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Wish I Could Retire

Wish I Could Retire

Posted by scaredysquirrel on Jan 24, 2017 2:19 am

I am hoping to retire soon.  I actually am about a little under 3 years away from retirement.  I was really focussing all my energy on retirement, until this diagnosis derailed me.  I don't know when or if I will return to work.  Wait and see I guess.

Re: Wish I Could Retire

Posted by MommaBear on Apr 23, 2017 9:39 pm

scaredysquirrel‍ I feel the same way.  I am close to retirement myself, but I never planned to retire early.  I feel I should continue to work as long as I can (off now on STD), as we still have our youngest son at home and his post-secondary education to finish paying, plus the usual bills every month that won't go away.  I am trying to sort out my options when STD ends, but that will end before my retirement date arrives.  I am wondering if I should work during radiation therapy (5 weeks x 5 days/week) coming up end of June and take LTD for that month or so.  I am hoping I can go back to work at least by end of July, but fear the upcoming mammogram again in September.  I guess I'll have to see how tired I am during radiation therapy.  Doctor told me to expect much fatigue.  I am having radition to both breasts (2 diff kinds of breast cancer).  It would be nice to have endless opportunities to work an easier job though!  I am in a large corporate office, but public commute is long and tedious.  Any ideas?
- MommaBear

Re: Wish I Could Retire

Posted by on Apr 23, 2017 10:33 pm

MommaBear‍, I would suggest that you don't work during radiation...I had 25 rounds of radiation...5 days a week for 5 weeks and I found it very stressful...if I had any gas in my bowels, the radiology technicians would not radiate me and I would have to redo the whole process of drinking water and trying the procedure over again...the drinking of the water was supposed to protect my intestines from the radiation...since you will be getting your breasts radiated instead of your stomach area, perhaps it will be a different experience for you than it was for me...

Re: Wish I Could Retire

Posted by MommaBear on Apr 23, 2017 11:27 pm

Thanks, Princess Maura‍.  That's important to know!  I wondered about the "fatigue" that the radiation oncologist mentioned.  I know the fatigue that comes with chemo is overwhelming at times, and I can't imagine concentrating too well for a complete shift at work to be followed with public transit commute home.  I was surprised to hear that radiation involves fatigue because the session is supposedly so much shorter than chemo...sigh!  Tired of being tired!
 
- MommaBear

Re: Wish I Could Retire

Posted by scaredysquirrel on Apr 24, 2017 12:03 am

I am on STD now as well, I can't work while going through chemo and then radiation.  I don't see myself being able to do my job anymore as it involves heavy lifting (I work in a University bookstore).  Unless they can find me a desk job! LOL.  Anyway, I likely will just take an early retirment once this is over.
 

Re: Wish I Could Retire

Posted by on Apr 24, 2017 12:52 am

MommaBear‍, I'm not sure about the fatigue from the radiation since I was not getting enough sleep during radiation, having to go everyday during the weekdays and the radiation times that were given varied so I was always struggling to take care of myself while undergoing radiation...I also had to take an anti-nausea medication twelve hours apart on each of the radiation days...that, too,had to be timed...I can say that I did not feel well during the radiation...sort of a very mild free floating kind of unwell feeling...sort of nausea, I guess...but not enough to vomit...the whole chemo and radiation treatment time was a very tiring time for me, as that followed a major surgery and before that I was nothing but skin and bones from the cancerous tumor...sad

Re: Wish I Could Retire

Posted by MommaBear on Apr 24, 2017 2:10 am

Yes, Princess Maura‍, that all sounds very tiring!  Did your energy return soon after radiation?  

Even preparing healthy meals is taxing--what with grating, chopping, blending all the veggies, say nothing of shopping to maintain a ready supply, although I am enjoying preparing healthier meals!

When did you revise your diet, or were you pretty much following a decent nutritional intake all along? 

I am diabetic type 2 since the birth of my last child.  Now, while reading Dr. David Servan-Schreiber's book, I recognize the inflammation that arises as a result of DB2 is also a big cancer factor...also recognize the urgent need now, more than ever, to revise my nutritional intake.  I am losing weight since staring chemo (I needed to lose weight), and that is improving my sugar levels (other than during the week of chemo administration).  Oncologist is blaming the oral dexamethasone taken during week of chemo for my high blood sugar levels that week.  Good other weeks, thankfully!   Only one more round of chemo to go! 
- MommaBear

Re: Wish I Could Retire

Posted by on Apr 24, 2017 2:27 am

MommaBear‍, no my energy did not return soon after radiation...and that was because I caught a cold soon after radiation, and postponed my chemo...I was supposed to have two more chemo rounds after my radiation...and after my chemo was finished, I got food poisoning when I ate food at a social event...it was finger food...
I revised my diet very gradually...this was after my cancer diagnosis...reading Dr. David Servan-Schreiber's book made a big difference in wanting to change my lifestyle (this includes diet, exercise, mental state, sleep)...for years I was the caregiver of my elderly mother and I had neglected taking care of myself...I had always put her first, now I have to put myself first...I am glad to hear that you have only one more round of chemo to go...it was difficult for me to undergo the sixth and last chemo because my platelets and neutrophils were too low, so my oncologist had to lower the dose...
I would say allow yourself time to recuperate after cancer treatment...take good care of yourself and you will begin to feel stronger and more energetic...

Re: Wish I Could Retire

Posted by MommaBear on Apr 24, 2017 2:04 pm

scaredysquirrel‍ I once worked as support staff at a university in Montreal and we were part of a union there.  Are you a union member at your university?  If so, they could facilitate your getting a desk job.  Also, per my current job (nonunionized) STD/LTD I have to be cleared by doctor before returning to work.  At that point, on the Return to Work form the doctor has to complete, he/she can stipulate the parameters of the job to which I am able to return (certain tasks, hours per week/ergo equip, enviro, etc). 

You might find there will be a bit of a red carpet laid out for you if unionized and later returning to work, no?  Good luck.  I agree lifting those very heavy university tomes would be torture after chemo and radiationi!!!sad
 
- MommaBear

Re: Wish I Could Retire

Posted by MommaBear on Apr 24, 2017 2:07 pm

Princess Maura‍ - so sorry to learn you had such a rough time!  Food poisoning after all you went through!!!  That's abominable!  I hope you made the host/caterer aware!  If it were me, I'd have felt wretched! 

And, yes, I mustn't forget that Dr. David's approach is a comprehensive approach with sleep, exercise, mental reconditioning, etc.
 
- MommaBear

Re: Wish I Could Retire

Posted by on Apr 24, 2017 2:38 pm

MommaBear‍, it's been a tough cancer journey since I was diagnosed in 2015...while we are on chemo and afterwards, when our immune systems have been compromised, we are more susceptible to germs and bacteria and it has been advised not to eat from food buffets, etc. I did report the incident recently when I had the opportunity...
I thought I would mention that I like to cook at home best, to feed myself...

Re: Wish I Could Retire

Posted by sundog on May 1, 2017 7:47 pm

scaredysquirrel‍ Does your job have a union? Most universities do I'm told. My job involves a lot of lifting, but I have been accomodated for no lifting. I can also sit while at cash, which is not allowed without accomodation. I started the limitations when i started chemo, and I have actually had them extended since chemo. With my peripheral neuropathy, I can no longer load or straighten in the coolers, and I can't stand on a stool to tidy the top shelf. I had to get the doctor to write new accomodations every 3 months, but now it's 'until further notice'. I have been told by my social worker that my job accomodations are among the best she's heard of. 

Re: Wish I Could Retire

Posted by scaredysquirrel on May 2, 2017 1:59 am

Hi Sundog.  Yes, I am in the BCGEU union.  They will of course offer me "duty to accomodate" should I decide to return to work and I can return on a graduated basis.  It's hard to say whether or not the bookstore will be the best place for me anymore.  There are other Depts like Admin. and Registration that involve only desk work.  However, I am so close to retirement now that I pretty much have decided to take an early retirement.  I can purchase retirement credits from this year that I would have missed being on sick leave.  I also don't want the long commute to Richmond or even Surrey for that matter. Retirement is definitely on my radar!  Thanks.

Re: Wish I Could Retire

Posted by Mona on May 3, 2017 9:46 pm

Hi Scaredsquirrel, please talk to someone with BCGEU first before taking early retirement. You may be better off staying on disability rather than taking a pension. I have a co-worker who will likely be on long-term disability until she's 65 when she will start her pension. My sister got a call from Manulife before her short-term disability was over to ask about her starting the long-term disability. The Manulife person was very understanding and said that my sister probably wouldn't even be able to think about going back to work until at least one month after the last chemo treatment. She also found out the graduated return to work hours are determined by the insurance company and not the workplace.

Re: Wish I Could Retire

Posted by on May 4, 2017 12:48 am

scaredysquirrel‍, that's nice that you live in British Columbia like I do..you are a local girl..lol

Re: Wish I Could Retire

Posted by scaredysquirrel on Jan 19, 2019 6:33 pm

I see how I got started on this topic.  My radiation and chemo took a lot out of me.  I wish I had read some of these post replies a little more closely.  Great advice from everyone here.  I certainly didn't think this out....much to my regret.  

Re: Wish I Could Retire

Posted by princessmaura on Jan 20, 2019 11:19 am

scaredysquirrel‍, it's normal to feel confused when you have been dealing with cancer and the cancer treatments...don't forget brain fog from the chemo and any discomfort and fatigue from the radiation treatments...

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