off. Again, Thank everybody for the support.

Steve

Kent Cass's picture
Kent Cass
Posts: 1746
Joined: Nov 2009

Stevenl- my Onco and Rad told me going-in that continued work would not be possible for the duration of the treatment, so it was not really optional. Priority-one is you, and taking care of the C. If you are physically capable, with your treatment specifics, then it seems to me the only cause for caution is the immune system, and exposure to that which may set you back. Your Drs. should have an opinion on how your treatment will affect your employment capabilities, going forward. I did return to work as a metalworking factory Inspector a month after my last rad, but had missed 12 weeks of work. I trust your employers are aware of what a positive-C diagnosis means, Steve. Mine did, and I am most grateful. Again: priority-one is you taking care yourself and the C as best you can.

kcass

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5670
Joined: Apr 2009

It all depends on how you feel, the affects and type of the Chemo with Radiation is different on everyone, some of us can work and some can not. I was lucky my company would allow me to come to work everyday if could make it, even if all I did was to put my head on my desk and sleep; I never missed a paycheck while going through treatment. I needed something to keep my mind focus on beside my problem, so I use work to do that.

Depending on where you will have the radiation I would suggest no climbing anything, my radiation has left me very off balanced and running into the walls sometime, but also remember I have been radiated twice.

Take cane my friend

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8058
Joined: Sep 2009

Tim, are you sure you were completely balanced before, LOL...joking my friend.

Steve, like said above, everyone is different and you'll have to see the affects on you. I went fishing in my boat and enjoyed most everything while doing just the chemo portion.

Once I started both chemo and radiation though I pretty much just concentrated on that. I started losing the majority of weight while on radiation also which lef tme very weak and fatigued. I lost around 45# during that time and a few weeks after the radiation. I primarily survived those last few weeks on water and Ensure Plus, and that needed to be drank quickly after some pain solution, be it Larry's Majic Solution, dissolved Percocets or Roxanol (a liquid Morphine).

I was very week during that time and exercise of any kind was very hard for me..I could perform all of my daily functions, but was easily tired.

I'm seven months post treatment, and at this time other than lessened taste and saliva production, I'm pretty much back to my normal....

John

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5670
Joined: Apr 2009

You go me on that one, the problem is you might be right....

train-nut
Posts: 101
Joined: Jun 2008

Steve,

You may feel like working full time to start and trim your hours as treatment progresses and you see how you react to everything. I suggest listening to your body and not being afraid to baby yourself (my naps were priceless). Best of health to all, Rich

delnative's picture
delnative
Posts: 452
Joined: Aug 2009

And after a couple of weeks, I don't think I could have worked.
I had 30 rads, two rounds of Cisplatin. After about the third week it was really hitting me hard. I was tired all the time, slept a lot, and I wouldn't have been able to keep up the pace that my job demands. (I'm a reporter.) My wife drove me to and from treatments, and toward the fourth or fifth week I don't think I would have been able to drive competently.
Thank God my employer has good disability insurance. I was out for a total of six months and never missed a paycheck.
We're all different, but this is a pretty tough row to hoe. My advice would be, if you don't have to work, don't.
Best of luck to you.

--Jim in Delaware
Stage III SCC right tonsil, lymph node involvement, modified radical neck dissection

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