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Topic: Just Not Into My Job Anymore

Forum: Employment, Insurance, and Other Financial Issues —

Employment, insurance, and financial concerns are common. Meet others here to discuss and for support.

Posted on: Apr 19, 2017 07:13PM

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.

My blog: chestybreastypuller.blogspot.com/ Dx 3/2016, IDC, Right, 6cm+, Stage IIIC, Grade 3, 21/21 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy AC + T (Taxol) Surgery Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Jun 18, 2017 02:30PM 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.

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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Jun 18, 2017 05:46PM 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!

Dx 5/27/2015, IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 1, 3/12 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 6/18/2015 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 7/1/2015 Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 8/3/2015 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 11/3/2015 Hormonal Therapy 12/31/2015 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jun 23, 2017 06:35PM 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!

Joy

DX 11/12/14, IBC ER+ PR+ HER2+ Neoadjutive Therapy, -ACx6, Taxol x12 Herceptin, Perjeta. Grade 3 tumor, Stage 3b, 7.7cm Dx 11/3/2014, IBC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIIB, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Chemotherapy 12/15/2014 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel), Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxol (paclitaxel) Targeted Therapy 2/1/2015 Tykerb (lapatinib) Surgery 5/27/2015 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right) Surgery 8/1/2016 Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting Dx 8/15/2017, IBC, 2cm, Stage IV, metastasized to brain/bone, Grade 3, 0/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (IHC) Hormonal Therapy 9/1/2017 Faslodex (fulvestrant) Radiation Therapy 9/15/2017 External: Bone, Brain
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Jun 24, 2017 12:07PM 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.

Dx 12/2016, DCIS/IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Targeted Therapy Perjeta (pertuzumab) Targeted Therapy Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery Lymph node removal: Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement
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Jun 24, 2017 06:55PM 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!

Joy

DX 11/12/14, IBC ER+ PR+ HER2+ Neoadjutive Therapy, -ACx6, Taxol x12 Herceptin, Perjeta. Grade 3 tumor, Stage 3b, 7.7cm Dx 11/3/2014, IBC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIIB, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Chemotherapy 12/15/2014 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel), Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxol (paclitaxel) Targeted Therapy 2/1/2015 Tykerb (lapatinib) Surgery 5/27/2015 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right) Surgery 8/1/2016 Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting Dx 8/15/2017, IBC, 2cm, Stage IV, metastasized to brain/bone, Grade 3, 0/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (IHC) Hormonal Therapy 9/1/2017 Faslodex (fulvestrant) Radiation Therapy 9/15/2017 External: Bone, Brain
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Jun 25, 2017 12:52PM 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.

Dx 12/2016, DCIS/IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Targeted Therapy Perjeta (pertuzumab) Targeted Therapy Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery Lymph node removal: Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement
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Jul 4, 2017 05:22PM rosiesgirl wrote:

Hugs to you too, Burner. This sure isn't easy!

Joy

DX 11/12/14, IBC ER+ PR+ HER2+ Neoadjutive Therapy, -ACx6, Taxol x12 Herceptin, Perjeta. Grade 3 tumor, Stage 3b, 7.7cm Dx 11/3/2014, IBC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIIB, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Chemotherapy 12/15/2014 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel), Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxol (paclitaxel) Targeted Therapy 2/1/2015 Tykerb (lapatinib) Surgery 5/27/2015 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right) Surgery 8/1/2016 Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting Dx 8/15/2017, IBC, 2cm, Stage IV, metastasized to brain/bone, Grade 3, 0/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (IHC) Hormonal Therapy 9/1/2017 Faslodex (fulvestrant) Radiation Therapy 9/15/2017 External: Bone, Brain
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Sep 6, 2017 03:27PM whatsitgonnabe wrote:

Hi,

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.

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Sep 10, 2017 06:03AM 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.

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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Sep 10, 2017 03:11PM whatsitgonnabe wrote:

TwoHobbies,

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!

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Sep 10, 2017 07:55PM - edited Sep 10, 2017 08:07PM by gardengypsy

whatsitgonnabe:

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!!


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 6/5/2016 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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Sep 13, 2017 10:51AM 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.


Age 45 at diagnosis Dx 5/2017, DCIS, Left, 6cm+, Stage 0, Grade 3, ER+/PR+ Surgery 6/19/2017 Mastectomy: Left Dx 6/23/2017, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+ (IHC) Targeted Therapy 7/25/2017 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 7/25/2017 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap
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Sep 13, 2017 10:56AM 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."

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 8/19/2015 Lumpectomy Surgery 9/2/2015 Lumpectomy: Right Chemotherapy 10/19/2015 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 2/3/2016 Prophylactic mastectomy: Left, Right Surgery 10/18/2016 Hormonal Therapy Femara (letrozole) Surgery
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Sep 16, 2017 06:30PM 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. Scared Maybe that's why I've been feeling so crappy.

Joy

DX 11/12/14, IBC ER+ PR+ HER2+ Neoadjutive Therapy, -ACx6, Taxol x12 Herceptin, Perjeta. Grade 3 tumor, Stage 3b, 7.7cm Dx 11/3/2014, IBC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIIB, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Chemotherapy 12/15/2014 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel), Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxol (paclitaxel) Targeted Therapy 2/1/2015 Tykerb (lapatinib) Surgery 5/27/2015 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right) Surgery 8/1/2016 Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting Dx 8/15/2017, IBC, 2cm, Stage IV, metastasized to brain/bone, Grade 3, 0/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (IHC) Hormonal Therapy 9/1/2017 Faslodex (fulvestrant) Radiation Therapy 9/15/2017 External: Bone, Brain
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Sep 17, 2017 11:53AM 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.

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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