Recovery after cancer surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy varies from person to person. Some people seem to bounce back very quickly – able to drive a bus six weeks after major surgery – while others find it quite impossible to work for several months.
Part of recovery is physical, as the wound heals, muscles regain their strength, and side effects of radio or chemotherapy subside. Your medical team will give you a good idea what to expect, and you will probably find that your ‘body will tell you’ when you are ready.
The other part of getting back to work is psychological, and less easy to understand. Many people find that the whole process of cancer treatment undermines their confidence. After weeks or months when you seem to have little control over what is happening to you, the idea of going back to work and making decisions, catching up with what’s happened while you have been away, can be quite a struggle.
Then there’s the question of meeting work colleagues again. Will the manager understand that it would help if you could start back part time? Will the boss or Personnel allow it? Will your colleagues want to talk about your experience or not know what to say? May be worried about you joining the production team again?
If you are concerned about returning to work after cancer treatment, or need help in approaching your employer, contact Cancer Connections. Here you can meet other people who have been through this part of the ‘cancer journey’, are enjoying work again, and can help. Talking to our benefits and finance advisor may be useful too.
We are open Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm at 258 Harton Lane, South Shields, NE34 0LR - telephone 0191 456 5081