Log in or Register to participate in these discussions

Working through immunotherapy

Working through immunotherapy

Posted by JeannieBW on Sep 2, 2018 4:26 pm


I was wondering if anyone on immunotherapy has continued to work through treatment? I have been on Prembrolizumab for approx 10 mths now and still have min 15 more mths, and I'm still working full time, but I am starting to feel like I'm exhausted all the time and even though I was told, you don't get chemo brain on my meds, there are days I can't remember simple words, it maybe the drug or maybe work stress I don't know.  I feel if I stop working I have lost one battle against this crappy disease, or am I just stubborn? I'm also finding that I have been very up front with my bosses that I can't commit to anything I can't give my 120% to but because I don't look sick, and I function they continue to give me more and more, because we started a new project.  The interesting thing is I work in health care, long term care homes and my direct supervisor is an RN, and for the most part she has been amazing, but I found out the other day, that I am scheduled to become a superuser for a new program we are implementing.  I don't think I can do it or commit to it, I just so d*** tired.

I am stage 4 melanoma and I just recently had axillary node disection (12 taken, 3 had tumours) and port implant, I took 2 wks off and then worked from home for one more week, then back at it.  Am I crazy to keep working or should I just keep on trying.

I am so lost on a decision, and I don't want to put my family in financial distress, as I am the steady pay cheque in our household, my husband and I just bought a business just before my diagnoses, it's going well but being a A type personality I have to have the secure knowledge that bills will be paid. 

Sorry for the long pity party.


Re: Working through immunotherapy

Posted by princessmaura on Sep 2, 2018 4:36 pm

JeannieBW‍, hi...I have never been on immunotherapy but I had six rounds of chemo and it took a toll on me...it sounds like you are exhausted from your full-time job and need a rest...the situation must be difficult for you since you are the main breadwinner in your family...
for myself, I try to listen to my body and rest when I am tired...I made the mistake of pushing myself too hard when I was tired and ended up falling in my bathroom and hitting my head so hard it started to bleed...
I hope you can come to a decision on what to do and have some peace of mind...

Re: Working through immunotherapy

Posted by scaredysquirrel on Sep 2, 2018 5:36 pm

JeannieBW‍ , wow I admire your courage to keep working full time through your treatments.  I had 16 rounds of chemo and 5 weeks of radiation.  There was no way I could work.  I could barely get off our couch sometimes after treatments.  Plus I have a long commute so riding on transit was not an option as it was too tiring and risky to get sick.  I hear you about worrying about bills.  I had to decide between taking my retirement now and ending my LTD coverage or doing a gradual return to work.  I have one more year until all my pensions kick in so I decided to return for awhile and see how it goes.  It's going to be tough to go back as I've been gone for over a year.  Don't push yourself or let your employer take advantage of you.  You sound like me always willing to go the extra mile at work.  I've learned through my cancer journey, life is too short and the demands of a job are sometimes not worth it.  Take care of yourself first.  All the best in your decision.

Re: Working through immunotherapy

Posted by Elsie13 on Sep 3, 2018 3:50 pm

I am wondering about a few things, JeannieBW‍ .  Would you be entitled to a bit more time off, with disability payments? Can you work part-time instead of full-time?   Can you perhaps take on a less stressful position with the same employer, and if so would the salary be a lot less?  
In 2016: diagnosed with stage 2 ovarian cancer. Treatment: hysterectomy, chemo, radiation. Afterwards: No Evidence of Disease!

Re: Working through immunotherapy

Posted by JeannieBW on Sep 3, 2018 9:20 pm

Hi Elsie13‍ 

I've used all my sick time and vacation for the year, and unfortunately my job is all or nothing.  I can apply for medical ei and then LTD.  It's hard thinking about bring in less money.  I have a meeting in Vancouver on Friday so I'm going to find out what thier expectations are of me with this new project and then make a decision.   I  live on Vancouver island and do find having to go to Vancouver for meetings exhausting as well.

Re: Working through immunotherapy

Posted by Fatcat103 on Oct 5, 2018 2:52 pm

I am in the fortunate position to work from home, self employed.  I do not think there would be a way I could get up and commute every day to work, there are days when the kids gets home that I am still in my pj's, house is a mess and nothing on for dinner.  I just cant face it most days as I am mentally and physically exhausted.  I have some pretty demanding clients but once I filled them in on my situation they have become much more tolerant if I don't respond immediately to requests..  Counting my lucky stars on the employment situation anyhow. 

Re: Working through immunotherapy

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Oct 6, 2018 10:00 am

Fatcat103‍ , I just want to let you know that spending a whole day in your pyjamas doesn’t necessarily mean you’re sick or depressed — you could just be practicing for retirement!  The ‘nothing on for dinner’ thing is a different issue, although, I have days when I “forage” in the kitchen. But I don’t have kids, eh.
“When the root is deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” - Japanese saying