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How many people have gone back to work after the intial protocol treatment?

hopeful girl 1
Posts: 454
Joined: May 2010


I am almost 4-1/2 weeks out from my 6th chemo. Still struggling with low blood counts, so I have not yet been approved by my medical team to return to work. It is my understanding that my employer would like me to return, even though I have been out for 8 months now.

I am just curious, how many who have completed initial protocol treatment have returned to work? And for those that returned, how long after treatment ended did you return?

Peace and healing to all.


lindaprocopio's picture
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

I just took off a week after my surgery, but worked throughout my treatments. But I also work from home and have my own business so I was able to rest when I wanted to. I spent most of the 1st year increasing and training my staff so that all the work I had always done could be done by someone else in case I got really sick. I brought my sons in as partners at the start of 2010 and gave them each 1/3 of my business and a lot of the work that comes with it. I had no trouble going on long and frequent vacations. Now that I've gotten approved for disability I am ready to give them my final shares on January 1, 2011 and retire, and only advise when they get in over their heads. But my husband will remain on the payroll so that we keep our insurance coverage and continue to offer IT support to the company, and I may take a year of very modest 'sick pay' not to exceed what disability allows you to earn. I love to work so this is hard for me. But I need to see that they can run the business after I am gone,...while I'm still here to yank them back if they head in the wrong direction. My plan is to finish writing the book I started years ago.

maggie_wilson's picture
Posts: 616
Joined: Nov 2009

i took the full 8 weeks after my surgery to recuperate, though i probably needed only 6. before i started chemo i went back to work for a few days to see my clients. once chemo started, several weeks after i recuperated, from surgery i began to work around the 3rd round of chemo, just one week a month to stay in contact with my clients. when chemo was over, my partner and i took a 3 week vacation to kauai. then i resumed my one week a month contact with clients, and 3 months after chemo was finished i returned to work full time--which for me is only 3 days a week, but can be long, full days. fortunately, i work for my self as a therapist in private practice, so i could make all the decisions for myself, and can sit and listen and talk, not too strenuous. so i've been back to work nearly 10 months now, since the beginning of february, and it feels great. it's so grounding for me, and i can concentrate on someone else, be present for them, and not think about cancer at all, at least not my own, since i do see several women now with cancer. in any case, i worked it out so that work fit my needs, and also was helpful to my clients to be able to see me, and see me looking well, even without hair. so, that's my work story. most of my clients who wanted to know, i told i'd had cancer. some didn't want to know more than that i had a serious, but routine surgery--hysterectomy.

hope this is helpful in your decision making. please don't return to work, if you can help it, before you feel ready.


Songflower's picture
Posts: 631
Joined: Apr 2009

I went back to work (nurse Practitioner) part time after a month of rest from treatment. I have neuropathy and have a stressful job so I couldn't do full time. I was working my way up when I had a recurrance; so now I am on full disability. I miss the patients but know I can't work now. Sometimes the days are long but I try to do what I can.


Kaleena's picture
Posts: 2064
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Cindy:

I was off initially because of my surgery, but by the time my treatment came around, I went to work. I usually had my treatments on Tuesday or Wednesday, but it was on Friday that I usually felt the most fatique. My treatments were every two weeks for six months. So I really couldn't afford to miss work.

My best to you,


norma2's picture
Posts: 486
Joined: Aug 2009

I am in management and luckily can work from my home if necessary. I worked part time through chemo and radiation. Went into the office 2 weeks after surgery because I was going crazy at home. During radiation for 6 weeks I stayed in Houston and got online for work a few hours a day. I could rest as I needed.
After treatment I go to work each day and haven't missed a day except when I have to go every 3 months for checkups. I work 9 to 10 hrs a day. I don't have a physical job. And I love what I do so work is kind of therapy for me.

I still get a little tired in the evenings. I am in bed with a book around 8pm each night.

Posts: 134
Joined: May 2010

Hi Cindy,

I worked during my treatment. I worked through Radiation but took off 2 weks at the end because of side efects. I was able to work during chemo, but got chemo on wed then went back to work the following mon or tues depending on how I felt. My Doc's kept telling that their patients who worked seemed to do better.
But now I am 5 months post tretment and it still remains hard. I have bad neuropathy and still feel tired sometimes. But working just makes me feel "normal" It is really hard sometimes, and I get frustrated that I can't do everything that I want to do.My advice is to go slow and go back gradually.


Always Hopeful
Posts: 234
Joined: May 2010

My last day of work was on March 19th, the Friday before my surgery on March 22, 2010. As a NYC middle school teacher who had to walk up five double flights of stairs three times per day, my docs would not permit me to return during treatment. My original treatment ran for 18 weeks from April 28th to August 21st. Unfortunately, the darling devil was totally immune to the the carbo/taxol protocal (with taxol every week), resulting in profuse tumor growth throughout my abdomen and pelvis, including on my vaginal cuff and sigmoid colon, as well as a blood clot in my right gonoidal (spelling?) vein. I found this all out right before Labor Day Weekend so my plans to return to work for the new school year were smashed. Since then, I have been approved for Social Security Disablity and officially retired on November 19th.
I really had no choice considering I am back in treatment, still would have the 5 flights to climb along with the major germ factor involved.

No knowing what exactly you do for a living, I would just say to be sure you can handle all that is required of you. Unfortunately, too many employers become blind to why you were out and just expect you to pick up where you left off.

Peace and hope, JJ

TiggersDoBounce's picture
Posts: 413
Joined: Oct 2009

Everyone is different...try to keep that in mind!

I returned to work 2 weeks post surgery....2 weeks home and then back into the office.

I went back to work around November 1st and began Chemo & Radiation on the same day 12/7.

I worked all the way thru my Chemo & Radiation...taking time to work from home when I needed to.

Gauge how you feel along with what your job demands from you...

Good Luck, Laurie

lociee's picture
Posts: 102
Joined: Apr 2009

I definitely took time off when I had the total surgery. I think it was 6 weeks. Then a year later I had the re-occurance - The day of chemo (carbo/taxol) I took off, of course. Then I went home, went to bed and went to work the next day. It was difficult, but I didn't feel I had a choice. When the chemo didn't work, I literally did a drive by radiation. Went to work and stopped off for radiation on the way home. But I'm a crazy person. I'm self supporting and would fall apart if I wasn't bringing home a pay check. I'm a high school teacher in Boston. Luckily my school was extremely supportive, and if I were feeling really lousy, I would go home early - and there were days when I called in sick - I'm not really super girl. However, I did basically keep working. Now I'm teaching full time - and writing full time - so am probably busier than I've been in years. All that - but my *** is still killing me from the radiation and I live on percocet and larazapam.
Yup, a glass of wine, a claw foot tub, plenty of foaming badadas, a percocet and a larazapam - and I'm good to go.

hopeful girl 1
Posts: 454
Joined: May 2010

I have been off since surgery-I had a very rough recovery from the two surgeries, and then went into three chemos, 25 radiations, and three chemos. Right now my counts are still really low, so my oncologist will release me when my counts are at a normal level-platelets and white counts in particular. I had a problem with very low counts throughout and so I was off, and after the 6th chemo, my counts were squashed.

I do look forward to getting back in the swing.


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