Going back to work after cancer

I recently went back to work after being off for 4 months due to vulvar cancer. I had a  vulectomy, lymph node remove both sides and muscle graft on my left inner thigh for reconstruction in vaginal area and also 5 weeks of radiation treatment. I never thought that when I returned to work that they would be as cruel as they are and uncaring. Before I was diagnosed I worked two 12 hour shifts and off 3 days an it would rotate. They now want me to work 3 12 hour shifts and clean bathrooms and take out trash, defrost 2 refrigerators and pass meds. I'am a nurse and the other nurses seem to retaliate against me now. One of them angrily replied I had to work extra days because you were off. I replied by saying excuse for having cancer and causing such an inconvenience for you. I talked with the executive director and explained that I get tire more easily now and could I please go back to the old schedule and she said that is not going to happen, so I told her I was going to call corporate and see if they could help me with my schedule and she replied by saying do not threaten me. I then said can't you have some compassion I don't want special treatment I want to work my 36 hour week just not three days in a row, which we never did before. I was so upset that these people who I came in and covered their shifts when they wanted off to do something fun could be so cruel. I especially don't understand how they can call themselves nurses when they have no empathy or compassion what so ever. It's hard enough going back to work after all the surgeries and radiation treatments, but it's far worse when your co workers treat you so badly that you cry at work and on your way home. I'm sorry for venting my feelings and I never thought this could happen to anyone if I treated someone this bad I would not be able to sleep. 


  • Hi Gizmom welcome to the forum. As a retired nurse myself I found your post very upsetting to think that fellow colleagues could treat you like that it is disgraceful and their behaviour is disgraceful as well.

    Do you have an Occ Health department and have you seen them? If not get in touch with them asap and get them on the case with this as they can make recommendations about how you can get settled back into work without compromising your health through work.

    Im not sure but I believe that Cancer is covered under the disability discrimination act so it may be worth giving Macmillan a call and asking them for some further advice. 08088080000. 

    Hope that you get some answers to this awful issue and sending some hugs your way meantime xxx

  • Hi Gizmom

    I feel so sad for you. These people are being so cruel to you. Cancer is covered by the disability at work act so look into how that can protect you. Employees should make reasonable adjustments in the workplace to accommodate you. I was off work 3 1/2 months and I had a phased return when I went back to work. I started off doing a couple of days and then gradually worked up to a full week. It must be exhausting for you going straight back to long days and not having the support of your colleagues is awful.

    I would definately contact your Occ health department or HR and find out what your rights are.

    Big hugs

    Cazzi x

  • Hi Cazzi x

    I feel really bad for the residents that I take care of because they were so glad to have me back and I'm not going to work there it's just such a hostile environment as I feel it will effect my health and well being. I have decided I'm going to apply somewhere else and start over. I was told by a friend that is an attorney to ask my supervisor for a reasonable accommodation so that is what I did and it was only to go back to the previous schedule before my cancer. She was furious and yelled and told me I was threatening her and this is Just to much to say the least. She also scheduled me to work all of December weekends Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I previously had every other weekend off but only Sat, Sun which was fine. The other nurse who has less time being there gets 3 day weekends. I asked her if she thought that was fair and she said yes. I then told her I would fax it to HR and see if they thought it was fair. She then started making up lies about me and I still can't believe this is happening. Yesterday I made an appointment to see a discrimination attorney. Thank you for the kind words and best wishes to you.

  • Thank you so much for the comments it really helps to have this forum to talk. I can't believe that other nurses are so devious it's absolutely terrifying when I think about the patient that they are treating. they also put up a sign in the nursing office for me to clean out all 3 of the med carts. They also have me passing earlier meds that the previous nurse always did before. I can't believe how heartless these people are when they are nurses who should have compassion and empathy but I find they are just trying to hurt me more each time I go back. I'm due back on Friday and I'm sure they will find something more to for me to do when I go in. I just hope this doesn't happen to anyone else and hopefully I will find a way for this company to make sure it does not.

    Best Wishes always