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need advice

Posts: 544
Joined: Jun 2004

Hi everyone,

I hope that you are doing well. I need some advice. I had surgery 6 weeks ago for rectal cancer and have a permanent colostomy. I have finally started to feel human again, though not quite 100%.

I started xeloda last week, 5 pills in the morning and 5 at night, 2 weeks on, 1 week off, for 6 months. So far, I am doing fine.

Up until now, I have been a stay at home mom and a full time graduate student. I am planning on going back to school in a few weeks to take 2 classes.

I also want to go to work full time, teaching preschool. My question is for anyone who has been through chemo after surgery. Do you think that I will be able to handle full time work or am I nuts to even consider it at this point? It would be a huge change for me and my children.

Thank You,

StacyGleaso's picture
Posts: 1249
Joined: Mar 2003

Hi Jamie!

I worked entirely through all my chemo, pre-surgery and post-surgery, never missing a day. It all depends on the person. If working makes you feel "more normal" and you don't feel too tired or exhausted, then do it! But be careful of germs and things since your resistance is low due to your white counts.

Have a great day!


kangatoo's picture
Posts: 2115
Joined: Feb 2004

Hiya Jamie--struth--yu gotta be tough to do all this---and heres me, a mere male(retired--Mr Mum at home) wonderin how I even got thru chemo!
Nah--seriously Jamie--go for it--the poison they gave me was a bit different to you but nonetheless all this poison effects us all differently.I was able to keep occupied doin the chores while Jen was at work. Hey--if yu can cope with workin Jamie I think it will take the pressure off rather than being stuck at home broodin--if yu feel fine do what your body will cope with. Just don't overdo it!!!
luv n huggs--kanga n Jen

spongebob's picture
Posts: 2598
Joined: Apr 2003

Ahoy, Jamie -

Everybody's reaction to chemo is different. Listen to your body and what it tells you. LISTEN to it, and, like the 7-Up commercial says; OBEY!

If you're tired, sleep. If you're hungry, eat. If you want to do exercise, do exercise (I found, and studies have shown conclusively that exercise during chemo reduces fatigue).

You GO, girl! (as long as you feel up to it, that is.)

- SpongeBob

Posts: 99
Joined: May 2004


I had my resection on May 18 and started my chemo on June 2, 2004 and I have not stopped working fulltime (I own my own business and work from my home so not having to travel to work each day definitely helped). After my first 2 treatments I was very sick and didnt give my business the attention that it needed for 4 days or so but since I have had my infusion rate of Oxal. changed I have had no side effects whatsoever.

For me, I am very grateful that I haVe been able to continue working. It gives me a different focus and helps keep me grounded that there is definitely more to life than our treatment and recovery. But, unlike you, I dont have children so that is something that would most definitely have gone into the mix of my deciding where to expend my energy.

I would put it to you like this (and since you are asking this question I think you will be able to handle it anyway), if you are feeling good, both mentally and physically - do whatever you can and want. This is finite for all of us. Life goes on during and after treatment and it may even increase your energy level for life as you are shifting your focus off of what you are going through.

It worked for me and I bet it will work for you if you.

I hope this helped - I am sending you all of my positive vibes.


Posts: 708
Joined: May 2004


Hey there. Here's my story... I had pre-op chemo/rad then surg, then post-op chemo with xeloda and CPT-11. I had rectal cancer and got a colostomy too. I am a doctor and worked full time the whole time, except a 6 week recovery after surgery and then I went back part time for 4 weeks. I am back on chemo again - had a recurrence - and continue to work.

My work is amazing and let's me take it easy when I need to. There were days when I was very tired. I don't know if I would work, and go to school, and have a family life. See how it goes for you. If you get tired, be ready to give yourself a break.

I also exercise: yoga and lift weights. See how you feel. I feel better when I am at work. If you are the same, work is a good place.

If you do teach pre-school... WASH YOUR HANDS LIKE CRAZY. I just finished a pediatric month and didn't get sick, but my hands are soooo dry after all the hand washing I did. On days the kids are sick, you may need to wear a mask, depending on your white blood cell (neutrophil) count. Talk to your onc.

Wish you the best. Xeloda isn't as bad as I thought it would be. But I did get a lot of diarrhea. Hang in there.

jsabol's picture
Posts: 1156
Joined: Dec 2003

Hi Jamie,
As you can see, each person and their response to their particular regimen is different. I had 5FU and leuco for my stage 3, and worked for the first 12 weeks. By that time, the fatigue began to mount, and I had little time for ANYTHING except work and sleep. My onc reminded me that my disability leave was meant to cover such circumstances, but I was reluctant to "give in" to the side effects. I did take full time leave for the last 12 weeks, and it was, for me, the right decision. The time off allowed me to tend to my 2 high schoolers, daughter's graduation, son's college search this summer. It is the first time I have not worked except when the kids were very little. I nearly lost my job, but now that is back on track. We are taking a family vacation this coming week, then back to work I go, on a 4 day/week schedule.
So....listen to your body, not just your mind. Best of luck. Judy

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