Home Metastatic breast cancer

How long should you keep working.

AngeloAngelo PerthMember Posts: 32
edited May 2019 in Metastatic breast cancer
Hi everyone, 
I was diagnosed with Mets in December 2018 and am having pleasing results to date, however I’ve been told that Ribociclib is only effective for a year, I’m hoping my Oncologist is wrong. I am working full time in a senior management position and feeling the effects of fatigue from the treatment. My work is my life and a distraction from the reality of this shit disease. I’m 57 and financially could consider dropping my hours and stepping down from my role. My fear is am I giving into this shit disease or is it time to start easing up and smelling the roses. The unknown of how much time I have and the quality of time is weighing me down and causing anxiety. I’m so tired of the uncertainty and inability to concentrate and even make decisions because of this shit disease... it’s hard work and it’s been a f... hard day 😩. Is there any hope out there, if so send it my way xxx


  • AndyCAndyC Member Posts: 2
    Hi Angelo, sorry you are having a shitty day :( my oncologist hasn’t been able to say how long the ribociclib will work for, she has a patient who has been on it for 4 years! Hoping you have a better day tomorrow x
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,974
    I think it's about self-knowledge @Angelo. Only you know the answer.

    How much is work intrinsic to your enjoyment of life? If it fulfils you, brings you contentment and satisfaction, and outweighs the exhaustion, then keep working, making adjustments as required.

    Maybe you could try approaching it as a retirement decision. We're advised to have plans for retirement. You're retiring in a month... what's the plan? How does the thought of retiring in a month make you feel? Panicked or relieved? Are there hobbies you want to pursue? Places to go, books to read, new skills to learn?

    Perhaps a few sessions with a counsellor to parse through your options, motivations, hesitations and anxieties would be useful.

    Some people with mets get more time than they expect, others get less. And everyone, mets or otherwise, wants to die with no regrets. Keep talking here, let us know what you're thinking. Big hug, K xox
  • AngeloAngelo PerthMember Posts: 32
    Thanks for your supportive messages...they are all valued xx
  • SisterSister Adelaide Hills, SAMember Posts: 4,960
    Hi @angelo I'm not where you are but agree with what the others say.  If work is getting you down then think about how you might scale down or retire.  If you cannot see yourself happy not working - then stick with it.  Are you able to negotiate a break or possibly a sideways move (mentoring?) with less hours?  I don't know what your onc is measuring your prognosis on, but from what I've heard, it's length of string stuff.  What's really important is that you enjoy what time you have as much as possible, whether it's measured in months or decades.
  • AngeloAngelo PerthMember Posts: 32
    Thank you for your guidance. I think at times you can have moments where you are so desperate for hope. You just wish someone would tell you how long you have so you can plan. Most days I’m great, I’m working and I don’t have to think about this cancer crap. Then all of a sudden there is the desperation, the panic and urgency to seek answers that may provide some hope. My Oncologist told me three to four years and that sucks, I want more happy years. Xx
  • Patti JPatti J Member, Dragonfly Posts: 589
    @Angelo. Not impressed with your oncologist giving you a time span. My oncologist told me I wasn't going to die for a while yet. Because really, how do they know?
  • J_Jen1J_Jen1 Bargara, QLDMember Posts: 10
    Hello Angelo,
    For me, one of the hardest things is not being in control of the time line! Every person has their own disease load, and response to treatment.. For some, ribociclib/Letrozole may be three years. Mine was less than one year.
    I too have my down days when fatigue takes its toll, and I wonder how long I can keep working. I have had to cut back to 4 days per week. 
    I am about to start  a new treatment with Olaparib.  Who knows, maybe this time I will be on the long timeline of drug effectiveness . I continue to feel well, be active, and life is mostly pretty normal . Only difference is that I know my life will not go on forever. 
    I am thankful that treatment options are so much better than they were thirty years ago for my mum. 
  • elisewjkelisewjk BrisbaneMember Posts: 60
    Hi @Angelo, I'd also highly recommend some counselling, if you haven't done any already. Whilst the can't change the final outcome, they can help you with some really good coping strategies to make the best of it. I've found this really helpful too. Cheers
  • PatchworkmumPatchworkmum Member Posts: 17
    I’m currently on sick leave from work as an aged care nurse,  whilst having. treatment. My oncologist also gave me a timeline, 2-6 months without treatment or 2-5 years with treatment. I hoping she is wrong. I really would like to go back to work even if for less shifts once treatment has stopped. But realistically I think that decision will come after scans and a discussion with hubby. Let’s all agree cancer sucks 
  • MervMerv Member Posts: 27
    My decision was spurred by yet another round of redundancies and cut backs. I was knocked back when the redundancies were first offered - our national broadcaster took the view that "sacking cancer girl" was a bad look. Management came good with a payout three months later, on the quiet. I don't miss the 3am alarm or the half hour deadlines but I do feel like I should be doing something constructive with whatever time I have left - I just haven't worked what that is. Is 56 too late for career counselling?! Good luck with whatever path you choose :)
  • SisterSister Adelaide Hills, SAMember Posts: 4,960
    Never too late too change career if that's the sort of constructive you're looking for!
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