Hi. A Canadian here.

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Just found this site and have been reading some posts which are truly helpful in terms of creams, apparatus, etc.

I’m starting 7 weeks radiation tomorrow (April 22) with four days of chemo to start and then another four days chemo in the fifth week of radiation.  Squamous cell anal cancer.  
I’m hoping to be able to continue to work through my treatments - I can do flexi-hours as I work as a graphic artist - but would like to hear from anyone who also tried to work through treatment.  Am I being overly optimistic?

  • Hello Sloopy

    A warm welcome to our little corner though I am so sorry you had to find yourself here.  But this forum helped me through some quite dark days and I hope it will help you too.

    I am retired and don't have to work.  However, I think I would have struggled, particularly in the latter stages of treatment when the side effects were kicking in, not least the fatigue.  The body is using all its energy repairing itself after a very taxing treatment and I used to get home and sink into bed.  But, and I must stress this, not everyone has the same side effects and others were able to at least do some work.  I would say prepare for the worst and you might be pleasantly surprised.  In the meantime stock up on easy food and if you have a support network to help out with shopping, car lifts to the hospital so much the better.  If you have read some of the previous posts you will know about the Sitzbath, a bidet that sits on the loo and is invaluable for soothing (or bowel movements under water), loose cotton underwear and should you need opioid painkillers (which cause constipation), stool softeners to take alongside.  It is always a really fraught time in the lead-up to treatment and I am sure you are relieved that it is starting.

    And we are here to offer support too, should you need it.

    Best of luck tomorrow.

    Irene xx

  • Hi Sloopy,

    So very sorry about your needing to join the group, but if you need to be here, it's the best place to be!

    I hope you can work through your treatment, and I think it's best to keep an optimistic, positive mindset. Some people skate right through with hardly any issues. Most of us get some of the side effects, very few of us get all of them. I went into it feeling hopeful that I'd be one of the lucky ones, and I was wrong. But I don't think going into it expecting and antiicipating the worst is a healthy approach.

    And even an optimist can be well-prepared, which is what I was really going for. Get your Sitz bath, peri bottles, loose underclothing and so forth ready in advance. If people want to bring you food, or drive you, or help you with errands or laundry- let them! This is the time to activate your network, and lean into it.

    How much working from home can you do? That will certainly help. 

    Keep us posted!



  • Hi,

    In theory you should be able to work through, but in actual fact you will probably feel extremely tired, especially towards the end of your treatment. I would suggest you talk to your boss if you can about possibly doing some work from home, or book some leave for the final couple of weeks. Not sure of medical system your way, but maybe your doc could sign you off. I just found I needed to sleep a bit during the day, which you could do if you were at home, but honestly I think you might be miserable working and trying to drive home at the end of a working day.

    Of course we are all different but if you do decide to carry on, I would put some plans in case just in case. Not sure anyone - doctor or boss - would expect you to work through normally. Really important to take care of yourself.