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Is anyone able to work during chemotherapy

abita
abita Member Posts: 1,076 **

I am just wondering if anyone works during chemotherapy. Granted, I am still recovering from my first surgery, but I am only two infusions in, and even just taking a shower exhausts me.

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Comments

  • abita
    abita Member Posts: 1,076 **
    I expect that this will get

    I expect that this will get worse with my liver surgery and 10 infusions to go.

  • Ruthmomto4
    Ruthmomto4 Member Posts: 705
    edited December 2017 #3
    My husband works

    but he is a workaholic. Everyone is different you need to rest if you feel that's what you need to do. 

  • Tunadog
    Tunadog Member Posts: 235
    Not me..

     I stopped working soon after I was diagnosed.

     I might have been able to work during my Radiation and Chemotherapy (but I didn't)

    After surgery I was thinking I might be able to work.

    After my first infusion I realized I could no longer work.

     I'm now retired/disabled. (I don't need any money)

    I've heard of people working during Chemotherapy. I'd guess it depends on the severity/location of the cancer And the treatment.

  • Trubrit
    Trubrit Member Posts: 5,523 **
    Work?!!!

    I could barely walk.

    There are plenty of folks who do work throughout treatment, and good for them. As for me, I was hit with so many side effects, it was all I could do to go shopping. 

    Do what your body is telling you to do, and if that means rest, then rest. 

    Tru

  • aoccc2015
    aoccc2015 Member Posts: 37
    Everyone is different..i dont

    Everyone is different..i dont even notice the year long trifecta of poison and work 40+ hours on my feet, with 3 of the days every other week with a pump attached. I could quit but I think being on my feet moving constantly helps the treatment for me(like i know anything).  I hope it gets easier for you as it goes, think positive and let the surgery heal all the way.

  • Mikenh
    Mikenh Member Posts: 777
    I worked full-time during Neo

    I worked full-time during Neo-Adjuvant Chemo and Radiation. I also ran once or twice a week 1-2 miles and typically played tennis once a week. But I had some rather severe physical limits and I worked from home most of the time. Sometimes I went into the office early in the morning when it was mostly empty to avoid illness. From what I'm reading from the many here going through Adjuvant chemo, it seems to be tougher than Neo-Adjuvant/Radiation though some had a hard time with that. I think that the cumulative stress on the body from surgery, and an ileostomy make Adjuvant harder. The higher toxicity may be a factor too.

    I just sent an email to my oncologist asking if there are people that work full-time while on Adjuvant chemo and is it the vast majority or a simple majority? I don't expect to hear from him for a few days as he was on vacation last week and is likely catching up on patients but I'd like to get his opinion on it.

    Ruth, it looks like your husband is 40-49 which is about ten years younger than I am so he likely has more energy.

    At any rate, I will find out next Wednesday.

  • abita
    abita Member Posts: 1,076 **
    Mikenh said:

    I worked full-time during Neo

    I worked full-time during Neo-Adjuvant Chemo and Radiation. I also ran once or twice a week 1-2 miles and typically played tennis once a week. But I had some rather severe physical limits and I worked from home most of the time. Sometimes I went into the office early in the morning when it was mostly empty to avoid illness. From what I'm reading from the many here going through Adjuvant chemo, it seems to be tougher than Neo-Adjuvant/Radiation though some had a hard time with that. I think that the cumulative stress on the body from surgery, and an ileostomy make Adjuvant harder. The higher toxicity may be a factor too.

    I just sent an email to my oncologist asking if there are people that work full-time while on Adjuvant chemo and is it the vast majority or a simple majority? I don't expect to hear from him for a few days as he was on vacation last week and is likely catching up on patients but I'd like to get his opinion on it.

    Ruth, it looks like your husband is 40-49 which is about ten years younger than I am so he likely has more energy.

    At any rate, I will find out next Wednesday.

    Thanks,. I confess that i don

    Thanks,. I confess that i don't know what adjuvant vs new adjuvant is. I only know I had surgery to remove my sigmoid colon and the tumor, then started infusions 5 weeks later of oxiplatin, leucoverin, and 5fu. And will have surgery on the liver lesions after 2 more infusions. Then 8 more infusions after the livery surgery.

  • abita
    abita Member Posts: 1,076 **
    Thanks everyone for the info.

    Thanks everyone for the info.

  • abita
    abita Member Posts: 1,076 **
    Mikenh said:

    I worked full-time during Neo

    I worked full-time during Neo-Adjuvant Chemo and Radiation. I also ran once or twice a week 1-2 miles and typically played tennis once a week. But I had some rather severe physical limits and I worked from home most of the time. Sometimes I went into the office early in the morning when it was mostly empty to avoid illness. From what I'm reading from the many here going through Adjuvant chemo, it seems to be tougher than Neo-Adjuvant/Radiation though some had a hard time with that. I think that the cumulative stress on the body from surgery, and an ileostomy make Adjuvant harder. The higher toxicity may be a factor too.

    I just sent an email to my oncologist asking if there are people that work full-time while on Adjuvant chemo and is it the vast majority or a simple majority? I don't expect to hear from him for a few days as he was on vacation last week and is likely catching up on patients but I'd like to get his opinion on it.

    Ruth, it looks like your husband is 40-49 which is about ten years younger than I am so he likely has more energy.

    At any rate, I will find out next Wednesday.

    Googled. Yeah, that initial

    Googled. Yeah, that initial surgery really wiped me out. But my tumor had perforated the colon and I had an infection. The excruciating pain from the infection is what brought me to the emergency room.

  • Ruthmomto4
    Ruthmomto4 Member Posts: 705
    edited December 2017 #11
    Mikenh said:

    I worked full-time during Neo

    I worked full-time during Neo-Adjuvant Chemo and Radiation. I also ran once or twice a week 1-2 miles and typically played tennis once a week. But I had some rather severe physical limits and I worked from home most of the time. Sometimes I went into the office early in the morning when it was mostly empty to avoid illness. From what I'm reading from the many here going through Adjuvant chemo, it seems to be tougher than Neo-Adjuvant/Radiation though some had a hard time with that. I think that the cumulative stress on the body from surgery, and an ileostomy make Adjuvant harder. The higher toxicity may be a factor too.

    I just sent an email to my oncologist asking if there are people that work full-time while on Adjuvant chemo and is it the vast majority or a simple majority? I don't expect to hear from him for a few days as he was on vacation last week and is likely catching up on patients but I'd like to get his opinion on it.

    Ruth, it looks like your husband is 40-49 which is about ten years younger than I am so he likely has more energy.

    At any rate, I will find out next Wednesday.

    Mike

    Gary is 50, he turned 50 In May. He sporadically worked out so he was not in great physical shape. Before this chemo he was very ill with severe jaundice from the tumor blocking his duct.  Twice he was horribly jaundice with severe itching and stomach troubles. I guess for him that was so bad he actually feels better During chemo than that. He takes two supplements the naturopath dr gave him, and a friend's husband took them as well and he also felt well. Not sure if it's a coincidence or not. He works 40 hours in work, and 20-25 from home a week. It's a desk job though, he isn't doing construction or anything like that. 

  • Mikenh
    Mikenh Member Posts: 777

    Mike

    Gary is 50, he turned 50 In May. He sporadically worked out so he was not in great physical shape. Before this chemo he was very ill with severe jaundice from the tumor blocking his duct.  Twice he was horribly jaundice with severe itching and stomach troubles. I guess for him that was so bad he actually feels better During chemo than that. He takes two supplements the naturopath dr gave him, and a friend's husband took them as well and he also felt well. Not sure if it's a coincidence or not. He works 40 hours in work, and 20-25 from home a week. It's a desk job though, he isn't doing construction or anything like that. 

    60-65 hours a week is still

    60-65 hours a week is still rough though. i will do that if a project requires it but couldn’t sustain that long term.

  • Ruthmomto4
    Ruthmomto4 Member Posts: 705
    Mikenh said:

    60-65 hours a week is still

    60-65 hours a week is still rough though. i will do that if a project requires it but couldn’t sustain that long term.

    That's cutting back for him

    I think because he has always worked that much it's easier for him. I have been after him for YEARS to cut it back but when he tries to he is just miserable. It must be what keeps him going, absolutely NOT the norm. I doubt very much I would be able to do half of what he does if any during chemo. 

  • Bunny822
    Bunny822 Member Posts: 23
    Still working full-time

    Hi Abita...I am fortunate that I am able to work from home which I have done for past 5 yrs. I work on the computer completing treatment authorizations for Tricare as I am a registered nurse. I was diagnosed Sept 11, 17 with rectal cancer Stage 3. I have had 5 chemo treatments same regimen as you so far...have 3 to go and then get 1 month off before I start radiation. I come home with a pump for 2 days after chemo...usu tired on pump removal day. I listen to my body and rest when needed but am managing well all things considered...everyone is different pending response and side effects as a well as severity. If I were still working in the hospital probably would have been out on short term disability. So I think working depends on numerous factors... nature of work, hours, how you are tolerating treatment, pain factor...again feel fortunate that I have an understanding supervisor and manager who are supportive. Important to get enough sleep and maintain your weight...better outcomes if you maintain healthy stable weight...most important of all maintain a positive attitude...mind over matter...trust me I am a psychiatric nurse...attitude is everything...I am taking things one day at a time and feel continuing working is positive for me...keeps me going...keeps my mind occupied and keeps me future oriented. For those of you who are still able to work please know your limits. Dealing with cancer is life changing, however does not mean you are instantly disabled...talk with your Drs, social worker or nurse navigator...figure out what is best for you so that you will get better and heal...work may not be possible depending on circumstance but I thought I would attempt it and see how things went...so far so good...still too young to retire...wishing you the best whatever you decide and what works for you...no pun intended...LOL...

  • Mikenh
    Mikenh Member Posts: 777

    That's cutting back for him

    I think because he has always worked that much it's easier for him. I have been after him for YEARS to cut it back but when he tries to he is just miserable. It must be what keeps him going, absolutely NOT the norm. I doubt very much I would be able to do half of what he does if any during chemo. 

    I did 60-80 hour weeks in my

    I did 60-80 hour weeks in my 20s, 30s, and 40s and wouldn't be surprised if that contrinbuted to colon cancer. Missed time with kids for sure that I can't get back.

  • Mikenh
    Mikenh Member Posts: 777
    The Doctor's nurse got back

    The Doctor's nurse got back to me about working during Adjuvant Chemo and said that many of their patients go to part-time or short-term disability. The nurse that I spoke with when I asked the question about Neo-Adjuvant Chemo and radiation said that most people work through it. It's hard to get a precise read as these two things could both mean the same thing depending on the interpretation. These aren't the same nurses either. I will ask the chemoteach nurse the same question on Tuesday.

    I am thinking of going to an unlimited cellular data plan so that I'd be able to work during the infusion and anyone taking me there and back would also be able to work there. The hospital has WiFi but it's a pain to connect to and drops out from time to time. I prefer something more reliable for work. I have no idea whether or not it's practical to work during an infustion or the stuff before or afterwards.

  • Ruthmomto4
    Ruthmomto4 Member Posts: 705
    Mikenh said:

    I did 60-80 hour weeks in my

    I did 60-80 hour weeks in my 20s, 30s, and 40s and wouldn't be surprised if that contrinbuted to colon cancer. Missed time with kids for sure that I can't get back.

    I agree

    100% with both things, no one in their last days says, I wish I had worked more. I also think contributed to him getting sick.

  • Phoenix_66
    Phoenix_66 Member Posts: 118
    edited December 2017 #18
    Whatever helps

    For me, I worked all through the three separate occurances of cancer and chemo treatments but I worked mostly in the office.  Working helped me feel somewhat normal.  Do whatever works best for you.  Did it wipe me out?  Yes, but in the long run I felt that was best for me.  I didn't want to stay at home because I felt that if I did, I would get depressed about my situation.

  • abita
    abita Member Posts: 1,076 **
    Mikenh said:

    I did 60-80 hour weeks in my

    I did 60-80 hour weeks in my 20s, 30s, and 40s and wouldn't be surprised if that contrinbuted to colon cancer. Missed time with kids for sure that I can't get back.

    I think being busy

    I think being busy contributed to where I am now if only because I was too "busy" to schedule a colonoscopy, so I didn't catch it when I should have.

  • abita
    abita Member Posts: 1,076 **
    Thanks for the input. I think

    Thanks for the input. I think the surgeries wipe me out. I had one in Oct, and will have the liver lesions removed in January, hopefully.

  • Mikenh
    Mikenh Member Posts: 777
    abita said:

    Thanks for the input. I think

    Thanks for the input. I think the surgeries wipe me out. I had one in Oct, and will have the liver lesions removed in January, hopefully.

    I had my surgery late October

    I had my surgery late October and I was surprised at how much it took out of me. I'm far more functional six weeks out but still nowhere near 100%. I'll know better when I get into it.

  • aoccc2015
    aoccc2015 Member Posts: 37
    Abita your experience is

    Abita your experience is almost identical to mine except half of my colon is still in there unattached. If i could go back i wouldnt have overdone it so physically much after the surgery. I got all sorts of hernias sticking out, they dont hurt just stick out. They had me so roided up between the pred and the chemo roids I felt like superman running around after the surgery. I still havent had my liver cleaned up because of the peri mets showed up, i hope it works out for you with no issues, take care.

  • ReeRee2
    ReeRee2 Member Posts: 39
    edited December 2017 #23
    Working

    I work for myself at home and have cutback on my work because of felling just lifeless from the day I have chemo a Friday through the disconnect day. I sleep 80% of the time from Friday to Monday. I start really feeling good when I.t. is time to get another treatmen.

  • Lily Flower
    Lily Flower Member Posts: 254
    edited December 2017 #24
    I just went back to work 2

    I just went back to work 2 weeks ago after taking off 4 months since my surgery in August. I was so sick during my first 2 treatments no way I could have gone back to work. I could barely make it to the bathroom let alone work. On my 3rd treatment my Oxy was reduced and my fatigue weren't as severe but I decided to stay home still. I was fortunate to have enough sick leave hours accumulated over the years to be able to stay home this long and a very understanding boss that told me to take as much time as needed. Since I've been back I actually feel life is back to normal. I know my coworker is relieved since she has been doing part of my work. Lol 

  • abita
    abita Member Posts: 1,076 **

    I just went back to work 2

    I just went back to work 2 weeks ago after taking off 4 months since my surgery in August. I was so sick during my first 2 treatments no way I could have gone back to work. I could barely make it to the bathroom let alone work. On my 3rd treatment my Oxy was reduced and my fatigue weren't as severe but I decided to stay home still. I was fortunate to have enough sick leave hours accumulated over the years to be able to stay home this long and a very understanding boss that told me to take as much time as needed. Since I've been back I actually feel life is back to normal. I know my coworker is relieved since she has been doing part of my work. Lol 

    Did you have surgery only on

    Did you have surgery only on your colon? Asking because I had that before chemo, and will have liver surgery after my 4th infusion. But I am wondering if it is the surgery that makes it worse. So maybe will feel better after I heal from the surgery, for the last month or two of chemo. I don't have sick leave. I have short term disability that pays about half my salary. And my fatigue is such that I need a nap after taking a shower. The first month after my bowel surgery, I could not stand up for more than about 5 minutes at a time. Are you work from home, or do you go into the office? I went to visit today, and the subway exhausted me.

  • Lily Flower
    Lily Flower Member Posts: 254
    abita said:

    Did you have surgery only on

    Did you have surgery only on your colon? Asking because I had that before chemo, and will have liver surgery after my 4th infusion. But I am wondering if it is the surgery that makes it worse. So maybe will feel better after I heal from the surgery, for the last month or two of chemo. I don't have sick leave. I have short term disability that pays about half my salary. And my fatigue is such that I need a nap after taking a shower. The first month after my bowel surgery, I could not stand up for more than about 5 minutes at a time. Are you work from home, or do you go into the office? I went to visit today, and the subway exhausted me.

    Yes, I had a colectomy on my

    Yes, I had a colectomy on my sigmoid colon on 8/3/17. I was told to walk when I was still in the hospital. I tried but also couldn't stand for more than 5 minutes because I was so sore. I had to be wheeled out when I was discharged after 4 days in the hospital. About 2 weeks after surgery I started to gain some stregth back. I did walk more and believe it or not walking actually helped with my recovery. I was back to myself by the end of August. Then I started my adjuvant chemo on 9/1 and of course my first 2 treatments got me bedridden. I work in an office and I drive. You mentioned you take subway...where are you? 

  • abita
    abita Member Posts: 1,076 **

    Yes, I had a colectomy on my

    Yes, I had a colectomy on my sigmoid colon on 8/3/17. I was told to walk when I was still in the hospital. I tried but also couldn't stand for more than 5 minutes because I was so sore. I had to be wheeled out when I was discharged after 4 days in the hospital. About 2 weeks after surgery I started to gain some stregth back. I did walk more and believe it or not walking actually helped with my recovery. I was back to myself by the end of August. Then I started my adjuvant chemo on 9/1 and of course my first 2 treatments got me bedridden. I work in an office and I drive. You mentioned you take subway...where are you? 

    I had my sigmoid colon

    I had my sigmoid colon removed with the tumor in October. Mine has spread to the liver, but my surgeon is confident that he can remove them after they shrink a bit with my first 4 infusions. I started chemotherapy on Nove 20th.

    I get the walking. I was actually in the hospital for 10 days before they found the tumor, and was in a total of 19 days. They tried to get me to walk the second day while still on the epidural. Epic failure that resulted in me being surrounded by doctors. But I did leave walking. Because I live in a walk up, and alone, it was required that I be able to walk up a flight of stairs before I could be discharged. But your recovery was faster than mine. At 5 weeks, I was still only able to stand about 10 minutes at a time. I was released 7 days after my surgery. That is probably why I was walking better than you were. 

    I live in Manhattan and my office is in midtown. Glad you are better now. That surgery is so major, takes a lot out of you.

     

     

     

     

  • OzarkGal
    OzarkGal Member Posts: 41
    I work

    I work.  I only take off on infusion days.  I have an office job.  It gives me a sense of normalcy and purpose.  Side-effects so far have been managable.  My cat also provides me comforting and therapy.

  • Mikenh
    Mikenh Member Posts: 777
    edited December 2017 #29
    abita said:

    Did you have surgery only on

    Did you have surgery only on your colon? Asking because I had that before chemo, and will have liver surgery after my 4th infusion. But I am wondering if it is the surgery that makes it worse. So maybe will feel better after I heal from the surgery, for the last month or two of chemo. I don't have sick leave. I have short term disability that pays about half my salary. And my fatigue is such that I need a nap after taking a shower. The first month after my bowel surgery, I could not stand up for more than about 5 minutes at a time. Are you work from home, or do you go into the office? I went to visit today, and the subway exhausted me.

    I'm sure that the surgery

    I'm sure that the surgery (and ostomy) make it harder but you're getting stronger over time from the surgery while getting weaker from the chemo. I recovered from Neo-Adjuvant in under two weeks so I felt great between two weeks after Neo-Adjuvant and surgery. I cannot say that I've come anywhere close to full recovery from surgery after six weeks so there will be the effects from surgery and the chemo at the same time.

    I'm going to have a chat with my manager basically stating that I don't know what to expect. You live in NYC so I'd guess that you're already a strong walker, especially without an elevator in your residence. There may be differences in surgery too like open vs laparoscopic, colon vs rectal, having to take out anything else, etc. I was back at work two weeks after surgery and I walked for 9 miles ten days after surgery and was doing strength-training two weeks after surgery using isolation machines. I feel a little better every day - problem is that I want to feel a LOT better every day.

    So it looks like we have a very wide variance in what people can do and when they can do it. I'm optimistic but I often overestimate what I'm capable of.

  • abita
    abita Member Posts: 1,076 **

    I thought so. I'm also in NYC

    I thought so. I'm also in NYC but I'm in Queens. Gosh I haven't taken the subway for over 12 plus years now. Stay safe abita especially with the bombing 2 days ago. My surgeon was very pleased that I recovered quick and well. I only took the Oxycodone for 2 days after gotten home because I didn't want to be addicted to the narcotic. As crazy as it sounds, I really think that my cat helped me heal faster too. He would curled up next to me, although he wanted to be on my belly but not after my surgery, his purring vibration penetrated through my body actually made me felt good. Kind of therapeutic. Hang in there, every day you will feel little better and stronger. It took me about 3 weeks to finally able to walk straight up. No more Igor's walk. Lol! How are you getting along by yourself? Are you able to cook? Call God's Love We Deliver, they can deliver free meals for you during your treatments. This is the number: 212-294-8102. They're located in Midtown. Not far from you. 

    My cousin was here for a week

    My cousin was here for a week, and set things up for me since I am alone. Put the cat food and water on the table so I wouldn't have to bend over. Got me a shower seat and a hand held shower head. Got baskets to organize medicines, paperwork, etc. Things like that. I order groceries via amazon fresh or jet.com. I had frozen meals and canned soup when my stamina was about 5 minutes of standing at a time. Pre-washed salads. It isn't easy. And has led to a couple of crying jags when I needed something but was unable to get it. I did have a home health person my second week out of hospital, so she did my laundry that week. I have about 2 or 3 good hours a day, and I use that time to cook and straighten up. On Sunday before infusion, I cook up some seitan to last for the first few days of my cycle. My cats have been wonderful. They were a bit distraught when I just disappeared for 19 days. Especially since they knew I was very sick the few days before I went to the hospital.  The first two weeks or so, they took turns watching mommy(me). They are still very attentive, but not like when I could barely move. My youngest cat knows something isn't good about the take home chemo, so the two times I have had that so far, she stays inches from me. In fact, it was so cute. When I came back the second time with it, her expression was, not that thing again! I seriously could not do this without my cats. I also have fabulous coworkers who take turns coming to infusions with me. Oh, I also had visiting nurse to change my bandage wound when the spot around my belly button hadn't healed. And often I just get sad that I don't have a husbnd or boyfriend to help me. :)

  • abita
    abita Member Posts: 1,076 **
    OzarkGal said:

    I work

    I work.  I only take off on infusion days.  I have an office job.  It gives me a sense of normalcy and purpose.  Side-effects so far have been managable.  My cat also provides me comforting and therapy.

    Oh my goodness. That is one

    Oh my goodness. That is one cute face! I have a dilute calico too. She has helped me mentally.