Returning to work

Hi Ladies my last treatment of Avastin is 6th March.. that's with 6 rounds of chemo and 18 Avastin. My Medical Certifcate expires on 13th March. At the moment I'm working 5 days a week/5 hours a day - but today phoned in as side-effects of Avastin are giving me constant headaches and I can't think straight. What's concerning me now is when is it expected to return to work full-time after all this treatment. I know I couldn't do my role full-time yet but do need to have some understanding. The company I work for have been brilliant towards helping me in which ever way I need. Thank you Love Michelle x

11 Replies

  • Well done for making it this far with your treatment . I'm on 2 nd Avastin so still a long way to go .

    Sorry you are getting the bad headaches . Have your team /CNS nurse been able to help with medication ? I know how aweful they can be as have always suffered from migraines . When did your headaches start with the Avastin ? Have been ok so far but only at beginning of journey !

    Maybe the ovacome advise line can advise about where you stand re returning to work full time . Surely your dr /team can extend your certificate if you are not ready ? Glad they have been supportive so far. Sorry can't help with this as i had already stopped teaching the year before diagnosed as my mother was taken ill and needed a break from all the stress !

    Hope you get advise to put your mind at rest and meds to stop the headaches .

    Love and best wishes Kim X

  • Well done for working through treatment don't think I could have managed .... I finished my chemo in October and haven't returned to work as yet as I knew I wouldn't cope full time .... I have one month phased return and then straight into full time working .... so I'm going back either next week or week after ... I'm dreading it as I know my strength isn't there .... just have to get inabd do it I guess another challenge... all the best fir rest of your treatment your workplace seems to be very supportive so don't go back to full time until your ready 🤗

  • Hi Michelle

    I am also coming to the end of well done us!!

    I would suggest having a chat with your GP. Mine wrote me a 'partial' fit note..which specified the hours I thought I could do and also stated that I should have a gradual return to work.

    It really helped me negotiate with my main contract (I'm freelancing) what I could and couldn't do.

    I do 2 days over 4 but I think full time would be a huge ask. I get really tired and the energy I do have I want to put into getting fitter - not just working! Good luck Lyndall x

  • When I returned to work after first line treatment at the beginning of sept last year my doc (GP) was brilliant and signed me back on a partial fit note for just 2 hours a day for the first two weeks, just to let me bexome acclimatised to being back at work and in the office again. Plus for my team to get used to me being back!

    I then went on two weeks annual leave and after that I had OH to support me and I upped my hours to 4 hours a day for another month, the last few weeks before Christmas I did between 4 and 5 hours a day.

    You seem to be doing a lot of hours already and this maybe too many especially with your current side effetcs.

    Is it worth you seeing your doctor again and ask for his or her help to come up with a better fit for you re the number of hours you really feel you can cope with? Please try not to do too much too early or take stresses of worrying about what may lie ahead re work, your company do sound as it they will welcome working with you and your GP for your best interests

    I hope this works out for you, you're not alone

    Take care

    Clare xx

  • Hi Michelle, as Clare has said I would definitely approach your doctor and ask if can help, you don't need to put yourself under pressure and stress too soon.... Hope all goes well for you

    Take care

    L x

  • Hi - again to pick up on Clare's post above, I'm glad that your employer has been supportive so far. It sounds like your manager and/or HR team are listening to your needs. So, in addition to the medical advice, I'd keep them on board by communicating with them as much as possible (assuming that you want to keep your job in the long term). In my experience this is where things go wrong with employees and sick leave - people feel out of the loop. This could be either your HR/manager not knowing what's happening or what you're thinking when you're not in the workplace, or equally it could be you not being aware of what's being planned within your team during your absence.

    You've said that you know that you couldn't go back full-time. That's important for them to hear and for both parties to work together. There's nothing worse than for you worrying about your job AND your health. So my advice would be to make your discussions with your GP and your employer a great example of best practice, with the best possible outcome for you.

    Hope that all sounds a sensible plan, Michelle, and wishing that your stress and headaches subside.

    Caroline x

  • Hi Michelle , I am pretty much in the same position as you but I returned to work full time about four months after interim surgery on a phased return but then found that I became so fatigued with the Avastin that I had to negotiate fewer hours. I get my end of treatment scan on Saturday so pretty nervous about that but I shall keep going to work three days a week in the hope that I can increase to full time again in the summer. My onc wrote me a letter for work which helped them understand my needs and they have been very supportive. Don't rush things if you can help it just take it slowly and you will get where you want to be. Take care x

    Jane x

  • Hi Michelle

    I returned to half days 26 days after my last chemo or no pay. I was full time 3 months later. All that has done is exhaust me and I'm now working till 31st March, having handed my notice in. I've managed to get a pension early and after a break intend to work two days a week. I feel sad that this disease has forced choices on me but can't wait to finish working for a while. I think people at work think she's had her treatment so what's wrong with her. Well actually I'm not the same!!! Take care, weight up options and do what's right for you. We certainly all understand here xxxx

  • Hi Michelle,

    I echo what the other ladies have said - ask your GP to sign you off for longer, or state what you think you will be able to work and ask for a partial fit note. How long you need to recover is entirely up to you - there's no rule book!

    If your employer has been sympathetic, explain how you feel and what you feel capable of. If it is 'short term' then consider if you would want to resume your full job in the future, or if your priorities have changed you could agree a less stressful etc. job and move to that permanently.

    In my case, I finished chemo mid-September and went back to work mid- November. I had a phased return for a few weeks, but now I am officially back to my normal hours, although have agreed with my boss that I'll only work 3 days a week for a while longer, and use up my massive amount of accrued holiday! I did 4 days last week and it made me realise that I'm not ready yet.

    My boss has been fantastic and keeps getting all teary when she looks at me and telling me how glad she is to have me back. I'm very lucky. Mind you, I've got to give a presentation to the Board of Directors this afternoon, so I'm wondering if they'll go easy on me or not!! Anyway, I digress... 😊

    Yosh x

  • Ooh hope that went well and they all applauded you

    Clare 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

  • Hello. I was diagnosed with stage 4 PPC in January 2014. Currently on my 2nd reoccurance. Taking Anastrozole hormone blocker this time around. Anyhow, I just wanted to let those of you in the U.S. know that if you feel you can no longer work, PPC is one of the diseases that social security classifies under "compassionate allowance" and qualifies you for disability. Also once you are on disability 2 years you are covered by Medicare. The social worker at my hospital informed me and filed for me. It had truly been a blessing. Love and hugs to all!

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