Return to Work Post Stem Cell Transplant

venitadye Member Posts: 1 *
edited July 2022 in Leukemia #1

I am approaching my 100 days of isolation post stem cell transplant. I have had a great recovery with few side effects, no GVHD or other complications, no fatigue after about 20 days post transplant. My blood numbers have been referred to by my oncologist as “fantastic” throughout the 100 days. I travelled out of my home state for treatment at a large cancer research university and due to be released in a couple weeks to a local oncologist in my home state. My primary transplant oncologist has refused to sign return to work paperwork until 6 months post transplant. I feel very well and plan to return to work in August part time (20 hours per week) 100% remote. I must return to work in August or I will lose my job. For mental health reasons as well as financial reasons I need to get back to work soon. This is causing me a lot of anxiety. My employer is bending over backwards to accommodate a safe return to work. What can I do? Can my local oncologist sign my return to work papers?


  • po18guy
    po18guy Member Posts: 1,487 Member

    Sorry to hear this. Consider: without transplant, you would quickly be unable to work, and soon unable to live. You could allow that mindset to guide your thoughts and decisions. First, you must be alive to find work or return to work. And, transplant during epidemic/pandemic is especially fraught with risk. You have plenty of cells, but they may be very ineffective - there is no scientific method of measuring their effectiveness against Covid, to name but one of millions of viruses.

    Why not focus on living first, let the finances fall where they may, and adapt to your new lease on life? Here is where patience pays off for the patient. A new lease on life means changes and truthfully, you retain all of life's prior difficulties plus recovery from transplant. The trasnsition from feeling great to feeling awful occurred very quickly. The return to health is then a true challenge. Best to avoid this. I understand your completely normal desire for some degree of normalcy in your life. That will arrive, but in the meantime there is work to do in allowing your immune system to grow and mature - it is a baby now. I would not ask it to do an adult's job.

    Personally, I would trust the transplant hematologist and not ask the local hematologist to countermand the instruction - which your local would be loathe to do in any event. Use your energy to seek assistance from local, state and federal agencies, family, friends, church or whatever. It is a lonely feeling until we reach out.