Had lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy 5 weeks ago now. My biopsy wound healed what seems like ages ago, but the breast wound is taking its time. I still have swelling and tenderness in my armpit (left side) and intermittent occasional pain from the breast wound (which is partly healed but other bits are very stubborn!). I really don't know why but I am feeling guilty for not being at work, rather a fraud in fact. However I don't feel ready to face work colleages or the pressure of busy day to day work. I can't start my treatment yet as I am not fully healed and don't feel ready for work as I have days when I feel terrible for no reason. Work are absolutely fine and are putting someone temporarily in my place as the team are very busy. My current sick note runs out at the beginning of July when I am due to have leave anyway, by which time I could be having my treatment (hopefully!). Has anyone else felt like this or is it just me?

11 Replies

  • You've got nothing to feel guilty about as your body is currently healing, you say it's busy at work for everyone, that's their problem, not yours, you've also got to get your strength to get through your treatment, you dint say which treatment your having, but for now take time to heal, you've had, like all of us, a mad crazy ride with a lot to take in so you are not a fraud and you shouldn't feel guilty for having time to get through what you've already been through, I wish you well xxx

  • I have been off work since August and even though I finished treatment in April I got another sick note from my GP till September. As Jennymary said, it can be an emotional roller coaster and sometimes you just need to take stock of what's happening and give yourself time to come to terms with what's happening, both physically and emotionally. When I was first diagnosed my breast care nurse said it's a journey but they will get you through it, and that's very true. Best wishes to you with your journey xx

  • Its not just physical healing needed but mental too. Let go of the guilt and take your time to becime strong again. You are doing great and after all this isnt a dose of flu or a bug you are recovering from! X

  • Thanks for your responses everyone! This Haven is so good for letting go of things going round your head! I am due Radiotherapy treatment once healed.

  • I ve been working 1 week out of 3 just to keep me sane but if you don't feel up to it you shouldn't feel guilty about not working.Cancer and treatment makes you realise what's important in life and you should be selfish because you are on the inside and nobody no matter how close they are knows how you feel.I find being at work quite amusing when people moan about silly little things that don't matter,having cancer and chemotherapy has made me more patient and I am a lot less stressed about work.My bosses are being very supportive and are happy to see me when I am able to work I'm lucky I guess,but put yourself first and make sure you feel right before you return to work.Good luck ,Vicky.x

  • I do know where you're coming from with the feelings of guilt as I had my mastectomy 18th December so was off work from 15th, recovery from that went straight into radiotherapy which ended beginning of march and I started back at work week after and some of that I know was feelings of guilt, I felt fraudulent, but I didn't feel tired or unwell so I thought why not! Anyway, the amount of sickness between several of my colleagues over the last few months has totally diminished any feelings of guilt, some cry off sick with 'I can't get warm today, I must be coming down with something!', goodness knows how they would deal with what we've all been through.

  • Every one is different sometimes it takes longer to heal doesn't mean were fakin it everyone keeps asking me why is it taking so long then when they spend time with me then then begin to understand

  • Please don't feel guilty for being away from work. It's as the other ladies have said, it's an amazing roller coaster of emotions and fear that you can't get off just yet until your recovery phase. I think we feel like this because cancer makes us strong women and we just get on with it because we have no choice. Therefore because we're coping we think we can carry on our normal lives too. It took me a long time to realise that I wasn't Superwoman after all as I worked full time up to the day before surgery because I didn't want to let anyone down at work and knew they'd have trouble covering my shifts. I had a lumpectomy and radio 8 wks later but wanted to work in between but they wouldn't let me for a very good reason, your body and mind need time to heal to be in the right place for the next phase. The oncologist insisted I took at least 6 wks off after the radio had finished to recover and she was right I needed it, then had a phased return over 2 months. I don't think I ever really stopped feeling completely guilty but just learnt to accept that I needed to be off. Good luck with the radio. Stay strong xx

  • Hi, I can understand your anxiety at being off work and feeling a 'fraud' this is a time for you to be kind to yourself and give yourself the time and space you need to heal, not only physically but emotionally too.

    Take your time .... go back when your ready to. 💞

  • Its not just you. Believe me when treatment starts, if you are anything like me, you might feel thet you can do things but find that a fraction into the task you are sweltering and feeling as weak as a kitten. Dont feel like a fraud, take your time, enjoy this time and build your strength for what may be coming. I have even decided to take the next year out to recover from treatment (I'm a teacher) and we need to be in fine fettle to carry out our work. Take it easy and keep busy on hobbies and on interests that you have. It was whilst I was feeling similarly to you that I sat back took stock and realised that whilst we are fighting our battle, the world moves on. People fill our shoes and nothing falls apart without us. Its eye opening really. This is the time where you have to mind you, physically, mentally and emotionally. The road might not always be easy and you will need full strength to meet challenges head on. Good luck with all your treatment and make the most of your time off x

  • Hi I'm 10weeks after op I have lymphadimia and still can't lift my arm it's delaying my treatment because your arm has to be raised above your head I feel tearfull most days I'm still looking for answers so annoying when you can't do things

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