Will I be advised not to work if having chemotherapy for the 1st time?

As some of you know I am being faced with redundancy which was announced same time as finding out I needed the TAH to remove the mass 11cm cyst and nodule covered ovary.. Would you say I will not be able to work until I have completed chemo and then probably not for a few months after completing treatment? I am trying to plan financially if my results confirm what my consultant suspects. My redundancy starts 31.1.14..

13 Replies

  • Its a tricky one I think. I did work limited hours but that's because I'm self employed and could choose when to work. I personally wouldn't have managed a full time job even if I had several days off around chemo. I was shattered for a few days after each one and although I could do things needed to pace myself and rest up lots. I also choose not to drive ( as I didn't think I was safe ) but I know other other people who had different experiences . Its a bit of an unknown until you start it and see how you feel . Another consideration is that you will be more prone to infections and I'm sure will want to try to keep as well as possible ,

    Best wishes , dy xx

  • My work were very understanding and I took a few days off after each chemo session so roughly I worked 2 weeks out of 3. Sometimes a bit more depending on how I was feeling! I think it is a very personal thing, I had carboplatin only so I believe the side effects are less severe.

    My onc said to play it by ear, but that a lot of women do keep working. For me it gave some normalcy which I really needed and some structure.

    Good luck with everything!


  • Hi, I desperately wanted to work but my oncologist

    refused to sign me off sick as she said I could no longer

    continue with my job in a hotel. I was head housekeeper

    so in contact with lots of different people daily.

    I couldn't have gone to work anyway as I felt really poorly

    from day 2 after chemo until about day 10.

    I had really bad pains in my legs and feet and was so

    exhausted, so if you experience any of this let your

    oncologist know and they can prescribe tablets for you.

    I also had a cyst - 23cm in size !

    Wishing you luck with your chemo.

    Angie xx

  • It depends on what kind of work you do - whether you come into contact with lots of different people, especially children - if you are involved in regular contact with children, (teaching, social work with families, working in a leisure centre/pool, etc), you are often advised not to work, because of the risk of infection from them. And also what type of chemo you are having - carboplatin alone is less likely to make you neutropenic, carbo & taxol more likely, etc.. Also, individual responses to chemo varies a lot - some have more problems than others. I didn't have any significant problems, but I had carbo alone and my CA125 was within normal limits after the third infusion. I'd get advise from someone who knows about redundancy, CAB, a union rep, a lawyer, whatever. And financial advise also. You're facing a double whammy, cancer on it's own is bad, but redundancy makes it so much worse. To be having chemo and also looking for a job is a very difficult situation. You should get PIP on top of out of work benefits - again CAB can advise you. Remember, you have paid for this thru' your tax and NI. Best wishes, Vxxx

  • Thankyou all, I appreciate your advice

  • I don't disagree with any of the above, but have a fair few thoughts to interject:

    > Having OC and chemo doesn't mean you cannot work, necessarily. It does bring you under the scope of disability legislation. In that you cannot be discriminated against because of it ... Many work situations including recruitment should be considered against this backdrop. Including the timing of that redundancy, possibly.

    > Secondly though, it DOES mean you must change your behaviour. While having a compromised immune system you must change your level of exposure for your own sake. That certainly impacts what people can or fell able to do but, again, it's up to you how you handle it. It's why people co it use working. Employers must under law adapt.

    The op is different, in that it makes you unavailable for work but temporarily only so should never be a factor.

    >Sick certification is a matter for your own doctors, and depends on how hard you get hit and for how long. This might affect any benefits you can get, or the redundancy legality -- if you were off when they made the decision, for example, and they were aware of the illness.

    > I think it is prudent to plan for the worst, but seek the best here. If you must seek new work, do it with your treatment timeline in mind and see if you can ease the pressure on yourself. However, do it with the rules in mind -- Macmillan can certainly help.

    Like others, I worked throughout but because I was my own boss I could simply adapt my pattern and do much remotely. Though I am still now dealing with my company crashing as it didn't get the care it required for that whole year... Others have had huge adaptability from employers, if they were very lucky.

    I am job hunting as my company probably won't survive the OC, even though I have so far. I have disclosed my OC, because I have to. I am v concerned it will be a decision factor, regardless of the fact it is not allowed to be one under the law. But real life is real life.


    Sue xxx

  • Hi Carol,

    Hope you are on the mend, I was told not to work by my gp, because I work in a busy air conditioned office the risk of infection is too great, my consultant didnt recommend it either, my blood has been really low so I guess they were right, also physically I am exhausted even though I try and carry on as normal so it would be hard to work full time I think. Hopefully you wont have to face chemo as there is still a chance it was benign, is it next week you find out? A friend of ours gets financial help from macmillan so it might be worth contacting them for advice...

    Take Care

    Andrea x x

  • Hi, I haven't worked through my chemo , as my job would have made that dangerous - I'm a gp and spend most of my day surrounded by infections. I also know I wouldn't have been mentally sharp enough to do my job safely , or had the stamina to cope with the long days and killing pace of work. However , although self employed , I have son insurance which partially covers my locum cover.

    I've ha weekly chemo and would not have managed work , unless had been able to work very flexible hours as have been nauseous and tired most of the time. I'm sorry your redundancy has happened now - bad timing for you. I found doug mac financial advisors xcellent and really useful.

    Good luck with your results, but would b a challenging time I guess to find and start a new job ,


    Hilary xx

  • Wondering about whether and how to apply for a new job is tough at the best of times! When we do manage to work during chemo, it seems often to be that we're self-employed, have a "good" employer, have work which lends itself to flexible working, like being able to do some/ a lot/all of it at home. Not all of us respond the same to the same chemo and not all chemos are the same. I'm just on my third lot. The first was the worst. I was able to work very flexibly and it averaged - over the period I wasn't working normally - about 50%, but this was some periods with no work and others with lots. The crucial thing was being able to do it when I felt up to it and this did require a high degree of trust from my employer as most of it was done from home. With my latest chemo, at a pinch, I could work 2 weeks out of three. Would thinking about an interim arrangement during chemo be helpful? For instance temping when you felt up to it rather than looking for a full replacement job? If you're likely to be a "catch" for a potential new employer, your bargaining position would be stronger. So much depends on what work you do... In any event, the very best of luck with it all and let's hope these challenges, when you look back on them, will really have given you new opportunities. Chris x

  • Hi I found that it was ok working in the early ays of chemo but if u are having 5 or 6 rounds (?) the by the last round the tiredness thing catches up with you and personally think its good to have a break for a couple of months after chemo ends to get your health and mojo back even jf you do feel okay xxx

  • You can't go to work for 12 wks post TAH, then it would be how you felt.

    There was a lady worked as a waitress in a very busy restaurant all through her chemo, I don't know how she managed it, I couldn't have worked to be honest, but then I was in a high risk area working on the wards. I eventually retired this year, I really didn't want to but had to be realistic in the end.

    Hope your results are what you hope for and that you find new employment when you are ready,

    Chris x

  • Hi Carol, we all respond to chemo in very different ways, and unfortunately you will not know how it affects you until you start the course.

    I took 5 months off work, returning about a month after my final chemo and that worked well for me. I could probably have gone back earlier but I work for a local charity supporting people with neurological conditions and felt as if I probably needed more support at the time than some of them did!

    However, realistically if you are looking for a new job it is going to be very difficult for you to actually start it while you are still on a course of chemo, so your original plan might be the most practical one for you.

    Hopefully you will not have too many problems with chemo, and you can spend your new "free time" researching opportunities and brushing up on any new skills which may help your career search,

    All the best, hope it all works out

    Brenda xx

  • Ok I have been claiming ESA for the last couple of years. If you are having intravenous chemo the DWP will not consider you fit for work and you are placed in the support group. They also allow a decent amount of time for recovery as well

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