Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Going back to work after breast cancer treatment? Share your story

Heading back to work after taking time off for treatment? Here is some advice to get you started.
What was your experience? Did you want to talk about your illness with co-workers? Did they treat you differently? Share your experience in our comments section.


  1. I have only recently started back at work, after a mastectomy, the Dr's, didn't want me to go back as early as I have, but due to economic needs, I did, but part time only 6 hrs a day, was the clearence,originally, now I am working my normal 10hr shifts, it's very draining, but again I need the money.

    My co-workers have been very supportive, throughout this whole experience, and yes their attitudes did change from, "Boss", to "Human", and seeing me in a differing light has even opened up the communications about everything.
    This has been a great experience,from a work sense, and the guys at work have become more protective. In my industry (Security)we deal with the public from all walks of life, so varying ranges of lucidity (lol).

    Even as I wait for reconstruction to take place (another dilemma), my crew continue to go out of their way to make my job easier, and less stressful.

  2. Thanks for the very insightful comment Zen. I am glad to hear things are going well, and there is even a bit of a silver lining.(I can use cliches in comments!)


  3. I was very fortunate to be able to keep working during treatment, especially since I am self-employed. My patients were understanding and supportive when I cut back my hours to part time, even if I had to occasionally rearrange things for my own medical emergencies. Working fewer and shorter days allowed me time to rest and reserve energy for the time I was at work. The experience not only gave me more insight into another area of health care, but a deeper personal connection with my patients.

    I agree with Zen that showing our vulnerability makes us more “human.” I let them feel comfortable to ask me any questions about my own situation, and/or talk about how cancer had affected their lives. My getting breast cancer in spite of trying to be a role model for a healthy lifestyle was a wakeup call for some to stay on top of their own screenings and checkups, and not always “wait and see.” And those that still tend to procrastinate now understand why I am so adamant about their paying closer attention to their health.

  4. TD great comment as always. I hope every person facing cancer is as lucky as you guys!

  5. I am a Realtor and had a double mastectomy and chemo last fall, finishing in December. I am getting back to work (with still the final step in reconstruction planned for March) and finding my energy again. I agree with the other comments that when you do allow yourself to be vulnerable and ask for help it is amazing how co-workers and clients will rise to the occasion. Getting back to work has made me so thankful for the gifts of ordinary days and helped me to see that problems that I thought were huge before my breast cancer are just not worth getting wound up over!
    I am enjoying this site - thank you for the excellent content!

  6. Barbara welcome, thank you for the well written comment!