CSN Login
Members Online: 3

You are here

Question about returning to work or staying on disability

hopeful girl 1
Posts: 454
Joined: May 2010


I am wondering how many of us work, and how many of us are on disability.

I just had my 6th chemo on Nov 2nd (initial protocol treatment plan), so I of course have some recovery time still needed before I could return to work. My blood counts are very low right now-but did meet criteria to have the last chemo.

I am currently on long term disability. My employer does want me to return to work when I am ready, at least thus far.

I am curious since many of us are in different stages of treatments, are some working or have many opted to remain on disability for less stress and rest?

I am starting to get alittle scared about the thought of going back to work, and the stress involved. I am expecting my body may be stronger and ready to return to a more normal existence come January.

Please provide thoughts!

Thanks all!

Hugs and love,


daisy366's picture
Posts: 1493
Joined: Mar 2009


I worked throughout everything up to this point - recurrence - 2 years post diagnosis. I just applied for SS disability. I wonder if stress contributed -I don't think I handle my work stress very well. And more and more, employers are doing "more with less" which puts more work - and stress- on those working.

It's a hard decision in this economy - and this needs to be an individual decision. I was told I could still earn up to $1000 month if I'm on SSDisabiltiy. I am moving forward in faith. Hopefully I will be approved - I think recurrence of Chester (UPSC) qualifies.

Maybe PT is a thought! Mary Ann

lindaprocopio's picture
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

I think the decision to keep working, or to go back to work, depends on what kind of work you do, and how much you love your work, and how much your work is a part of how you think of yourself. I have my own business (www.procopiofundraising.com) and worked throughout my cancer treatments, although I do have the luxury of working from home and resting if I need to. I hired additional staff and trained people to be able to effectively cover every aspect of my job, and wrote a "Procopio Fundraising for Dummies" manual, but I continued to work and CONTINUE to work a little each day. I LOVE my work. It can be stressful, but in an energizing way most of the time.

I just applied last month for SS disability because I can see that I can no longer type all day and my work requires 8 to 10 hours a day at a computer pecking away. (On Doxil chemo, if you type more than 5 minutes, your fingertips get red and sore and if you don't stop when they start hurting, you will develop open sores on your hands and then you REALLY can't type!) I brought my 2 sons into my business as partners on January 1, 2010; and on January 1, 2011 I will be giving them the remaining shares. If I continue to work after the New Year, I will just be an employee. I still haven't decided whether I will take the disability if I am approved. But I know it will be fairer to my sons to let them see if they can run the business without my constant intervention, and yet while I am still here to advise if they need me. And my company will be healthier if I get off the payroll if I really can't work. I can earn 'sick leave' pay until my Disability starts, and even after that within the $1000/month cap.

You are in a very different situation than I am. You may very well NEVER recur! Can you imagine not working the rest of your life? In my case, I know that I will probably be in chemo the rest of my life, and a cure is no longer even held out as a possibility for me. So I may want to be free to travel between treatments and finish that novel I started years ago.

Always Hopeful
Posts: 234
Joined: May 2010

I, too, applied for Social Security Disability at the end of September. Like Linda, I have now accepted that UPSC is not curative and I will be in and out of treatment for the rest of my life...hopefully, more out than in. I have not been back to work since my surgery on March 22nd thanks to my accumulated sick days and other provisions. I also am in the process of finalizing my retirement. Is it the best situation for me financially? Absolutely not, however, one major thing I learned from all of this is to appreciate the time we are given. As a middle school teacher in NYC, the stress levels are quite high and it is getting worse with each passing day because of government mandates etc. Retirement and disability, therefore, are the best choice for me.

Recuperating until January seems quite reasonable, Cindy. We all know first hand how much treatments take out of us, so do take care of yourself before going back to work.

Peace and hope, JJ

maggie_wilson's picture
Posts: 616
Joined: Nov 2009


i did not work while i recovered from surgery (8 weeks), then worked one week a month during chemo for 18 weeks. i'm a psychotherapist and work for myself, so i can sit quietly most of the time, and make my own schedule. i don't have disability because i'd already qualified for social security on the basis of age, so it wasn't an issue. i'm still working because i love my work and it doesn't take a lot out of me, and doesn't usually stress me. in fact, the relationships give to me as much, i believe, as i give to them. so it's extremely gratifying. so how much you love your work, how rigorous/stressful it is for you, need to be considered. if you're already getting a little scared about the possibility of going back to work, it's too soon. if you think january would be better, then wait for then before you go back. the most important part is less stress and more rest!


hopeful girl 1
Posts: 454
Joined: May 2010


Thank you all for sharing your experiences and thoughts.

I will see what my team recommends after I see them in three weeks for follow up after my 6th chemo which I just had this week.

In my office a lot of sicknesses get passed around: flu/bad colds/bronchitis/etc....and I tend to catch normally several times a year. So I do not want to return until my bloodcounts are more solid incase I should pick anything up. It is my understanding from my oncologist though that counts sometimes do not return completely to the normal range.
I hope mine will get at least close to normal.

I am starting to get nervous about when the time comes to go back to work, even though I have missed the normalcy of going to work and getting out and about. I have been out since March so I feel like I will be alittle rusty and am nervous about not being as sharp as before (chemo fog etc). Hopefully it will all come back to me.

I am anticipating that I could likely return to work in January as my sixth chemo was this week. That would hopefully give my body time to gain strength, counts to go up, and relax and enjoy the holiday season following the end of my initial treatment plan.

Love and hugs to all!


Posts: 683
Joined: Apr 2010

My friend when again are you going to get the opportunity to stay home. Just relax and enjoy your recovery. lots of warm hugs to all. June

Subscribe to Comments for "Question about returning to work or staying on disability"