Back to work after RH?

Hiya Lovelies!

It’ll be 4 weeks since my RH this coming Friday and I’m starting to get very anxious about returning to work.  I found my job pretty all-consuming and stressful as it was. I work 9 or 10 hour days, with very little in the way of breaks and then I usually have more work to do at home. It will be difficult to avoid lifting piles of books and moving equipment and most of my day seems to be spent having conversations with demanding people who come up to my waist. Guess the job?!

My sick note runs out at the end of Jan and I get the idea my boss thinks I should be fit for work then. (My CNS said 3-4 weeks!!)  I wouldn’t worry if I was going back to the kind of job I used to have – cosy desk, quiet corner, big cup of tea – but I just don’t think I’ll cope with the whole classroom show-time thing. Am I being a wimp? 

I know I’ve got a few weeks and maybe I’ll be feeling great by then but it’s really stressing me out now. It would help me to know how long some other people had off work.  We’re all different but I’d love to hear other people’s experiences.


Kirsty xx

Hi Kirsty


I wouldn't even think about returning yet if I was you.  Your body (and mind!) has been through an awful lot and needs time to recover.  I had a very demanding job and worked long days and I ended up by having 3 months off - mind, I did have a 2nd op (classed as major) just over 2 weeks after the Wertheims Hysterectomy so it may have taken me a little longer to recover. 

Then when I did return I did a phased return over 8 weeks - and that was recommended by my consultant.  I did do a bit of work on the laptop at home in between times just to get back in the swim of things.

I have seen posts about returning to work from a teacher so if you have a search you may well come across them - the lady in question had her op just before me.  Hopefully she will see your post and reply.

You are most definitely NOT a wimp and please don't push yourself to go back before you are ready, you will know when that time comes.  In the meantime put it to the back of your mind for now and give yourself some TLC.



Hi Cheryl,

Thanks for that and thanks for saying I'm not a wimp! I'm feeling a bit hormonal and fragile so your reply has been really useful. I've always been a people-pleasing goody-two-shoes where work is concerned (Just ask my husband!) and I really worry about letting people down. Although, I would be a bigger let-down if I tried to teach when I wasn't ready. I need to remember that...... ;)

Hugs back to you!

Kirsty xx

Hi Kirsty,

Good grief, no, you certainly are not a wimp by any means.

After I had a RH I was home for nearly three months then like Cheryl I too did a phase return, I struggled with that too.

You must return when you feel ready, you will know yourself when that is.

Do not push yourself either as it is not worth risking your health as Cheryl mentioned there is your mind to take into consideration as well.

The emotional side of everything you have been through.

Like you said 'We are all different' but don't go on that it is how you feel! Goodluck and best wishes for when you do return to work ;-) xx

Thanks, Else! That does reassure me. :)


Hi Kirsty

I had a total abdominal hyserectomy plus tubes ovaries etc the middle of October and my planned return to work is 19th Jan. My consultant was very clear that he wanted me to have the full 12 weeks off. I'm only allowed to start exercising properly this week.  We both have stressful jobs - I'm a nurse - so u need to make sure you are completely ready to go back to it. Don't rush back otherwise you could find yourself struggling long term and definitely have a graduated return. My boss has been great and she has said that I need time to get back into the job mentally as well as physically. We have had major surgery on top of a cancer diagnosis so look after number 1!!

Take care

Anne x

Hi Kirsty :-)

You are SO not a wimp! I seem to remember something about 9 weeks before anything physical and I would imagine quite a bit more than that before you are ready for a full day at work with those short people who may not be quite so thoughtful or considerate as some taller people might be. Anne's suggestion of 12 weeks sounds about right. You are absolutely correct, returning to work before you are fully ready and failing to hit your own high standards would set you back even further emotionally because you are such a conscientious person. As both the pusher and the pushee you mustn't allow yourself to be bullied, not even by yourself!

Go well


Hi Kirsty

I went back to work 7 weeks after my radical, I was working 3 days a week at the time, job is stressful but largely desk based. I went back because my sick note ran out and it didn’t occur to me to ask for another! I’d also been to a gig the week before so felt I was fine to go back.
In all honesty it was far too early, I was probably just about ok physically but emotionally I was still all over the place.
I think I was in ‘superwoman’ mode, I was determined to be so strong.
Don’t do the same! No-one appreciated it and once you are back at work you are expected to be fit for work, the sympathy still stops I found!

Take all the time you need, don’t feel guilty and don’t return until you are really ready.

Take care
Ali x

Thanks so much, Anne! I wish my consultant had told me to take 12 weeks off - I would feel under a lot less pressure. My GP surgery seemed to want to do it in 6 week chunks but when my husband phoned this morning to explain that his wife was losing the plot over this the kindly doctor reassured me that I get to decide when I feel ready to go back. Ummm....if only I could trust me to make a sensible choice! ;) But with the support of you lovely lot, I will try hard to look after number 1!! I might need to keep re-reading this thread!

Good luck with your return to work. I can well imagine you will need time to get back into nursing mentally as well as physically. I hope it goes really well for you. :)

Kirsty xx

Hi Tivoli!

Thank you! You are so right about the short people - they are still learning about empathy, bless them! I miss them but they are so exhausting!

I'm having stern words with the me-that-bullies-me! ;)

Kirsty xx

Thanks so much, Ali. What you say about people's expectations has really struck a chord. I can't bear the thought of a couple of days of concern and sympathy followed by being expected to be fully fit immediately. I also don't think my school would appreciate me going back if I couldn't give 100%. I am particularly "all over the place" emotionally as I've struggled with the whole sudden surgical menopause thing. So many reasons to be stressed/anxious/down/not quite myself! ;)

I'm glad things are looking good for you now but I can see from your signature that you've been on a particularly scary roller-coaster. I hope you're on a nice gentle ride from now on. :)

Kirsty xx

Thanks Kirsty :slight_smile:

I was very lucky as I found the physical recovery relatively easy but the emotional bit, that’s another story!
I remember wanting to shout at people as they just had no idea how I felt, in their eyes I was all better and it was over. And I’m glad they didn’t understand, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone! But it was tough.
And I didn’t even have the menopause to deal with as I kept my ovaries.
So take your time and go back when you really feel ready.
Ali xx


I am due to go back to work tomorrow, I haven't been at work since August 2014 and have to say I am dreading it! I initially had a Trachelectomy which unfortunately didn't remove all of the cancer so I have had a hysterectomy as well.  That was in October and I recovered physically quite quickly but emotionally I was absolutely not ready to go back to work.  Your boss shouldn't really be making any assessment as to when you will be fit to return to work, it's up to you and your GP.  I am fine most of the time and then I'll See a proud new mum with her shiny pram and I can be in floods of tears as that will never be me, time is the only things that's going to help and that's what I have given myself and will continue to do.

dont go back, or feel pressured to go back until you really are up to it, and definitely opt for a phased return.  I think getting up at 6.30 tomorrow is going to finish me off!! 


Ruthie x

diagnosed 24/6/2014

Trachelectomy 13/8/2014

Hysterectomy 22/10/2014

given the all clear 13/11/2014

Hi Ruthie, 

Thanks for your post. My heart goes out to you on the whole shiny new pram thing. Sending you a virtual hug. :) I'll be thinking of you tomorrow. :)I hope it goes well for you!

I'm feeling more stable now! My boss isn't trying to pressure me - I just think her positivity unnerves me. (My contact with her has been pretty positive though! ;) Don't want to moan!) My doc has reassured me that I will get as long as I need to recover and actually offered to sign me off until the end of March. I'm going to wait and see how I feel but the replies to my post have been so helpful. They've helped me feel okay about giving myself time to recover emotionally as well as physically so that I can do a proper job when I return. Thanks, lovely forum folk!!

That's how I feel today but I'm amazed at how different I feel from one day to the next! ;)

Kirsty xx