Back to work 3 wks post radiotherapy πŸ˜ͺ

Hello all...just wanting to release! as I feel those who haven't been through it really cannot understand. I'm really struggling with fatigue. Back at work following lumpectomy in Jan and radiotherapy. Finished rads 3 weeks ago, and only on a phased return,  but I'm really really struggling. I wake up on my 3rd alarm! I'm not too bad during the day, it hits me about 4pm then having to drive home 25 mins. ..didnt realise how much this would affect me and was hoping I'd be over the worst of this, but I seem to be getting worse and to be honest sick of being tired and looking tired!  I don't  want to say anything at work as I'm on a 3 month secondment in a new role which I'm loving,  so don't want to jeapodise that....Going to bed now😭πŸ˜ͺ😭πŸ˜ͺ 8.42pm!!!

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  • Hope you slept well, are you doing whole days with days off in between, if yes might it be worth finding out if you can do 3/4 hours per day, and gradually build up to 4/5 5/6 etc.  Apart from the cancer i've lived with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for over 20 years, I'm frequently in bed between 8 - 8.30 curled up with my book, get up later on a weekend if I need to, but it's mainly a case a listening to your body, if it's telling you to go and have a lie down, do, and don't feel guilty, I'm sure over time your Fatigue issues will get easier, be kind to yourself in the meantime, you've had a very quick journey and it'll take time to get through it, love and hugs xxxxx

  • You're being too hard on yourself expecting too much  too soon maybe? Try to relax as much as you can have a night out go shopping or a day at the seaside you've been through a lot in a short time .Wishing you well βœŠπŸ’žxxx

  • I know...I didn't realise it would be this bad! I will do something nice - when I get the energy or can be bothered to...but yeah thank you..Best wishes to you xx

  • Hi Kingdomlady my heart goes out to you. I was told to have about 6 weeks off at the end of the radiotherapy ( similar story to yours, lumpectomy, 15 radio, tamoxifen) then have a 2 month phased return. I am now back up to my full time hours but I'm exhausted and it takes me longer to recover after a shift than it used to. I can sleep round the clock given the opportunity these days. Rest as much as you can and take gentle exercise - dog walking is perfect. Try some energy boosting foods for when you're working and I now take multi vitamins daily as a boost. Stay strong x

  • Sleep is the best medicine,stop being hard on yourself,you've been through so much,and this site helps all of us,as we've not done any of this before,so unfortunately it's all new,but rest is best.have a trip to the beach,a park,a bit of fresh air will perk you up,and get family members to help in doors.(just because your back to work doesn't mean your firing on all cylinders).take care.Xx

  • your employer cannot discriminate against you and would rather you tell them.. rearrange your phased return.  maybe reduce by the amount of your travelling time.  Eat energy boosting foods and enjoy your time off work. 

    i still get very tired.. ive had 5 operations now with chemo and radio but try to tell myself the rest is needed so i can enjoy activity another time. 

    you have been through a lot mentally and physically and a lot of people think that as BC easier to treat than other cancers !!!!! and there are wonder pills to cure it???? that its simple. but it isnt. 

    dont expect too much of your mind and body at the moment. enjoy each day for what it is. say to yourself that despite cancer you are back at work doing a job you enjoy. 

    im sat here in my dressing gown pondering what to do today. i cant drive for 4 more weeks and cannot walk far as ive had latissimus back flap surgery. but the sun is out so i may put my washing in then sit outside in the sun until i catch a bus later to an age uk event. keeps me occupied and no pressure to be a spring chicken.

    you will get there.x

  • It's interesting to read your comment about others perceptions of BC as I have come a cross the same. Why do people assume BC is always cured and easily cured??? It makes our journey harder!!! Just a thought I wanted to get off my chest as it keeps coming up. Thank you for listening xxx 

  • When I had radiotherapy 5 years ago it didn't seem to make me tired but I am just 5 weeks post another dose of 15 treatments. It has hit me hard this time and can hardly summon up any energy. I am 68 so can relax as much as I like but feel guilty doing so. I could not contemplate working if needed to. Try and get as much rest as you can as that helps the healing process. As said previously try and spread your working hours a little bit if possible. All the best for your recovery

  • Hi Chrissi...can I ask how come you had more radiotherapy? Was it a second occurrence?

  • Unfortunately yes. Hopefully it has done the trick for a second time. I see the Oncologist in 2 weeks time when, presumably, I will have another scan

  • Ok sorry to hear that..glad you're hopeful that this second batch has done the job totally!!

    Hope your follow up and scan is positive news for you... All the best πŸ’•kL

  • Thankyou

  • Good luck Chrissie hope this time shows success take care x

  • As the others have said be kind to yourself and rest when you can. Talk to your boss see if there is any thing that could be changed to help you. I'm 15 months post end of treatment which was mastectomy chemo and radio and I still get tired. It's been hard accepting it but it has been a case of having to and also give up a job I love because of the commute and get one nearer home. Good luck with it all xx

  • Thank you all for your comments, it warms my heart to know that there are people out there with undetstanding. I take on board your advice and agree sleep is a  healer, given that I've just woke from tossing and turning last night. I will talk to my manager tomorrow to see if ill be able to expand my phased return. I have a spa voucher somewhere i'm gonna use on me! And yes. ..I will too go and sit in the garden😊

    I wish you all on your journeys and hope your recovery continues to go all have really lifted me!!!!

    πŸ’•πŸ˜† KL

  • Having read elainemaria's reply it's reminded me that I was told by our occupational health nurse before I went back to work that cancer comes under the Equality and Discrimination Act therefore employers have to make reasonable adjustments for you which includes a reasonable phased return. Hope this helps x

  • Ah no I really feel for you. I am considering not going back for a year once my treatment is over as I will have undergone three different lots of chemo, mastectomy and radiotherapy by then. I was talking to my GP and she agreed that it may take that long to get back on my feet after all this :( I was brought back into hospital last night with neutropenia and sepsis.... Oh the joys. You are in my thoughts and prayers xxxx

  • Oh Lainey you are having such an awful time of it again - now some people would call it attention seeking lol! Best wishes for a speedy recovery xxx

  • Lol indeed Mell or an impromptu holiday πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ hope all is good for you. The oncologist has put my next chemo back by two weeks to give mybody  a break thank God. Hope all is good your way πŸ˜€ Lainey xx

  • Thanks Lainey. I'm back up to my full time hours this week and I have to say it's knackering but I probably just need to rebuild my stamina. Went with my daughter Lucy to the family history clinic this morning and they put her in the higher risk group of developing bc as 2 generations before her had it. They recommended mammograms from age 35 (27 now) but we were taken to the sitting room where I was given my diagnosis which gave me a slight wobble. I have my oncology review next weds so fingers crossed, trying not to panic. All the best my lovely, stay strong and fight that bitch πŸ˜ƒπŸ‘πŸΌ Xx

  • I am sure all will be good next week.  Every time I attend clinic now my sister says, "oh please don't tell me you have to go to the room of doom"πŸ˜‚ There is no cancer in our family at all, ever. I just had to go and break the mold on that one. You take care Mell I have every thing crossed for you .  Xxx

  • Thank you Lainey and just make sure you get yourself fixed again so we can see more lovely photos of you 😘

  • Bloody hell Lainey, u r having a right time of it. Keep smiling xx

  • Think that's the best move for you  Laney.  Although I haven't posted much...I have read a lot and have seen some of the things you guys have had to go through and continuing to do so...again I wish you good health and strength for your recovery. You deserve that holidayπŸ‘


  • Thanks for that earlier post Mell....

    I hope your daughter doesn't have to go through that! !

    Hope all goes well at your onc stay positive. .you're all in my thoughts and prayers πŸ’ž

  • Have you returned too soon? My breast care nurse said a minimum of 6 weeks off after radiotherapy.

     My occupational doctor told me that fatigue is very common and lasts for 1-2 years! I was horrified!  Occ doc recommended an extended phased return so have been given 6 months to build my hours up. I've had the full works so to speak and had 15months off work. Went back to work in Feb -currently at three days and am all out doing them. Am slowing my phased return down as don't think I can do more currently. 

    Is your boss helpful? You might be surprised. Macmillian do a great resource called 'working with cancer toolkit' which is free. I emailed an electronic copy to my boss and he found it really helpful. I found it good because it lists all sorts of suggestions to manage a return to work so I didn't feel I was being a Prima Donna asking for them as they were already listed!! I know that's mad but hey ho.....

    You might manage better as someone else suggested with a shortened day. I built three alternate days up with two days of rest inbetween each work day. 

    Please be aware that your boss has a duty of care towards you and a cancer diagnosis is a recognised disability. Plan in rest breaks, reducing travel time, working from home, asking for a reduced work load are common reasonable adjustments. 

    Hope this helps.....but your boss might find it helpful if you can give her/him solutions to managing your return to work. 

  • Thank you...I guess my main worry is that I'very come back to work straight into a new role, on a 3 month secondment including training. At the end if the 3 months I should hopefully get the job. I don't want to jeapodise that - but I know at the same time, whilst I'm so tired it's not doing me any good nor is the worry! Think I've gone through enough worry these past few months.

    I haven't had chemo and can't imagine the affects of that alongside radiotherapy. I take my hat of to you!

    However, I will speak to my manager tomorrow re extending my phased return. I wasn't advised on a specific time off before returning to work, so I worked it out on my own, and my doc gave me a fit note on a phased return dependant on the affects of  the radiotherapy. 

    I will have a chat with my manager tomorrow and will find the return to work tool to pass onto her.

    Many thanks and hope you manage the build up your strength soon. Take care πŸ’•KL

  • Dear all

    We are all STARS for dealing with diagnoses, treatment and after effects, which are many and varied and potentially long lasting (pain, lymphoedema etc). It's one hell of a journey and I am so glad we are all here for one another x

  • Don't be so hard on yourself your body is telling you that it needs time to recover listen to it onwards and upwards rest when you need to x

  • Loud and clear...spoken with manager and she's fine with it...😊

  • reading the replies my story is similar to Mell - I had my lumpectomy on 15.09.2016 and stayed at home until the radiotherapy started a few weeks later. I had 16 sessions then started Tamoxifen. I thought I would just go straight into work for a few hours afterwards, everyone kept saying take your time and I thought I will be fine - NOT

    Fatigue hit me big time - I came home from hospital and went straight to bed - the tiredness in combination with post-op recovery and the burning from the radiotherapy was terrible.

    In fact I started back at work in December and that was only 3 hours a day for 3 days a week - it was more than enough

    In January that became 5 hours a day 3 days a week - and now I am up to 3 days a week 8 hours, from next week 4 days a week 8 hours, and from 13.02.17 back full time (40 hours)

    You really need to give your body time to recover and adjust to the trauma it has (and still) goes through.

    In fact my employer suggested that I do gradual re-integration and not return full time until June

    Well I hated staying at home and I know my body better than anyone - being back at work is me getting back to being 'me' and moving on from my cancer - and although your secondment is so important, without your health you have nothing, and sleep helps you recover.

    Good luck and please take your time


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