Quitting work in my 40's?
Hello all, apologies in advance for such a long post,
I was diagnosed stage III back in 2014 at age 34, and had a contralateral axillary recurrence in 2017. That recurrence was considered stage IV since it was on the opposite side as my original cancer (and genetic testing showed that it was almost definitely the same cancer and not new), and so probably traveled through the bloodstream to get to these lymph nodes. I've been told it's a very unusual circumstance, and so there's not much data on long term outcomes. The little literature I can find shows that most people end up progressing further, but since I'm on Herceptin and Perjeta indefinitely, we're hopeful that this will work for me long term. I know I'm lucky to have caught it as early as we did.
Anyway, my reason for posting is that I've been feeling so stressed and overwhelmed by day to day life, and am considering options for how to fix this. I would love to stop working so I can focus on my health, including physical therapy, exercise, etc, and be more present for my family - but I feel guilty because although I'm miserable, I'm still functioning and relatively young.
I have lymphedema (which is managed but still time consuming), but the most bothersome long term effects of prior treatments are a neuropathic itch on my arms and neck (we thought was due to lymph node surgeries, but my MO says could be related to the HP), plus brain fog which is impacting my work. I have trouble finding words (and sometimes say things that I don't mean, such as misidentifying colors which is so strange!) and also just can't focus like I used to. I changed to an "easier" job last year, and my manager and colleagues don't notice any issues, but I still am having trouble working to my standards. I try to compensate as much as possible, and have a prescription for Ritalin to use as needed. Objectively, my 30-year-old self would think that this job and life should be SO easy. But my 42-year-old self feels like I just can't handle it much longer.
Just wondering if anyone has been in a similar situation and has any advice on making this decision. If you decided to stop working, how did you manage financially? Was social security disability an option? I know everyone's situation is different, but many thanks in advance for any thoughts.