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Returning to work

JR124JR124 Posts: 37 ✭✭


I have decided to return to work midway through chemo. I've had 3 of 6.

Now everyone is saying that I shouldn't and to be careful etc. Scaring me a bit.

My oncologist says it's ok and my boss says I can work as little as I need to.

Has anyone else returned to work during chemo? Any advice?



  • SunshinedaffSunshinedaff Posts: 1,407 ✭✭✭✭✭


    Hi June,

    Wow, that's great if you feel you are well enough in the chemo to do so. Plus if your oncologist says it's ok, and your boss is sympathetic to the hours you will work.

    What do you do?

    I think you do still need to be careful, and aware of being around others who have germs and illnesses that can affect you, especially whilst on chemo. You may also be extremely tired, and your immunity will be compromised, but again if your oncologist is happy for you to work, why not. I had to stop work as I worked in a school where germs, sickness and illnesses were rife! The hazards of being in teaching! haha!

    When are you thinking of returning?

    Lou xx

  • JR124JR124 Posts: 37 ✭✭

    Going back Monday. I manage a team of health visitors so office based and will stay far away from people with colds coughs etc.

    If surgery goes ahead I may be back a month and off again. I do get tired but I will only be doing 2 or 3 days a week 10 till 2 for the first month.

    I'm sensible so feel that if it all becomes a bit much I will go off again. I can also work from home if I need to.


  • JR124JR124 Posts: 37 ✭✭

    Also I went back to work during chemo 30 years ago and I was a nurse. Not being a hero but money is an issue. I will go onto half pay soon and cant afford it so I'm kind of banking some hours for if I need surgery. Xx

  • SunshinedaffSunshinedaff Posts: 1,407 ✭✭✭✭✭


    That all sounds very positive June, it's great your employers are so understanding. I hope it goes really well for you.

    Keep us posted how you are getting on.

    Have a restful weekend,

    Lou xx

  • JR124JR124 Posts: 37 ✭✭

    Thank you I will! 💪xxx

  • BadmintonmadBadmintonmad Posts: 1

    I'm on 5 of 6 and have an understanding boss too., Who has allowed me to pretty much come and go as I feel up doing. Getting out of of the house and keeping busy have been great. Just listen to your body. Hope it goes well for you.

  • JR124JR124 Posts: 37 ✭✭

    Thank you that's really nice to hear. I'm happy it's going well for you x

  • SunshinedaffSunshinedaff Posts: 1,407 ✭✭✭✭✭


    Hi June,

    I was thinking of you this week, I hope your return to work has gone well, the weekend here again, so hopefully you can relax and rest up.

    Take care,

    Lou x

  • JR124JR124 Posts: 37 ✭✭


    Thank you for thinking of me.

    Yes I did 3 days of 4 hours and was totally exhausted but boss very supportive so doesn't feel like I have to stay there if I get too tired.

    Its halfway scan results on Monday. Feeling apprehensive as I know we all do at this time and then chemo on weds so have left it with work that if all ok I can go in Tuesday but could be all change again!

    We have a new grandson born on Thursday so we are off to see him tomorrow which will be lovely!

    Thank you again

    June Xxx

  • SunshinedaffSunshinedaff Posts: 1,407 ✭✭✭✭✭


    Oh that is lovely news. Congratulations to you all. How lovely.

    Will be thinking of you on Monday for your results, and of course for your next chemo.

    Not surprised you feel exhausted, but am glad work are so lovely to you.

    Enjoy the time with your new little one, and hope you are able to get some rest too.

    Lou x

  • RobertARobertA Posts: 1,272 ✭✭✭✭✭


    i hope you are having a lovely day today. All the best for tomorrow.

    Rob x

  • JR124JR124 Posts: 37 ✭✭

    Thank you x

  • JR124JR124 Posts: 37 ✭✭

    Well Good news. CT scan could find no evidence of disease at this time. Have to have hysterectomy and debulking in 4 weeks. Followed by last two chemo then 18 Bevacizumab 3 weekly. Scared to be happy but feel it's all going in right direction. Anyone else had Bevacizumab?

  • SunshinedaffSunshinedaff Posts: 1,407 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @JR124 ,

    Hi June,

    That sounds like a fantastic sentence to be spoken in an oncology appointment! I am so pleased for you, definitely moving in the right direction, even though you still have a way to go, that’s good news.

    Lou x

  • JR124JR124 Posts: 37 ✭✭

    Thank you it's an odd feeling. Tears today but thinking did we hear that??? But we both did.

    Not getting complacent!

    Thank you for all your support

    June xx

  • MelanieMelanie Posts: 13


    i have been working throughout my chemo. I own a hair salon and I make my schedule so I do take that into account. Feeling productive and normal helps me to get though it! Talking to people and getting out is a life saver for me. My clients don’t come in if they are sick so that helps. Also I’m self employed and I can’t afford to lay about watching Netflix. Lol. Do what works for you

  • KotsKots Posts: 2


    It's great that you feel up to going back to work I had chemo last year (8 sessions) and I worked right through my treatment. You do need to listen to your body and be aware when you need to rest and be careful of infections etc but I found it helpful to try and keep some sense of normality when having treatment - I was also very lucky and didn't have terrible side effects which helped. Take care x

  • AlimacAlimac Posts: 2

    Hi. I stayed at home for a few days after each chemo. By the end of the first week after chemo I was going in a few hours a day. The second week after chemo I was working short days. The third week after chemo I was working full days. Then, we would start all over again. It was so good for me to be able to work.... a bit of normality which was much needed!!

  • AnnT56AnnT56 Posts: 1

    I worked throughout my chemo but had a very understanding boss and did reduced hours. I work in a school in the office and stayed away from sick children - my lovely colleagues covered first aid. I asked all staff not to get too close if they knew they had an infection and had quite a few conversations from a distance of a couple of metres! I was on a cycle where my absolutely shattered day fell on a Saturday and by Sunday I was a lot better and managed to get to church every Sunday.

    I would recommend it but agree with other comments about listening to your body. I did get an infection after my first chemo but, unless you're going to stay indoors and not see anyone, I think that is always a risk.

    As Alimac and Kots have said the normality was good and the target of getting to work kept me going and also meant I had a 10 minute walk which sometimes took nearer 30 minutes!

    It very much depends on your side effects and what work you do. Many people, such as teachers, would be much more vulnerable.

    The support at work was so great in helping me through my more difficult days and I wouldn't say my work rate was normal but I did manage to keep most of my work ticking over without impacting too much on others.

    Good luck JR124 with the operation and the rest of the treatment and try to allow yourself to be happy. It took me a while and I've had a few blips but now finished all my treatment and trying to live life normally.

  • Poppyba4321Poppyba4321 Posts: 4

    I had very strong chemo, and I had burnt feet and hands and a year on still have bald patches. I try to exercise and keep fit, but I couldn't even think of going back to work. I have days where I am energetic, but a year after chemo, still exhausted. Also being forced into the menopause hasn't helped, as I don't sleep. Dont be afraid not to work , but I have alot of friends so sometimes work is where you socialise. But be careful, you need to take care , but I suppose it depends on doses and age, how the chemo affects you. But if you are tired dont force yourself to work, people have strong opinions about it, usually people who have not experienced it. Look after you.

  • JR124JR124 Posts: 37 ✭✭

    Thank you I'm sorry you had such a bad experience. More about money really as I know I have to go off again for another OP. But so far so good x

  • MarieMarie Posts: 5


    I returned to work as a teacher during chemo but kept it mornings only so that I wouldn't get tired out. Work have been great and if there was any illness in the school they were kept away from me.

    I found going back helpful as I was going stare crazy at home. It's just important to recognise when you need to stop and listen to your body.

    Hope this helps. Keep smiling xx

  • BitofamagpieBitofamagpie Posts: 1

    Hi, I have stage 4 breast cancer with mets to my liver. I have had many different types of chemo but I am now on Capcitebine tablets and am back to work part time. I am so lucky to have such an amazing and understanding boss. I have had so much time off but at this stage in my life it is so important to me to feel a bit of normality. I also have burning hands and feet and fatigue is an issue but I do as everyone says and listen to my body. It’s definitely best for me to be working a bit. You must do what’s right for you. Good luck 😊

  • RoyRoy Posts: 14

    Hi JR124.

    I personally would say if your Oncologist agrees with your decision that would be great for you.

    Unfortunately by doing that you should be aware that mixing with to many people would expose you to a lot more germs and viruses and that might be detrimental to the treatment that you have been receiving to date. Surely 9 weeks is not that long to wait? Then of course you will probably be starting Radiotherapy which like myself is another hurdle to get over.

    I think you should be thinking of yourself and the people close to you. No job is worth the risk, believe me. But best of luck.

    Only you can make this decision.

  • JR124JR124 Posts: 37 ✭✭

    Well only have 4 weeks to work anyway then another 3 months off.

    Will be working from home this week and next week as had chemo today .

    Thank you all for you comments I appreciate the support. Some powerful people out there!!

    June x

  • BevSBevS Posts: 5

    I returned to work after my 2nd Chemo, promptly caught a cold. My oncologist told me I shouldn’t be working.

    We are all individuals I guess and so you should do what is best for you.

  • SarahRuthSarahRuth Posts: 1

    Studes show returning to work during treatment really helps with good outcomes for cancer treatment. My medical team recommended i returned on reduced hours. So I returned to work after my first cycle out of 16 and found it a really positive experience. Having some normality and a sense of purpose outside of cancer really made me feel better and built my strength and resiliance. It also helped my colleagues appreciate what living with cancer is like and created a converation at work. I hope it has helped them too. They were certainly very supportive and kept an eye on me (was i looking tired, did I need to take a break) . I reduced my hoursand made sure I had plenty of rest. Be strict with your time. If you are suppost to be resting. - do not work! My work and boss were really supportive about my return and it also meant my finanicial worries were allayed.

    Germs - Be careful but opportunities to catch something happen at home too.

    I emailed my office before my return and asked them to avoid me if they had colds, wiped down ny desk with anitbacterial wipes everyday , used copious amounts of hand gel and luckily avoided any infections. My husband did the same so he didn’t bring bugs home. Be ruthless with any one who is ill and either separate your self from them or ask them to stay away

    Everyone needs to make a choice about work that is right for them and their situation ion Being at work really worked for me.

    Hope you find what is right for you. !!

  • LEGO2019LEGO2019 Posts: 16 ✭✭

    Hi June

    i had breast cancer 13 years ago and now have bowel cancer so having chemo for the second time in my life. The first time I had chemo every 3 weeks, I did not go into work during chemo week, but went in for my 2 good weeks. That worked really well for 4 treatments, but after the 5th treatment my white cells dropped significantly, then after the next my red cells were very low and I found I was just exhausted. I could not have got up, have a shower, get ready and go out to work - my body gave me all the signals that I was not capable of carrying on working, so I rested for the remaining 4 treatments and returned to work a month after treatment ended.

    I don’t think you need to worry, just be careful about the risk of infection, and as long as you feel well enough to get up and out in the mornings, you are doing the right thing.

    Watch out for any significant changes as the cumulative effect begins to kick in and be prepared to make whatever changes you need to make.

    Delighted that your cancer journey is going so well for you, you are obviously otherwise in good health and I hope it remains that way right to the end for you. Best of luck x

  • JR124JR124 Posts: 37 ✭✭

    I'm sorry it didnt go so well for you. My work have been great and I'm lucky I can work from home. A colleague rang me today saying she had a cold so dont come in so I'm working from Home. I had my first chemo 30 years ago which was quite different not so much care or emphasis on infection. So much better now.

    I wish you well in your journey too

    June x

  • PeterPeter Posts: 24

    Hi everybody

    I am on cycle 10 of 12 and about to embark on 11 next Thursday. My current problem is severe tiredness made worse by a head cold and sinusitis. Does anybody have any ideas for reducing the effects of tiredness - keeping falling asleep does not really help, particularly as my wife keeps on going.

    My kitchen floor is now finished, including all the skirtings and trims - took 18 days altogether - should have been 3 or 4 days - so who is counting.


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