to work or not to work

Pamella Member Posts: 8
edited May 2020 in Newly diagnosed
I've recently had a 3cm lump removed. It was all clear around the lump, but there were minute traces in the sentinal node, but nothing in the next two nodes. It is hormone related in the ducts and at some stage I will be having radiation and going on hormone blockers, which I have no problem with. However my oncologist has suggested that I should also have chemo.  As I have had chemo in the past (22 years ago for leukemia) I really don't want to go through that again.  However it is looking like I should.  My question is, and this is perhaps me desperately clinging onto continuing my life with some sort of normality, should I try to continue to work.  I work as a part time (2 days a week) office manger/receptionist in a Physiotherapy clinic. I love my job, and there is some flexibility with working hours with the other reception staff.  But wonder if it may be too much, trying to cope with the possible side effects and also especially in this day of Covid-19, to try to work through my treatment.


  • Afraser
    Afraser Member Posts: 4,371
    Hi @Pamella

    Bad luck to be considering chemo for a second time but always wise to give a professional recommendation serious consideration. Your experience last time round may give some indication of what side effects you may experience but treatment has changed in that time, you may be be on a different chemotherapy and therefore responses may differ. I wanted to work through treatment so planned to do so with the caveat, with my boss and my staff, that if it wasn’t working (for any of us) we all had to speak up - chemo brain was my biggest worry. I was fine and worked full time but many find that really impossible. Perhaps you can negotiate a trial period and see how it goes? COVID-19 adds a different dimension to everything but I did not experience any heightened susceptibility to germs (office work with a lot of external meetings and public events). I imagine a clinic will have suitable protections in place. Working for me provided a structure and normality during treatment that I valued but others have found some time out , thinking time, really beneficial too. Best wishes for your treatment whatever you decide. 
  • Shellshocked2018_
    Shellshocked2018_ Member Posts: 283
    Hi Pamella, everybody reacts differently to chemotherapy treatment. You have mentioned that you have had chemo before 22 years ago, sorry to see you here doing it again.
    I would imagine that the drugs to prevent some of the side affects have improved since you last had your treatment 22 years ago. I suppose it would depend on what dosage they will give you.
    I was on a dose dense AC every two weeks for 8 weeks, unfortunately there was no way I could have gone to work as it really knocked me for a six. I then had 12 weekly Pactlitaxel , which I coped with quite well except for tiredness and a little neuropathy towards the end.

    As for Radiotherapy I could have worked through that treatment, I could have arranged treatment before or after work on the way home, they are very flexible.

    Have a good conversation with your oncologist, and oncology nurse.
    Wishing you the best xx
  • PV123
    PV123 Member Posts: 202
    Hi @Pamella
    Sorry to hear that you have to go through chemo again.  I did not work during chemo as I was worried about catching public transport and picking up germs.  I also had a few infections in the last few years so did not want to risk that.

  • kezmusc
    kezmusc Member Posts: 1,544
    Hi @Pamella
    Stinks to be going for a second round of chemo for sure.  It is another one of those things that just depends on how you react.  I  work two days a week and also have a home business.  I managed to work the whole way through chemo and rads.  The AC was not so flash but thankfully the oncology department adjusted my chemo appointments to a Wednesday so I was pretty good for work Monday.  I had originally started chemo on the Friday but that wasn't enough time to be alright for work.  Taxol was no problem whichever day it went and neither was rads.
    All the best lovely.
  • Pamella
    Pamella Member Posts: 8
    Thank you ladies for your comments to my question.  I realise that everyone reacts differently to treatment and what I had 22 years ago is totally different to what I will be having today.  I guess I just needed reassurance that continuing to work is a possibility.  So if I must do this, then I'm going to try to keep some normality in my life and work, perhaps 2 out to 3 weeks.
    Once again, thank you to everyone who responded.  <3
  • Rosie_BCNA
    Rosie_BCNA Member Posts: 217
    Hi @Pamella you've had some good suggestions there to think about. Can I suggest a couple of other resources? There is a molecular test available under certain circumstances to help clarify if the addition of chemotherapy to radiotherapy and homone blocking therapy will provide additional benefit. The cost of the test is around $4000 and is not covered by Medicare. it may be worth asking your oncologist if your situation makes you eligible for the test. Here is the link for more information:
    The other resource is the My Journey online tool - which I think you have linked to already. If you would like to talk through your choice with someone, don't hesitate to contact the BCNA Helpline on 1800 500 258 Mon-Fri 9m-5pm EST. 
    Best wishes