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just looking for some input

goldfinch's picture
Posts: 737
Joined: Oct 2003

So...I work 3 days per week. I've been thinking the last few days whether I should continue this. It has always been important to me to keep working. I've taken a few leaves of absences...surgery, chemo, radiation side effects, etc, in the 4 years I've been fighting this. And it's always helped to know that I'm contributing...to my work place and to my income.
I'm just starting to wonder how imp it is to continue now.
I'm still feeling well enough to continue so far (reminder...radiation therapy for brain mets, will resume new chemo regimen...who knows what yet since I've tried them all...after radiation).
Is this how I want to spend my time?
I don't love my job, but I like it enough. There certainly is the drudgery of having to get up and get there and stay for nine hours (1 hour for lunch, but I rarely leave the building). For the most part it's not physically taxing. I do phone triage (RN) for a primary car doctors' office-9 providers. I only take care of 3 of the docs! So my job is spent mostly on the phone.
There have been a few times when someone has called about a runny nose for 2 days and wants relief NOW or they need there prescription for allegra NOW where I've wanted to say "you think you got problems?" But I still know that whoever calls, whatever they call about is important to them and I treat them accordingly.
I don't know. I'm rambling on here. I just am starting to wonder if there's a better way.
On the other hand, when (underline when) I'm well on my way to recovery I would like to have this job, but then again...if I had to go look for another job because I was well wouldn't that be wonderful!
I am not entitiled to medical leave anymore, though I think my employer would hold my position if I just wanted to take some time off. Though nothing is guaranteed. They've been really good, but we're in the process of finding a new boss, blah , blah, blah. Who knows if s/he'd be willing to allow it. My old boss knew how hard I worked. This one may just see a dire diagnosis.
Achhh! I'm rambling. If some of you could just give me your thoughts...I'd appreciate it.

jams67's picture
Posts: 927
Joined: May 2006

I'm retired and can only tell you that I don't miss my job, but I do miss the comradirie of friends at work. Only you can decide what to do here. I do love the alarm not going off in the morning at 6am.
Jo Ann

nanuk's picture
Posts: 1362
Joined: Dec 2003

you've been wrestling with this for quite a while now, and you are obviously not defined by your work; therefore if you can afford it, even for a short time, give everything you have to beating the beast. What else is there if you don't? Nanuk

Kanort's picture
Posts: 1275
Joined: Jan 2004

Dear Mary,

While I think the camaraderie of the workplace is important while fighting this disease, I also think any job creates stress. I agree with Bud, and if you are able, put all of you into fighting your illness.

You spirit is so strong, Mary! I am so glad that you feel well enough to work, but I know your healing is your top priority. Also, new bosses, no matter how wonderful they are, create a different atmosphere and possibly more stress. Let us know you decision!

Hugs and healing wishes,


davidsonxx's picture
Posts: 137
Joined: Mar 2007

I agree that it is important to put all your energy into fighting your illness. I would also suggest you take the time to do some of the things you have been wanting to do but didn't have the time. Spend more time with friends and family.

On the flip side don't let yourself become isolated because you aren't going into work. Make sure you still have something that will keep you socialized. Also don't let yourself become bored. Both of these can make it harder to maintain a positive attitude. As long as you feel good maybe you could do some volunteer work. This would give you that feeling of making a contribution while allowing you more control over your schedule.

Do what is best for you and what makes you happy. This is a time to be selfish and not worry about what others expect of you. Good luck with your treatment. I'll keep you in my prayers.

apache4's picture
Posts: 272
Joined: Jul 2007

I'm technically retired, but I did start working part-time in a totally different area and I just love it. I am lucky enough to have $ so, do not NEED to work, but I so very much understand where you are coming from. I suggest maybe some volunteer work where your time would be flexible and yet you would still be a part of something. That is how I gained my part-time job...by starting as a volunteer. Some weeks I will take more hours and others I can bearly do the 5 I am committed to. The option is mine which is what makes it perfect. It sounds like you have a set of skills that will translate to many areas. You need to spend you time with what makes you Happy right now...I think that it helps the healing and coping.

KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

I am self employed so, if I didn't work, I wouldn't get any income.

That said, my clients were WONDERFUL. VERY supportive...I actually looked forward to getting well enough to go back to them, ON A LIMITED basis.

If you are tired, rest. If you are weary, take time. Only do things that are a positive experience. Your fight is the most important thing.

You are a powerful, strong, brave warrior! An inspiration to us all!

Hugs, Kathi

robinvan's picture
Posts: 1014
Joined: May 2007

Hi Mary,
I've taken disability leave twice now since being diagnosed. First for 1 year and this time 6 months (I go back in September). I have rewarding work that I love but find that chemo side-effects are unpredictable and I can't make committments. I also have a lot of close people contact and don't like taking the "infection risk". I've appreciated being off work and focused on treatments, side-effect management, meditation, massage, etc.
I agree with the others here, do what is life-giving for you.
Blessings... Rob

jsabol's picture
Posts: 1156
Joined: Dec 2003

Mary, I was working as a nurse in a long term care setting, doing screenngs and family support for Alzheimer's care. My onc actually suggested that I take a leave, and I luckily had short term disability to fall back on. I did not miss work too terribly for those 5 months, and my company was not able to hold my position open. When I was ready to return, I moved into a different job and love it.
However you can best focus on taking care of yourself, spend your time and energy there. Judy

Posts: 881
Joined: Feb 2007

Hi Mary,

You are fighting the most important battle of your life. Throw every piece of ammunition you have at it; that includes rest and peace of mind.

I am fortunate to be in a position where my husband can carry us while I'm not working, and lucky enough to have a job with a company that has been very understanding. They hold my job for me while I can't work, and employ temps while I am out. I told them I would understand if they could not do this, but they are insistent that I do what I have to do and not worry about my job being there when I am able to return.

So what I mean to say in all of that is that your fight is most important, but I understand the need for income. If you feel well enough to work, by all means do it, but if you feel that it is taking away from more important things and you can afford it, do the more important things. Get better, spend time with those you love, and do things you want to do.


jerseysue's picture
Posts: 626
Joined: Oct 2005

I've been on disability twice now once for 8 months and this time for 9 months I go back in August. I took off for me and I've grown to enjoy the time with my children. I used to laugh and say that the kids would give me more stress then my job but that sooooooo isn't true. If it doesn't add any stress to you TAKE the time off and fight without interruption of your job.

kangatoo's picture
Posts: 2115
Joined: Feb 2004

Hi Mary. Two trains of thought here with our friends. Certainly if your health is suffering and the treatment is getting you down then considering not working would probably help things. And as you have asked for advice then obviously it(working) worried you enough to pose the question. On the other hand I guess that you need to look at the satisfaction you receive from doing your job....ie; is the satisfaction enough to sustain your interest...and your health if you continued to work. I am retired, in part due to cancer but I am also NED which probably really does not qualify me to answer your question as you are still battling. Nonetheless, not working for the past 3 years, apart from helping my son at work, had in some ways lead to a lot of free time(apart from housework...lol!) Consequently I became a volunteer for firefighting(communications)and this has given me considerable enjoyment....not to mention taking up quite a lot of my time.
As David said...there are other oportunities that you could occupy yourself with(volunteer work). You could also remain working and see what this "new boss" is like. You never know...the new boss might just be very understanding.
Ross and Jen

sladich's picture
Posts: 430
Joined: May 2007


I have the same thoughts sometimes. When I was diagnosed and went through surgery and chemo I was off for 9 months. I went back to work full-time only having to take off another couple of months for surgery and then went back to work part-time for almost a year and a half. I'm back full-time as of mid-April. I'm wondering if I'm doing the right thing. If I stay healthy, I want to continue to work but if something should happen and I can't work, has this time working full-time been wasted? Would I rather be doing something else? It's a hard question. I enjoy my job and it gives me something to think about besides "cancer". I just don't know.


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