Mumsnet hasn't checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you have medical concerns, please seek medical attention; if you think your problem could be acute, do so immediately. Even qualified doctors can't diagnose over the internet, so do bear that in mind when seeking or giving advice.
This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Anyone continue working through chemo?(20 Posts)
I'm shortly to start chemo myself and haven't been at work since my surgery. I'm not sure if I'll feel well enough to go back to work during the whole process but I feel so bad about being off.
My job is very intense (I work with children in several different schools) and I love it, but I also know that I need to be sensible about the next few months.
Anyone work through it at least some of the time? Please don't tell me any horror stories about chemo, I know it won't be a breeze, but I'm absolutely crapping myself anyway so it'll worry me even more.
I've just had my third round of Chemo, my treatment is different so chemo before surgery. Tbh there is no way I could work through it. I work as a mediator with separated families, mainly in high conflict, and also do some property/finances stuff so need my brain working at full speed, Chemo brain has hit me with a vengeance - I can't find the right words sometimes and have the attention span of a gnat. I have been very lucky as work has given me six months unpaid leave despite the fact that I had only been there for five weeks prior to diagnosis. My oncologist has said that it is the (essential) anti nausea meds that cause most of the problems.
Can you negotiate some more time off? I would think the stress of worrying about doing a good job would be hard to deal with. Also, the pattern of "good days" seems to change. For the first round I felt ok for the first two days then worse days three and four, round two my bad days were four to seven, this time I felt rotten days one and two and it's getting better today but I have had a two hour nap. I have never had a day where exhaustion hasn't struck so it's hard to plan work with that.
Btw check out the no. 70 cancer thread on here for support. There are lots of people with great advice and experience, I just struggle to follow the thread
@SnowsInWater Thank you that's such a helpful post. To be honest, my work are fine about it and I've had no pressure from them; it's just me struggling with the idea of being off for so long. I think it's the thought of my 'normal' being taken away if you know what I mean?
I've seen the other thread, so many wonderful people on there.
My friend did, as a teacher. She arranged chemo for Friday morning and had freed in the afternoon and then the weekend to recover a bit. For her, it was very much about retaining her ‘normal’. However, she lived on her own and didn’t have anyone else to worry about so she could sleep a lot during evenings etc.
I couldn't/can't work through chemo. Though it affects everyone differently, and it also depends on what kind of chemo you're on, some are harsher than others. I do know of some people who have been able to work at least a bit on chemo though.
You say you work in schools though? Chemotherapy will reduce your immunity and you could get really ill if you catch something from one of the children when your immunity is low.
Chemotherapy will reduce your immunity and you could get really ill if you catch something from one of the children when your immunity is low.
This is a worry for me and one of the reasons I'm swaying.
That would be a worry for me, too, especially if you work in lots of different schools.
I had 6 rounds of chemo before surgery. I stopped after round 4, it didn't knock me out but the injections to boost my blood cells did. I'm glad I did stop them (I'm self employed so it was hard) but it gave me time to concentrate on myself and my family and not worry about work.
I did six rounds and worked throughout. I had a half day on chemo days and then about two days later I sometimes had a day off as feeling flu like. I had two days off with neutropenic sepsis but then worked from hospital.
I found radiotherapy harder to juggle work with as it was a chunk of time out of every day. I just worked shorter days but had three or four days off because I had infected burns on my neck and shoulder and couldn’t wear a seatbelt.
My husband couldn't work through chemo. The type he had meant he was in hospital for 5 nights having chemo each night. He also frequently flashed a temperature so was in hospital on antibiotics. Add to that the general effects of the chemo and it just wasn't possible.
A colleague of mine worked all the through her chemo apart from the week straight after due to side effects. She was able to workmet on home though
There's different kinds of chemo and it affects people differently so you need to wait and see. I have several friends who worked through chemo on a shortened week but job type matters too, but others I know who were pretty much disabled by it to the extent that they couldn't do school runs.
My sister is currently having chemo and radiotherapy every morning, she has learning difficulties so doesn’t work, but is absolutely exhausted and is sleeping most afternoons. Her brain has turned to mush bless her, she can’t remember the words for things and is very emotional. It effects everyone differently, but she wouldn’t be able to attend college or work the way she had reacted. Good luck, I hope it goes well for you
First chemo my mum didn't work. She was told not too due to bugs etc. Works on schools too.
Second chemo she was told she could if she felt well enough but by then her contract had finished and the HT had offered her a new one but she just asked for a kinda zero hours type supply contract. Think so she had flexibility.
I couldn't imagine she'd have managed FT but certainly when she was over the lowest immune point she did manage to go in for 2 weeks before the next one! (2-3 full days a week).
Your consultant should guide you.
But she definitely swears that working through it have her a kind of 'normal' and she swears it helped her 'recovery'.
Nb I say recovery because her cancer is incurable but she's done years more than the text books would give her
Our school janitor worked through it all with only short absences. He was tired and was given lots of encouragement to take time off / breaks but he refused. I think it helped that his job, while physical at times, could be picked up and dropped. This is not the case in, for example, teaching.
I worked throughout my chemo and worked in a school. My oncologist was happy for me to continue working if I felt up to it.
I had 6 sessions of chemo every 3 weeks and I managed to work a 50% timetable, the first week after chemo I was in bed floored to be honest with you, I felt awful and really struggled to get out of bed. The second week I felt ok but extremely fatigued so I only went into work for half a day... the third week I went in full time as I felt well enough to do so.
Everyone is different so you’ll need to see how you feel after each chemo session.
I also had 4 weeks of rads and I would have them about 8 o clock in the morning and then go straight into work afterwards. The chemo brain will probably hit you and if you need to take medication after the treatment has finished you may find the foggy brain will stay for the duration. I took tamoxifen for 6 years and my brain only worked at 60% of its normal rate.
Sadly a lot of women had to give up their high flying demanding jobs as they struggled so much.
Wishing you the very best with your treatment, big hugs 😘
@catching I know what you mean about normal. I cried in my oncologist's office recently as I should have been in a different city at a much looked forward to work Conference rather than discussing the side effects of Chemo, I am struggling to come to terms with my current non working status even though I know that realistically I have no choice. Best of luck x
I worked through most of my chemo after having the first month off to see how it would affect me. I was on capox for colon cancer and that does seem less harsh than some of the other chemos though. It helped everything feel a bit more normal but i was absolutely knackered and in retrospect maybe should have had more time off. I was really keen to go back to go to a conference though so pushed it a bit. Most of my chemo was pills but in did have an iv every three weeks and needed a couple of days off after that. It will very much depend on what chemo and how it affects you personally. Good luck with your treatment.
I couldn’t work during chemo, most days I got out of bed to do the school drop off then went back to bed and slept until school pick-up time. I was unable to concentrate, brain like mush and lots of other side-effects including terrible bone pain. My job is very mentally taxing so no way could I have worked.
Join the discussion
Please login first.