Going through treatment and working

GizmoGizmo Member Posts: 5
edited February 4 in Day to day
Hi Everyone, I am 44 and was diagnosed in August 2017 with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (3.3cm). My surgeon recommended lumpectomy which I did but we did find during surgery that it was positive in the lymph nodes so had to take a heap out for testing. Thank fully it had only got into the first node and had not progressed much further which was a relief. I am oestrogen & progesterone positive. My treatment plan is 4 cycles of AC Chemo and then go to Taxol for 12 weeks and then radiation after that. I am currently on my 3 cycle of Chemo and except for my first 2 days after chemo I have managed to keep working. Work has been fantastic and have been able to work from home and as I don't have kids (Just Hubby and I) it keeps me busy. But I am looking to hear from people that are doing Taxol and if they were still able to work or did they find it to hard to continue? I know everyone is different but would be interested to hear how people went Taxol and trying to continue to work. Thanks and Appreciate all advice.



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  • AfraserAfraser MelbourneMember Posts: 1,273
    I did this some time ago now, but had A/C followed by Taxol and herceptin and then hormonal therapy (had a mastectomy, no radiation). I continued working throughout (office and other locations, I do events). Had no fatigue or nausea which was a big plus, irritating side effects with Taxol including neuropathy but not enough to stop working. Work was good for me, it was a distraction and I had a supportive boss and staff. The general view is that Taxol is easier than A/C but I found A/C relatively easy. Everything except the neuropathy with Taxol sorted itself out once treatment stopped. Good luck! 
  • GizmoGizmo Member Posts: 5
    Thanks heaps, I know everyone is different but it is good to hear that there are people that work through. I was starting to worry about it more than the chemo.
  • AfraserAfraser MelbourneMember Posts: 1,273
    It really is variable but how you go on A/C is sometimes an indication. I took the day off for A/C but only the morning for taxol. Fatigue and nausea I reckon are the side effects that can throw all your planning out! 

  • JoannieJoannie Member Posts: 337
    I am on leave from work.  I went on leave 4 days after my diagnosis as I work mostly on my own in a community residential unit on sleepover shifts.  My last shift I had to call an ambulance in as I was bleeding, ended up being a bad case of UTI.  I think it depends on the work we do whether we can continue through treatment.  There was no way I could have gone to my appointments, then looked after residents needs and care for them as I needed to care for myself. I live on my own, so I have to do things for myself and care for me at this time.  I managed to look after myself through 4 rounds of AC chemo, 12 Taxol, and then 6 weeks of radiotherapy.  I cooked, cleaned and made myself the priority in this time, oh and socialized a lot more this year than I did whilst working.
  • LucyELucyE Member Posts: 295
    edited December 2017
    Hi @Gizmo I worked 4 days a week through chemo - ACT. It was tiring, but I didn’t have to go through getting back into work afterwards and I needed work to take my mind off things. It’s a way to retain your professional self, your old self. I drove myself to and from chemo when I had Taxol and went shopping afterwards. It was easy at the time, but again I was tired. Taxol has impacted me the most because of neuropathy. Best of luck with the rest of your chemo. 
  • JoannieJoannie Member Posts: 337
    Even though I liked my work, once I stopped I didn't miss it!  I would like to retire as I am 62, and very tired!  I am sure the discrimination is still alive, I don't need that added pressure.  However I think the government want us to work until we drop!
  • JoannieJoannie Member Posts: 337
    edited December 2017
    @LucyE I never drove myself to AC nor Paclitaxol, there were times I felt ok afterwards and thought I could have managed to drive.  I have heard that if we have an accident whilst driving after having chemo that we may not be covered? Maybe someone can confirm that for me, I just didn't risk it and took the offers from friends and family to get me there and back.

  • AfraserAfraser MelbourneMember Posts: 1,273
    I was lucky, my day oncology was close to work so I took the tram (dedicated non driver). I never felt ill so not a problem. I work for government, but was never ever pressured to not take leave. It was my decision, as it is to keep working at 72! I like my work, and I haven't got my retirement plan fully worked out yet - reducing part time (slowly!) is the best option for me at this time. Had I had a different reaction to chemo, would have been a very different story. I agree with LucyE though, if you can stay at work, it knocks out the going back/ catching up phase which is tricky for some.
  • JoannieJoannie Member Posts: 337
    I work for a government department also, they were very understanding that I took leave as the nature of my job is not conducive to working alone with residents to look after whilst going through treatment.  It is a demanding job both physically and mentally caring for people with intellectual disabilities. 

    Before BC I had envisaged myself working beyond retirement age if I has healthy enough.  I guess for me a BC diagnosis changed that mindset for me.  For now I remain off work, but will see how I fare after my mammo and ultrasound in January.  I was knocked out whilst on AC for a least 5 days after.  Taxol was not as bad, but I had lots of moments where I just couldn't remember words, my memory was not sharp, and still remains not sharp.

    I think in the end it depends of how much treatment is required and what the job and hours are.  I doubt I could have brought the residents home ie.. work from home, but what a novel idea :D   We need to do what is best in our own personal circumstances and for our health.
     
  • LucyELucyE Member Posts: 295
    edited December 2017
    @Joannie my oncologist told me not to drive. In retrospect it would have been more responsible to have someone drive me, but I was fine. Catching the tram was a good idea @Afraser.

    Great to hear that you took time for yourself during chemo @Joannie . I agree, it would depend on the type of work you do. I was teaching, but they were adults so it wasn’t that demanding. 
  • GizmoGizmo Member Posts: 5
    Thank you everyone for your feedback it has been greatly appreciated. At least I know it is doable just probably not at the pace that I am used to running at. Where as I used to multi task 5 or 6 things I am finding now that I can only focus one or two max. So that is a new experience for me. All the best to everyone :)
  • Summerhill38Summerhill38 VictoriaMember Posts: 698
    I think that all of us who 'normally' run at a good pace find we have to slow down - and whilst it is hard to do we do it (AFTER ALL WE ARE WOMEN !!).
    Summer  :)
  • lgray3911lgray3911 Member Posts: 121
    I had the same treatment as you. I am a high school teacher and continued to work 2 days a week throughout treatment including 6weeks of radiation. I could have worked more but had oncologist appointments on Mondays and chemo Tuesday so just easier to do just the 2 
  • kezmusckezmusc Member Posts: 131
    HI @Gizmo,

    I had exactly the same treament plan as you.  AC and I did not like each other at all after round 2.  I found the taxol much easier to handle apart from a weird skin rash and being super sensitive to the sun.  I worked the whole way through with the taxol and radiation and managed to drive myself to and from treatments with no problems.  I could not have driven with the AC.  All the best.
    XOXO
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