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Update on earlier post today

Posts: 119
Joined: Jan 2007

Just wanted to share with you all.

My GI doc called the surgeon for me and my app't with the surgeon is Monday. I'm hoping for surgery next week. My PCP also called and he told me waiting 13 days for surgery will be okay. He told me I've had this disgusting "thing" for a long time. I knew that, probably years.

Can you give me a clue as to how long I have to be off work? That's my biggest fear, not having enough leave time and I'll lose my insurance. I work for the Federal Gov't.

Thanks for all the posts and well wishes.

Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

Glad you are seeing the surgeon so soon. I understand the feeling of urgency to have the surgery done but I was also told that I had probably been living with the tumour for many years and a few weeks were not going to make a difference.

Recovery from surgery can be very variable, of course. Very broadly, I'd suggest that most people need about a month for the initial recuperation -- some can go back to work after a month -- depending on your job (physical demanding? flexibility re hours?). But it really takes more like 3 mos to really recuperate and maybe even longer to really feel yourself again. Best wishes

kangatoo's picture
Posts: 2115
Joined: Feb 2004

Hiya from oz. I just read your earlier post and your words of apprehension are I guess are well and truly a part of our cancer vocabulary.Nothing unusual there and certainly no shame here to tell us about your fears....TOTALLY justifiable! Being told I had cancer scared the living daylights outa me and I am sure everyone here would agree to feeling the same way. Now the waiting game starts. I think all of us had time with our surgeons and specialists....mostly not enough time....to ask the questions that would plague us until the day of the surgery. Most of the time specific and truthfull answers are difficult to obtain. I am sure many of us were told that until the surgeon gets in to have a look they cannot give us a confirmation of what they will find...only an expectation. Therin lies the problem for immediate answers to our most feared questions.
If you have a chance you might be able to tell us the location of your cancer and the proposed surgery you will have. If you have been told how it is to be carried out it will help others here to advise you how to cope with post surgery.
Each person differs in recovery times depending on the type of surgery and also their pre-surgery general health.
Wishing you all the best...Ross and Jen

Posts: 488
Joined: Jun 2006

I was off seven weeks. The Family Medical Leave Act assures that you can leave for up to three months (without pay) and they have to hold your job open for your return. I don't think you would lose your insurance while on leave. Talk to your HR person about it.

Posts: 1048
Joined: Jan 2007

Hi my hubby had colon resection done 3 weeks ago tues and he is recuperating extremely well. Unfortunately he has liver mets and we will need to go see oncologist next week, but the surgeon that did colon resection says he may be able to go back to work in 2-3 weeks, so it really depends on each individual's rate of recovery.The FMLA law is designed to protect you. You can take up to 12 weeks unpaid (and it can be intermittent) and your job is protected . There is a lot of info on it on the internet. I plan on using it to go to appointments with him etc. You don't lose your insurance.. But if you pay part of it you will still need to pay for it while you are out. I wish you a speedy recovery and God Bless.

Betsydoglover's picture
Posts: 1256
Joined: Jul 2005

Hi Char -

Recovery from surgery varies a lot - and it depends upon the type of surgery. I had laparoscopic sigmoid resection and the nominal "return to work" date was in 3 weeks. However, while I recovered pretty quickly, I was still pretty exhausted at 2+ weeks and I told my surgeon I couldn't imagine going back the following week. So he extended it for one week, and 1 week later I was doing great, went back to work and only occasionally took part of day off because I was tired.

As others have said, you are protected by FMLA. In my case I was paid because I had accrued quite a lot of sick leave at my company. Federal gov has pretty good benefits, I think. But, even if you don't have enough sick leave to cover your absence, FMLA should guarantee your job for 12 weeks and also keep your insurance in force. FMLA also works for "intermittent" absence, so it will still apply if you take a few weeks off for surgery and then later need days / weeks off for chemo, radiation or other things related to the same condition.

Good luck,

Posts: 119
Joined: Jan 2007

I don't think I made myself clear. I've been off for 6 weeks and have another 6 to go for my spinal fusion. I'll have a bit more leave left, a couple of weeks, I can use additionally. I really want to save some of it if I can. I know I can do FEMA but I didn't want to have to pay all my insurance. You all did give me a good idea, I'm just praying all will go well for me. My back surgery has done fantastically well. Yes, the gov't is a great place to be employed.

Thanks to all.

shmurciakova's picture
Posts: 910
Joined: Dec 2002

Hi Cahalstead,
I just wanted to let you know that I work for the Feds too, for the Forest Service. When I was going through surgeries and chemo, etc. people donated their leave to me. Maybe the agency who you work for has a similar deal where they send out an e-mail, so and so needs leave donated. He/she is undergoing treatments for cancer, blah blah, then people donate their unused annual leave to you. You would be surprised how people who do not even know you donate leave! You should ask your HR person about it! Good luck,

Posts: 119
Joined: Jan 2007

Thanks Susan, I'm aware of the voluntary leave donations. I may go that route and I can also have advanced leave I'm pretty sure. I just don't like getting down to the wire, so to speak. I'm not one to waste leave and am so glad I hoarded the leave I had for my back surgery. I work in SS disability hearing office.

Thanks for the response.

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