• Working while on treatments?

    Asked by GetItOut on Friday, September 7, 2018

    Working while on treatments?

    How much were you/are you able to work during treatments? I am wondering if I['ll be able to keep working through this. I am afraid I'll not be able to keep up the pace and get tossed. Has anyone had this happen?

    13 Answers from the Community

    13 answers
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar

      I worked for a little over a year after I was diagnosed. I was fortunate enough to have an employer who allowed me to go home early if I was feeling really exhausted. I tried to time my treatments so that I was sickest over the weekend.

      Whether you can keep working will depend on how you react to the chemo, how understanding your company is, what kind of side effects, if any, you have, what kind of vacation time or sick time you have available ... Lots of people work through their cancer treatments and a lot don't.

      9 months ago
    • BuckeyeShelby's Avatar

      I worked through treatment. Other than treatment days & dr's appointments, I missed 2 days during chemo. One, my chemo day got changed and my bad day hit on a Friday instead of a Saturday. Second, I had a Taxol leak and ended up with a big chemical burn -- probably could have made it, but we had a snow storm, and I couldn't imagine driving w/a bum arm through a blizzard. However, I sit on my rear at work. When you call your insurance company and hear "this call may be recorded for quality & training purposes", yeah, I'm the one doing audits for my company. Due to the kind of job I have, the fact that my side effects weren't very bad and I drive to work w/a friend, I was able to keep work -- not everyone is going to be that lucky... I hope you are able.

      9 months ago
    • LalaG's Avatar

      If you have short term disability insurance with your company I would suggest taking it. Also apply for the FMLA (protects your job for a certain amount of time). Or if you shave a understanding boss as Live With Csncer suggests is an option. I found taking off for chemo infusions was best for me. You need all your energy. I had 2 bad weeks and one good week. Work would have been doable but possibly too tiring. You need that strength for the bad days. Everyone is different though.

      9 months ago
    • LalaG's Avatar

      Also, there is intermittent FMLA. It counts only when you are out and usually docks your pay but protects your job. So if you go in for two hours and have to leave it only counts when you are not there. Like 6 hours to make an 8-hour day. I did this for month before surgery for appointments and day long tests.

      9 months ago
    • po18guy's Avatar

      I am rather slow on the uptake, but I worked 10 hour night shifts as an emergency responder during my first two months of primary therapy. Although I exposed myself to all sorts of infection, I had no infections during that time. However, when my supervisors began asking twice or more during my shift if I was OK, I knew it was time to stay home. So, for the next two months of treatment, I did just that, and a good decision it was. My thinking at the time was that, if I stayed home, I would focus on being sick rather than working through the disease and simply keeping busy.

      As they say, your mileage may vary. It is something to discuss with doctor.

      9 months ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      I worked through all 3 of my dx's. The first one I had chemo and radiation. On chemo weeks I missed two days, then went to work. But I would usually work that weekend by traveling to other cities for my company. During radiation, I went to work every day after the treatment. My treatments were set up early in the morning and only took a few minutes, so I only missed 2 hours or so. I had a pretty good employer.
      During my 3rd dx, I had started my own company years earlier by then. I missed a few hours in the afternoons because the fatigue had me droopy by 3:00. Radiation this time was much harder on me than in 1988. Times have changed and so has radiation. As PO says, your mileage may vary, we all take it a little differently.

      9 months ago
    • WoodsRLovely's Avatar

      I worked through treatment. I have my own business and work from home so it was a bit easier if I was tired and needed rest. Even so, I timed my chemo infusions on Thursday so I could work a bit on Friday and then take the weekend off and recuperate. Usually I was okay the next week - but it got harder to recover in a few days the more chemo treatments I got. But I will say, loved working as it kept me from thinking about the chemo and my cancer - and made me feel like a person contributing to the world vs. just feeling like a patient. I think if you can work through most of it - it is the healthiest option! It gets you out of your head and keeps you real...

      9 months ago
    • cllinda's Avatar

      It depends on how you feel, the working environment and your job. Before cancer, I was a preschool teacher and that meant that I would be exposed to many germs from children. So as soon as I found out my plan I had to take a leave off absence. The chemo made me so sick that I ended up in the hospital four times. And by the time I could go back, the school had folded up. So I never did go back to my job. I did free lance stuff for awhile but now I take care of my granddaughter. That is more important to me.

      9 months ago
    • Leuky's Avatar

      I am still working but I am slowing down. I just don't want to be a drag on the office, but I'm trying to keep up.

      9 months ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar

      Your oncologist can probably give you the best guess about how you'll feel, since the doctor is most familiar with your treatments and your type of cancer. If you have sick leave or disability insurance, it's definitely less stressful to stay home during treatment. Ask to speak with the Social Worker at the doctor's office for information on financial help.

      I have no information about it, but I think there is a temporary type of Social Security benefit you can apply for (NOT permanent disability).

      As far as "getting tossed" from your job, depending on several things like the number of employees they have, you may be legally protected by the U.S. EEOC (if your employer has 15 employees or more):

      Cancer in the workplace:

      When you have time, check out the above links which include more links. Be sure to get familiar with FMLA and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The above links also give phone numbers to call if you have questions about "getting tossed" from your job. Please update us and feel free to run your employer questions by us.

      Best wishes.

      9 months ago
    • domhnall's Avatar

      In my observation being able to work — or even just about doing anything IMHO — depends very much on the individual. Retired, I didn’t have to worry about work which for me was a good thing. My treatments (R-CHOP followed by radiation) ended at the end of July and I’ve been told I’m in remission. Of course I am happy and feel better, but I still don’t really have days 100% as I used to pre-diagnosis / treatment. I am still tired and a bit weak (nap and rest during da), balance issues (keep a cane close by), dry mouth, bald spot on back of head from radiation, and chemo brain — my bigggest “complaint”. I haven’ been yet able to walk / hike or significantly exercise (cardio, weights ) as before. There HAS BEEN improvement, but 50% of the time I can only do minimum amounts. It so happens I know two people (younger than I, one a man & the other a woman) who not only returned to work the same days of treatments (!!! ???) but — despite getting sicker than I ever did — were able to pretty much function close to before. They have occasionally had to stay down and rest for a day or two, but generally have been able to carry on as before. I don’t know how they do it, as their treatments were at least as rough as mine. I have never been much of a softy, so accepting my present “reality” has been difficult and discouraging — gratitude does help.

      8 months ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar

      GetItOut, I hope everything is working out with your job and treatments. Please give us an update.

      8 months ago
    • Luisa's Avatar

      I have been able to work through treatments. Except for days of treatments. My boss allowed me to leave when I wasn’t feeling well and they gave me a lap top for home. It is getting a little difficult to keep up at times but I am managing. I have gotten through 5 treatments. As hard as it is to go to work I feel better there. Keeping your mind occupied is a big help mentally.

      5 months ago

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