Work and Cancer

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Cancer Council NSW

Re: Work and Cancer

Hi Julie, Well apart from being a very unusual request for you to do as a volunteer it does remind people of a great option for trialling energy levels out for returning to work. Volunteering can be a good way to do this providing its the appropriate environment. Sometimes just easing back in will provide a distraction and sense of purpose while feeling the way so to speak. Good luck with the work, and yes its very challenging when you don't have much energy for anything else outside. Hopefully this will ease over time and gradually you will be able to crib a bit of you time bit by bit Cheers Annie
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Super Contributor

Re: Work and Cancer

Hi Annie I don't think my experience quite comes under the heading of "unusual" - I would think "inappropriate" might be a little more apt. I equally think the Department, that being Palliative Care at my stage of recovery was not entirely a great choice. Having lost contact with someone that I met during treatment and unable to remember his name on return to our home town and then type up his name on the list was upsetting. Volunteer work is a great way to get ready for returning to the workforce if it is in a place that is appropriate for needs etc.... :) Annie, I always up for a challenge and I have challenged myself to work 70, 80 and more hours a week since my return to work. I am hoping if I return to more regular hours that my energy levels might allow me to crib a bit more me time. 🙂 I think having 3 years of working again and unable to gain any more fitness than I have is possibly at the end of the spiral for me. Roll on the next chapter and challenge! Julie
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Occasional Contributor

Re: Work and Cancer

I was the manager of a small business in country Victoria when I was diagnosed. It was very difficult to discuss as I was still coming to terms with it myself but I sat down with the owners of the business and laid it on the table. They simply and unconditionally told me to not worry about anything and to just get better. This I must say was one of the most selfless acts I have ever witnessed and I will never forget their kindness and generosity. I worked through my 3 months of chemo taking a few days at the end of each cycle to recover. I have to admit that by the end I was not productive at all and suffered badly from chemo brain. (some funny stories about this but maybe another time) I didn't tell the other staff until I was almost one month into treatment as work gave me a place to feel normal. No one looked at me with pity and I could forget at least for a while each day. Following treatment I did lots of brain training as was suggested by my oncologist using www.lumosity.com. This really helped to sharpen me up again and thankfully I have not suffered any other side-effects.
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Occasional Contributor

Re: Work and Cancer

Hi Paul, glad things have been working out well for you. Yes chemo brain was quite a fog wasn't it. Your work were really supportive - there are some great people out there. I think the tiredness got to me in the end, but that was when the radiotherapy started after the chemo. A long rest between each would have helped, but I think they have to run back to back for maximum effect. Anyway, onwards and upwards as they say!
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Cancer Council NSW

Re: Work and Cancer

Really enjoyed reading this Paul especially about the oncologist suggesting something to assist you for the chemo brain. So often we get the comments that things will "get back to normal eventually" and that's it. I think we could all do with a bit of brain training every now and then! Sounds like a chemo brain blog coming up to share all our funny stories? 🙂
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Occasional Contributor

Re: Work and Cancer

Hi Annie, I've been taking a week off for chemo and going back for the 3 weeks between. Some shifts I struggle and others feel normal. I find it helps to keep some normality (plus the bills don't stop coming in!) I only work 3 days a week, but my days off aren't restful as I'm busy with 3 kids on the other days. Work have been supportive and I have a lot of colleagues asking why I'm at work. I fear that too much time alone with my thoughts could be more harmful. I love my job, but it is physically and emotionally demanding. Thanks for the interesting comments all, Catherine
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Occasional Contributor

Re: Work and Cancer

It's good to see you can work through the treatment. I found this gave me something positive to focus my energy on rather than the endless spiral of; "what might happen next".
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Re: Work and Cancer

I've been in remission from Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma for the last ten monhs. I work in child care and it has been challenging to deal with the physical part of my job. Emotionally I find it very rewarding, that's what keeps me coming back. I'm enjoying being part of a dynamic team and I like working with the other girls. My specialist told me the neuropathy in my feet will eventually subside so I deal with the stiffness and tingling in my feet.

 

The stiffness in my right leg is mostly from falling twice during my chemo treatment and my leg is still not quite right but the doctor said that will also get better. I'm nowhere near 100% but I feel lucky to get another shot at life and to get back to the job I didn't get a chance to enjoy when I was diagnosed in October last year. I work on a permanent part time basis for the moment and have asked that I do no more than 4 shifts a week until I am better. 

 

It's also great for my family to have me back after all those health problems, I have two children in their late teens and their lives were turned upside down when I got sick. All in all I am happy and look forward to the future, I still fear the lymphoma coming back but I try not to focus on it as it will detract from the quality of my life now that I am trying to get on with things. 

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