CSN Login
Members Online: 8

Working during radiation

ameryan7
Posts: 7
Joined: Aug 2013

I was wondering if anyone can talk about the likelihood of being able to work during the lastar adulation treatments?  My radiologist insists it is going to get much more difficult, but up till now (11 out of 30 treatments), I'm still working with a few side effects.

ameryan7
Posts: 7
Joined: Aug 2013

That should have said "last radiation treatments".

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

Ameryan7, Usually, the last weeks of treatment, you will have radiation burns, fatigue, and diarreah will be constant. It would be pretty tough to go to a place of employment. You might be able to work from home. I would suggest taking the last two weeks off. Also, it takes time for the burns to heal. I would also suggest taking two weeks off after treatment, at least.

I hope the rest of your treatment goes well!

Jo Joy
Posts: 39
Joined: Oct 2012

Let me just preface what I am about to say with this: If you can take time off from when you get the second round of chemo to three weeks after your last radiation treatment - Do it!

I did not have the luxury of being off because I was changing jobs at the very end of my treatment.  The new job is my dream job and it was critical that I start when I did.The new job is a 3 minute walk from home. It was also during the holidays so I had days off at the very end. The new job started me with 3 weeks of vacay and 2 weeks of sick leave if I had needed it.

I am also a person of faith and prayer really works! I'll answer questions if you have any more. 

Jo Joy

 

 

eihtak
Posts: 809
Joined: Oct 2011

Hi, as I'm sure you already know, everyone is different and so difficult to predict how one may react to treatment. But.....I think its fair to say that most of us (not all), but most did not work during the later part of radiation. The burning associated side effects tend to get miserably uncomfortable, making even wearing certain clothes an issue, not to mention going to the bathroom in a public restroom! Along with this, the possibility of picking up infections due to a weakened immune system. I for one, was hospitalized by week 4 with some minor complications so did not work at that time. Some though seem to have been able to work but maybe with a shorter day or lighter schedule depending on the type of work. I would suggest if at all possible to plan to take some time off. Things seem to change rapidly, one day doing great, and the next not so much, but eventually bouncing back again. Sometimes our choices are limited due to financial concerns, insurance, etc., but if you can make it work to "not work"  for a little while your body may thank you! I'll be hoping all continues to go well for you and have you in my thoughts and prayers.

ameryan7
Posts: 7
Joined: Aug 2013

Thank you for your responses!  I work at a faith based social service agency and they have been AMAZINGLY supportive.  I have prepared for things getting bad, it is just difficult to explain to anyone other the individuals on this board.  No one wants to hear about rectal cancer!  They see me plugging along and want to schedule additional assignments and I just like keep trying to explain without explaining!  I may just have to be a bit blunt!  That would probably prevent other questions!

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

I would think it would be enough to tell them that you are undergoing cancer treatment and that you are not up to any additional assignments. Hang in there!

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 2823
Joined: Jan 2010

I was not employed at the time of my treatment, but I would not have been able to have worked through the last half of my treatment.  I was terribly fatigued and had horrible diarrhea.  I agree with Marynb--do not let anyone put more on your plate at work and make it known to your supervisor that you may have to cut back your hours or take a few weeks off.  I hope you can work it out so that your body can rest and recover.

Lorikat's picture
Lorikat
Posts: 551
Joined: Jul 2011

Ditto, Martha.  Could not have worked the last two thirds of the treatment!

thankfully I didn't have to.

 

jcruz
Posts: 206
Joined: Jan 2013

I think you should expect it to get worse and then hope that it doesn't.  I was already on medical leave when my treatment started but I know that there would have been no way for me to work past the 2nd week of treatment.  Fatigue and pain and then the burns just got worse and worse.  Seems to me that all you have to do is explain you're getting cancer treatment and ask for accomodation. Take sick leave or go out on disability.  Take care of yourself.

Bill158
Posts: 18
Joined: Apr 2013

So sorry to hear you are going through treatment now.  I was able to work through radiation treatments but did miss one shift as I was in the hospital when my white cell count went below one after the 2nd round of chemo.  The last 3 weeks were miserable, and painful, and it was tricky rigging up some sort of dressings for my radiation burns that would keep everything from rubbing together when I walked and sat down, and at the same time not falling off and coming out of my pant legs when I was seeing patients.  My burns were open and weeping alot so I had to use a lot of maxipads so I wouldn't soak through to my scrubs, and towards the end my doc gave my some mepilex pads that would stick to the open areas and the foam on them would absorb a lot of the liquid that was leaking out.  I could rinse them out with water, let them dry and reuse them a couple times.  These really helped with the rubbing problem since I could cut them to fit the areas I needed to cover.  It was very difficult, but it was doable.  I have a high pain tolerance, and Ibuprofen seemed to help a lot for me when I was working.  Good luck with the rest of your treatments. 

bill

sueb57
Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2013

My doctor advised me that by week 2 of radiation it would be a bad idea. I had surgery first, then that recovery period before the chemo and radiation started, so was on medical short term disability already when the treatments started. I am really thankful that I have the disability available as every day is different and I travel a far distance (100 miles)by train to my job, and it can be stressful keeping up with my schedule when I am well, let alone when not. I could not have done it!! The 4 days of constant chemo the first week were debilitating because of chest pain, and the diarreah was not enjoyable, nor was constipation. At week 3, am finding that I once again need to be within close distance to a bathroom as from the surgery and having to take public transportation once the train pulls in would not be a good thng in case of an accident. I would have gotten nothing done at work, let alone having to wear work appropriate clothes as this is now impossible. I am a tough broad they tell me, but really a whimp at feeling not my self. My radiation schedule won't let me do much anyway, so better off to destress, stay home and take care of ones body first if you can. I still check in on my projects, but have passed them on to others to handle day to day. Best wishes for your recovery and treatments, hope you can take the time off.

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 2823
Joined: Jan 2010

I see you have just joined this group--welcome, but sorry you have a reason to be here.  If I am reading your post correctly, you are currently in chemo/rad treatment post-surgery.  Week 3 is definitely when things started going downhill for me.  I was not employed at the time of treatment, so working was a non-issue.  However, for those who must continue with their jobs, I can only imagine the challenges, having had quite a rough time through treatment myself.  I'm glad you have taken a leave and can focus on getting through treatment and back on your feet again.  I hear you about the diarrhea issues--that was my longest lasting side effect.  I hope the remainder of your treatment will go well and that your recovery period will be brief so you can get back on the job.  Take care. 

Subscribe with RSS
About Cancer Society

The content on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. Use of this online service is subject to the disclaimer and the terms and conditions.

Copyright 2000-2014 © Cancer Survivors Network