Return to work

Mavish Member Posts: 85 Member

Dear all,

I am preparing to return to work. I would love to here about your experiences. Do and do not suggestions?

I am debating between disclosing my diagnosis or not. Any advise would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance


  • nikolaf
    nikolaf Member Posts: 50
    My husband disclosed his.  It

    My husband disclosed his.  It would have been hard to hide, though, given he had a subtotal rhinectomy....  his boss and he are close so that made it easier.  I think you should so they can weigh that in case you have performance issues related to treatment.  You don't want them to think it's something else.  Good luck. 

  • Mavish
    Mavish Member Posts: 85 Member
    edited September 2017 #3
    Thank you nicolaf for sharing

    Thank you nicolaf for sharing your husbunds experience.

  • Sinus2016
    Sinus2016 Member Posts: 36
    edited September 2017 #4

    Depends who your talking to,  once you talk about it they will come back and talk some more Whether you like it or not.  For me, if it's someone I feel comfortable with then yes for others I just say I'm fine and change the subject.

  • swopoe
    swopoe Member Posts: 492
    My husband told his boss of

    My husband told his boss of his diagnosis before starting treatment. He didn't tell anyone else. That particular fiscal year that he went through treatment, he actually got promoted. Now he has a new boss and no one knows anything. When he goes for a scan or an appt, he just says he is going to a doctor's appt. He still talks to his old boss and he asks how he is doing when they see each other at lunch at things like that. But other than that, no one speaks of it at all at work.

  • Sprint Car Dude
    Sprint Car Dude Member Posts: 181

    I actually sent a mass e-mail to my boss and fellow employees describing my diagnosis, treatment plan and outcomes. This decreased the uneasiness of people wanting to know how you are but are afraid to ask. I also would discuss certain issues out loud if giving the chance as to not have to awnser all the same questions repeatedly. I think it put everyone including myself at ease.  

  • lornal
    lornal Member Posts: 428

    I let my bosses and co-workers know about my diagnoses both times.  Cancer 1 was surgery, radiation and chemo.  I only lasted 2 weeks in the office after rads/chemo started - and didn't go back in for 5 months later.  I think they would have noticed.  LOL

    Cancer 2, the day I found out, i didn't go back to work for 3 months.  That was more invasive (total laryngectomy), but no chemo or rads.  My work wasn't expecting me to come back at all, but I am able to work 3 days a week, so its working out okay.

    Lorna 2007 & 2014

  • OKCnative
    OKCnative Member Posts: 326 Member
    I'm in a bit of different

    I'm in a bit of different situation. I technically work for myself..... but... I do a majority of my work for one business in our downtown. So much so that I maintain a small office there where I can do work for them and other clients. I'm a pretty open person. Plus, I had already been told that there would be no way of hiding the fact I'm sick. 

    I personally don't want a veil of secrecy over something major going on in my life - it just adds to the drama and makes the whole thing seem more icky.

    So, as soon as I had a diagnosis and treatment plan, I disclosed to 'my work.' But, i also did it with a very positive attitude (which is key because it sets the tone).

    The office was great. The office manager (who's sorta a mom figure) made me a homemade "Happy Cancer Cake" and for two weeks the owner took myself and several others out to lunch anywhere I wanted as a "countdown to no more taste buds."

    That may not work for everyone. But, for me and the office, it was perfect. There have been plenty of tears from them, but they always remind me that it's my positive joking attitude that makes it more bearable for them also.

    Now that treatment it over for me, we are planning another round of office celebrations.

    I'm two weeks out of treatment (this coming Tuesday) and I will return to work next week.

  • MemphisTn
    MemphisTn Member Posts: 41
    I told my team

    told my direct reports and my supervisor. There’s really no reason not to, but it’s a personal decision. I just didn’t want them to worry nor make up stuff. I think outright being honest takes all the burden off of explaining later.

  • donfoo
    donfoo Member Posts: 1,771 Member
    Different considerations

    I was open about my diagnosis and treatment in my personal life but did not reveal it professionally. I'm a self employed IT consultant and did not see any benefit by having current and prospective clients know I just had Stage 4 SCC HNC BOT cancer. I only saw potential downside that I would be overlooked as they might worry about my health and ability to get work done under tight deadlines. The reasons many consultants get called is because there is trouble and need help under tough conditions. I can understand them seeing added risks by taking me on vs someone clear of serious past illness.

  • JBBW
    JBBW Member Posts: 30
    since you asked for advice

    When I went back to work I figured if I felt good enough at the beginning of the week I would be able to work through the entire week.  The idea that a few days would go by and I would get weaker and end up pushing myself to get through the day didn't occur to be.  Dumb, obviously incorrect.  My advice is to constantly reflect on your energy levels and health and if you wake up too weak one day then you call in.  Hopefully you have prepared your boss and co-workers for this possibility.  Right now I can make it most of the way though the week most weeks.  My last treatment was in the middle of August but that part of the equation I think is different for everyone.  Some people are going to be able to go back full time sooner than others.  The important thing is to be mindful of how you are *that day* and don't overdo it.

  • Mavish
    Mavish Member Posts: 85 Member
    edited October 2017 #12
    Thank you so much for sharing

    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and advises. They all are very helpful.