I find getting to the radiologist's office and back more tiring than the radiation itself. This is my second time around with radiation while working full time. The first time I was in my late 40s and was a project manager for high tech, high stress projects. This time I am in my mid 60 and managing a cat sanctuary which can be stressful and physically demanding. By comparison to chemotherapy during which fatigue was much more of a factor, I fill like a bundle of energy during radiation.
Invasive Lobular Carcinoma Questions
Can anyone share their experience of working during radiation?
Asked by papayagirl on Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Can anyone share their experience of working during radiation?
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I am only working 2 afternoons and evenings a week but it is pretty intense work as a psychotherapist. I know my experience will be unique but I wonder about others' experiences, especially about the fatigue.
9 Answers from the Community
I had radiation to my brain and I was fatigued especially toward the end of my treatment cycle. I couldn't work after my treatments because I just had to take a nap. But the rest of the week, I could work and I did but I am also an accountant so I was sitting down for most of the day.
Today, Wed June 6, 2012, is my last day of a 28 day radiation treatment for breast cancer! I have worked full-time as an staff RN and float to ICU or House Supervisor frequently.
Up until last week, I had only been feeling very tired and yet was still able to get up and out. Working the night shift (11-7) seemed to be working as while the kids (11 and 9) were in school I could sleep. The downside was the time of my treatment was at 1130am. My sleep schedule was interrupted daily, I believe the fatigue would have been less had I been able to sleep a full 6-8hrs.
The last two weeks have been much harder for me as my skin has began to breakdown and the entire breast is swollen and very sore. I am unable to wear a bra at this point and I find it very difficult to feel professional at work while not wearing one. I have had to call off work twice now due to fatigue and pain.
Thankfully my manager is awesome and understanding. The entire staff has been great with supporting me during the entire experience...from diagnosis to my treatment.
Knowing today is my last treatment and tomorrow I can sleep all day when I get home from work has put me in a better mood already!
Also, as hard as it has been for me, I have had to learn to say "no" to many things in the past month and asking for help with some "normal" things has been difficult for me too, but I remind myself that it is only temporary and soon I will be back to my robust self!
My sofa and bed have become my best friends during the past couple of weeks! I have come to the realization that it is okay to relax and rest.
I had radiation for breast cancer while going to nursing school full time and I was exhausted. There really is no good answer for you except get as much rest as you can and don't be afraid to ask for help. Let me tell you from experience that it takes a while after treatments are done for the fatigue to go away too.
I worked full time and had no fatigue. My job isn't exceptionally taxing either mentally or physically, and I live very close to where I got treated, so I was only gone from work about an hour a day--I grabbed lunch either before or after radiation. I was expecting fatigue because 15 years ago all my mom did during radiation was move from one end of the couch to the other. I can't remember who told me--maybe even the radiation onco--that walking, especially outdoors, would be a good way to maintain energy levels, and I did walk several times a week.
Although all radiation therapies are different, mine was for breast cancer . I had radiation for seven weeks five days per week. I did these treatments during my lunch hour. It was not until about the fourth week I started with the fatigue. Around three pm every day I became really tired. I would go home at five, fix dinner for my husband and be in bed by seven or eight pm. I also usually wound up taking at least Friday's off because I could not drag myself out of bed. It also lasted for a few weeks after treatment ended. Other than that and a little "sunlike burn" it was pretty easy but again I am sure all treatments are not the same.
Like chemo it is impossible to guess how someone else will react. I felt tremendous fatigue, but I had just experienced 4 months of chemo and a double mastectomy. I am uncertain how much these factors impacted my fatigue.
The biggest thing that I noticed is that I lacked reserve energy. In the past I had barreled through any tiredness or exhaustion. However, during and after radiation the consequences for pushing these boundaries, was tremendous.
My advice... If you know a day will be long, then modify the structure to allow time to take a few cat naps. Don't schedule two hard days back to back. Allow yourself the freedom to cancel appointments if you're too tired.
I worked 1/2 time.
It would appear that everyone's comments are pretty much related. The first two or three weeks I had no issue with fatigue. My treatment was early in the morning (8:30am) and I was back home by 10:30am, on the fourth week I found that I was good till about 2pm, and then I just fell apart. I worked during my treatment but I had the luxury of moving my schedule around to soot my energy level, so I would do my work very early in the morning or sometimes if I couldn't sleep I would get up and do it. I never had to deal with clients, patients or the general public so i could do my work no matter how bad I looked or felt. After I finished my TX the fatigue continued for about a month, and the pain hung on for 3 months now (oral cancer of the floor of the mouth). Good luck to you and just try to take some time off for yourself. You can't help your patients if your'e giving them bad advice and if your suffering fatigue and can't imagine that your brain is working all that well. P.S. I used to be a psychotherapist too. Keith
My first radiation treatment 24 years ago, was no problem, I could barely tell I was getting treated, I worked right through, compared to chemo, I would take 2 radiation for one chemo if I had to. But this time, the radiation kicked my butt. Maybe because I was older, I had no chemo this time, just radiation, and the doc said it was the same strength as before. But within one week I could tell the side effects were coming, about 2 weeks in things were changing, at three weeks I could work until about 2 then had to go home for a nap. I could have worked on some more, but at the time I didn't have to so I went home.
Best of luck to you, we wish you the best!