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Topic: Just Not Into My Job Anymore

Forum: Employment, Insurance, and Other Financial Issues —

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Posted on: Apr 19, 2017 10:13PM

Jojobird wrote:

I'm four months out of treatment. NED, energy levels creeping back up, life is overall feeling better.

But I'm back at work, and just not feeling the connection. My coworkers are wonderful. Seriously, some of the best people I've ever worked with. Kind, supportive, gracious. Couldn't ask for better. But.....the engagement and interest I used to feel about my job just isn't there. Of course I do everything with fidelity - I do all my work and follow through. I'm not a sourpuss. But I am....quieter. I volunteer less. I'm not a super go-getter -- just way more subdued.

Has anyone had this happen after treatment? I'm trying to be ok with this for now, and to accept that this is a process. That this, too, is part of healing from cancer. That I am a changed person, that my priorities have shifted. But it's difficult when I feel like others are getting trained, moving ahead, signing up for extras, and I'm the quiet short-haired lady in the back of the room, a little more tired than normal but getting by.

Would love to hear your stories about back to work.

Dx 3/2016, IDC, Right, 6cm+, Stage IIIC, Grade 3, 21/21 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Apr 19, 2017 10:39PM gracie22 wrote:

Wow, I bet you will get a lot of responses. I am a couple of years out, and wish I had an answer as I feel disengaged myself. I am being dutiful; the rote stuff, okay, no problem. Things that need more creativity or focus are a bit of a slog. I think for myself that having gone through a gauntlet of internal emotions over the whole cancer thing, it is hard to take work issues too terribly seriously; dealing with your own mortality kind of trumps everything else. I am actually worse now; I think when i came back to work after surgery (BMX) i was very invested in proving that i was totally back for the first year, and i worked very hard and tried not to think about things. But in the interim my work ardor just sort of cooled. Not feeling depressed; oddly, there is a freedom in being kind of unshakeable. Hard for a boss or anyone else to strike fear in my heart. I don't care to be homeless, so I will carry on. But yeah, the whole deadline/stress/get it done dynamic of my pre-cancer self appears to be gone; so much of it seems silly and pointless.

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 19, 2017 11:00PM octogirl wrote:

I worked all through active treatment, with only a few days off during chemo, so it wasn't really a question of going back to work...but something changed for me too. At some point, my priorities changed and work no longer held joy for me. I would have moments when I felt inspired, but it became more and more of a slog...so, given my age (early sixties) and nice retirement benefits offered by my employer, I decided to retire. Last day before retirement: June 30th. Some days I feel stressed about all I have to do between now and then (it will never get done) but honestly, I can't wait!

I'd say if retirement is not an option for you, it might be worth considering whether a change of jobs could reengage.

hugs!

Octogirl

Dx 6/18/2015, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/16/2015 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Chemotherapy 9/9/2015 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 12/15/2015 Hormonal Therapy 1/15/2016 Arimidex (anastrozole) Hormonal Therapy 4/8/2016 Femara (letrozole)
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Apr 19, 2017 11:04PM ksusan wrote:

I had a similar experience. I'm a little over 1.5 years out from active treatment and I'm only just becoming energized and interested about work again.

Mutant uprising quashed. Dx 1/2015, IDC, Right, Stage IIA, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 1/2015, DCIS, Left, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Radiation Therapy Whole-breast Chemotherapy Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Apr 20, 2017 10:26AM vlnrph wrote:

Congrats to octogirl on retirement! That is the option I chose after returning for 18 months. I wanted to travel and did not have enough vacation time so was able to quit. There is now more opportunity for fitness, new hobbies such as genealogy in addition toold favorites like playing violin and Bible study.

My clinic did a neuropysch cognitive test prior to chemo. I asked for a follow-up wondering whether my brain was still functional and actually did better once treatment was behind me and I knew what to expect during the exam which involved a memory quiz, number/letter sequences, etc.

I agree with gracie about the change in perspective and hope everyone reading this finds the situation that works for them. Since a cancer 'survivor' has been through more than most people (health wise, at least) realizing what is important to you is key.

IDC too! Rt MX/DIEP 4-2011; ALND 5-2011 d/t micromets; TC X 4; tamoxifen; lymphedema as of 9-18-11; switch to letrozole 3-15-14; Discovery made during chemo=I'm a human BEING, not a human DOING Dx 3/7/2011, ILC, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 1/25 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 20, 2017 10:30AM gb2115 wrote:

Yeah, I go to work for the paycheck and benefits. Other things are more important now. I still do my job, but I'm more along the lines of "it's just a job" these days. I'd much rather be at home with my family.

Dx IDC in October 2016, stage 2A, 1.2 cm ER/PR+ Her2-, Grade 2, 1/3 nodes.
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Apr 20, 2017 09:55PM Nel wrote:

you are not alone.  I have continued to work, 5+ years, I was dx with stage 4 in 2013.    It has been a struggle.  I have days where I am fully engaged and working on all burners and more days when I am not. Fortunately before cancer dx, I could be super efficient.  Since dx I work more slowly, but I still get plenty done. Just no enthusiasm.  I will be 63 in July, also retiring June 30th.  Downsizing, thinking the next chapter.   I have decided to go sooner rather than later, who knows what life holds and I want to enjoy my time. 


You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf Dx 9/27/2011, IBC, Stage IIIB, ER-/PR-, HER2+ Dx 8/6/2013, IBC, Stage IV, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Apr 27, 2017 10:21PM gardengypsy wrote:

Right now I am trying to decide whether it's time to end my professional career. I was gone for treatment, and went back 6 weeks after rads. I lasted 6 months. It was so, so difficult.

I don't think I will ever be able to work that hard again. But a new career? At age 55? With the SEs I have?? Probably not.

I am grateful for my LTD policy. I am doing well without the stress and physical hardship of getting up at 5 AM every day.

Dx 10/29/2015, ILC/IDC, Left, 5cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 12/3/2015 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 1/9/2016 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 5/23/2016 Hormonal Therapy 5/28/2016 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy 6/6/2016 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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Apr 27, 2017 10:33PM Jojobird wrote:

Thank you for all of the responses!

Gracie - I completely relate. There are work "stressors" that just don't shake me anymore. Having faced death, a "crisis" of misplaced files, for example, does not phase me. I wonder if that will ever change.

octogirl - Congrats on retirement! If things don't change I might start looking into the retirement policy. That leisurely cup of coffee in the morning...cheers to you.

ksusan, I'm hoping 1.5 years will provide a similar renewal.

vlnrph - I am wondering if I should do a neuropsych eval as well. Was it part of treatment protocol?

gb. Nel, and gardengypsy, I feel your uncertainty about what direction to take. It's hard to be ok with not being "in love" with your job I think - there's a lot of pressure to be special or extraordinary at work. I wish you peace in your decision making.

Dx 3/2016, IDC, Right, 6cm+, Stage IIIC, Grade 3, 21/21 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Apr 27, 2017 10:48PM gardengypsy wrote:

Jojo~ I had a full neuropsych eval. I wanted to document my struggles with decision making, planning, organization,memory and fatigue. This was vital to my disability application process, but also for a baseline for improvement over time.

Dx 10/29/2015, ILC/IDC, Left, 5cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 12/3/2015 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 1/9/2016 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 5/23/2016 Hormonal Therapy 5/28/2016 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy 6/6/2016 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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Apr 27, 2017 11:43PM - edited Apr 27, 2017 11:43PM by ChiSandy

Since I retired from law practice back in 2012, my “job" has been as a touring performing songwriter, both solo and in a duo. But I've gotten less and less into my music, starting when my husband had his near-fatal “colonoscopy accident" and especially now that I've had breast cancer. I think it's more of a realization that because life is short and tomorrow isn't a given, some things are far more important than professional & artistic success. At 66, I'm not going to play any more prestigious gigs than I did before, nor will my music reach a wider audience. (And the new model of the music industry practically guarantees that only stars will make much of a living from selling recordings either hard-copy or digital; and there are more things—many if not most of them free—that compete for audiences' time and entertainment dollar, so it's getting harder to draw well at concerts and coffeehouses). I can no longer spend 10 days at a time away from my family, drive 10 hrs. a day, or even 6 or 7 on a day I must perform. I'm tired of living out of a suitcase in motels, or even alone in nice hotels. My husband isn't getting any younger and is still working long and late hours—I'm tired of our being like ships that pass in the night; of scheduling my trips away to coincide with his on-duty weekends only to have him switch call with other doctors at the last minute so that I am away when he is off work.

I also realize our family income doesn't depend to any degree on my music revenue—in fact, because of hotel & meal expenses I'm running a net loss. My singing partner, though, needs to make money from music because his wife's disability income and art/craft sales don't meet their expenses—so he has been taking gigs at sr. centers that prefer men over women entertainers (given the demographic, that we tend to outlive men, it's logical) and have dwindling budgets that can barely pay one performer; and even so, he has begun taking temp day jobs in construction and custodial work again. (And he's not much younger than I am).

Bob is getting more and more fed up with his commute (given Chicago's insistence on having only two seasons—construction and Snow Day) down to the southwest suburbs, especially now that long drives are impacting his knees and hamstrings. We have no desire to move to those suburbs—in fact, the thought of packing again gives us hives. He is seriously considering retiring while we're both still healthy enough to enjoy retirement. We're realizing that we want to spend the rest of our lives actually (rather than technically) together.

Diagnosed at 64 on routine annual mammo, no lump. OncotypeDX 16. I cried because I had no shoes...but then again, I won’t get blisters.... Dx 9/9/2015, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/23/2015 Lumpectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 11/2/2015 3DCRT: Breast Hormonal Therapy 12/31/2015 Femara (letrozole)
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May 17, 2017 08:29AM Wumberlog wrote:

So happy to read your post - I thought it was just me being neurotic. My job just doesn't feel relevant to me since I finished radiation a month ago. Sure, I'm tired and can leave early if I want, but the larger issue is that I just don't care about what I'm doing, and the conflict over minuscule issues seems silly to me. I am 63 1/2 and could retire, as I see others on this thread are doing. But I'm so fatigued I worry I'll just lie on the couch and binge-watch Netflix all day. The structure of work might be helpful, but would I rather work out my own daily structure? I also have a long commute, about 90 minutes each way on public transportation. That just feels like a waste of time and energy. Took a week of vacation, but I need to resolve the issue before too long. Looking forward to reading more from folks.

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May 17, 2017 08:51PM gardengypsy wrote:

Wumberlog~

I can really relate to those conflicts over "minuscule" issues. That kind of thing just zaps me. In my job, folks will go round and round over things and never move forward.

The commuting also. I have driven 1.5 hours RT to work for over 20 years. Done with that!

In your quest for structure, have you considered volunteering for an organization that reflects your social beliefs? You can still work, but let it be on your terms..

Chi~ I've read your posts across many threads, and have appreciated your perspective on many levels. I love how you say that you and your husband will "actually" be together if you make this choice.

You are both at an acceptable retirement age. At 55, I am not. Once I have regained stamina and strength, with neuropathy and chemo brain just a memory, I will need to find work.

I envision something that does not consume me, as my teaching career has. Ready for a simpler life, but do not know if I can afford it!

Dx 10/29/2015, ILC/IDC, Left, 5cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 12/3/2015 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 1/9/2016 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 5/23/2016 Hormonal Therapy 5/28/2016 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy 6/6/2016 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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May 17, 2017 11:08PM mustlovepoodles wrote:

Count me in.  In July I'm coming up on my 2yr anniversary of finding out I had BC. I worked all through lumpectomy, re-excision, chemo, and BMX and its complications.  In the last 6 months I have become less and less enthusiastic about my work. Part of it is that my mother has been seriously ill and now is dying. My attention is divided.  But a big part of it started before then. Breast cancer definitely reset my priorities. My DH is disabled with heart and lung disease. He has almost died 4 times. We're 60 and there's no telling how much longer either of us have. I used to think that he would die first, but now, who knows?  We need to be spending as much time together as possible.

We've always wanted to move to the north Georgia mountains. The thing that has held us back in my job.   Well, my job responsibilities recently changed and it looks like I will be retiring soon. I've been a nurse 40 years and while I will always *be* a nurse, I no longer want to earn my living as a nurse. I have other skills. I may decide to work in a school, a resort, or even Chick-fil-A.  We decided to downsize.  We are renovating the house, hoping to get it on the market and sold by the end of July. After that we'll move to the mountains where we have an RV and see how things go.  We may spend some time out in the Pacific Northwest, where my sister lives. We may spend the winter in Florida where DHs sister lives.  Don't know. Don't care. We are both ready to move on to the next phase of our lives. Tiny House, anyone?

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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May 21, 2017 08:36AM TwoHobbies wrote:

I can so relate to everyone. My work is not soul fulfilling. We have had tons of changes at work and wait, I know you will be shocked, but none of them good for the employees. I would give anything to not have to work but financially I havent come to a solution. Poodles I am thinking along your lines of remodeling the house and moving on but I have a son in college with a chronic expensive disease and I have an expensive disease so it will still have to be three or more years. I hope to make a plan that involves remodeling the house and finding a place I would like to move to that would be cheaper to live. I have no plan for health insurance however. At 56 I am no where near medicare and not sure what is happening with healthcare availabilty in this country.

In short, I am overwhelmed thinking about my future. What are you early retirees doing for health insurance?

Round 1 -bmx, tug flap reconstruction, tamoxifen. Local Recurrence-excision, TCx4, radiation, Zoladex, Anastrazole. Dx 2/22/2011, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 4/25/2013, <1cm, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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May 22, 2017 09:54AM Rebamacfan123 wrote:

i hated my job to my core. There was a constant stress and bullying. I happen to think the stress tipped the hornonal scale which made my bomb exploded on my face. Currently short term.disability but i need to use 2 month of LTD.


My hubby is admant me not going back. I have been thinking of SSD but then again the income reduction factor and will be taxed on SSD. And my breast bomb has to be watched over for any recurrences and etc. I can probably milk my job while collecting any potential harassment info


Such a dilemma

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May 22, 2017 09:42PM - edited May 23, 2017 02:41AM by gardengypsy

TwoHobbies,

I am on disability right now, and I may quit my job altogether. If and when I do that, I will pay a percentage of my health care insurance costs.

I believe we are all eligible for that; it's just a matter of how much we contribute.

I am only 55, too young for retirement. If I have to go back to work, I envision something much more simple than my career path. I need a job that does not consume me..

I love the idea of down sizing. I am getting roommates to supplement my income, perhaps will do Airbnb.

Reba-I did not know that SSDI was taxed.. I have been forced to apply for SSDI by my private insurer.

My private disability payments are not being taxed right now. Even though it only pays 65% of my income, I am getting as much as I was when I was working because I had been paying so much in taxes!!!


Dx 10/29/2015, ILC/IDC, Left, 5cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 12/3/2015 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 1/9/2016 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 5/23/2016 Hormonal Therapy 5/28/2016 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy 6/6/2016 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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May 23, 2017 08:49AM myToyStory2 wrote:

Just left my job of 10 years for the exact same reason! Felt disconnected, checked out and uninspired. Too many personnel changes led me to questioning if I was still invested enough to help train new staff, and I determined I wasn't. Had my first official day at my new job yesterday.....and LOVED it! Exactly the change I needed in my life! Also added a part time job at a local health club to help me feel inspired to keep up a healthy lifestyle and surround myself with positive folks. A job change could be just what you need to feel re-charged - it worked for me!

Dx 3/11/2016, DCIS, Left, Stage 0, ER+/PR+ Surgery 5/16/2016 Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 10/26/2016 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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May 23, 2017 08:40PM gardengypsy wrote:

ToyStory~ Congrats! Great news. I feel better!

Dx 10/29/2015, ILC/IDC, Left, 5cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 12/3/2015 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 1/9/2016 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 5/23/2016 Hormonal Therapy 5/28/2016 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy 6/6/2016 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall

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