Work and School...

I begin chemo next week and I'm getting mixed signals from my different doctors. My oncologist said that I could very well be able to work through it and maintain my everyday life for the most part dependent upon my personal side effects. My general physician advised me to take some time off work because he didn't think it was a good idea.

Here's the kicker. I have two jobs. One full time and one part time. I already started a medical hiatus from the part time job so that is a non factor. However, I am a full time student.

I plan to maintain my full time job and stay in all my scheduled courses through chemo treatment. Can anyone advise if they think this is plausible or even whether you think it 's a good idea to attempt...


  • 6 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • it sounds rough but treatment is a very individual thing. maybe you will be fine. maybe not. my treatment made it impossible for me to continue any job or school. I would be so severely immunocompromised that any human contact was dangerous. I had to wear a mask to get my blood tested to monitor for transfusion needs.

    even once my official treatment ended and I was "cleared" officially, I had such terrible chemobrain issues that I could only handle a little part time school. one course and a little of my thesis work (that did not go terribly well. even that much was hard on me). it was probably 1.5yrs beforre I was able to get back into a fulltime school/work environment, but that was even very challenging for me.

    and even now, 3yrs out, regular full time is about all I can handle. I have to sleep more than I used to. I can't be go-go-go like formerly. a full time job, school, and another part time job is absolutely out of the question for me.

    your limitations won't likely become apparent immediately. the effects of treatment build after every round over time. I know people who had pretty light treatment and could work through it all, but constantly fought side effects. and you will have them. which ones you end up with will vary.

    good luck with everything, but make sure your academic advisers and both employers are fully aware of your situation so you can take leave of those things if necessary. my professors were very accommodating to me taking time off. it mostly went very smoothly coming back (except for some admin hitches, because university administration - especially in public universities - is very inefficient).
  • KatlynnKatlynn Community Member
    Chemo was definitely the toughest time for me, but depending on your regimine, it can be done. I had inpatient chemotherapy and my doctors thought I was absolutely crazy when I asked if I could work during it. I took a year off school and just took time for myself, but I love being busy so sitting around all the time was difficult. Take your doctors advice, but more importantly just listen to your body. You'll know if you're pushing yourself too hard. I've been on crutches for the past 2 months because I had a second hip replacement and 2/3 of my femur removed and I've still been able to take nursing classes, do physical therapy, be involved in my sorority and nanny 25 hours a week. People think I'm crazy, especially my parents, but staying busy is what makes me happy and I think that is the most important thing to consider. You might think about cutting back on work hours and maybe being a part time student. I have been part time this semester and last semester and with everything that is going on, it is still tough to get everything done. Praying that your first round of treatments goes well!
  • CareyCarey Community Member
    That's a very personal decision. Like Nate and some others have already pointed out, you could be able to balance work and school with your medical care. When I went through chemo I worked full time and was able to take time off for my medical appointments as needed. But as I progressed further into my chemo, it became harder and harder to work. I them went on full disability after about three months of chemo to get a bone marrow transplant and I've been on disability ever since. That was in 2009. It truly depends on alot of different things that you can't predict or envision right now. Your best bet is to give it a shot and if it doesn't work out, you can scale back your work hours, withdraw, resign, or pick the best option for you. The biggest thing is to remember that you will need lots of time to rest and recover. You will most likely be put out of commission for several days after each chemo treatment. I always scheduled mine for a Thursday so I could take Friday off and have a three day weekend to recover. Even with that, there were sometimes lingering effects into Monday. You just never know. Each person reacts differently and needs to make their own decision. If I hadn't worked during chemo, I think it would have been a much rougher experience than it was. It was good to be around my friends and coworkers everyday. For me it helped take the edge off and I felt less "sick."
  • I still haven't made my final decision yet but it looks like I think most people agree that it's a very personal decision and depends a lot on currently unknown variables. I think I will probably give it a shot and then bail on something if push comes to shove.
  • wait and see is the best approach, I think. with all the variables of what treatment you receive and how your body (and your mind) handle that's kinda necessary to do it that way.

    I was lucky to get 2 "healthy" days per 1mo chemo cycle where I could get out of the house and do something or visit friends. working in that environment just wasn't an option.