Did you continue to work during treatment?

Hi, All,

I’m 31 and newly diagnosed - still waiting for MRI/CT and staging, but oncologist said tumor seems to be about 7CM, so surgery is out of the question and treatment would be a combo of chemo, radiation, and brachy. I know I still have many questions that will get answered following scans, staging, and an official treatment plan, but the waiting is the worst part. I’m a planner by nature, so it’s difficult not to be able to plan ahead and use my time worrying more productively.

I know everyone is impacted by treatment differently, but wondering if you could tell me how treatment impacted your job? Did you continue to work throughout treatment? Scale back? Stop working completely? I do have a flexible schedule and work remote, so I know that I’ll be able to work around treatments, but just not sure if my body will be up for working or if I’ll need to be horizontal most of the time. Any insight on your experience would be helpful! Sending love to you all. xx

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Hiya lovely,

Like you’ve said, treatment does seem to impact everyone very differently. Some women seem to breeze through it and keep up with their everyday activities and others (like me) really struggle. It hit me much harder than I thought it would. I was very sick after my first chemo and that sort of set the scene for the rest of treatment. I felt exhausted throughout, became quite anaemic towards the end of treatment, and my neutrophils were very low. I’m freelance and work from home, but I struggled to keep my eyes open a lot of the time and just decided to give my body the best chance of recovery by sleeping a lot. Saying that, I started working again 2 weeks after treatment ended.

As a fellow planner, I know it’s hard dealing with the unknown, but I think the best advice is to take it one day at a time and to be gentle with yourself. Rest and listen to your body, it’ll tell you what it needs.

Wishing you loads of luck and love. The treatment is very effective, and you’ll get through it no matter what x

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Hi, @Tootsoph - I’m sorry to hear treatment was a struggle for you. It’s good that you were able to give yourself the time to rest and recharge. I do, luckily, have lots of sick and vacation time saved up if I need it, but am hoping that I’ll still be able to work at least a little bit even if it’s not full time. I appreciate your kind words and hope you’re well! xx


Hi @cocorose22,

I remember wondering the same thing before I started treatment, how will my body react and would I be able to still work. My doctors were supportive either way. I work remotely too, and my company said I could work through treatment and take whatever time off without using my vacation time. But I ended up taking 2.5 weeks completely off of work, since I wanted to just focus on resting as I finished up 3 brachytherapy. Plus the cumulative effects of external radiation really hit me hard by the 5th week. The first 3 weeks of treatment I would say I worked almost full time except during my daily radiation and weekly chemo, lots of dr appts and blood test. After my 2.5 weeks time off I was working only a couple hours a day for about 2 more weeks and then gradually back to full time again. Only my closest coworkers knew I was undergoing cancer treatment, all others in my company and outside contacts did not know. So amazingly treatment was doable and working through it is possible especially since you are remote with flexible hours. But always remember your health and resting is top priority, listen to your body. Good luck with your treatment, keep a positive attitude!

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Thank you - that’s encouraging to hear. I know that I have the time off if I need it and ultimately will do what I need to do for recovery, but it’s nice to hear that it may not be necessary to take off for the entire duration. I know it’s an “only time will tell” situation, but it’s hard not to try and plan ahead. I hope you’re doing well! xx

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I’m in the exact same boat, and thankfully have a supportive work place, considering I started there at the end of September and then got diagnosed mid-October! I haven’t worked long enough to get benefits (crap timing!), BUT they gave me a work from home contract, where I’m hourly instead of salary until I’m able to come back full time, and I can work as little or as much as I’m able.

This first week, I’ve been able to put in about 20 hours, and hope to do the same next? My doctor told me that week three is when I can usually expect to start really feeling the effects. And I’ve arranged to have the last two weeks off during brachy, which I’m feeling pretty frazzled about.

HI cocorose22
I had my treatment earlier this year, I could work from home and able to do whatever I was able to do. My boss was grateful that I was about just to talk through issues with the team and just do what I could. After having my bracchy my nurse said I needed to take some time out and I did for a couple of weeks and I slept most of that time as it was the radiation more than anything that took it out of me.
I was happy to work as much as I could as I appreciated the company and not sitting about feeling sorry for myself.
I hope you manage to find a medium that works for you and good luck with the treatment! :slight_smile:

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