Treatment and Work (or Not)
The question of whether or not to work through treatment is difficult for many women. Sometimes it is obvious. For example, I knew a woman who was a carpenter for the Big Dig and, after a month or so of trying, she admitted that she was not up for the hard physical labor that her job involved (and, interestingly, she reported that the men with whom she worked tried hard to help her out and make it possible for her to stay). I have also known many pre-school teachers who felt that the "germ factories" of their classrooms made the decision simple; they couldn't be there during this time when they likely would be vulnerable to infections.
For most of us, however, it is less clear. The answer depends on the support and flexibility at your job place, and the financial realities of life; your thoughts may change over time. This is an interesting article from The Breast about this decision and the feelings/attitudes/perspectives of women who made different choices. I give you the abstract and then a link to read more:
Breast cancer treatment and work disability: Patient perspectives?
Corine Tiedtke , Bernadette Dierckx de Casterlé , Angelique de Rijk , Marie-Rose Christiaens , Peter Donceel
Most female breast cancer patients are forced to interrupt their professional activities during treatment. Qualitative research was carried out to assess women's experiences of being work disabled because of breast cancer.
Patients and methods
In-depth interviews were analyzed to understand patient's experiences and to gain more insight in their perspectives on living with breast cancer.
We identified a ?three-experience model': (1) disruption, with the feeling of irreparable loss, despair and no hope for the future; (2) episode, an unpleasant and inconvenient period, after which life continues as before; and/or (3) meaningful period, during which new life priorities' are set.
The different experiences will require different types of support, especially concerning communication around disability and returning to work. Our findings highlight the need of an individual approach of the management of work disability for breast cancer patients.
Highlights ? We identify a three- experiences model of work disability during breast cancer. ? Feelings of irreparable loss apply to the disruption experience. ? Obligation to standing firm against the storm goes with the inconvenient episode. ? The meaningful period experience shows how patients re-evaluate their lives. ? The different experiences matter chiefly to health care providers and practitioners.