Treatment & Working

rizzo15 Member Posts: 153 Member
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
Maybe I have not found the right threads with the search engine...but I get the feeling that most people do not go to work during breast cancer treatment? I'm halfway through chemo and have surgery and radiation ahead of me. I'm a stage IIIa. So far I'm still working full time although I force myself to quit after 8 hours and go home no matter what! I've been taking a nap in the early evening, so I can feel rested in the AM. (No kids, a supportive husband) I've asked the doctors about needing a medical leave of absence in future...but have not gotten specific info. I'm sure they must have a rough idea. Maybe they don't want me to think about it yet or they're just to busy to talk to me about it. I live in the San Francisco Bay area and all the doctors are in short supply and extremely overbooked. I'd like to prepare myself and my employer for my future absence. What do you think? By the way, I'm fully prepared to retire now, at age 51, if necessary.


  • blackbandana
    blackbandana Member Posts: 64
    Rizzo, I worked throughout my chemo and radiation as well, I only took time off when I had surgeries. My Company were very supportive, while going through chemo I took that day and the following day off, the following week if I was tired I just went home. As for radiation I did it before I went to work and still did a full day, I was tired but nothing to bad. Talk with your employer and inform them of what is going on and what to expect, people react in different ways, you may not need any time off, but then again you might. Take it day by day. Be good to yourself and always remember.... its only a job... your health is your wealth. Take care
  • ktinkey
    ktinkey Member Posts: 170
    Hi and Welcome!

    I can only tell you my specific story. I worked through 2 bouts of breast cancer, the second being Stage IV. It is totally up to you and how you feel. I worked in a pharmacy, 10 hour shift, constantly on your feet. Some days I was so tired and the pain could be intense, but I didn't want to sit at home and feel sorry for myself. Now, I have quit work and am loving every minute of it. I have been home now for 18 months and the cancer has recurred again. This time I am glad I am at home, because it gives me more time to focus on the family. It is all a matter of personal choices. If you want to work and can, than do it. If you would like to retire early and enjoy the years you have left, then do that. Only you can make the decision. Besides, you may find you are physically at a different stage through each of the phases. Personally, I believe if you have continued to work through the chemo, then radiation should be a piece of cake. It will make you tired, but then you are experiencing that now. The surgery will have a recovery time, when you can't work, just like any surgery, but the doctor should be able to give you a time frame there. Each person is unique, so there is no fast and true rule. Just listen to your body. It will tell you what you need to do. The total healing process is just that - a process. Let your body heal and don't get discouraged if it doesn't move at the pace you want it to. It takes time. You will have good days and some that are not so good. Allow yourself to go through those "not so good" days. And remember we are here for each other. Ask questions, someone will probably have gone through the same thing before you. We are here to help.

    God Bless,
  • 24242
    24242 Member Posts: 1,398
    Welcome rizzo,
    Yes, some women are able to work depending on what it is they are doing for employment. Some of us may never return to what our careers once were because they were of a very physical nature. I for one was too sick to work even before I had the treatment phase for my disease. I could hardly carry my body around and once I got extemely ill from chemo I could barely get through the days. I hope that you will be able to work and do the things you would like to do. A small percentage of us are very sensative and have a hard time getting through it all. I work in a factory on the manufactoring floor and push and pull thousands of pounds in my 12 hour day. I will be very lucky if I am able to return to work let alone the job I once did. I came to the realization that I am not what I once was and that is all. I do what I can and continue to work, even though it is hard and very exhausting working full time. Good luck with the rest of your treatment.
    Be good to yourself,
  • iris48
    iris48 Member Posts: 92
    As a self-employed massage therapist that just moved to a new City, working was impossible because I would just be establishing myself with new clients, and then didn't want to disappoint new clients if I was too sick to really work properly on them. I was the percentage that became 24/7 nauseous sick with chemo for a full 12-15 days. Not everyone does that and it made my Onoc crazy because nothing he was giving me was relieving the symptoms. Then, I figured I'm probably being over medicated so together we stopped a lot of the anti-nausea stuff and eventually things settled down but made me weak. Had to use procrit to build me up again and something else so white counts and red were better. You know how you feel, and how much you can do without compromising your energy levels. Take each day at a time. Hugs, i
  • sunnydc
    sunnydc Member Posts: 4
    Hi Rizzo, I worked through chemo and radiation--it's a mixed bag. I am now 3 months out of radiation and just beginning to see how tired I was during it all. Of course, I thought I was doing just fine but looking back, I think everyone could see how tired I was. Although I got great press as a trooper, in retrospect, I think it wasn't the kindest thing I could do to myself. Cutting back a little would have been wise--cutting back and admitting I was doing so, I mean. I had to back off some but there was no real acknowledgement that that was what I was doing. Now that the treatment is over, I am still easily fatiqued but, because I plunged on during treatment, I am less willing to admit just how tired I really am.

    I guess I am saying, take care of yourself--I would have gone crackers not working, but I also hated not being really crisp the whole time.
  • rizzo15
    rizzo15 Member Posts: 153 Member
    Thank you everyone for replying to my questions. I know that a million brave ladies (and gents) have gone before me down this path. It's just nice to be able to see down the path a little ways through your experiences. It becomes a lot less frightening for me.