Is anyone able to work during chemotherapy

13

Comments

  • Phil64
    Phil64 Member Posts: 838
    edited December 2017 #42
    Worked through it all. I was

    Worked through it all. I was in active treatment from April 2012 through February 2016. I managed to work through most of this treatment. Obviously I took time off for six surgeries. And tried to time chemo to minimize disruption to my work schedule. I would go in for chemo on a Thursday. Even managed to do some work while receiving treatment. I would rest when the drugs started to kick in. Rested most of Friday’s following infusion. And be back to work on Monday’s.

    That being said there are a few important context notes:

    1. I like my work. At least most days. I think that is a very important fact.

    2. I have a desk job / thinking job. True that chemo can affect attention span and chemo brain fog is real but I was lucky to manage through that.

    3. My work was super tolerant of me working through this. They never pressured me and kept reminding me to tend to my health as first priorit.

    Also, there was a period where I received FOLFIXIRI + BEV (Avastin). This was a very wicked brew. And it really knocked me out. I missed a lot of work during that three month of treatments.

    Ironically now working can be super tiring. I feel like chemo and surgeries have taken s toll and it’s hard to keep the pace I kept pre-cancer. And this is a bad place as technically I’m not ill anymore and therefore expected to perform in a high pressure job. Uggh.

  • coloCan
    coloCan Member Posts: 1,944 **
    Fortunately (?) I had retired three years prior to Dx but had

    I still been working there's no way i would have been capable of doing so,either during or after Tx and would have gone for disability retirement. Whn i was no longerable to drive to cancer center i took a car service to avoid people on public transportation,as i knew my immune system was compromised. I tried to avoid everyone,escept caregiving girlfriend and only went out to cancer center......

  • darcher
    darcher Member Posts: 304 **
    edited December 2017 #44
    Very limited

      It's strange how different phases of treatment can have varying impacts.  Prior to the operation the chemo/radiation was enough to make me lose my lunch if the stress was beyond a certain level.  I had to resign myself to working from home.  I think it also matters what the work entails.  Mine is usually pretty high on the stress meter so it didn't help.  Even though I enjoy it that didn't seem to matter.  At the time I was able to get out and go places without too much difficulty. 

     Post surgery is a different story.  I bounced back from that real quick and thought I'd be ready to hit things head on full steam.  Nope, what I got was a dose of what they call Anterior Resection Syndrome.  In other words, I have to go every 30 minutes or so and sometimes I don't get much in the way of a warning.  From what I've read this can stick around for 6 to 12 weeks post surgery.  They say it takes a while for the GI tract to resituate itself to the different configuration. In the mean time I'm stuck in the house having to stay in close proximity to my other office, the bathroom.  I can't begin to count the number of times I'd be on the phone discussing a business situation while I was sitting on the can.  If they only knew, lol.   

     I probably shouldn't complain. From what I've read here most of you have it worse than I do.  I admit, I was lucky in a lot of respects. I don't have much patience though.  I can't even go to the store to do any Christmas shopping which stinks.  I still have necessary dental work that needs done and is scheduled for later next week.  I don't know how I'm going to handle that.  I'll just have to explain what might happen while I'm sitting in the chair.  The dentist I picked out advertised sedation but it turns out the only thing they really offer is gas, no actual sedation.  If their gas doesn't do the job I could end up gving them a dose of my own.   At this point I really don't care what anyone thinks. 

     

  • Trubrit
    Trubrit Member Posts: 5,560 **
    Dentists and the 'Oh no, I've got to go'

    I had to have a root canal last year, and my dentist decided to do as much as he could in one shot.  Well, even after four years (at the time), I'm a frequent flyer, so to speak. I told my dentist, and he said to just raise my hand when I needed to go. Well, he must have forgotten the signal, as I raised my hand and he ignored me, so I ended up pointing rapidly to my lower end. He got the message. I hopped up, mouth all agape with that device prying it open, and ran, duck style to the loo. Heck, I must have looked a sight. 

    So, I wish you luck at the dentist. Tell him the problem, and then hopefully you will make it through without a run to the loo. 

    Tru

  • carrieh
    carrieh Member Posts: 146
    Only At Home :)

    I tried but it was too much...quit. Started working at home as a freelance writer. I did work from bed my last go round. I'd be happy to try to hook you up with some sites I use where you can earn a little extra each month, if you want. I don't visit this site a lot lately, been pretty sick but I'll check my messages like once a week. Best of luck luv! One day at a time. You can do this...we're all tough sometimes and as weak as kittens others...you aren't alone.

  • abita
    abita Member Posts: 1,083 **
    edited December 2017 #47
    Trubrit said:

    Dentists and the 'Oh no, I've got to go'

    I had to have a root canal last year, and my dentist decided to do as much as he could in one shot.  Well, even after four years (at the time), I'm a frequent flyer, so to speak. I told my dentist, and he said to just raise my hand when I needed to go. Well, he must have forgotten the signal, as I raised my hand and he ignored me, so I ended up pointing rapidly to my lower end. He got the message. I hopped up, mouth all agape with that device prying it open, and ran, duck style to the loo. Heck, I must have looked a sight. 

    So, I wish you luck at the dentist. Tell him the problem, and then hopefully you will make it through without a run to the loo. 

    Tru

    Is it possible to have a

    Is it possible to have a teeth cleaning during chemotherapy? I guess I thought because of the cold water they spray and the pic you know that goes in between your teeth and sometimes causes your gums to bleed that you couldn't. 

  • abita
    abita Member Posts: 1,083 **
    edited December 2017 #48
    carrieh said:

    Only At Home :)

    I tried but it was too much...quit. Started working at home as a freelance writer. I did work from bed my last go round. I'd be happy to try to hook you up with some sites I use where you can earn a little extra each month, if you want. I don't visit this site a lot lately, been pretty sick but I'll check my messages like once a week. Best of luck luv! One day at a time. You can do this...we're all tough sometimes and as weak as kittens others...you aren't alone.

    Thanks. I am good though. I

    Thanks. I am good though. I just really miss my work.

  • Trubrit
    Trubrit Member Posts: 5,560 **
    abita said:

    Is it possible to have a

    Is it possible to have a teeth cleaning during chemotherapy? I guess I thought because of the cold water they spray and the pic you know that goes in between your teeth and sometimes causes your gums to bleed that you couldn't. 

    Check with you Onc and your Dentist

    My dentist called my Oncologist who said NO kind of treatment, not even cleaning. 

    Tru

  • abita
    abita Member Posts: 1,083 **
    Trubrit said:

    Check with you Onc and your Dentist

    My dentist called my Oncologist who said NO kind of treatment, not even cleaning. 

    Tru

    I figured. Thanks for the

    I figured. Thanks for the info. I am now realizing the root canal you had wasn't during chemo.

  • Simply Southern
    Simply Southern Member Posts: 13
    Hey guys! I hope everyone is

    Hey guys! I hope everyone is doing well and looking forward to the holidays! I haven't posted very much, however, I do check in and see what everyone is up too. Most of the posts up here give me hope and in my current situation that is what I/We need!! I was diagnosed back in March of 2013. Stage IV CRC. I had a 10cm mass in my rectum. My surgeaon removed the mass, 22 lymph nodes, appendix, one ovary and tube. 25 rounds of radiation, eight cycles of Folfox/5FU (FU-cancer seems appropriate). My first scan after treatment was clear. Didn't last long, Mets to liver in 2014...had liver resction followed by Xeloda for a year. (8 caps a day, two weeks on/one week off). Mets to lungs in 2015...another year of Xeloda. Took 6 months off of chemo and added CBD/THC which didn't do to much for my tumors but I'm not giving up on that regimen. I have read on numerous occasions if you've been on chemo for years copled with radiation that it can take longer for that to work.  I recently (against my better judgement) went back on the drip chemo. I have a new met that is in my cervix. About 4cm. Doc said that if I didn't go back on chemo (Folfiri, so far 5 cycles/ just added Avastin-1 cycle of that so far) that the tumor could go through my vaginal wall so back on chemo I went! I continue to take the CBD/THC (Oncologist approved) in hopes of that adding to help the chemo...plus it helps with diarrhea, nausea, and most of all my appetite!!!!!! I actually gained three pounds in between my last treatments! just had a scan showing that all of the tumors are stable. No growth, no new ones, but no reduction....With all of that being said, I have worked the entire 5 years since diagnosis with the exceptions of surgery recoveries! I feel so blessed to be able to go to work. I feel like it keeps me alive and moving. I just feel better once I get up and get dressed and get moving! Myself and my entire family have just recently purchased fit-bits. Holy cow at the motivation this has caused. Noone wants a cancer/chemo patient to out walk/run them so it has been so much fun with the friendly family competition. i out walk them most days...then I fall way behind on my chemo weeks (like 3000 steps, tops for two days ) so as soon as I get unstrapped from that dreadful fannie pack (I call her Jezzi the hooch) I feel so free...then the competition is back on full force! IMO (if you are able) is to keep moving!!! If we stay still for too long I think we wither away.   I haven't enter acted with you guys very much but would love to start! I hope you all have a Merry Christmas!!! Praying for Good health and happiness for you all! I am super excited to spend some much needed family time! Xoxo 

  • darcher
    darcher Member Posts: 304 **
    abita said:

    I figured. Thanks for the

    I figured. Thanks for the info. I am now realizing the root canal you had wasn't during chemo.

    losing my mind.

       I could have sworn my dentist appointment was Thursday next week.  Turned out it was Tuesday this week.  Same for the chemo. I thought it was 3weeks on and one off with near 5000mg dosage on Jan16. It's  3500 mg and 2 weeks on and one off starting Jan 2. A few other things happened along the same lines so now I'm worried. Chemo brain?  I hope so in a twisted sort of way and that it's temporary.

    Anyhow, if chemo is scheduled for anytime soon check with the oncologist first.  Also, make sure the dentist is aware of your condition.  I ended up having to get a permission slip signed. That was due to how bad my teeth are.  Multiple root canals, fillings, crowns, etc is what's on the menu.   This is going to take about 5 visits over the next couple weeks on alternating days and may overlap the start of chemo on January 2.  I'll bite the bullet and just do it so long as I'm physically up to it.       

     

  • Mikenh
    Mikenh Member Posts: 777
    edited December 2017 #53
    darcher said:

    losing my mind.

       I could have sworn my dentist appointment was Thursday next week.  Turned out it was Tuesday this week.  Same for the chemo. I thought it was 3weeks on and one off with near 5000mg dosage on Jan16. It's  3500 mg and 2 weeks on and one off starting Jan 2. A few other things happened along the same lines so now I'm worried. Chemo brain?  I hope so in a twisted sort of way and that it's temporary.

    Anyhow, if chemo is scheduled for anytime soon check with the oncologist first.  Also, make sure the dentist is aware of your condition.  I ended up having to get a permission slip signed. That was due to how bad my teeth are.  Multiple root canals, fillings, crowns, etc is what's on the menu.   This is going to take about 5 visits over the next couple weeks on alternating days and may overlap the start of chemo on January 2.  I'll bite the bullet and just do it so long as I'm physically up to it.       

     

    Yesterday I put the Xeloda

    Yesterday I put the Xeloda Times in my online calendar for the first cycle. I will also put in reminders for ordering more and for the second infusion. The hospital sends me email reminders for appointments and I can always check the portal for upcoming stuff. So use the electronic tools available and maybe your spouse to remind you of your schedule if you find yourself forgetting things. I think that happens, chemo or not, as you get older.

  • kojack007
    kojack007 Member Posts: 6
    working

    I completed my chemo and radiation and was able to continuing working.  At the time I was exercising daily for 2 hours in the gym.  Diet is a BIG factor in staying energized and healthy.  I switched to lots of fruits and veggies very little red meat and lots of water.  I also consumed 50 bitter apricot seeds a day. I feel it made a difference because when the test on the section of colon they removed came back the tumor was completely gone.  Now XELODA I would say no.  I say this now because i fell into the having the Rare side affects.  Even the heart failure which i owe my life to the wonderfall staff at the hospital for reviving me.  Yes the Doctors believe the heart failure was caused by the Xeloda.  This all started for me March 2017.  

  • abita
    abita Member Posts: 1,083 **
    kojack007 said:

    working

    I completed my chemo and radiation and was able to continuing working.  At the time I was exercising daily for 2 hours in the gym.  Diet is a BIG factor in staying energized and healthy.  I switched to lots of fruits and veggies very little red meat and lots of water.  I also consumed 50 bitter apricot seeds a day. I feel it made a difference because when the test on the section of colon they removed came back the tumor was completely gone.  Now XELODA I would say no.  I say this now because i fell into the having the Rare side affects.  Even the heart failure which i owe my life to the wonderfall staff at the hospital for reviving me.  Yes the Doctors believe the heart failure was caused by the Xeloda.  This all started for me March 2017.  

    I actuallly have just bought

    I actuallly have just bought veggies and seitan to get lots of protien and vitamins. I am trying to get as healthy as I can before my liver surgery. After my colon surgery, I was so fatigued i ate mostly microwave frozen meals. I have been trying to drink at least 9 cups of water a day. I figure it is hard on my liver and kidneys to process all the chemo drugs so need more water.

    What is Xeloda? Why did you take it after you finished the chemo and radiation. Amazing that it got rid of your tumor. My markers are lower. I do hope that means the tumors are shrinking.I am on Folfox, leucoverin, oxiplatin, and 5fu.

  • Mikenh
    Mikenh Member Posts: 777
    edited December 2017 #56
    abita said:

    I actuallly have just bought

    I actuallly have just bought veggies and seitan to get lots of protien and vitamins. I am trying to get as healthy as I can before my liver surgery. After my colon surgery, I was so fatigued i ate mostly microwave frozen meals. I have been trying to drink at least 9 cups of water a day. I figure it is hard on my liver and kidneys to process all the chemo drugs so need more water.

    What is Xeloda? Why did you take it after you finished the chemo and radiation. Amazing that it got rid of your tumor. My markers are lower. I do hope that means the tumors are shrinking.I am on Folfox, leucoverin, oxiplatin, and 5fu.

    Xeloda is the pill form of

    Xeloda is the pill form of 5FU.

  • kojack007
    kojack007 Member Posts: 6
    edited December 2017 #57
     Xeloda,  or Generic

     Xeloda,  or Generic Capecitabine is a chemotherapy drug used to treat different cancers, including breast, colon, rectal, stomach, oesophageal and pancreatic cancers.

    The list of possible side affects is quite long.  

    I was prescribed Xeloda after I had finished everything else as a precautionary step to help increase the odds of cancr not returing.  When initally found i had about a 4 to 4.5 cm tumor with an agitated lymph node several inches above the rectum.  They classified it as rectal cancer.  I did 8 weeks of chemo and radiation along with taking 9 grams of apritcot seed extract., that was my own research for the apricot extract. Then surgery in August to remove the section of colon and place temp colostomy.  I had the temp colostomy reversed on Oct 25th this yr.  At this time I am clear.  

  • kojack007
    kojack007 Member Posts: 6
    edited December 2017 #58
    Xeloda

    Please take the time to recognize what does not feel right when taking xeloda.  When I first started by the 3rd day of my first cycle I had aches and pains in my head jaw neck shoulders and chest.  It seemed to move around my body it would only last a few minutes several times a day.  When it started in my chest my oncologist told me to stop and go see my cardiologist.  He checked me out and the heart was healthy and strong.  I started again and one and a half weeks into my second cycle with out warning i collapsed at work talking to a visiitor.  I was revived by CPR and one jolt from the AED.  After the doctors checked me out and ran tests on my heart it was strong and no issues.  It seems they think the xeloda messed with the electrical signals and i had heart failure. I am very blessed to be here right now  This is the very rare side effects and I just happen to experience them.  That just happened on 12-20-17.  

  • caregiver3
    caregiver3 Member Posts: 49
    My dh cannot work!

    He was really hoping and believing that he could continue working during his treatments, but from the colon surgery and being restaged to stage 4, and now chemo, it has kicked his butt!  He has so many side effects.  And he's losing so much weight and not able to eat well.  And there is hopefully a liver resection in the next few months too.  It has been really hard on him, he has worked all his life since he was a teenager.  He has gone from a very active person, to not being able to leave the bed some days.  It has been very sad to watch.  It seems like everyone is different, but in our case there is no way he could be working right now. 

  • tmckelve
    tmckelve Member Posts: 9
    edited February 2018 #60
    abita said:

    I expect that this will get

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

    working during chemo.

    Abita, allow yourself to heal then work your way back slowly. I was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer when they tried to reverse my ostomy from emergency surgery six months previously. I let myself heal then slowly got back into the groove of things. I’m an industrial maintenance mechanic and my employer put me at a desk re-working our pm system. I don’t know what you do for a living, but I found that going back to work has helped me to keep a positive attitude and the support I get from my coworkers helps me keep hope alive. I’m still working with the 5-Fluorouracil pump on my side for 26hrs. I don’t know what your physical condition is but I recommend you try to go back, it beats sitting in the house full of dread. If you can’t manage I recommend you find a way to fill your time so you don’t slip into a feeling of dread, it’s a bad place to be, believe me I spent about month there and you don’t want to go there.  If you need someone to reach out to give me a holler, I’ll do my best to help.  

  • abita
    abita Member Posts: 1,083 **
    tmckelve said:

    working during chemo.

    Abita, allow yourself to heal then work your way back slowly. I was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer when they tried to reverse my ostomy from emergency surgery six months previously. I let myself heal then slowly got back into the groove of things. I’m an industrial maintenance mechanic and my employer put me at a desk re-working our pm system. I don’t know what you do for a living, but I found that going back to work has helped me to keep a positive attitude and the support I get from my coworkers helps me keep hope alive. I’m still working with the 5-Fluorouracil pump on my side for 26hrs. I don’t know what your physical condition is but I recommend you try to go back, it beats sitting in the house full of dread. If you can’t manage I recommend you find a way to fill your time so you don’t slip into a feeling of dread, it’s a bad place to be, believe me I spent about month there and you don’t want to go there.  If you need someone to reach out to give me a holler, I’ll do my best to help.  

    I know I can't handle the

    I know I can't handle the commute everyday. But if I could work from home, I think maybe. I worry that the fatigue might be a problem. My liver resection was 20 days ago. This recovery I think is even harder than chemo. It makes me dread going back on chemo, but I know I have to do it so that I have the best chance for no recurrence. So I will do the last 8 rounds. And the reason I know I can't do the commute is because of the 3 or 4 times I have gone soemwhere on the train, I have needed a 3 hour nap when I got home. :) And yes, I think the working would help the positive attitude come back. I have just recently had it hit me how dire my situation was when I was hospitalized for the infection, and I am also at the point where I feel like I will never get my happy life back.