Jun 18, 2017 05:30PM TwoHobbies wrote:
Rosie, I will be working right along side you. For sure I have to get my son through college and to adulthood and then perhaps I could just focus on my own health insurance and financial situation.
Employment, insurance, and financial concerns are common. Meet others here to discuss and for support.
Posted on: Apr 19, 2017 10:13PM
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.
Posts 31 - 60 (60 total)
Jun 18, 2017 05:30PM TwoHobbies wrote:
Rosie, I will be working right along side you. For sure I have to get my son through college and to adulthood and then perhaps I could just focus on my own health insurance and financial situation.
Jun 18, 2017 08:46PM Suzanne50 wrote:
Wow...I have been feeling disengaged and disinterested in my job ever since BC. I worked throughout my treatment, hardly missing a day of work. Now I am almost 2 years cancer free and I have no energy when it comes to working. I am a school teacher so I have the summer off. All I want to do is win lotto, retire and relax, travel and enjoy life!
Jun 23, 2017 09:35PM rosiesgirl wrote:
Saw my Symptom Management doctor and told him that I think I need to go back on disability. He agreed. It has been so hard to make the decision, but I am sure that it is the right one. I have to have wrist surgery in a couple weeks (which I have put off for a year due to work...) and I will start disability at that time for 6 weeks and then another 3 months to try and build my strength and stamina. We will assess at that point about going back. I am really relieved to have come to this decision. I am on vacation the next 2 weeks and really looking forward to it!
Jun 24, 2017 03:07PM burner wrote:
I loved my job prior to treatment, but am in a post-cancer perspective mood which has accelerated some "mid-life crisising". I look at all the creative hobbies and projects that I'd like to do (like writing, doing performance arts), and how that's all taken a backseat to earning a living, paying a mortgage, saving for retirement.
It's been a difficult conversation with my husband, but I think odds are not in my favor of making it to 65 years old. And even then, I'm doubtful about being able to reap the benefits of saving for retirement. I'm painfully close to my mortality at the moment and thinking that it would be a shame to have talked about all these things I wanted to do- and never doing them.
Really flirting with the idea of dropping the job and pursuing the hobbies / arts, even for a sabbatical. We can't do without my income with current mortgage, but maybe there is a way to ease out of the current work schedule without hurting the "nest egg" for Mr. Burner's security. I dunno. There is a part of me that thinks that if I take a sabbatical, I'll never work again since I need to maintain my client base and work "sharpness".
It's a tough situation to wrangle with.
In the meantime, the thought that our entrepreneurship/freedom is limited given the need for group insurance for the rest of my life... is just depressing. The thought of the GOP's wealthcare bill passing has had me going through all the cycles of grief all over again and has made cancer survivorship that much harder. It doesn't just affect people on ACA, Medicaid, but basically all women, including those on private insurance.
Apologies for the stream-of-consciousness thought dump.
Joy, I am so glad you have some tiem off to yourself! Many hugs to all.
Jun 24, 2017 09:55PM rosiesgirl wrote:
Burner, I also have the feeling that I will not live long into retirement. I think that is part of the reason that I want to stop working. It is taking all of my energy maintaining to work, and I feel like I am wasting what time I have left. My husband and I have had discussions about what I want to do now (sell the house, downsize, start living our lives) and he sees every thing in the long term. I finally told him that I don't see my life in the future. I see it as now. I don't know if I will have much of a future. In my mind, I will not.
I also have been turning to creative outlets, photography, writing, sewing, just wanting to create things. It is strange being on this side of treatment. I guess I just thought I would start my life back where it left off prior to diagnosis. In reality, I am in a completely different spot. Like I was dropped off in a new place and the old me is not recognizable. Work and kids took all of my time. I am now an empty nester, my attention has shifted. While going through treatment I told myself that I wouldn't take a moment for granted. Now I am resentful of the things that take my time that are not fulfilling.
My body is betraying me these days. Everything hurts. My feet feel like they don't function anymore. I want to feel better. I need to work on me.
Wow, didn't plan on my own stream of consciousness! Thanks for listening!
Jun 25, 2017 03:52PM burner wrote:
Joy, that so resonates on "just wanting to create things." - same here on writing, photography! I too, thought I would pick up where I left off- that's what kept me motivated through treatment. But it is indeed strange being on this side of treatment. I am aggressively cutting things out of my life that take away the time to heal and be "selfish", I guess. I still have work obligations and spend half my time in doctors' offices given reconstruction and targeted therapy, but that means that I'm not bothering to do anything that feels like it's taking away time from some creative projects.
The body betrayal makes things difficult. Like you, my energy and mobility have been clobbered by treatment, so I wake up everyday feeling like I have few precious hours until things start hurting again or until I poop out.
I think Mr. Burner is receptive to figuring out how to help me lead a different life, but it is very hard on him. He still holds onto a vision of our living well into retirement, and I can't shake my thoughts of my mortality (or a recurrence) before then. I know this is common thinking among survivors, so I'm trying to work through these thoughts with someone other than him, but I dunno... I am developing a lot of comfort with trying to live in the now without torching the path for a potential future.
I'm not making a lot of sense, but wanted to give you a big virtual hug.
Jul 4, 2017 08:22PM rosiesgirl wrote:
Hugs to you too, Burner. This sure isn't easy!
Sep 6, 2017 06:27PM whatsitgonnabe wrote:
what I am reading here sounds similar to what goes on in my mind right now. Finished chemo a year ago, targeted treatment in May, and am 'only' on Zoladex and Letrozole - but everything just feels weird. Went back to work in springtime, I used to like my job, and I still do - but it is so exhausting, there are constant new side effects or infections, which again make me feel tired.
Very often, I just feel completely detached from my work, and if my 'old passion' is back, I do too much and then get sick again, I guess because it seems that my body does not want to tolerate 12hour workdays anymore. So I go back into the 'detached' mode, and even then, I feel exhausted.
Not sure what to do - am 47, so far away from retirement; if I reduce work hours, I will most likely work the same hours as if for full-time, just not with full-time money anymore and no career chances...strange that I still seem to care about that.
I never expected 'life after treatment' to be like this...I was probably naive, but really thought that I can 'go on where I stopped' before I went into treatment.
It feels good to hear that I am not alone feeling like this.
Sep 10, 2017 09:03AM TwoHobbies wrote:
Whatsitgonnabe, I was really fatigued for a good year, and my surgeon said it was not unexpected - even from just surgery and the anesthesia. Ask for "accomodations" at work under the ADA. I found it really helpful to work from home mid-week - not sure if that is an option for you. Just having one day that I could sleep in longer, not do the commute and the hair and makeup, was really helpful. I also found exercise to be helpful to build up stamina. After chemo, I couldn't walk up a flight of stairs without getting out of breath.
Sep 10, 2017 06:11PM whatsitgonnabe wrote:
thank you very much, it helps to hear that I am not the only one.
I will try to work from home, as you are right, not having to commute for one day a week might already be a great help. Exercise is on my list, but right now, I tend to find too many excuses not to do anything once I am home from work. I know that I need to start doing something, and every week I hope that I find the strength to start with the 'couch to 5k' program.
I suspect that some of the side effects are related to the Zoladex, so I am looking forward to be able to stop it, at the moment, this should be in a year from now (once I completed 2 years).
Hope you are feeling ok now!
Sep 10, 2017 10:55PM - edited Sep 10, 2017 11:07PM by gardengypsy
I was mentally and physically fatigued when I went back to work. For several months, my employer let me leave two hours early each day to work at home. I was asked to be available by phone and by Skype if needed (it never was).
I think that adjusting your schedule is a great idea!!
Sep 13, 2017 01:51PM Leatherette wrote:
I am getting chemo through November. I just put a lot of effort into getting back to work part time. Last week was my first week back, and I was on steroids, felt good, got a ton done. Now I am 5 days post infusion, and while I actually don't feel that bad, I think about work and go, "meh". I am working from home today, and did an hour, then was ready for a break. That is not me. BC aside, working from home, which I can do about half the time, is not a good fit for me. I just can't "get in the zone" at home. I'll be curious to see how BC affects my attitude towards work once I am through chemo. I am 46, sole family member working outside the home. No retirement for me anytime soon.
Sep 13, 2017 01:56PM mustlovepoodles wrote:
Leatherette, I was the same way during chemo. Five days of "Whoo-hoo!", followed by 7-10 days of "I'm so tired i could lay down right here on the floor", then a week of "Okay , lets do this."
Sep 16, 2017 09:30PM rosiesgirl wrote:
Well, I have been wrestling with going back out on disability and BAM, just got hit with stage 4, bone mets to spine and femur. Back into treatment, back on disability. Maybe that's why I've been feeling so crappy.
Sep 17, 2017 02:53PM TwoHobbies wrote:
Rosiesgirl, I"m sorry to hear about your new diagnosis, Forget about the work and concentrate on your health. I hope you can get some relief and feel better soon.
Jan 7, 2018 09:14AM Castigame wrote:
Went back to work this past week after officially 10.5 months and unofficially 1 yr away. I know I am extremely lucky to go back to the same job w same pay and benefit after a yr.
The entire process changed people left and new people came. the general atmosphere became so unfriendly. I felt like a little kid abandoned at a busy market far far away from home. My anxiety level was up there. I know I am given really really light load but I am still lost.
this is the same job had almost 15 yrs. I used to be able to do this job half sleeping. part of the problem is me I know. All I did last yr was popping pills chemo rad talk to drs sleep as much as possible. yes I was somewhat close to insubordination when I was given really light work toward closing time. I did but I realized on my way home I only did half of what was needed.
I am slightly scared.
Jan 7, 2018 10:48PM edwards750 wrote:
Sorry about the fallout from BC. It’s tough to go back after such a long time and a difficult time at that. BC does a number on us. It robs us physically emotionally and financially.
I didn’t go back after my DX. I had a PT job at a facility quite a few miles from home. The salary was good but the job was at night and very stressful. My DH and I crunched the numbers and figured it was financially possiblefor me to quit. Had it been a FT job I might have reconsidered.
I feel for you. Things will never be the same and it doesn’t help that the work atmosphere has changed for the worst. Give yourself a break you have been through a lot.
Is a job change possible? Maybe a new outlook is in order.
Jun 14, 2018 07:37PM rosiesgirl wrote:
I posted back in September about bone mets and a few days later found I also have brain mets. Treatment is going well and my tumors are responding. I am now on permanent disability. I was able to collect on my life insurance due to my diagnosis. Funny how things turn out. We never know where this beast will take us.
Jun 14, 2018 10:48PM illimae wrote:
I’m in a similar boat and will be starting continuous sick leave soon, unfortunately, my medical retirement will have a penalty for me being under 50 and my 401k can’t be closed out without penalties either, ugh. Seems like I’m getting extra screwed due to age ☹️
Rosiesgirl, if you don’t mind sharing, I’d love to know how you got your life insurance, I would need my MO to say I have 12 months or less to live in order to collect.
Jun 25, 2018 07:47PM rosiesgirl wrote:
Hi illmae, My insurance company sent a form for the accelerated benefits for my doctor to fill out. The question she had to answer was whether I had a life expectancy of less than 12 months. Although she had told me less than 5 years expectancy, she answered yes, probably because nobody knows. Check your policy or call HR or your agent to see if you have this benefit and see what you need to do to collect. My work policy had the benefit. The policy I purchased on my own did not. It has made a great difference in my life to be able to pay off debts and to have a cushion to fall back on.
Jul 30, 2018 11:02AM Jojobird wrote:
I have not been following this thread but just popped back in today to read about your experiences. I am so grateful not to be alone in these feelings about/for work. I've been diagnosed with a recurrence as of March of this year and am currently on disability until November, and then what? I don't know. We don't know yet if the treatment I'm on (Xeloda/Taxotere - 5 cm tumor that needs to be shrunk for surgery) is fully working, and the surgery is expected to be "complicated." Add to that the prognosis after a recurrence, and at 50, I'm thinking of cashing out some of my retirement to take my family traveling.
So much unknown.
Rosiesgirl, I'm so very sorry to hear of the mets. Please let us know how you are doing.
Castigame, I hope the work situation is getting better. It's so hard when new people have come in, and the relationships you've built and empathy for your condition might not be there.
whatsitgonna, I totally relate to not feeling connected to work. Right now, it feels like that last thing on my mind. I am just trying to get through the days. And I hear you - I can't retire now, but my work life looks erratic for the near future. It's very difficult financially.
burner, illimae, and others - cancer sure does throw us for a loop. I'm also feeling the pull to do more creative work - write, cook, craft. But the unpredictable energy levels and lower finances does not help, nor do the health unknowns.
I wish you all strength and love out.
Jul 30, 2018 11:49AM NancyD wrote:
I felt compelled to answer on this thread even though I've been "retired" for six years, and my active treatment ended almost ten years ago. My job was very creative, but I also managed two other staff designers and numerous freelancers. I worked throughout my chemo, and only took off for my BMX and then two years later for my reconstruction. I felt a lack of creativity during my chemo, but, thankfully, it was not our busiest time period.
As the years went by, I felt some energy returning, and my creativity came back, too. I even managed to snag a spot in an office closer to home to reduce my commute from 1-1/2 hours to 15 minutes. Then my company went through its umpteenth "reorganization", and I was laid off. Two years later all the other designers were laid off in another reorganization. To say that company is in a shambles is an understatement, so in retrospect, I am glad to be out of there.
Now I get occasional freelance work, collect Social Security (I'm way over 62), and manage to have a comfortable life. I only missed my old job for the first few months. I don't miss my commute (even the 15 minute one, lol). My freelance work isn't as creative as it could be, but it pays well. And the plus is NO COMMUTE...just roll out of bed and walk down the hall to my office, otherwise known as the spare bedroom.
edwards750 — I hear you! I babysit my 8-1/2 month grandson regularly. And I have to say, no wonder nature gave us menopause! I am exhausted after six or seven hours with him. Just did a 3-day weekend so my daughter and son-in-law could have a getaway weekend. The glass of wine I treated myself to when he left was just what I needed.
So I really give it to you all who stay with your jobs—whatever they are. It might not be what we had before breast cancer, but we still work.
Aug 12, 2018 07:05PM Castigame wrote:
NancyD, you are one of my inspirations.
I am still w the old job. True I am fortunate to have the old job back. Now my DH and I have this getting the bleep out of daily grind before Xmas 2020. Mainly because mortgage will be done.
still stressful but I got numerous confirmation that my mgrs do not have courage to ask me why even when I am on company intranet for an entire weekend. everything has two sides I see. I plan to enjoy the irony as long as I could.
Apr 3, 2019 05:08PM Rosiesride wrote:
Hi ladies! So I am nearing the time I will retire...teaching K still and will be able to retire with 20 years January 2020!! I am a grandma to one and daughter is expecting in October! I always have a fear of not being healthy enough to enjoy all of the blessings! At 59 years old, cancer survivor, 5 years NED, it is always in the back of your mind about the quality years you have left...I will keep you posted and hope all of you have reached the peace in your lives after cancer. Rosie
Apr 4, 2019 11:38AM Jojobird wrote:
Rosie, congrats on the grandkids and on the retirement! Do keep us posted and would love to hear how you are doing.
Apr 4, 2019 12:19PM kber wrote:
Hi - I know this is an old thread, but so very insightful! I'm still in active treatment and have basically maintained a 40 hour work week through chemo, but was working closer to 60 prior to dx, so it feels like part time. I was talking to a co-worker, someone who took over some of those "missing" 20 hours a week as I've shifted into a less intense role, and realized that the stress of my prior role was in some ways worse than cancer. It was an eye opening revelation and post treatment, I hope I can make some changes. No one ever says on their deathbed that they wished they had spent more time at the office, right?
I've always been career driven. Even if I didn't like a specific company, I like my "craft". I have made a living shepherding companies through rough patches - reorganizations, start ups, turnarounds. It's always intense and high energy. But now? Even assuming I make a full 100% recovery, is this how I want to spend my time?
While in treatment, I've made deep connections with people who I didn't know that well before. I've strengthened relationships with some family with whom I've been distant. I've both grown closer to my husband of 25 years, but more distant physically and we will need to rekindle that part of our marriage once I have healthy boobs and some hair again. I don't want to give any of that up. I don't want to miss another school concert because I just "had" to be in London or Mumbai ever again. No more missed games. No more missed family events. No more postponed date nights. No job is worth it.
I'm too young to retire and, since I have to work for a living I want to enjoy, or at least not mind, what I spend my days doing. But I'm not going to let it define me. I'll give my company everything they pay for and more, but they don't get my soul.
Apr 5, 2019 11:56PM Jojobird wrote:
Good for you for reducing your hours. Sounds like it was the right call, and your question, "Is this how I want to spend my time?" really resonates with me. That's a question I'm still mulling over, thinking about, and considering. Thank you for your perspective, and good luck!
Apr 6, 2019 04:06AM PollyOne wrote:
Thanks everyone for your posts. It so helps to know I'm not alone. I'm having a really hard time caring about my job. I got a new boss a few months before my diagnosis, and to say we're not a good fit is an understatement. My boss has not been very understanding. She went on vacation with a broken ankle in a boot and was very proud that she didn't let it slow her down much. I have continuous on-going fatigue, and will run out of protected leave this month or next, depending on how hard I push. The job pays well, and I have excellent health insurance, which is my main reason for being there right now. I haven't had the energy to connect here since I went back to work and looking at my old posts I can see that even a few months has made a big difference. I'm almost six months post tx, and am hoping I can start to care again once I feel better.Thanks again for your support.
Nov 8, 2019 05:39AM Rosiesride wrote:
Hey Jojobird and friends...just checking into this board as I have a little more time. I am so close to retiring in December and I know life will be awesome!! Going to live my best life...sell our house and move to my happy place, the beach on Topsail Island, NC!!!! A few years ago, I didn't think I could make it to 20 year mark of teaching. Had a few changes at my school and here I am, ready to retire. My first granddaughter turned one in October and will become a big sister in January!!! My daughter also had her first little girl a month ago...so I am looking forward to Nanny life!!! Yay! Rosie
May 22, 2020 08:25AM Castigame wrote:
Well my situation changed for the better.
Blessed I started working from home about two months ago. Hi have an office upstairs with two monitors. Nice size window which provides breeze and real magnolia fragrance. Try to get up every 45 min or so to use bathroom. At work bathroom is at a visible corner of big office which I hared using. Going up and down short but steep angle stairs is a nice exercise. And my dogi who hates walk goes with me for the sake of snack.
My blood pressure as well as anxiety level is way down. I may be able to work like this for a few yrs and we are hoping to say bleep it to the daily grind soon.