Topic: Work Stress during Treatment

Forum: Employment, Insurance, and Other Financial Issues — Employment, insurance, and financial concerns are common. Meet others here to discuss and for support.

Posted on: May 18, 2017 09:13PM

Posted on: May 18, 2017 09:13PM

Tickety_boo wrote:

I was diagnosed in early March and told a few co-workers and my manager I had early stage breast cancer. Everything seemed to be good; they were accommodating my appointments and the time I took after lumpectomy. They should as this is a major hospital!

My manager and I have a good relationship and she told me that they would "take the stress off me" or something like that. Each of our team members manages several research studies and other projects.

One employee was on her way out - this part of the story is not relevant - and they basically laid her off instead of firing her. At the same time they cut the hours of another part-timer. So, now there are significantly less people to do the same amount of work.

I'm not seeing this as helping to reduce job stress - what the heck does that mean?

I'm starting to think I have to put my treatment and health first and not take all this job drama to heart. Has anybody been thru something similar? Have advice?

Dx 2/28/2017, IDC, Right, <1cm, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+, Radiation Therapy
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May 18, 2017 10:01PM wallan wrote:

Hey Tickety boo:

I can relate a bit to your situation. When I told my manager I had early stage breast cancer he promised me full support and not to worry about the workload because others would help. The "work would get done" he said. I told a few coworkers too and they promised to help too. But the help was not forthcoming. My manager told me to delegate work to people and cc him. I did. But the people did not do it and I was still responsible for the results. I found this very stressful. Within about a month, I decided to take a leave of absence because I knew I would not be able to handle the stress of the job. My manager was disappointed because he wanted and needed me to work. That was also stressful. I was even told a prior employee at my organization had had early stage BC and worked thru the whole treatment without any issue, so why am I so upset? This employee even had an easier job with less responsibility than me.

I now believe that unless someone has had cancer themselves, they have no idea of the stress of the diagnosis or treatment. You have to go through it to get it. Kind of like having a baby. If you have never had a baby, you do not know what its like.

Anyways, putting YOU first seems like a very good idea. You only have one life afterall and your health is precious.

I hope you sort it out.


Dx 3/29/2004, IDC, Right, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 2/18 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/31/2004 Lymph node removal; Lymph node removal (Right): Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy; 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; Mastectomy; Mastectomy (Left); Reconstruction (Left): Tissue Expander; Reconstruction (Right): Fat grafting Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane), Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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May 19, 2017 02:17PM SelinaWilson wrote:

I have heard about this type of thing over and over. You just cannot trust a business to work in your best interest and accommodate you. And I would say that even if they understand or have been through something similar, you still cannot trust their expressed commitments.

Everyone deals with these things differently. Just like Tickety Boo pointed out, there was another person that was fine, granted they had a different job. But there will never be someone that experiences treatment exactly the way you do. Better or worse.

And then there is the capacity for people to forget. For them to lose sight of even their own experience when they are under pressure in the present.

It is extremely rare to find a business that is loyal enough to their employees to accommodate them throughout these difficult times. And even when they try to be accommodating, there is no way to know how long their patience will last.

I would try a solution proposal strategy (which is the only one I have ever heard of working out in these instances... though not for everyone). You can adapt it for your personal case, but it essentially means that you tell them what you need and how it benefits them to give it to you. A mixture of human approach and practical business sense.

It depends on you be an important and irreplaceable member of the team and making your case for why that is. You need to outline what you do, and the work you will need to be alleviated, and how that alleviation makes practical sense. If you cannot trust other workers to pitch in, then you need to propose some sort of temporary hiring.

But I digress. The point is that you need to have solutions. If you give the burden of finding a way around your situation to your employer, it is likely to make them overwhelmed. People should be more understanding. Businesses should treat their employees with care and respect. But that does not seem to be the reality of our world.

Appeal to everyone's self-interests, and they will be interested in helping.

PS. The time I was told this didn't work was when the young woman with breast cancer did not have a firm enough relationship with the company. Her job was not "high-skill", so she had very little ground for a persuasive argument of her irreplaceability... but also the company she worked for had a cold and impersonal culture.

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May 19, 2017 09:03PM edwards750 wrote:

It's a tough situation to be in emotionally, physically and financially. I told my boss and she was really supportive. Her mother had BC so she knew what I was going through then and what I had in store for mein the future.

The problem with my job was it was high pressure and very stressful. I decided to take time off to get through the surgery and Rads treatments because I was having trouble concentrating. I did have the luxury of doing that because the job was supplemental and I had the full support of the big bosses.

I was an integral part of our group which did help but was also detrimental because any errors were costly to me ala reviews and the company.

After calculating the cost of the long drive, wear and tear on my car and the unsafe part of town I worked in in the middle of the night my DH and I decided I would take early retirement. So glad I did. Had my DH not had good health coverage I might not have done that.

Good luck.


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May 23, 2017 10:47PM Tickety_boo wrote:

Thanks for the information. I told my Radiation Oncologist that my department was accommodating me and she said "well they certainly ought to" while I noticed her very subtle eye roll. She is in a department associated with mine so maybe she knows their reputation - they don't treat employees very well.

Thanks for the info, it seems that despite the best of intentions our workplaces ended up being unsupportive. In Edwards 750's case the job by nature wasn't a good one to work during breast cancer treatment.

Dx 2/28/2017, IDC, Right, <1cm, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+, Radiation Therapy
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May 24, 2017 12:56PM edwards750 wrote:

It's reprehensible some companies aren't more supportive. I wonder if they would have the same attitude if one of their loved ones was dealing with a medical crisis.

None of us relishes the thought of taking the company we work for to task for any number of reasons but we are entitled to do just that. Despite the fact I worked for a corporate giant like Federal Express I took the liberty of contacting my CEO's assistant in Atlanta. I live in Tennessee. He assured me in no uncertain terms I could return to work when and if I wanted to. It's amazing how fast my immediate bosses reacted when he called them. They even called me to see how I was doing. Go figure.

Good luck.


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May 24, 2017 01:47PM muska wrote:

Tickety, I understand very well where you are coming from, however I can put myself in your immediate boss' shoes too: your boss most likely does want to help you, however (s)he cannot hire more staff or disregard corporate cutbacks (your mentioning someone was laid off and part-time hours cut make me think your employer is working on reducing spending.)

I hope you find a way out of this situation by using some PTO time and/or FMLA if needed.


Dx at 54 Dx 5/9/2013, DCIS/IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 7/11 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 6/13/2013, LCIS, Both breasts Surgery 6/13/2013 Mastectomy; Mastectomy (Left); Mastectomy (Right); Reconstruction (Left): Tissue Expander; Reconstruction (Right): Tissue Expander Chemotherapy 7/25/2013 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 2/20/2014 Reconstruction (Left); Reconstruction (Right) Hormonal Therapy 3/12/2014 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 3/23/2014 Breast, Lymph nodes Local Metastases 3/23/2014 Radiation therapy: Bone
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Jul 9, 2017 10:44AM - edited Jul 26, 2017 03:59PM by castigame

This Post was deleted by castigame.
Mimi Dx 1/11/2017, IDC: Papillary/IDC: Cribriform, Right, 3cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 4/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 1/11/2017, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, 0/2 nodes Surgery 2/15/2017 Lymph node removal; Lymph node removal (Left): Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy; Mastectomy (Left); Mastectomy (Right) Chemotherapy 3/21/2017 Radiation Therapy 7/31/2017 Whole breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Surgery 10/30/2017

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