Life with bowel cancer


Going back to work

I must be mad. I've decided to go back to work today well in about 6 hours. That's after 8 weeks off for lung surgery and facing the news that I need chemo before liver op so I thought sitting at home crying n feeling sorry for myself wasn't an option. I o ly work part time and hopefully will be on admin duties but honesty I feel like crap. 4 weeks after pelvic op I returned to work no problems but8 weeks after lung op omg struggling to breathe when I walk, feel so tired, nausia, and because I've done nothing fir 8 weeks I'm in agony with my back muscles when I try to do things. I really don't get why I feel so ill I mean I gave the least amount if caner in me than ever before so surley I should feel better. I'm petrified of chemo cos if I feel thus ill now god help me on chemo but hopefully work will help somehow hopefully I can build up my strength gradually. Xx has anyone else had issues like this? Love to you all :x::x::x:


Hello @cara, I can’t really answer your question from cancer/lung operation point of view, but perhaps you have hit the nail on the head saying that you have done nothing for eight weeks, as a chronic asthmatic I realise how hard our lungs work and it’s something we take for granted (funnily enough!) Following a period of inactivity I often used to have aching muscles as I started to build up again, the best advice I was given lung wise was to move around every few minutes even when my lungs are congested or inflamed.
I hope you feel much better, but I think it may take a while, can you take an anti inflammatory painkiller to relax your muscles?
Have a good day, you are very brave going back to work (but do admit it if you feel dreadful) Very best wishes :x::x:


@cara Forgive me if I am off base, but it really sounds like you aren't physically ready to return to work. You have been through so much, and from what you've written, your body is trying to tell you that you need to give yourself some more time to rest.

As for the future thoughts of treatment, I have just completed radiotherapy and chemotherapy (via tablet) and was petrified of my treatment regime because the side effects they listed beforehand, so many and so horrific! Well, the radiotherapy has been no walk in the park for the last week and a half, granted, but it still isn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, and for me chemo was a breeze. They have to tell you all the things that can go wrong, look at side effects listed for simple medications we all take all the time; they can happen, but don't necessarily.

Do you want to go back to work? Or do you feel that you have to? I desperately wanted to return to work as son as possible as sitting at home thinking about all of this is not good for me; I would much rather be busy. However I have been realistic and listened to the advice from my team on how much time to take off. As it turns out I wouldn't have had the energy or the physical ability to do my job properly anyway. So now the radiotherapy effects are healing I am about to start knitting a jumper and there is some work I can do at home at my own pace, so I am lucky that way.

There is no shame in changing your mind and I am sure your employers will be supportive of you - in fact if they are like mine, they might be thinking themselves you're coming back a bit too soon, but they're trying to accommodate your wishes. If you don't feel ready, I think you should feel comfortable making that decision for your own health and well being.

Good luck and I hope whatever you do it is the best thing for you.

Bear G

Hi @cara

I do understand you wanting to go back to work, it can help to give you your bounce back and, importantly, a focus that isn’t cancer. I set up a new company while I was recovering from my resection and on Folfiri, it gave me something good to do with my brain.

It’s good you’re going back part time and on admin duties but please do take it easy, don’t push yourself too hard for a while, it does take the body a while to recover from all this stuff.

Would your employer be open to a phased return? You could initially try a few hours a day.

This may be an obvious question, but has your doctor signed you as fit to return to work?

Good luck with this Cara, fingers crossed you get what you want from it.

In terms of dreading the upcoming chemo, again I get what you’re saying, I was the same. In fact my first cycle was actually my worst one because I totally psyched myself out of it, I made myself ill. Once I got my head round it chemo wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I thought. I even went on hols to Europe and had thanksgiving with friends in New York! It’s doable. And we’ll be here for you.

Big hugs


Take it easy @cara. Lots of love, Gypsyxxx


I hope it goes well for you @cara but do listen to your body :x::x:


@cara all the best at work = I bet your colleagues will be happy to get you back.
All the best xxx


Hi @cara I am also going back - and have returned inbetween operations and treatments. Now I have finished chemo and await radiotherapy and RFA as cancerous lymph node and mets to lungs Basically it can be that if you dont work you dont get paid - but there are benefits to being occupied and maintaining ones skill and knowledge depending on type of work.
I have decided to talk through the decision with GP - who may be able to support a phased return - sometimes it is difficult to guage if well enough and other risks such as infection
Let us know what decision you make anc how you get on :x::x::x:


Hi everyone thank you for all ur replies x well first week at work and it was hard. I honestly can't actually call it work I work in a supermarket but all I'm doing is basically walking from my car to the office sitting down for 3-4 hours doing some training maybe answering the odd phone and then going home. And only doing 10 hours a week at mo. This almost wiped me out last week but today I managed to walk around the supermarket something I've not managed for 8 weeks so I'm slowly getting stronger and my back doesn't hurt as much :) my employer is being so good. I feel guilty because really they r paying me to do nothing but I am grateful because it's making me stronger and keeps my mind busy and eventually I will be able to do more and more x I'm aiming to try n do checkouts eventually but at mo I wouldn't beable to cope n then there's the infection risk but I can't live on a what if and plan to have antiseptic gel on standby. Glad I've gone back just hope chemo is kind so I can continue :x::x::x:

greyhound gal

Fantastic @cara! You are doing so well, and I’m sure it must be helping you mentally 👍. Listen to your body though, and don’t do too much too soon.
Your Employer does sound very considerate .
Here’s hoping that your chemo goes well, Wendy :x::x:


Well done @cara. I admire you for it but as @greyhound gal says, just take it easy.:x::x::x::x::x:

Bear G

You’re doing great @cara
Take it easy, build up slowly and remember to listen to your body and rest when you need to.
I agree with Wendy, you’ve got a great employer there!
Big hugs


Glad that you have survived a week at work. Just take it easy. And as everyone has said, listen to your body.


Hi @cara
Take it easy in work. Mind yourself. Sending you best wishes. :x::x: