Breast cancer

Affected by breast cancer? Join this group to share experiences and ask questions to people who understand what you're going through.

Diagnosed with breast cancer at 32, company sick pay...feeling very under valued...

Posted by

I have just been diagnosed with breast cancer at the ripe old age of 32. Been told I will need 6 months of Chemo, surgery and then 4 months of radio therapy, hospital have not decided in what order as yet but are thinking surgery first as they want to try freeze some of my eggs as I have no children and chemo might mean I lose my fertility so by having surgery first hopefully this will allow the fertility experts to do there thing (fingers crossed). This is all so over whelming and then to make matters worse my employers who I have worked for, for 5 years, never off sick and work so so hard for them have turned round said I get 4 weeks at full pay then 4 weeks at half pay then I would go on to ssp....I am so disappointed in there lack of support and feel they must be emotionless, I have not even had a card or anything saying how sorry they are, So now I am going to give up my home and my car my independence and coming from someone who has worked and been independent all my lift always worked full time this is hard enough without all the treatment I am going to have to go through, and the biggest joke of all is the the company I work for, up until a few days ago was a corporate partner and supporter of mac millian and my store alone that I managed raised just under £3000 for them.....Heartless totally heartless and feel I proves they were only supporting mac Macmillian to raise the company profile and nothing else!!!

Posted by

Hi Katris

My heart goes out to you not just for being diagnosed but how your employer have behaved. Employers sadly do everything by the book when it suits them financially and sometimes that can come across as cold and cruel....but that's companies for you, think about themsleves first and staff second!!!!

Just a little note about SSP i didn't realise it kicks in from day one of sickness......not when you down to half pay as i originally thought. 28 weeks soon whizzes by so getting your finances in order is key now as when chemo starts your brain gets a little blurry. Speak to the Mac nurses about your finances and they will tell you everything you can claim hopefully you won't be put under pressure about your home and car.........the less stress you can give yourself the better.

4 months of rads is very high...maybe you miss heard 4 weeks as months but i've never heard of anyone having rads for that long. So let's hope this is what has happened and 4 weeks sounds much better :-) xx

Having your eggs frozen is tough on your emotions so i hope you have some great friends and family giving you support.....we will on here give you as much support as we can......that's because we are all lovely people and know exactly what you going to be going through.

Stay strong and we are here if you need us xxx

Posted by

Hi Katris,

What an awful predicament you are in, and my heart goes out to you. 

 I don't blame you for feeling anger towards your employers, but presumably this is written into your contract of employment so pointless trying to fight it.  Have you spoken to your employers to see about possibilities of reduced working hours, lighter duties, more flexi time that might fit in with some of your treatments? Some ladies manage to work part time through chemo, and many more through radiotherapy. (I agree this should be 4 weeks, not months) so all is not lost at the moment.



Strong willed
Posted by
Hi Katris, I was diagnosed last June at 31. I had a left mastectomy on 2 August then started chemo early September and finished on 9th Jan. I'm having 3 weeks of radiotherapy from the 18th and starting herceptin for 12 months then too. I started my tamoxifen yesterday... For 5 years! I don't work however chemo was not as bad as I was expecting and came across women in the chemo ward who were working (reduced hours) throughout chemo. I have 2 young daughters and managed to take care of them myself 90% of the time. The first 3-4 days after chemo were my worst then I picked up again. Definitely worth speaking to the mac nurses regarding your financial entitlements and to check your employer is correct in what they say you are to get. You're at the worst stage just now, diagnosis and waiting for a proper plan is awful, it does get better and you will get through it. Xx
Posted by
Dear Katis I am sorry to read about your treatment by your employers. Mine has made up my pay for three months, which being in the private sector was probably generous. I have had the SSP deducted from my pay as it is paid by the employer to you. I made enquiries before Christmas regarding ESA which is employment support allowance and after getting all the information together to apply was told it is not available whilst you are in receipt of SSP! You can apply up to a month before the SSP runs out. I insured my earnings, 75 % more by luck than judgement and am hoping for the claim to be approved as I cannot go back to work for anytime as I am uninsured for my job! The laugh is though they will deduct the ESA and SSP although I am not entitled to claim ESA. Anyway if you are on your own there should be more benefits available to you although they can look at your savings for some of them. The system isn't great and certainly doesn't support people when they find themselves in this horrible predicament. It's bad enough to deal with the whole roller coaster let alone all the other issues. I do agree, approach either the Macmillian service or the local CAB who can be helpful. If you need some more information or support please ask. As for the employers, there is nothing for loyalty these days. My immediate boss who I have worked with for 15 years plus has not called or text or anything since my op on 2 nd November , you do find out who you can rely on in this process. Cyber hugs, thoughts are with you Benja xx
Posted by

Hey Katris,

You sound so angry! A so you should. Let off steam!!! And if people around here have some advice, you are on a winner. 

I was thinking of a little positive spin on what you have shared: 

The doctors are keen to be freezing your eggs before they start with bootcamp. Now, that to me sounds so positive! (taking away the inevitable of infertility obviously).: your doctors are looking at a future for you! I think THAT'S something to focus on, when times are shit! They are not holding the eggs for random person down the road, but for yourself, once you have kicked ass!!! They are not saying, oh forget everything, from here on downhill. They are saying: yes this next bit is tough - bootcamp!!! But, there is life after! And it will be yours for the taking! 

Hope you get your work stuff sorted in the meantime! 

Dorothee xx

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Dorothee you are an inspiration to us all.  Your post are very uplifting, thank you. lol sue

Posted by

Sounds like your company is being run by robots with a lump of metal where their heart should be!

They have specialist financial advisors here on the site so it would be very worthwhile for you to have a chat. They operate Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm on freephone 0808 808 0000. Just outline your problem to the operator and they will put you through to the right department.

Best wishes


Posted by

Thanks guys for your lovely words of advise and support :)

I have just had my appointment through for me to attend a fertility specialist  first thing in the morning to see if there is anything they can to to preserve my fertility.

So just keeping my fingers crossed there is some thing they can in the little time they have before I start my treatment.


Posted by
Dear Katis How are you geting on? I had breast cancer in 2001 at the age of 31. As I wanted to have children we looked into the possibility of freezing the eggs too. For me that was not an option because of the hormonal treatment required to extra ovulate plus it would also delay the start of the chemo. I was devastate at the time however i was shown another route...i was injected with zoladex once a month during the chemotheraphy treatment to freeze my ovaries. The treatment was successful. I had 6 weeks of radio and got the 'all clear' . the whole treatment took approx. 6 months. I was able to naturally conceive and had two boys, one in 2004 e the second in 2005. I wish you all the best.