Back to work issues!

Hi everyone, following 6 months of horrible chemo,a lumpectomy and now in my first week of 20 sessions of radiotherapy I hoped to return to work at a garden centre tearooms where I was Head chef and had improved the business and standards before I discovered I had breast cancer.I have managed to do a few days work at the beginning of my treatment when I felt well enough and recently to cater for an annual event.I felt I was helping as they struggled with staffing issues and wanted to keep my hand in aswell as getting myself back in the real world. I wasn't able to go back to work as soon as I had hoped but kept them informed as to my progress which was all informal and friendly between myself and the owners and manager.There was never any pressure from them but just recently everything got very formal and official things being done through email via the owners instead of phone texts.I asked to return to work all be it shorter hours while I was doing my radiotherapy treatment which they agreed to but having requested to work weekends and 1 or 2 days in the week finishing early to go to my appointments as I felt well enough and really wanted to get back as they have taken on another chef who has different working practices to me.While they are really happy with him I feel I have been pushed aside after all my work and now they only want me to work 3 days at 3 hours,saying they don't want me to do too much but after 6 months of treatmental I really wanted to be more instrumental in the job which I put so much effort into before.Today I voiced my frustration at being told to go home after 3 hourso and subsequently have to have a meeting with the boss tomorrow.They keep saying "phased return "which is fine and probably what they are legally obliged to do but if as I have said that I am fine to work longer can they limit my working hours?They say it's to help me but it really isn't helping me when I feel I have come through my treatment only to find it have lost my place at work and am now looking like a troublemaker.Has anyone else had a similar experience? I am hoping for a speedy recovery after my radiotherapy so I can look for a new job,it's made me so angry!Vicky. ๐Ÿค”

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  • Vicky, try not being angry. I know how you feel I truly do. I had 9.5 months of chemo, double mastectomy and 25 sessions of radiotherapy. I finished in July. I love (well loved my job) and wanted to go back part time then full time. I visited and chatted to folk and everything was good. Then it became official. Very similar to your situation. Like you I had put things into place. Temporary staff were employed to do my job and yes I did and do still feel as though I was being side lined. As it happens, I am applying for early retirement now. Truthfully, not my choice at first, however, I still suffer fatigue, and realise that there is no way I could go back full time and work effectively. Your employers are not only looking out for you, but they have to consider insurance, possible time off if you cant manage full time and want to ensure that they are looking after both yours and their interests. Try not to be angry, work with them proving you can manage their hours and increase them slowly. The wake up call for me was realising that I am not indespensable, that no matter what we do, how hard we work, what we put in place, staff we manage, all good we do, there will always be somebody who can take our place, regardless as to how we feel, how we see them and their work, how differently they work from us. At the end of the day it makes us take stock, Realise that possibly we maybe gave too much. It has taken me a while to get my head around this. But I am getting there and I am learning to enjoy me, my time, my hobbies, my interests. It may sound selfish... but .... it feels quite good and the freedom is amazing. I hope things sort themselves out for you. I really do, but work with them, it will all work out in the end. Lainey66 xxxx

  • Thank you, I'm still angry but I'm just going to make the most of not having the responsibility, after all its their business but I will speak to them tomorrow about how I feel.Perhaps I will find a hobby,my job really was my hobby as I am passionate about good food and a bit of a workaholic too.I'm sure it will work out ,thanks for your advice,very sensible.Luv Vicky. X

  • Hi Vic, as Lainey says firstly try not to get angry with your employers. I had 6 months off and could have gone back on 1 April 2014, I'll try and keep this as brief as I can, unable to use holiday entitlement due to the cancer, asked to stay off in April due to a refit at work, had to visit CAB twice for big boss to give me my days I was legally due!!! Went back 7 May, straight away I didn't fit in, there was 3 of us working there and the other 2 ladies managed perfectly well without me, I had no support from anyone, my 'phased return' lasted approx 2 weeks (I worked part time anyway due to other health issues, 2 days one week, 3 the next), and I knew straight away I had to get out, I did what I was asked to do, caused no problems to anyone, and after 2 1/2 yrs of looking I found my new job in October last year, on my last day at my previous job where I hadn't been wanted or needed, no one rang me or contacted me in any way shape or form to thank me for the time I put in during my 14 years there, I'm much happier in my new job, my advice, go with it, if you feel unsettled start looking for a new job, but while you're still at the garden centre, carry in doing what you've done in the time you've been there, one day you'll get another job offer, you can then decide if you want to take it, or if it isn't right for you, turn it down and something else will come along, after all I went through I haven't been angry with my now ex employers, because that would be a waste of my time, I wish you well xxxxx

  • Thanks,that's exactly what I'm going to do,I'll do my job,not rock the boat and look for a different job but I won't say a word about it to anyone,I'll just make thevery right noises at work till then.Thanks for your advice, nice to know its not just Me! X

  • I recently finished my radiotherapy, it is just 3 months since my operation. I am an accountant and can work from home which I have done. The only day that I didn't check my emails was the day of the op. I haven't actually had any sick leave but have worked reduced hours throughout all of this. My employers have been good - but I know where you are coming from. It is like they saw Christmas as the time that I should have recovered by and return to work in the office this week properly - I have really struggled and found it difficult sitting at my desk for long periods - on top of all of this I have developed an infection in my breast so all in all have felt like pants. I told them today that until I feel better I will work from home, but I got the feeling that they are not too impressed. It really has made me think about what is and isn't important. It was my choice to carry on working as I thought having something to focus on would be good for me - but now I'm thinking I should perhaps have had sick leave. I hope everything works out for you - big hugs xx

  • Oh thankyou for sharing your story with me,that is so similar to how I feel,my bosses also started getting impatient after Christmas and I got the impression it all got a bit official then.I also wanted to keep working when I coud but now I think I shouldn't have.Im going in today to say I will return after my radiotherapy and give them a definite date,and I will try and stop worrying about it then.Thanks for your help ,I hope you're getting better and best wishes.Vicky.xx

  • I think we underestimate how we will actually feel through all of this I know I have. On the outside I am this super positive person but inside I question everything and feel extremely flakey. I am only just realising that work although financially is needed, is not the most important thing in all of this. Keeping strong by looking after yourself and listening to what your body tells you is far more important. Take care - Louise xxx

  • I'm sorry you feel so angry and upset,I genuinely know how you feel,I had planned to take early retirement, but hadn't finalised the date,I was a catering manager for a large company,I used to start work at 6 am and finish about 4.30om,as I worked in a school.i was only contracted for a 37.5 hours per week,but put in considerably more.

    When I went to the school they had no scores on the doors,we had our inspection 14 months after I started,and we got a 5 ( the 1st in our area),then we went out to tender,and you guest it, we retained the contract. I had a mammogram just before the end of the summer term,and was diagnosed with BC,had a mastectomy,a few infections, but no radio, or chem, but I knew I couldnt return to do the same amount of physical work,with me being the only person in first thing in the morning for deliveries,so I contacted the Area Manager,explained the situation( I wasn't getting sick pay),and said as previously discussed I would like to give notice to take early retirement. I was told I was irresponsible,selfish,and had left them in the lurch, I had worked for this company in various sights for 23 years, I never received a card,or a thank you, so suddenly I knew where I stood( just another number).Dont stress yourself,you've got far more important things to deal with,like looking after yourself.just go with the flow, take your time and look for another job,and remember,you know how good you are and it's there loss.

    Chin up, I know it's hard,but SOD them.xxx big hugs.xx

  • That's a terrible way to treat you,I have come to the same conclusion,Sod them if they don't want me in,or the place run properly I'll find another job,I have really good work ethic and want to be proud of my work,so to be honest it's not worth worrying about.Ill get myself back on top form first.Thankyou,it's good to hear from other people with similar situation,hope you are well.x

  • I am well thank you,and just spending 3 months in Cyprus.got to go back to U.K. To see consultant,then who knows what I'll do. But you take care.xxxx

  • Hi, having been through cancer treatment twice (5years apart) I feel the best advice is to take things slowly. I rushed back to work the first time and ended up with various problems ( including bullying) leading to more time off within 4months. Second time I was more cautious, took my time and sustained my return to a busy full time job. Although we feel "better", sustaining a level of activity we havent been used to, especially after such invasive,agressive treatment is more a challenge than we realise. Alongside this we tend to loose confidence and dont always look after the effects of cancer on our mental health. If you get the chance to have a slow phased return take it. See what you can do over a couple of months. Then you know if you can take on more. Above all, you have a new "normal" now and a chance to take stock, use the opportunity to make yourself as content as possible. That may mean introducing changes and new challenges. Wishing you every happiness and good health. x

  • I can recommend contacting McMillan for advice about your rights. I contacted them for financial advice when I was diagnosed and they were brilliant

  • I no that feeling listen to your body take time for yourself recovery for some is slow and can be painful believe me I'm a year into it and still have problems when carrying or doing to much other people ask me why it's taken so long but no one knows the answer ,breast cancer out of the way now to start the thyroid treatment oh the joys chin up everything will start to look better soon

  • Thanks all for your brilliant insight ,comments and invaluable support,it has all really helped me focus on what's important and my partner was very moved by your stories,this is a subject that really shouldn't have any place on this site and I was surprised at how many of us have a bad experience with our employers when we should be only recuperating and focused on our health.Sending love and best wishes to you all,Luv Vicky.x

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