How Did You Cope With Returning To Work After a Cancer Diagnosis?

My Post

Many of us have built up a carefully constructed work persona and we work hard at protecting that persona by keeping a fairly strict line of demarcation between our personal and professional lives. A diagnosis of cancer can change that.

You may feel compelled to share intrinsically private information with your colleagues. which can add to the stresses of an already stressful time. You may be wondering how your boss and co-workers will react to you. Will they avoid you or any mention of cancer or will they ask you intrusive questions? Will they be supportive?  Or will you be stigmatized by your illness? Will it affect promotional opportunities?

You may also be worried about how you will cope with the physical demands of work. Cancer treatment is exhausting and the profound fatigue it brings can last for many months after treatment has ended.

Then there are the effects of “chemo-brain”  to contend with. I found this to be the most stressful part of returning to work. I’d find myself in the middle of talking to a someone and suddenly lose my train of thought or draw a blank on someone’s name.

As some of you know I write a monthly column for Patient Empowerment Network and I like to include practical tips and advice from the community.  If you’d like me to include your tips on this topic, I’d love to hear from you.

Here are some of the questions I’d like to tackle.

  • Did you take time off work when you were in treatment?
  • Was it difficult to return to your job?
  • If you continued to work during treatment, what were/are some of the challenges?
  • How did your colleagues and co-workers respond to you?
  • How do you wish they had responded?
  • What would have been most helpful for you at the time to ease your transition back to work?

A lot of questions I know, but I think it’s an important issue and it would be valuable to hear your thoughts on this.