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Work or Temporary Disability during adjuvant chemo

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hamaldonado View Drop Down
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    Posted: Aug 25 2021 at 10:58pm
Hello!  I am very newly diagnosed with TNBC. 

Triple Negative Breast Cancer with 3 cm tumor in left breast and suspiscious node where biopsy pathology was marked "discordant" by radiologist.  I had done a consumer genome test that showed me as BRCA+  but my doctors want to confirm this with a new genetic test. I also have mixed connective tissue disorder.  

I am slated to begin pre-surgery chemotherapy on 9/9/21.  The plan is 4x2 AC and then 4x2 Taxol along with Carboplatin.  My big question is - should I work or will it be better to go on disability?  My boss is a family member who said he would be flexible, but I am worried that I will feel horrible much of the time and when I do feel well, I won't want to "waste" that time working.  What do you think?  Did  you work during chemo?  How bad can it get?  I am a statistician so my work is mentally draining and sometimes stressful but not physically demanding.

Thank you in advance for your help!




Edited by hamaldonado - Aug 25 2021 at 11:08pm
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hamaldonado View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hamaldonado Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 25 2021 at 11:10pm
I think I named the topic incorrectly I guess it is neoadjuvant since it is before surgery.  Still learning LOL
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123Donna View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote 123Donna Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 26 2021 at 11:45am
Hello,

I'm not sure what the disability requirements are in each state or with your employer so that may be a factor on getting disability approved.  Sometimes you can take a leave of absence, but that is usually with no pay.  Can you work remotely during treatment?  I was able to do that during the first diagnosis.  I found the first week after chemo that I was more affected with foggy head and it improved the next two weeks.  I would try to have everything prepared so I wasn't performing critical tasks the few days after chemo.  Each person is different, some work with no issues and others are not able to.  When I had my second diagnosis, I worked full time during chemo with no issues, just a little more tired.  It really depends on the type of chemo and how you react to it.  I probably didn't help answer your question.  Maybe be prepared and see how you do after your first treatment?

Donna


DX IDC TNBC 6/09 age 49, Stage 1,Grade 3, 1.5cm,0/5Nodes,KI-67 48%,BRCA-,6/09bi-mx, recon, T/C X4(9/09)
11/10 Recur IM node, Gem,Carb,Iniparib 12/10,MRI NED 2/11,IMRT Radsx40,CT NED11/13,MRI NED3/15

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kirby View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote kirby Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 26 2021 at 12:27pm
You may be able to get partial disability for working part time. I was able to do this but that was over 20 years ago. 

I chose to work but I also only had 4 infusions of AC. I am self employed and needed the income, I didn't want to lose clientele basis I had built up and maybe a bigger reason as well, it was a nice distraction to have work and "pretend" everything was pretty normal. I think if I was home I would have been stressed and I'd have more time to dwell on my circumstances.....probably stressing me out more!
kirby

dx Feb. 2001. Age 44
Lumpectomy

2cm. no nodes stage 1 grade 3

4 rnds AC, 35 rads
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Elgee View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Elgee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 26 2021 at 7:25pm
Hi,

I had surgery first, then chemo and radiation.  I am fortunate to work from home, but my job is mentally taxing, so I was concerned but determined to try.

What worked for me was going on intermittent FMLA, and I ended up being able to work throughout treatment with minimal downtime.

Chemo was AC-T.  I requested Wednesday as my infusion day because I felt okay for the first couple of days, then crashed on the weekend.  This schedule worked very well during AC.  The Taxol didn't bother me at all, and radiation was easy.  I was never too sick to work, and my oncologist made sure that my symptoms were managed very well.

Brain fog is no joke, and I had to be very careful with my work.  In retrospect (a year later) I'm amazed that I pulled it off, but I also realize that work saved me.  It kept me busy and gave me something to focus on, distracting me from my cancer and the treatments that I thought would never end.

I hope this answers some of your questions, but please feel free to reach out if you need more information.  I wish you well.


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