My husband was diagnosed with stage 3 stomach cancer in June 2019 and life has been a blur since then. He’s gone through 4 rounds of chemo and is now waiting to have his stomach removed. My work gave me compassionate leave so I could support him through the treatment. We’ve also got 2 teenage boys, so it was great I was around for them too throughout the whole school summer break. This has given me time to juggle all the hospital visits along with household tasks, family time, plus have some time to look after myself.
As my husband’s waiting for his op, and schools are back, I decided to return to work. Any more time off would have been unpaid. At first it was great doing something “normal”. But I’m starting to feel like it’s too much. I’m tired and weepy at work, and really just going through the motions. I have a stressful job and manage a team of people in 5 different locations, so it would be difficult to reduce my hours. I also feel guilty doing something normal while my husband is going through such a sh*t time. Work really feels pointless and I’d rather be with my husband.
I’m just curious to hear what everyone else found worked best for them? Stop work,reduce hours or best to keep going?
Hi there, I only work part time and I'm sure my job isn't as stressful as yours. I can imagine things are very tough as I also have those thoughts and feelings. The other week I told my boss to f.. Ck off. So far I still have a job but I suspect he is biding his time. I know how it feels when your nerves are open sores. There is so much anger bubbling away. I hope others on this forum will be more helpful than me x
Hi, I reduced my hrs from full time to part time and pick up overtime when I choose to. My place of employment have been wonderful, they each donated some of their holidays to me which amounted to a lot of paid time off for myself - an act of kindness that I will never forget. I then muddled through for a short while then reduced hrs to part time. One day again I will work full time but now is not the time, my priorities have to be my husband, children and myself. I have been on this journey with my husband for over two years, it is one of the hardest journeys I will ever be on and I am a great supporter of self care so part time works best for me. Prognosis given was incurable at diagnosis. We have 2 dependant children, 8 and 10 and an adult child of 22. I hope you find what works best for you x
Hi Needing friends, thanks for your reply. It’s hard to carry on with work when cancer is affecting your loved one isn’t it. Although my work colleagues have been great, there are times when I’d love to tell them to f*ck off too! Hearing about their fun packed weekends and holidays is hard. I can understand why you’re angry and sometimes feel that way too. It’s natural. I’ve no idea if and when my husband will finish his treatment so we’re taking a day at a time and doing our best to get through this. Take care of yourself x
Thanks for your reply Sunflowers15. What amazing work colleagues you have! I’ve only be dealing with this for 3 months so can’t imagine how tough it’s been for your family for the past two years. I think part time might be the best option for me too. I will talk to my boss next week to discuss changing my hours and delegating some responsibilities so the workload is more manageable. My husband still has months of treatment and my family always come first. Take care x
my husband got diagnosed with stage 4 long cancer in July , I started with compassionate leave but have now gone sick . I have found myself too emotional to be effective at work .. we also have a 5 year old and my priority is to be at home at the moment ..
luckily my work have been fantastic and supportive as has our go..
however I am already worried about how I am supposed to go back and manage all of this .. with a incurable diagnosis but we don’t know how things will go it’s hard trying to imagine fitting in work as well but I imagine I will have to at some point ..
i am attending a hospice Carer day soon which I am hoping I will meet other people in the same boat.. we are struggling to understand how we ‘live’ now ..
I've had a massive amount of support from work over the last few months - no issues when I've had to take days off with zero notice. My mum has stage IV TCC, multiple liver mets and lives 4hrs drive away from where I live. Work have so far granted me carer leave and additional emergency family leave, without any complaints whatsoever. To top it off they've given me the ability to work anywhere (I've even done a few hours while sitting around in the chemo suite) which helps with any prolonged visits. I've been pretty lucky I guess, as my sister (also 4hrs drive away from my mum) got nothing, no support, no time off, no help. However she's now changed jobs and is taking a month off at the moment, which has given me a break from the never ending cycle of visits to hospital.
Sorry to interrupt but the kindness of your colleagues brought tears to my eyes . The sadness of looking after someone with incurable cancer doesnt make me cry , l cried when he was first diagnosed but rarely since then. Random acts of kindness however make me weep. Isn't that strange ? Bless you and your family on this journey.
It made me emotional reading your post as well! Little things set us off.
I hope you don't mind but I actually spoke to my boss about your comments, he was a bit knocked out by it as well. I told that I'd have probably cracked up by now if it hadn't been for the support (and lack of stress) from work.
I am the main support for my mother, who has cancer. My work have also been great and allowed me to reduce my hours so I work part time now, 4 days a week instead of 5. It's handy with all the hospital appointments, just to spend time with Mum and also allow a bit of time for myself. I have the option to go back to full time if I wanted. I find the juggling hard too- it is all so tiring and just getting the everyday things done, like the shopping, housework etc. can feel like an achievement!
I hope that you can talk to your work and work out something that will help you out.
All the best
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