Topic: Did you retire before you had planned to as a result of cancer?

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

Posted on: Nov 21, 2019 11:40AM - edited Jun 23, 2022 04:53PM by moderators

Posted on: Nov 21, 2019 11:40AM - edited Jun 23, 2022 04:53PM by moderators

moderators wrote:

Many people in the workforce look forward to retiring one day, and most of us try to do our best to plan for retirement. But some of us encounter medical issues that might force us to consider an early, unplanned retirement. Did you make the decision to retire before you had planned to as a result of your breast cancer diagnosis? How did you come to the decision? Were you prepared? What have you ended up doing in your retirement? Share your story and we may include your voice in a new article on Breastcancer.org about facing an unplanned retirement due to breast cancer.

Thank you!

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Dec 1, 2019 11:47AM boogirl wrote:

I'm also in the middle of considering this question - I had posted some of these thoughts on the Triple+ discussion. I'm back 120% at work, but do I enjoy it? After being back a couple of months they changed my role and I don't feel it's for the better - it seems like more work (esp travel) for less opportunity (I don’t have to “manage” anymore - like that’s good). While chemo and the intense part of treatment was difficult, I had more time with my husband - which we both enjoyed as he's older & already retired, and work from home which was less stressful than time in the office & on the road.

We focus on not letting cancer "defeat" us, but there's no question it changes your perspective, and it makes you want to change other things in your life. But I'm still not sure on work - I'm fighting feeling "defeated" if I decide to retire. It feels like letting people down, especially women coming up behind me who like seeing a superwoman style return, and maybe also will gratify other people who didn't expect me back at all! Grrrr.... Is it too soon to know what I really want? Do I really just want different work not retirement?

While I think about it, I'm working like a nutter on the road every week while still getting treatment (you can get herceptin SQ treatment in a lot of countries FYI), and it's certainly not a downshift - it's more travel than ever, and I can't say it's fun.

Dx 9/21/2018, LCIS/DCIS, Left, Stage 0, ER+ Surgery 11/14/2018 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Dx 11/27/2018, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+, Surgery 5/24/2019 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting, Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting, Silicone implant Surgery 12/5/2019 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting Targeted Therapy Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy Taxol (paclitaxel) Hormonal Therapy Femara (letrozole)
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Dec 1, 2019 12:30PM mavericksmom wrote:

I wasn’t forced to retire but going on short term disability for four months due to my second primary breast cancer caused me to add at least one year before I can afford to retire. I wanted to retire in 2020 or 2021, but now need to push that to 2022. I will be 68.

I feel drained from the whole recuperation, mastectomy with DIEP reconstruction and healing issues due to radiation burns from IDC in 2003. I had ILC this time, Dx2018.

Dx 6/6/2003, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/24 nodes, ER+/PR+ Dx 12/4/2018, ILC, Left, 1cm, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Dec 1, 2019 01:06PM marinochka wrote:

Mavericksmo… may i ask you a question.

If you are on short term disability, employer can not let you go during that time?

we have a small department, only 4 people, and they would definitely need a person if i, for example, will be on disability.

i am just trying to understand how it works.

thank you

Dx 11/4/2019, DCIS, Right, Stage 0, Grade 2, ER+/PR- Surgery 12/19/2019
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Dec 5, 2019 04:44PM - edited Dec 8, 2019 02:16PM by lumpie

I have posted in other forums about being forced out of my job. I was deeply saddened by this course of events. I was very disappointed that my employer chose to be so callous. I was diagnosed in my 40's so was in no way financially prepared to retire. I had experienced layoffs in prior recessions and, ironically, had made a career change just a few years earlier in hopes of having more stable employment prospects.

I am in the U.S. Many of us know that we have a number of challenges with our healthcare system. Some people do not realize how dramatically that arrangement can affect their employment prospects if they have high medical costs. If an employer is "fully insured," meaning buys insurance for all employees, our high medical costs may drive up the cost of coverage for the business. If we work for large employers, those employers often "self insure" meaning they do not buy insurance but actually pay our medical bills. Very few people realize this. It's an advantage for employers with a young, healthy workforce. But if you are costing your employer hundreds of thousands indefinitely... It doesn't make you the most attractive employee. Discrimination may be illegal but if I tell my employer I need accommodation for treatment, possibly time off for care, may not feel 100% at times ... and could you also pay these $300,000 in medical bills...annually....indefinitely? You see where this is going. I have read accounts of many people with high health care costs being forced out over these perverse incentives. I can't even entirely vilify the companies - it's just too crazy that our employers have anything to do with providing our healthcare. I certainly admire companies that are supportive and treat employees well. If you have not been so fortunate, I would encourage you to let your elected officials knows. Consider speaking up and being an advocate for eliminating these barriers to continuing to work. If we don't nothing will change.

"We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us." "If adventures will not befall a young lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad." "Buy the ticket, take the ride." Dx 2015, DCIS/IDC, Right, 3cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 1/14/2016 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Targeted Therapy 1/14/2016 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Dx 2017, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to liver, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery Lumpectomy; Lumpectomy (Right) Surgery Lumpectomy; Lumpectomy (Right) Radiation Therapy Whole breast: Breast
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Dec 5, 2019 06:17PM - edited Dec 5, 2019 06:17PM by windingshores

I spent years taking care of a child with medical needs, then my elderly mother, and was going to try to work, but once I had cancer (double mastectomy(I never have. I am just so tired. Five years of Femara has a cumulative effect in my opinion.

I am shocked that people were pushed out of their jobs, in this day and age. And never knew some companies pay medical expenses. Unbelievable and discriminatory.

Dx 2/2015, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 4/28/2015 Femara (letrozole) Surgery Lymph node removal; Mastectomy; Mastectomy (Right) Surgery Mastectomy; Mastectomy (Left); Prophylactic mastectomy; Prophylactic mastectomy (Left)
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Dec 19, 2019 12:52PM lumpie wrote:

Interesting article/current event on the topic:

Supreme Court to look again at whether teachers at religious schools are 'ministerial'

18 Dec 2019

The Supreme Court will consider how much leeway religious organizations have in firing their employees in two cases from California filed by teachers who lost their jobs at Catholic schools.

One teacher alleged age discrimination, and another, now deceased and represented by her husband, said she was fired after informing the school that she had *breast cancer.* {emphasis added}

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-to-look-again-at-whether-teachers-at-religious-schools-are-ministerial/2019/12/18/0881b628-21ad-11ea-a153-dce4b94e4249_story.html?utm_campaign=post_most&utm_medium=Email&utm_source=Newsletter&wpisrc=nl_most&wpmm=1

"We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us." "If adventures will not befall a young lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad." "Buy the ticket, take the ride." Dx 2015, DCIS/IDC, Right, 3cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 1/14/2016 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Targeted Therapy 1/14/2016 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Dx 2017, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to liver, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery Lumpectomy; Lumpectomy (Right) Surgery Lumpectomy; Lumpectomy (Right) Radiation Therapy Whole breast: Breast
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Feb 4, 2020 10:40PM SeattleSunshine wrote:

This is a good thread. Speaks to my situation. I am self-employed as a psychotherapist. I had planned to work about two or three more years and retire at 70 or so. I no longer have disability insurance because I have social security and get healthcare insurance through my husband. Sounds good!

But I don't think I will have the luxury of retiring on my terms. I find that I am experiencing much more fatigue than I could have guessed (I finished radiation a few months ago and started Arimidex last month). My mind is not as sharp as I would like (still feeling gobsmacked by the dx).

Fortunately, I am not being pushed out like some have described. But I am beginning to see that circumstances may dictate what I do. I love my work; it is meaningful and satisfying. It makes me sad to have to prepare to give up my life's work because my poor body is busy dealing with cancer.

I am sure I will adapt in time. But just now, I am giving myself permission to regret this loss. As we all know, cancer presents a fork in the road

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Feb 4, 2020 11:47PM minustwo wrote:

Seattle - since you are self-employed, can you cut back & not give up your career entirely? What about working just 3 days a week? Or working just mornings?

Eventually you will find your 'new normal' as we say here - but don't give up too soon since you do love your work and find fulfillment practicing.

2/15/11 BMX-DCIS 2SNB clear-TEs; 9/15/11-410gummies; 3/20/13 recurrance-5.5cm,mets to lymphs, Stage IIIB IDC ER/PRneg,HER2+; TCH/Perjeta/Neulasta x6; ALND 9/24/13 1/18 nodes 4.5cm; AC chemo 10/30/13 x3; herceptin again; Rads Feb2014
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Apr 24, 2021 09:24AM LoriLee1967 wrote:

So glad I found this, quick question, need some input or opinions....I will be 55 next year and I am considering retiring with the rule of 55 withdrawing from my 401k, I am mainly doing this because I have worked as a dialysis nurse for 24 years and have to get up at 3am, I am a Stage 3 bc survivor since 2009 but my mother passed from returning cancer 13 years after her diagnosis and treatment, I am tired of getting up at 3am and 12 hour shifts and I am scared I will die and never enjoy my savings , is this selfish or stupid? I still have a 16 year old daughter but I plan to arrange for her education before I retire, and possibly work part time somewhere doing something totally different to offset the cost of having to purchase my own insurance. What do ya'll think?

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Apr 24, 2021 06:06PM moderators wrote:

Welcome LoriLee1967, Getting up at 3am must be absolutely exhausting! There is no "stupid" when it comes to picking a time to retire. It is so individual - based on your savings, lifestyle, family, priorities, stress of your job. Have you spoken with a financial advisor to see if it's workable for you? Sounds like an exciting option after 24 years of nursing.

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