New ti group - Breast cancer diagnosis and parents and back to work concern

Hi All

I am new to this group but have gained support from other support groups through my diagnosis with breast cancer

I was diagnosed the BC, which had also spread into my lymph nodes under my arm in Nov 2019. i had an operation, followed by chemo Jan to May 2020 and then 15 sessions of radiotherapy at the end of June to July. Through out this time my partner, grown up children and my mum and dad were very supportive, even though my mum had incurable cancer.

While going through chemo treatment, my dad was diagnosed with cancer in March 2020, which he told us about. What he didn`t tell us was it was terminal and at the end of June 2020 he passed away, the day before i started radiotherapy. To continue with my treatment was very hard as i adored my dad, but i made him a promise i wouldn`t give up. He was so worried about me and my mum i don`t think he could let us know how serious his cancer was as he had always been there to care for us and he knew he wouldn`t be able to do that. I cannot imagine how he managed to deal with his diagnosis, the mental torture must have been unthinkable

After dad passed away i cared for my mum and her oncologist told her to go and lead a full life as probably old age rather than cancer would be what she would pass away with. This was in Aug 2020, two months after we had lost dad. But by September she was admitted to St Lukes Hospice and five weeks later in October 2020, just four short months after dad had passed away i was with my mum as she took her last breath. I had been able to stay with my mum 24 hours a day in her last week and the staff were absolutely magnificent and treated my mum with great care and dignity right up to her passing away. Since loosing both my parents t0 cancer i have struggled to come to terms with their loss and also my own diagnosis.

On a positive i have just been told i am starting my 5 year remission period and gaining physio to help with damage caused by treatment. I am sure both my parents would have had big smiles on their faces and proud that i got through it all and i gain comfort that i was able to keep my promise to carry on with my treatment. I just wish they were here for me to tell them i did it and how much their love and support got me through.

My next phase is to return to work, i was put on sick pay from the first day of my operation then moved to Furlough, as the Managing Director does not feel he has the expertise or capacity for someone like me returning to work? I haven`t a clue what he meant so i asked in what context he was referring and had no response. I have worked for this company for 12 years, never had anytime off work, worked more hours then paid and didn`t always took full allocation of holidays as we were so busy. The MD never had a problem with my work and classed me as his righthand woman, that was until i was diagnosed with cancer...yep i was daft. I know when i go back i will only be paid the hours i work on phased return which as a family will stretch us financially, which is another worry as i was the one with the highest wage coming into our home,  and it seems i am going to have a fight on my hands to keep my job, just because i have had cancer

Question to the group:

Have any of you had a similar problem when returning to work and how did you tackle it in a positive way, even though you were aware you were being faced with barriers to returning after going through so much and no fault of our own we were just unlucky getting cancer?

I have no fight left in me and not looking forward to what i know i am going to face just wanting to return to my job, which i loved but also need financially

Thank you for your time in reading my background from diagnosis up to this point and i will also be reading others experiences and hopefully can support others with advice if newly diagnosed

  • Hi Betsta 

    What a story you were indeed fortunate to have such lovely parents. I have missed my dad through all this he died 5 years ago 87. My mum died 49 years ago from cancer I had lovely parents too we are both lucky. As far as your question well I think I may have this to come. Are you in the union?  If so they may be able to help and take up the fight for you. Im exhausted with this treatment and so understand you feel that you may not be up for this fight. Remember all  workers with cancer or who are returning to work after cancer are legally covered under the Equality Act 2010  

    I wish you well 

    Jayne X 

  • Hi Jayne

    Yes we had beautiful caring parents

    Unfortunately it is only a small company and no union so it looks as though its a fight i will have to take on and hopefully with the support and advise i have gained up to now from Macmillan in what to add to my phased return/ reasonable adjustments has been invaluable. So fingers crossed. But it should not be like this as we are all tired from treatment and just ask for a bit of compassion and thought as we try to adjust to a new normal life and try and go back to work

    Take Care x