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Working through 6 weeks of radiation and chemo?


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Happy New Year!  

Tomorrow I have consult with radiologist and to set up treatment schedule. I will need to make a decision if I want to go out on full short term disability or work around appointments. Is it even physically possible?  I commute an hour each way, my job is stressful, I don’t have to go to the office with cold and flu season-I can work from home. Not knowing what side effects I’ll have, the decision is even harder as I have no idea how I’m going to feel. Has anyone worked through this?   

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Hi Barb

For me the decision was a no brainer.    I actually filed for full short term disability when I had pneumonia before the cancer diagnosis came into play. 

I consulted with my pulmonologists, oncologist, Integrative Oncologist & primary care about the STD route.  They were all in full agreement that my path to wellness would be my new full time job.  I was strongly encouraged to go the STD route & really glad I did as I have time to attend the wellness programs offered at the cancer center (at no cost).  

My docs thought my best shot was to reduce as much stress in my life as possible.  

The STD insurance was just as much a hassle as the medical insurance for me.  (There’s FMLA in there too).  I got harassed twice a week about a return to work plan!   I finally called HR & got them to call off the dogs.  

Michelle

 

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Radiation is once daily five times week for six weeks, Chemo is usually once week for six weeks. So once week you will have chemo and radiation on the same day no big deal, And how you handle both side effects is unknown at this time.Also the scheduled blood work once week and the doc meeting once week.

Bob

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Barb,

With daily radiation — 30 treatments — and weekly chemo you should have no effects for the first 2 weeks. By week 3, radiation will start to sap your energy. My last week of radiation I could hardly walk from the car to the clinic. My chemo was a reduced strength given once a week. I had no side effects from the chemo. I didn’t even lose hair. 

So you might be fine the first two weeks of treatment and should be able to either attend work or easily work from home. Week 3 will be tough. Week 4 and beyond if your radiation is longer will be very hard to work. 

Stay the course. 

Tom

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Thanks for the input. I’m leaning towards the disability. Being single, I’m always worried about my job, think I’m going to put me first. 

Michelle-I’m lucky that my short term is salary continuation not through an insurance company. But I still have to fill out LTD paperwork so they have all the information from the docs and to use later. 

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I didn't have to take that much time off for recovery from my surgery.  Still, it used up my sick time and I needed the short-term disability to tide me over.  I was thinking I could work half days or something and collect disability to cover the rest, but it didn't work out that way because any money you EARN gets deducted from your benefits.  Weird, but it basically penalizes you for trying to work part-time.  

I'd suggest discussing it with your HR department and/or consulting with your disability provider (mine was the State of NJ) to be sure you understand how it would work and then plan accordingly.  You might want to continue to work (from home, maybe) until you don't feel up to it and then take sick time and/or disability until your treatments are over and you're feeling strong enough to start back full time (again, maybe from home in the beginning so you can ease back into it).

I never had chemo or radiation so no thoughts on that specifically, except to note that based on what people here have said everyone seems to respond a bit differently, in terms of how they feel, even when they are on the same treatment regimen.  

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The Garden State has its charms, but dealing with the bureaucracy isn't one of them.  I'm a retired county employee, so my healthcare benefits are administered by the county, which isn't a lot better, but in my experience the lower-level bureaucracies are a bit less frustrating to deal with.

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Barb, I was just about to post this same question. I'm in the same boat as you. I have my first meeting with radiation/oncology next Wednesday, so I had little details about what I'm facing. I have learned a lot from the replies here on your post. I'll probably take STD so that I can focus on the healing.  However, because my hospital that I have been going to is almost a 2 hour drive now I think that I better find a more local place to have chemo/radiation. I am not going to be able to make that near 4 hour round trip drive every day for 6 weeks. Since I am going to be the person that has to drive myself to these treatments, I know now that I have to find a new treatment center here in NJ nearby. 

I wish that I had a support system here in NJ to help out with the driving, but I know that it fall predominantly on me. I have only my daughter here and she has little time off available.  Good luck in your treatment, Barb. Stay strong, we can fight this

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Hello Ladies-

This thread triggered a vague memory from my first days at the clinic.  I received an overwhelming book called resources.  Big thick thing not of much use at the time.  

Anyway- the American Cancer Society provides transportation to peeps for chemo & radiation.  You can do a quick Google- it called the Road to Recovery.  There is a toll free number listed to find a ride in your area.  

Might be worth a shot??

Michelle

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Hi Lisa-I have opted to do the STD, I’m exhausted already and working from home is stressful. So as of Friday it is ME time. I hope you find a closer place to home. Good luck to you too and yes we will win this battle 

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Hi Lisa-I have opted to do the STD, I’m exhausted already and working from home is stressful. So as of Friday it is ME time. I hope you find a closer place to home. Good luck to you too and yes we will win this battle 

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