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Returning to work feeling mentally scarred

1 Nov 2022 19:49

I have now returned to work ove4 last few weeks post multiple surgeries and about to start an AI. Chemo not likely on cards.  I am finding it immensely hard working, I am still not sleeping more than a few hours a night, I am very anxious about everything, I have a massive amount of work and seem to be expected to be able to  get on with it.  I also know that side effects from the ai are likely to be challenging. I feel so far from being able to work as I did before but my manger seems to think I will be able to in the future, I have been given someone to help me, told I don't need to do everything but it is still unbelievably hard.  I work for the charity so it doesn't help that the subject matter is in my face all day too and little things are reminders of my own diagnosis and prognosis. People have often referred to me having had time off like it was a holiday rather than major surgery.  Is it too early to abandon hope that I will be able to work again ? Should I try for a bit longer? The only good thing is that if I work then at least I do get to speak with people in the day so not so lonely so I wondered if ultimately I would be better trying to work.  I wondered if anyone else has any idea how long it takes to feel normal at work again and if they work for a cancer charity or healthcare how they managed to cope with all the reminder's? 

Returning to work feeling mentally scarred

3 Nov 2022 10:47 in response to Anchor

Hi Anchor,

I can understand this must be a challenge having to balance returning to work with how you're feeling, alongside the subject matter you're working with. It sounds like there are a number of positives such as the social side and perhaps the opportunity to focus on something productive, which is good.

I'm not sure how supportive your manager and team at work are, or how comfortable you feel speaking to them, but it sounds like it would be worthwhile having a sit down with your manager to explain how you're feeling and your concerns moving forward. Hopefully together you can find a way to make things more manageable for you, such as reduced workload or additional help from others, even if this is on a temporary basis to help you transition.

You are certainly within your rights to discuss this and I'm sure that as a valiued member of the team they'll try to help things be more workable for you.

For additional support and information, have a look at this page from Macmillan about returning to work.

Wishing you all the best,

Cancer Chat Moderator

Returning to work feeling mentally scarred

8 Nov 2022 16:16 in response to Anchor

The biggest misconception about cancer treatment (mostly by those who DON'T have it) is that the moment you're done with treatment, you're better.

Recovery can take YEARS. Actual years.

When I'd finished my chemo, I couldn't lift a bag of shopping, I had arms like a wet noodle. But my job had me back on 40 hour weeks without so much as a staggered return. They said I 'looked healthy enough', and when I called in sick a week after starting I started to get comments because they thought I was taking advantage.

Take it easy on yourself. If you're not ready, you're not ready.