New to the Community

If you've just joined the Community and aren't sure where to start, this is the group for you. Tell us what brings you here, and don't be afraid to ask questions. Someone will be on hand to welcome you and point you in the right direction.

when to return to work?Should I ghhh

sophie lily
Posted by

Hi, I was diagnosed with DCIS breast cancer in July. I had a wide local excision with lymph node removal on 15th August. Surgery went well and I recovered quickly with no problems. I waited almost 6 weeks for the pathology report which I found very stressful. Fortunately it was good news, lymph nodes were clear and the tumour was removed with a clear margin. I’m starting radiotherapy next week for 15 sessions. 

I work for the nhs as a donor carer (mobile blood donation team) and work 3 days per week but 10-12 hrs per shift. The job involves a lot of manual lifting and dealing with the public. I decided to remain off work until after the radiotherapy as I feel it will be too stressful and tiring to do both. I just don’t know when is a reasonable time to go back? How will I feel after the treatments etc. At the moment I feel physically good although sort of numb, no interest in anything. Exercise no longer appeals to me or even planning a holiday. Is this because I’ve been off work too long and need to ‘snap out of it’ and get back to normal? I feel terrible that I’m letting my team struggle short staffed but I don’t relish working all over Xmas either. I feel I need to be with my family this year.

is this normal or am I being lazy? 

Posted by

Hi and welcome to the community at this difficult time for you. Good to know your surgery went well. I am not familiar with your particular cancer, but I do know it takes a while to fully recover from treatment. Radiotherapy can leave you very tired. You may feel like you are letting your colleagues down, but you will be no help to them if you are not fully fit. Although you may not feel like it, some light exercise does help. Could I point you to the friendly and active Breast Group. There you will get a better answer from the ladies (and gents) who have experience of this. Click the link to get to the group and start a new discussion. You may find it easy to copy and paste your above post in the group. I hope all goes well for you. Best wishes.

Best wishes to All,   rily.  What is a Community Champion ?

Posted by

Hi, my story is very similar to yours.  I didn't return to work unti about 4 weeks after radiotherapy ended and then had a very gradual phased return.  You need to listen to your body and mind.  We all deal with things in different ways and you must do what is right for you.  This experience will have both physical and psychological effects on you so be gentle with yourself.  You are not lazy at all.  Wishing you all the best for your radiotherapy xxx


Hi sophie! I was diagnosed in August with vulva and rectal cancer and in may learned it has gone to the lymph nodes in my groin.  But yes, I have lost all interest in doing anything as well.  Just this funky depression.  I've learned I have to force myself to do 1 task a day.  Like cleaning the floors, doing la uh ndry, that kind of thing.  It actually works because you feel a sense of accomplishment when its done.  Motivation for the rest of the day. 

As far as return to work, I was advised by my nurse team that I would not be returning until close to 6 weeks after my chemotherapy and radiation are completed.  Since I am suffering severe burn from the therapy, we have had to stop treatment for the week to give my skin time to heal  so there puts me around the new year at least.   We also decided gradual return.  Like you, my days are very long at work so you need to step back in gradually so your body can get used to the activity and duration.  I am a restaurant manager, so 12 to 16 hour days 5 or 6 days a week.  For the first week or 2, I'm allowed 6 hours and can increase an hour or 2 a week. 

I wish you luck on your journey.  Talk with your care team and be honest about what you are capable of.  Be sure to take care of yourself.  No, you are not being lazy.