yes Ihave secondaries and I think most or all the others on this thread have. How long are you since your primary treatment? Do you work full time? I wonder if there are any ‘reasonable adjustments’ your employer could make, to take the pressure off you, such as tweaking your working hours or duties. You need to tell them you’re struggling. I’m sorry to hear this. Maybe talk to your onc or GP too, in case it’s a side effect of something you’re taking that could be changed? Also look at the rest of your life - are there things that need to change where you’re putting yourself under pressure, or things other people could help you with.? I know I’ve put myself under huge pressure since my diagnosis because I felt I was able to protect my family from fear if I carried on as normal. Looking back I think I was a bit of an idiot! But you do what you think is the best thing at the time.
Treat yourself gently and good luck
Thanks Kate and Sarah, it’s to know others’ experiences of this journey. I haven’t yet spoken to anyone who has regrets about their decision!
I made several changes to my life after I got my diagnosis. I get on very well with my Oncologist and have discussed many of them with her, not much was said about diet and supplements, although I was given approval, but when I suggested taking early retirement her response was, if you can then I would. Was also very positive about exercise. My GP said the same. I have no regrets, hope you enjoy it too, Kx
Thanks for all your replies. congratulations Millie on making your decision. I too have decided to go for it, it just seems the right time to put myself and my well-being first. I can’t tell you how relieved I am, both to have made a decision but especially to have decided to finish work. Ok so we might have to go back to a student diet 😏 to make ends meet, but it will be worth it. I think I will sleep for weeks once I stop, it’s been so high pressure for so long. I’ve got to work 3 months notice, and I didn’t realise but applying for your pension is totally separate from handing in your notice, so I won’t know if I get tier 2 (the higher level top-up) until it’s too late. Either way, if we need more cash I will find a straightforward job in a garden centre or something where there’s less pressure (hopefully)
any other advice gratefully received
Hi Dennymac and others,
this is a very timely thread for me, as I too am wrestling with the decision of whether to retire early from my NHS job. I’m an occupational therapist. Diagnosed stage 4 11 years ago and have had two periods of extended leave for chemo and for liver resection surgery. I work 3 days a week but miss one day every three weeks when I have my Kadcyla. My onc has seen me so stressed about my job (just the massive workload) that he has offered to sign whatever I need to take early retirement. I just can’t make the decision. My job is my vocation, I love the actual patient contact, just not all the other poop that goes with it. I’ve defied the odds so far, so what if I retire then my cancer doesn’t progress for ages? On the other hand what if I keep working then get much sicker and wish I’d stopped sooner. It’s an impossible conundrum. There’s also the financial considerations. I’m 55 but haven’t accrued a full pension yet. I don’t want to jump the gun.
I too feel exhausted by work and life in general and don’t have time/energy to look after myself such as keeping fit, doing enjoyable and wholesome things like gardening and seeing friends and resting when I need to. And it’s the ‘mental load’ of the job on top of everything else I’m juggling.
My doc suggested ‘deciding’ to retire on grounds of ill health next year, then living with that decision. She suggested trying to live without my salary, but putting it away for a big trip, and planning what I want to do after I retire. Then I might get more of a feel of whether i’m ready to go for it. I thought that was a good plan.
Another question I have is, do work have to show they’ve made ‘reasonable adjustments’ before occ health with support your retirement? So should I be pushing for lighter duties or shorter hours right now?
i think asking advice from the union is a good plan, I will do that.
thanks again for sharing your experiences and the support this gives
I also meant to say, is it an option to take sickness leave to 'buy' yourself some time till the lump sum. Worth discussing with rcn rep if not already done xx
Hi Dennymac, I can tell you my experience in case it is any help. I made a fairly inconsequential error and thought I should discuss it with my RCN rep. He said 'you need to think about your fitness to practice', and that lead to referral to Occupational health. With support of GP also I got ill health retirement on grounds of ongoing fatigue and worry that I might make a serious mistake. I honestly feel nothing but relief I'm not registered any more, but I was only qualified 10 years, working part time, age 57. Hope you can get what is right for you.
I took time off sick from my NHS nursing post on diagnosis of my secondaries in September 2016, and finished on tier 2 ill health retirement in August 2017. I was on first line treatment (letrizole) at the time. I found my manager, occupational health, human resources and oncologist all to be supportive.
PM me if you want more information.