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Thyroid cancer

A place for people affected by thyroid cancer to support one another, ask questions, and share their experiences.

Returning to work

welshgirly
Posted by

Hi I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer after having a total thyroidectomy for Graves disease. I was told that the cancer had breached the thyroid capsule and possibly spread to lymph nodes and that I might need further surgery to remove lymph nodes. This was just before we went into lockdown and last week I had an ultrasound to check the lymph nodes and I now need to wait to hear back from the thyroid specialist.

My TT was 10 weeks ago I was signed off sick for 6 weeks then requested another 4 weeks after the cancer diagnosis. Im due back to work next week and Im feeling so anxious about it. I don't feel ready to go back to work and not sure if I will be able to cope, I still get tired easily. Im worried about how my colleagues will be, I haven't told them I have thyroid cancer I feel like I won't be taken serious as everyone thinks its a good cancer and easy to deal with.

Im really struggling with my diagnosis, not knowing if I will need further treatment, not knowing if it has spread. I hate feeling so anxious about everything all the time

joey5771
Posted by

Hi welshgirly, 

i can so relate to what you’ve posted! I was also signed off for 6 weeks then after diagnosis had probably had another 6 weeks off, I couldn’t get my head around it all. 

My work wasn’t the best with handling it all, I had someone saying I was making it up!! Unbelievable I know!! Just use Macmillan and get some advice. Have you looked at there booklet on work? I found it so valuable. 

Take care hun and take what you need. 

Jo

Joey5771

welshgirly
Posted by

Thank you

No I haven't looked at the booklet will check it out. I just feel so anxious at the moment I guess with a cancer diagnosis and covid-19 its understandable. I just want to know what the next step will be that will help a lot with me been able to deal with everything.

Im hoping my GP will extend my sick note but doubt he will as I've had 10 weeks off.

Janet500
Posted by

Hi I am off sick work since last year May and my GP has no problems to give me sick notes every 3 months.I am still on active treatment but planning to return to work from 1.6.but only 2 days in week because sitting at home is making me mad.I spoke to to my boss and he agreed with a phased return to work  i start with 2 days in a week.and also changing my job role i will help him more in the office then working on the floor so I am not going to be in a contact with the residents too much and no moving and handling.

I dont know about your boss but you should update them whats going on and speak to your GP too.

Janet

Lass
Posted by

Hey there

Welcome to the forum, though I'm sorry you need to be here!

If your TT was 10 weeks ago, have you had a blood test to check your thyroid levels in the last couple of weeks? If not, you should get in touch with your GP and ask them for a TFT test that includes TG, T4, and TSH. (TFT = thyroid function test. TG = Thyroglobulin. T4 = Well, T4. lol. TSH = Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) If you're getting tired easily and feeling overly anxious, it might be that your dose of thyroxine isn't right. So if you have your levels tested, then tell your consultant - not GP, don't let your GP change your dose - what they are and ask if you need your dose altered.

Can I also check, are you taking your thyroxine correctly? So, first thing in the morning with tepid water. Then eating and drinking nothing else for at least 30 mins, better if it's 60 mins. If you need to take Calcium, or multivitamins with calcium, you take these at least 4 hours after your thyroxine, and if you need to take iron, or multivitamins with iron in them, you take these at least 6 hours after your thyroxine.

I will also say that things can grow and get bigger in your head the longer you leave it. So the anxiety you feel about going back to work and how your colleagues will be, isn't going to go away with time. It's possibly only going to get worse, just from personal experience. I would definitely suggest talking to your work, and maybe asking them to tell your colleagues what's going on so that you can avoid a barrage of questions. As for 'everyone thinking it's a good cancer', you'll probably actually find that most people have never even heard of a thyroid before. So they won't know it can become cancerous, or that it's a highly survivable one. It all comes down to communication in the end, and controlling the narrative.

The other thing is, are you doing anything to deal with your worries and anxieties? If you aren't, they aren't going to go away. I don't know if you're in Wales, or what the mental health provision is like in Wales if you are, but it's fairly pants in England! So I'd def recommend looking at the apps that are available that lead you through meditations or teach you mindfulness. If you can find one that fits with you and that you like, it will help you deal with the anxieties of the wait. One thing you'll learn with thyroid cancer, even without a pandemic, everything moves REALLY slowly! So patience is def a skill we all have had to learn, as well as how to not stress out while we wait.

We're always here to help though, so do shout up anytime!

Lass

xx

I have no medical training, everything I post is an opinion or educated guess. It is not medical advice.

LittleGibbon
Posted by

Hopefuly your GP will realise that you're not at all ready to go back to work, as you are dealing not only with the cancer but extreme anxiety. This is an incredibly difficult situation to deal with. No wonder you are feeling as you do. Your physical recovery may be coming along, but this had a huge impact on you psychologically, and it does sound as though you need more time.

Do let us know how you get on.