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Did you retire before you had planned to as a result of cancer?

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  • NotAsCalmAsILook
    NotAsCalmAsILook Member Posts: 133
    edited June 2021
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    I’m thinking about my options so deeply right now! It’s been about a year since DX. I’m 10 years from full retirement, 7 years from early retirement. The pandemic and Cancer have me thinking about why I’m working, what I’m doing, who I am doing it with, and all that goes with it.

    Financially I am in a good place. We can pay all the bills on my husband’s income IF we pay off the mortgage. (Paid off the car earlier this month). Mortgage should be able to be paid in the next 6-18 months .

    We work for the same employer, so we can switch health insurance to him in November during open enrollment. Same policy. Same coverage. Same price. I just need to stay in place till January 1st for that switch to take place

    I can separate my payroll deductions for life insurance and Aflac Cancer and Short Term disability to direct payment. Employer never subsidized those payments anyway.

    I have a separate retirement account that I can withdraw from as soon as a leave this employer, without penalty, regardless of age. It can serve as a safety net of sorts.

    Maintaining Aflac cancer plan means they will keep paying me monthly for my AI and Verzenio. That will pay for health insurance premium and life insurance and Aflac premiums.

    I’m not feeling pushed out, like so many of you. I have all the choices in front of me.
    • I can stay in my position.
    • I can take a different position with same employer for less money, less responsibility, less hours, ormore/new challenges, whatever
    • I can take a job with another employer
    • I can stop working all together.


    Looking at the calculators my odds of survival for ten years (when I’d be full retirement eligible) is about 80%. It drops for 15 years. I want to enjoy my retirement!

    I think about this a lot!

  • Emily21
    Emily21 Member Posts: 67
    edited June 2021
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    I'm retiring early I think. Im on half pay until Sept 1st and then I have to decide what to do. I can retire on disability grounds and not suffer a penalty so I think I will do that. Not keen to go back. I'm a medical scientist.

  • Rosiesmum
    Rosiesmum Member Posts: 3
    edited August 2021
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    I have had a very phenomenal career (advanced degrees, published research, teaching, mentoring) and still have lots to offer, but I lost my last position as it was eliminated due to COVID-19. With the multiple side effects I still have from all the breast cancers and treatments I’m not able to work 40+ hours per week in an entry level job. They are too physically demanding.I’m afraid I may have to go on disability or retire. While I’m completely confident that I can do my job 100% remotely, or even 80% remotely, those options evaporate now, when before cancer I was able to get pretty much any position I applied for. Now I need ongoing or repeating Lymphodema and myofascial treatments and they are so helpful but really take a huge emotional toll. If there are resources available to help, I’m interested!


  • Rosiesmum
    Rosiesmum Member Posts: 3
    edited August 2021
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    Emily, what did you decide? I’m in a similar career but not old enough to retire. How’s it going

  • cyathea
    cyathea Member Posts: 330
    edited April 2023
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    I’m working full-time as a data analytics consultant and project manager. With constant myofascial pain, decreased sleep quality, and chemo brain effects, I’m finding work very challenging. I can’t focus like I used to before treatment. While I’m still getting work done, I’m not efficient. I started to think that I was not very useful to my employer. I started to feel like my boss wanted me to retire. Unsupportive, back stabbing colleagues had me doubting whether work was worth the joy I feel when I help my clients. Oddly enough, it is an older female colleague who has been the most disruptive to teamwork, but I think that is a reflection of her own insecurities and competence.

    People at work think that because my hair has grown back and I “look good”, that everything is fine. It is a fine line to walk whether to tell them what they want to hear (I’m well, thank you.) or whether to tell them the truth (I’m not well, I’m struggling and doing the best that I can.). No one likes to hear negative stuff day in and day out, but with my MBC, that’s my new reality.

    Then I hired an intern. OMG! The lack of common sense and business knowledge was astonishing. My boss is getting a GREAT deal even if I’m not a super-performer like I was before treatment. If he could find a replacement for what I do (which would be challenging) he would be paying much, much more for salary. I have not asked for a raise since my boss was very understanding about extra time off for my treatments. Although I have since “made up” all that time, I am afraid to ask for a raise when my billable hours have been reduced.

    Retirement isn’t always greener grass on the other side of the fence. DH was forced to retire early due to health issues, and it has been very difficult emotionally for him to adjust. I continue to dance with the idea of retiring, but I hope I have the strength to keep saying "not yet".

  • maggie15
    maggie15 Member Posts: 855
    edited April 2023
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    Hang in there as long as you can do your job and there are enough positive aspects of it. Working is a great distraction from pain and discomfort. There are those annoying fellow workers and supervisors who complain behind your back but the appreciation of your clients and the social aspects of work are difficult to replace.

    I have pulmonary issues from treatment and was a high school math teacher. I had an ADA accommodation where my students had to wear medical masks after rules requiring them were lifted. They never complained about this, my abrupt runs to the bathroom, the O2 concentrator or absences for medical appointments since they were learning something, getting a math credit and were not wasting time in study hall because of staff shortages (the novelty of that had worn off quickly.) I wasn't at 100% but was still doing a decent job. When the state legislature passed a law forbidding required masking unless ordered by the governor I was forced to retire.

    Fortunately I was of retirement age and eligible for medicare but my life has turned into a permanent covid lockdown since even a cold could knock me out. There were things I had planned to do that I knew were no longer possible because of arthritis (piano, needlework) but just about all of my other plans (volunteering, exercise class, travel, concerts, crowded outdoor events, visiting family) are no longer feasible. That would be my situation no matter what but work gave me purpose and in person interaction. There are benefits like being able to sleep late after a bad night, reading books and walking in the daylight. DH lives like me (the "in sickness and in health" part) so I'm grateful for that and being around to write this. Also, there will be more I can do when summer comes.

    I am sorry for people who have to retire because there is no way they can do their jobs, especially when needed income and medical benefits are affected. Retirement is wonderful for many people and allows those who might not have a long lifespan todo things they have put off, but the grass is not always greener.