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End of 3rd Week

Posts: 44
Joined: Feb 2013

Tomorrow will be last treatment of 3rd week and my husband is getting worse day by day but still working (he is afraid that he might lose his job, his boss is not very cooperative and they also start to look for new person for my husband’s job).

I would like to know if anyone has work during the treatment??

Also he started using his tube for feeding and still pushing himself to eat something by mouth but in very little quantities.

I was wondering if you taking enough calories by tube you still lose weight and energy?



Posts: 213
Joined: Feb 2013

I had just retired when I started treatment. Radiation and chemo after a left side neck dissection. I could not have worked nor could I have even after two months out of treatment. However I am 67 which makes it somewhat harder to come back than a younger person. Just one week over two months out of treatment could I even think about going back to work in the future. I do have plans on traveling starting in mid April.

I think you can lose weight even if taking in enough by the tube. At least I did, but not more than 15 lbs. It was hard to get enough calories.

If one can manage I think fighting the cancer if he is having the usual treatment is about all one can do. Maybe if in great shape, young and with luck one could work and do the full treatment. Not sure what others think.

fishmanpa's picture
Posts: 1216
Joined: Jan 2013

Hi Hetal,

Glad to hear your husband is progressing through treatment. Sorry to hear it's beginning to take it's toll on him. 

I was very concerned about work as well when this whole thing started. Not only for the job aspect but financially too. Fortunately, I work for a small company and my boss is more like family. I've been with them 4 years and my job will be there when I'm ready. While I won't be getting paid for not working, I will continue to work remotely doing things I can do such as answer emails, the marketing content etc. and be compensated for that. In lieu of a raise, he will continue my medical benefits while I undergo treatment. I'm blessed to be working for such good people (He drove to Baltimore and picked me up after my surgery earlier this week). 

My treatment means I'm getting rads 5 days a week, Monday through Friday as well as weekly chemo and will require that I be close to the hospital. I originally sought treatment locally but due to several factors, I chose to get treatment elsewhere. From what I've read of other's experiences and from my own experience the last two weeks, I know I could not do my job. The sore throat from surgery and the pain and discomfort I'm in would make it nearly impossible for me to speak on the phone with my customers. From what I've gathered, the weeks after treatment is done are equally as difficult for many. I know each person is different but I'm realistically looking at a minimum of 3 months out of commission, maybe more.

Look into the Family Medical Leave Act http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/ . It protects workers who are in situations like ours. There are restrictions (company size etc.) and it varies by state but if your husband qualifies, he will have a job waiting by law.

Based on my experience the last couple of weeks with the surgery, I know that my throat will be as bad or worse once I get into the meat of the rad treatment. I've been barely able to swallow the last two weeks so I can't imagine I'll be any better a month from now. I spoke with my team about a PEG and I'm going to push to have one put in before I start treatment as a fail safe. Same goes for a port for chemo. Better safe than sorry. I will continue to swallow liquids and eat what I can when I can by mouth but I want to be sure I have an option should that become too difficult. The folks here have done their job in getting me the info I need to make it through. I literally dream of swallowing and hydration ~lol~

Check out that link and best wishes for your husband and you during the remainder of your journey. 



hwt's picture
Posts: 2330
Joined: Jun 2012

I did not have the energy to work. I was fortunate to have an employer that did not make me feel guilty for being off. I can't imagine the added pressure of feeling like I needed to be at work when I was sleeping 20 hours a day. Do look into FMLA

Billie67's picture
Posts: 843
Joined: Jul 2012

No way could I have worked especially after the 3 week mark. I know some people claim they did it but I guess I just didn't have it in me. It took me a couple of months afterward too before I felt strong enough to return to my normal activities.

Yes it is very possible to continue to lose weight and energy even with the tube feedings. The radiation just zaps your energy and pretty soon I'd expect your husband to start having some soreness. Enough that he may have to take pain meds to manage it. For sure he should not drive while taking it. I don't know what kind of work he does but heavy machinery would be avoided on meds too.
I'm sorry his boss is not very compassionet, that really stinks. You should check into disability and social security. I didn't file but many on here did and were able to receive benefits. At least you'd have something coming in if he takes a leave or gets laid off. If he gets laid off he could get unemployment. If his boss is going to let him go if he can't work then I'd plead with him to lay him off so your husband will be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Good luck!

Posts: 20
Joined: Jan 2013

Hello hetal,


                Sorry to hear about your husband job. My husband done his chemo yesterday and rad today, he filed his TDI on the first week of chemo and rad because he started to feel the side effects he was getting tired already and more tired on the 3rd week..my husband does lose weight 7 Lbs that was when he dont have his PEG yet that time 2 weeks after chemo and rad doctor told us my husband need gtube already because he is losing weight few lbs and having pain in his throat already and were so glad PEG save my husband life without tube he cannot even able to eat at all till now...

 tube feeding formula have lots of vitamins and minerals especially protein and calories..my hubby taking isosource, 7 cans a day but i also add 2 cans a day of the carnation instant breakfast VHC 530 calories.. and he did gain weight while during chemo and rad 2 lbs a week so i decided to give 1 can of  carnation VHC today... if you like you can try give that carnation instant breakfast VHC 530 is really good. 

Ingrid K's picture
Ingrid K
Posts: 813
Joined: Mar 2011


someone on your husbands medical team should be able to tell you how many cans of liquid nutrition he will need per day via his feeding tube.  I was on Osmolite, and did 7 cans a day initially, plus protein powder which aids in healing (I had major surgery).

He could still lose weight even while on the feeding tube, but it will be much less than what he would lose without the tube.

Make sure he stays hydrated....if he can't swallow, put the water in the feeding tube.   Staying hydrated is the best piece of advice I can give you.  It will make everything else in his system keep functioning so that he doesn't end up with other problems.

I know of very very few people who could work during treatment.  I would never have been able to.

If there is a human resources person at your's husband's company, please talk to them and see what his benefits are.  Not sure where you live, so don't know what the laws are, but at least ask around.

Best of luck to both of you.



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