Life with bowel cancer


Sent off NHS retirement due to illness after deliberating.....any advice

Hi all

Anyone taken early retirement due to illness from their job or NHS....don't expect much as have worked in private sector most of my career, But plan to take whatever the pension is and work on zero hours contract or self employed in any event.

My concern is when the cancer resurfaces that I'm not buggering about with employment pressures as the NHS is getting busier and people expect you to be a social worker as the care sector and council adult care service is on it's arse literally.

I had to go to a chemist with a prescription for a drug addict and arsonist who has a cleaner, carer and independent health advocate running after her but she can't order up her own prescription. So she needs me a terminally person working full time to write her prescription, deliver to the chemist and then phone her social worker to tell them to send her carer to pick it up and organise it being reordered.

The world is seriously fXXXed ...

Positive healing :x::x::x:


Hi @GD62 . I took early retirement in May. I was made redundant in 2011 but continued to do agency work until early 2016. Then, over the next 2 yrs I made a concerted attempt to get the 'travel bug' out of my system and, had planned to get back into work in June last year - then I was diagnosed.....! Over the winter and during chemo I gave a lot of thought as to what I would do and eventually decided to go for my pension early. At least I now have an income back and there is nothing to stop me picking up a part time job if I need/want to. Go for it and achieve your dreams!


@GD62, I retired in March this year, I didn’t want to really, but realistically I couldn’t give them a date of return to work. They were very good with me but I got tired of going for meetings with occupational health, HR, union rep etc. And as you know I have never had a clear scan yet, after surgery or chemo. Nobody knew at work that I had cancer, apart from management.
I really do admire you for returning to work after major surgery, and I can understand why you did, it. I too wanted to get back to “normality” but I had the overwhelming thought of maybe this is what contributed to my illness, long hours stress, understaffed, so I had to walk away. I don’t regret it, money is tighter, and it has made me realise how much money I used to waste. I do claim benefits and I hope you do too. Before I retired, I had just revalidated, a pointless exercise. Oh and the bu****s took the NMC subscription out this month, I forgot to cancel the direct debit.
What will you do join NHSP?
Whatever you do live your life, and positive energy and healing to you.:x::x:


@GD62 My Hubbie has just ( this week)been accepted for ill Health retirement, after 20 years of service, he completely detached himself from work when he had a break down and was diagnosed with PTSD. Our cancer journey has helped us to re-adjust and not take the simple things in life for granted, we have simply brought forward our plans by 6 years and hopefully this relaxed more fulfilling aspect on life will improve the positive healing and reduce all stress for us both :x::x:


@GD62 I was put in the situation a few months ago where IHR was the only real option. Once HR were onboard it moved pretty quickly and I had an assessment by an Occupational Health Doctor. The next bit took a bit longer while they got reports together (the Oncologist took ages) and eventually after about 4 weeks my application was approved. They have given me Tier 1 whichbi believe is the pension starting immediately and also Tier 2 which means that they pay up my contributions as if I had worked up to retirement age (67) and also a lump sum. Tier 2 is because I have a terminal prognosis. I have no idea what i’ll get as I had a long break after having my daughters.
It is quite a relief now I've done it - it wasn’t the option I wanted but I think it will allow me to move on now.
I have nothing but admiration for you going back to work full time after the surgery you’ve had.
I hope that it goes through smoothly for you and you can find something that is less pressurised.
Jane :x::x::x::x:


Hi @GD62

I went off sick when I was admitted for the initial emergency surgery and received my diagnosis. Soon after I became ill and moved from stage 3 to 4, I asked for referral to the NHS Occupational Health Doctor. She was absolutely fantastic and so compassionate and supportive towards me. I was very clear in my mind that I didn't wish to return to work as dealing with a caseload and line management responsibility was just no longer on my agenda. I honestly couldn't have done it from both a physical and psychological perspective. I also wanted to spend every moment I could with my family and friends doing the things I wanted to if I was able.

I was supported through the whole process and as I was struggling at the time with quite a few lengthy Hospital admissions etc. I wasn't required to attend the meetings planned as I was deemed too unwell. I was able to get my full pension (as if I'd worked until 60) and I opted for a maximum tax free lump sum too. I believe this was because my oncologist thought I may have only 6 months to live but in any case, not expected to live beyond a year. I retired in August 2016 (one year after diagnosis) and can honestly say, I have never looked back. I became much more relaxed and even started sleeping again. Work had been extremely stressful, I worked crazy long hours at the health centre and at home in the evenings and weekends.

I absolutely hate my cancer and predicament of course, but I can also say, I love my life now, if that makes any sense?? I now have 2 grandsons (delivered the second one in the bath at home......did I tell you that story?? 😉) and we have the third due in 2 weeks. Im able to spend so much time with my family, cook, do the garden, knit my very first shawl, take care of the babies, holiday and weekends away etc. Nothing too exciting but all of it so very enjoyable and rewarding. Today, I'm going to tackle a massive bag of cooking apples and make stuff! 😉.

So GD chase that's the best thing I did since diagnosis!

Good luck and lots of love



Hi @GD62
No experience to share (work full time) but honestly though I admire you for your knowledge and work. You do work in an overloaded stressed system and you deserve to give yourself more.
I think you should start the process and you will know as you go through the stages if it is right for you.
I have never heard anyone regret retirement actually as I write I am thinking of the same path myself.

You have been very ill and should give yourself time peace and joy

Lots of love and inspiration


Hi @GD62, @Baxter2 and all those of you who worked for the NHS - once retired, you should all join the CSPA - Civil Servants Pension Association because once a member you can then take out their Travel Insurance - there are NO medical conditions, apart from the fact that you must be mentally fit to fly, it covers you world wide, which means you can travel to USA and other areas of the world normal travel insurance would not cover you for, and if you join before you are 80, you can renew the insurance for life. Plus the CSPA have a very good travel department and do other insurances as well. Have a look at the site - so many people who have worked for the government in any capacity don't know about it

I would definately go for the retirement @GD62 - life is for living and not for working now that you are on the C-Journey



Thanks for this @Elamc! I'll certainly look into this!



Hi @Elmac thank you for this as I'm an ex civil servant .


Yeah f@#k that @GD62 !! Your doing the right thing, put YOURSELF first!! The whole thing is life changing, I worked for myself and run myself ragged people pleasing constantly. I did love what I did but I don't want to go back to it although at the time it was my dream. I will eventually go back to work but to something where I can make a difference. Good luck to you. :x: :x:


hi @GD1962 i have recently taken ill health from nhs got tier 2 award. took a few months as the nhs does. i dint get a fantastic amount and only small monthly pension but on tier 2 which im sure u will get they do make additional contributions to bump it up. i decided that money wasnt that jmportant but spending my time when i felt well with friends and family was. i worked in occcupational health and like you git so fed up with the petty demands on my time and the employees who knew the system and were always off sick with petty things. do what feels right for you and enjoy your time. big hugs jo :x:


Hi @GD62 We have recently relocated to Yorkshire from Kent. I am a service technician working on commercial catering equipment and have to live in the area that I work, so on relocating Thought that I would be sacking myself and then taking early retirement at 61. I am currently paid by an insurance company who stated that as far as they are concerned it is the ability not availability to work so I am at the moment still being paid. I agree with your sentiments the world is f---k up. To get away and put yourself first for once is important, for what its worth I think you have made the correct choice. No one knows what the future holds least us. I am still suffering with neuropathy and am having nightmares and just want to walk away from looking over my shoulder with the cancer the job now the DVLA. I just want to be able to move forward, I am obviously staying put with the job as it's a financial decision but when that ends so be it. wishing you well .


Hello @steve707 @joanne2570 @1234annie @JulietheMeezermum @Baxter2 @Elmac @Lawsey @jinnyp @Lexi @Clancy @chris61

Thanks for all the advice and the more I think about retirement or semi-retirement then the more the idea will be appealing. I don't think that I'll get a great pension but my worry is that I could get sacked and a chance of claiming what little pension would be entitled to would go up in smoke.

Anyway positive healing all and many thanks again !!!:)


Why will you get the sack @GD1962 ?
If your not at retirement age you can claim ESA and then PIP. I claimed ESA after my op as I couldn't do my job though chemo. My PIP was renwed without an interview, having cancer or living with the effects of treatment is classed as a disability. You have worked hard so don't think you shouldn't be supported in your time of need. There are plenty of people who don't have serious illness claiming it all!! :x: :x: :x:


@GD62 you will be covered by the Equalties Act as you have had cancer so they will not be able to sack you . My advice is to claim as much as possible . If need be seem advice from Mac Millan as they will be able to help you . :x:


Hi @JulietheMeezermum thanks I'm just biding my time and waiting for the pension service to get back to me, and it all depends on how things go as recurrence is highly likely and if I need chemotherapy then it maybe a new regime that may not be as bearable as capox.

Anyway positive healing :x::x::x:

Bear G

Hey @GD62
Sorry for coming late to this.
I’m semi retired and have been since I was diagnosed. I’ve run a successful marketing consultancy for around 15 years and have simply pulled back from it. I now work a few days a week, almost entirely from home. I don’t have to deal with any office politics which is a real bonus and I have the benefit of getting intellectual stimulation from the work I do.
It really allows me to control the work:life balance very easily.
Good luck with whatever you decide
Big hugs


Hi @Bear G

Thanks for the advice. Clearly it will depend on my health primarily, but my intention would be to leave my full time employment and work part time with my other two jobs on zero hour contracts in the walk in centres and out of hours and the odd locum in a chemist shop as someone has asked me about my availability to do one or two days per week.

And I really would enjoy not being tied into a GP practice where GPs are not bothered and can't get out the door quick enough, receptionists are hard faced battle axess who just get a kick out of being bloody awkward.

My life would be much easier too....fingers crossed lol :)