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TAyers's picture
Posts: 79
Joined: Aug 2012

Just wondering if anyone went back to work after being diagnosed, I know its a personal preference, but trying to decide what to do, I work in our school district as a paraeducator and am afraid fulltime will be to much for me.I am 45 and have UPSC grade 3 stage 3c and I am starting radiation in 2 weeks (25 sessions). Have any of you recieved the brachytherapy even if your dr. said only the external rads?

lkchapman's picture
Posts: 106
Joined: Jan 2011

Hi TAyers,
I never left work when I was diagnosed with the same stage and grade UPSC as you have. I was diagnosed in 2009 at the age of 46. I suppose if I had had the choice I probably would have just quit working but that wasn't in the cards for me. I needed to keep my insurance and help my husband support our family. About the brachytherapy, I'm surprised your doctor is not wanting to do it. Usually its the other way around. I really wasn't given a choice, I had both ext and int radiation.


CindyGSD's picture
Posts: 191
Joined: Aug 2011

Worrying about my job was probably the most stressful part of my cancer treatment. After surgery I took eight weeks off to recover and at that point had to decide if I was going to go on long term disability or try and work thru treatment. My boss insisted that I could not work during treatment and the more she insisted the more I was determined to do just that. In the end, it proved not to be an issue...I worked full time through my entire treatment and planned my chemo so that my worst days fell over the weekend.

The biggest problem with working is you are exposed to germs just when your body is too weak to fight them. I basically hid in my cubicle and used lots of hand sanitizer.

If you are working with children, that could be a problem...they are little germ carriers.

In the end it really depends on your job and how you react to the chemo and radiation.

I received both radiation and brachytherapy.

Take care,

sunflash's picture
Posts: 197
Joined: Aug 2011

I'm a 5th grade teacher and worked through my treatment.
However, I had my surgery in June and had two months to recover from that before I went back to work. I needed that time. I also had no radiation due to the fact I had previous radiation 5 years prior and so was not a candidate for more radiation.
My sister (retired teacher) became my sub, so there were no worries there. I took 3 days off for each treatment (including weekends so it was really 5) except for the last two treatments where I took 5 days.......so actually had 7 full days to recover. The main reason I needed those was due to the fatigue and energy required as a teacher.
I was concerned about the exposure to germs, but washed my hands constantly and had the students scrub their desks daily with Clorox Hard Surface Cleaner. I had an agreement with the school nurse where I sent any child who even complained of a headache, and she evaluated them and kept them in the clinic until they were picked up.
I still find it hard to believe I didn't get sick......I was exposed to colds, the flu, stomach viruses and strep. Where other teachers were getting sick, I never did.
I had many people praying for me and feel sure that was what got me through.
Whether or not to go back is such a personal decision. There are many factors involved, and as my doctor told me, the most important thing is whether you LIKE your job, and WANT to go back. She knew me well, knows how I feel about my work, and recommended I go back. I'm glad I did.
Good luck making this very difficult decision!

Posts: 24
Joined: Jul 2010


I hope you will decide to do what is right for you, and don't feel pressured either way. I remember my boss made a side comment about a friend who "never missed a day of work" when she was going through treatment, except for her chemo days. Even though she wasn't asking the same of me I internalized that pressure and felt guilty for awhile. Now I realize it's just so unique to each person.

I was able to continue working, though I took time off as I needed. I asked my doctor to put "adjust schedule as needed due to treatment side effects" on my medical notice. I had a harder time with fatigue in the afternoons when I was doing radiation, and so just worked half days for awhile. I don't know how flexible the school can be, and how much leave you can afford.

Also, I don't know how much you want to share at work but when my white counts were low I sent an email to coworkers and let them know that I was being careful of people with colds and that I would help them from "afar" if I could (through email or by phone, instead of face to face) if they had a cold. You can't really do that with kids, but with adult coworkers anyway.

Right now I am going through chemotherapy and I'm working. I travel and teach a lot for work so this time on my medical note I asked the doctor to say that I'm limited to two hours travel in a day and two hours of lead teaching, because I figured out that more than that is too taxing. I am also working four days instead of five. Just having that extra day off helps a lot. Things are usually slow at my work on Fridays with hardly anything scheduled so it doesn't impact too much for me to take that day.

Also, I don't know if there are any paperwork/computer tasks you might be allowed to do at home but I sometimes did work in the evening after napping in the afternoon. Best to you!


lkchapman's picture
Posts: 106
Joined: Jan 2011

I don't want to leave the impression that I didn't take any time off. TAyers asked if anyone went back to work after being diagnosed with cancer. I assumed she meant did we quit work/retire. I did take the entire time off after surgery and while receiving cisplantin/xrt. It was just too tiring to get to radiation every day and try to work too. Also I think the radiation was harder to deal with than the chemo. Much more debilitating for me at least. I did work during chemo most of the time except for the last 2 rounds, I was lucky I had plenty of sick time because by then I had to take the whole week off. I did return to work full time after everything was over though.


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