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Topic: Done with work stress, too early to retire!

Forum: "Middle Age" 40-60(ish) Years Old With Breast Cancer —

Meet others in this age-range who share similar life issues.

Posted on: Apr 6, 2017 11:16AM - edited Apr 6, 2017 11:18AM by WaitForIt

WaitForIt wrote:

Someone please tell me they feel the same way I do! It's been 8 months since the end of radiation (I'm on tamoxifen now) and I can't engage with my job anymore. I'm 45 and a public library manager at a busy site, which means lots of contact with challenging people - homeless, addicts, untreated mentally-ill, folks at the end of their rope. The stressful interactions were difficult before my Dx, but now I'm scared to take that stress on myself again, thinking that maybe it contributed to the DCIS. At the same time, I'm also feeling too old to change careers - do I really want the expense and workload of retraining, and what do I want to do, anyway? I took 2 weeks off for the lumpectomy/SNB and worked 1/2 days for 8 weeks during radiation, but I wish I'd taken more time off! Thanks in advance for sharing.


Dx 3/9/2016, DCIS, Right, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 5/9/2016 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 6/7/2016 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 8/15/2016 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Apr 6, 2017 12:11PM mustlovepoodles wrote:

Wait, I feel the same way. Since starting this whole BC journey 20 months ago I have lost my taste for my career. I've been an RN for 40 years and I am so done with it. Im 60, so not quite ready for full retirement. I am so ready for something else, but no other job is going to pay me what I'm being paid now. I don't know what I'm going to do.

Oncotype 23. Positive for PALB2 & Chek2 gene mutations. My breasts are trying to kill me! Dx 7/20/2015, DCIS/IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Surgery 8/20/2015 Lumpectomy Surgery 9/3/2015 Lumpectomy: Right Chemotherapy 10/19/2015 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 2/4/2016 Prophylactic mastectomy: Left, Right Surgery 10/19/2016 Hormonal Therapy Femara (letrozole) Surgery
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Apr 6, 2017 12:15PM WaitForIt wrote:

Mustlovepoodles, a big hug for you. Being a nurse is public service to the Nth degree!

Dx 3/9/2016, DCIS, Right, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 5/9/2016 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 6/7/2016 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 8/15/2016 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Apr 6, 2017 12:18PM wallan wrote:

Hugs to you. I understand your feelings. Before my second BC dx, my job was very stressful. High pressure, and competitive, backstabbing coworkers. When I went on short term disability, I was relieved of that stress for awhile. Now I am facing returning to work soon and I am stressing out about going back. I told my husband I don't think I can handle it anymore and maybe the stress contributed to my recurrance. Work is calling me at home now asking me how to solve issues and when am I coming back. I am 54 and the thought of getting another job is difficult to fathom too.

I am kind of stuck. I do have a few weeks more before I go back - I need to have some sort of plan.


Dx 3/29/2004, IDC, Right, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 2/18 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/31/2004 Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 6/1/2004 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 12/1/2004 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Dx 1/25/2017, LCIS/DCIS/ILC/IDC/IDC: Mucinous/IDC: Cribriform, Left, <1cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/8/2017 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane), Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Apr 6, 2017 12:26PM Tappermom383 wrote:

Hope you don't mind if I crash this forum (I'm 70!) but I wanted to chime in on working. While I was in the middle of my testing, I lost my job after being there for 11 years (bogus reasons). I was devastated at the time but now am very grateful as there's no way I could be doing the job right now (I was the editor of our local newspaper). I was fortunate that the owner of our local dinner theater called me and offered me the job as his director of communications. I get to work from home, which is such a blessing. In the days since my lumpectomy, I've managed to get at least one thing done a day. I'm still using some of the same skills but am also branching out a bit. For me it's important to have a purpose in life so I would want at least a part-time job. Think about the skills you have and how you might apply them to a new career path.

MJ

Diagnosed at 70 after four excisional biopsies over the course of 47 years. MammaPrint came back Low Risk. DexaScan: osteopenia. Cancer removed was 1.8 cm. Dx 3/23/2017, DCIS/IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/31/2017 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 5/22/2017 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 7/17/2017 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Apr 6, 2017 01:19PM ShetlandPony wrote:

WaitForIt, what about transferring within your library system to a non-public position? Look over the list of positions. Or consider a different city department, again with a position where you are not on the front lines.

2011 Stage I ITCs sn, premenopausal, Oncotype 16. 2014 Stage IV mets breast,liver. TaxolNEAD. Ibrance+letrozole 2yrs. Fas+afinitor nope. XelodaNEAD 2yrs. Eribulin,Doxil nope. SUMMIT FaslodexHerceptinNeratinib for Her2mut NEAD 1 1/2yrs. GI/perit mets Dx 2011, ILC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 2014, ILC, 2cm, Stage IV, metastasized to liver/other, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast Surgery Lumpectomy
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Apr 6, 2017 02:48PM NineTwelve wrote:

My job was stressing me out a lot before my diagnosis. Like you all, I can't retire and I don't want to try something new right now. After speaking to a counselor, I took some steps to make sure that my employers did not overburden me and that they made some accommodations to help me. My other solution was to work on my own stress response, by letting go of some of my control issues and my sense of being solely responsible for the outcome of situations I did not create.

I had to go to more than one therapist for this work. I suggest to any anyone dealing with any illness that they try releasing negative emotions, current and long past - not by suppressing them and stuffing them down, but by working through them and letting them go.

I look for that feeling of lightness and freedom to tell me when I am doing this correctly.

All this is to say that maybe a combination of some changes to your work environment, and some changes to your inner state would get you to a place where your work feels normal and not a threat to your wellbeing.

12/15/20 - Progression to liver. Tx changed to Xeloda. 2021 - Tx changed to weekly Taxol. Dx 9/12/2014, IDC, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 2, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 9/15/2014 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone), Zoladex (goserelin) Hormonal Therapy 10/1/2014 Dx 7/2016, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to bone/lungs Hormonal Therapy 8/16/2016 Faslodex (fulvestrant), Zoladex (goserelin) Targeted Therapy 8/16/2016 Ibrance (palbociclib)
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Apr 6, 2017 02:59PM Goincrzy8 wrote:

I have this same concern, I am 62 the job is not stressful, the boss /mgmt is causing the stress> I am off till July 1 and she pays 100% for my insurance. I am sole support no spouse or second income, at my age I would love to not look for another job as they can hire someone else for a lot less money.So I have basically 3 mos to come up with a solution.

FYI I am an office manager for a Doctor

I am not sick, I have a few bad cells Dx 10/18/2016, IDC, Left, Grade 2, 12/12 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 12/9/2016 Mastectomy: Left
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Apr 6, 2017 04:19PM ShetlandPony wrote:

There's some irony for you.

2011 Stage I ITCs sn, premenopausal, Oncotype 16. 2014 Stage IV mets breast,liver. TaxolNEAD. Ibrance+letrozole 2yrs. Fas+afinitor nope. XelodaNEAD 2yrs. Eribulin,Doxil nope. SUMMIT FaslodexHerceptinNeratinib for Her2mut NEAD 1 1/2yrs. GI/perit mets Dx 2011, ILC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 2014, ILC, 2cm, Stage IV, metastasized to liver/other, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast Surgery Lumpectomy
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Apr 6, 2017 05:48PM wallan wrote:

I am on short disability until medical team approves my return for a second BC dx and not on the "payroll" officially. Insurance is happy with this and says I have a total of 26 weeks available.

I have been off for about 8 of these weeks so far recovering from two surgeries - SNB and mastectomy with reconstruction both sides.

Last week or so HR has called me asking me to do shipping and packing and the coworker covering for me called complaining about issues with customers I was dealing with prior to being sick asking me to take care of it. I was actually emailed my performance review for the last few months today and I have been on short term disability. So wtf? I am waiting to see if I need chemo right now, although it looks unlikely I will. So I think I will need to return within a month or so. My job involves extensive driving travel and heavy lifting and is high pressure. I am not ready to return, but am feeling pressured too by my work I feel.

This does not help my ambivalent feelings about my job. I am going to talk to a counsellor about this.





Dx 3/29/2004, IDC, Right, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 2/18 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/31/2004 Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 6/1/2004 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 12/1/2004 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Dx 1/25/2017, LCIS/DCIS/ILC/IDC/IDC: Mucinous/IDC: Cribriform, Left, <1cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/8/2017 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane), Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Apr 6, 2017 05:49PM WaitForIt wrote:

NineTwelve, I like your approach and the idea of work not feeling like it's threatening my well being, because that description is on the nose! Is there a particular type of therapy I can look for by name? (Like cognitive-behavioral therapy.)

My husband and I have been doing a mindfulness meditation app together. It helps some, but also puts me face-to-face with heavy feelings.

Dx 3/9/2016, DCIS, Right, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 5/9/2016 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 6/7/2016 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 8/15/2016 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Apr 6, 2017 07:52PM gracie22 wrote:

WaitForIt, It sounds as if most of your stress is about dealing with challenging people, which is a given for most working in public libraries. Maybe think about the same or related work in a more controlled environment, like a university or other school system? I know that library jobs can be hard to come by, but with the education and experience it takes to get to that level in a public library, maybe a switch would be possible. Years ago when my daughter was little I took an admin job in at a nearby state university and wound up staying 6 years because the gentle schedule and generous vacation time really worked well with having a young child. I did not make much money, but the health insurance was good and relatively inexpensive, and I took classes for free. And the environment was great. I eventually had to return to a corporate environment to make more money (which has been a much better bet salary wise but a total grind in every other way--am thinking it may have had a thing or three to do with getting cancer in the first place), but if taking a salary cut is doable and you have nearby possibilities such as colleges--community or state particularly tend to have good benefit packages if not great money; some high schools and elementary schools as well--it may be worth considering. There are also school jobs which are not necessarily library management but are closely related. I remember a relative getting a spot as a "media aide" in a local high school with a decent salary, benefits and summers off.

Dx IDC, Right, 4cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Apr 6, 2017 09:17PM shoppygirl wrote:

I think the way you feel is totally normal especially because you have a job that seems to be very demanding and emotionally draining. I am four years out from my diagnosis and I work in sales for a large dairy company. Some days when people are complaining over such silly things as mouldy cheese and leaking milk, I just shake my head and think" wow,don't you have anything worse to worry about ?" Then I have to put things in perspective because if my customers did not have issues or needs, I wouldn't have a job!

It can also be very frustrating also to work with people who do not seem to have a good understanding about how having cancer changes your life in so many ways. I think that once you've had cancer you always feel different than everyone else because you've been through something so scary and life-changing.

For me personally, because I too need my job and I don't see myself changing careers anytime soon, I just try and take things one step at a time. Even though I work in sales and there canbe a lot of pressure I try not to put too much pressure on myself to be perfect or achieve unrealistic targets. I just always tell myself that I'm doing the very best that I can!

Good luck

Less than 2mm of cancer in the sentinel lymph node. Dx 1/27/2013, IDC, 2cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 1/3 nodes, ER+, HER2- Surgery 2/28/2013 Mastectomy: Left, Right Chemotherapy 4/9/2013 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 8/12/2013 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy 8/20/2013 Breast, Lymph nodes Surgery 1/30/2014 Prophylactic ovary removal Surgery 9/26/2015 Reconstruction (left): Saline implant, Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Saline implant, Tissue expander placement Hormonal Therapy 10/16/2015 Femara (letrozole)

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