OCAM - Back to Work?

15 March 2016

Once my chemo was over I started thinking about the possibility of a return to work, however the ongoing fatigue meant I wasn’t in a position health wise to contemplate a return during my treatment.  Nonetheless it hasn’t stopped me thinking about what I do career wise beyond treatment.  There is a bit of me that thinks I’m letting cancer get the better of me if I don’t return to work but I need to balance it up with my well-being.  It’ll be a big decision as to whether I return to what I was doing or seek out an alternative role. After 17 years of building my career at one of the big accountancy firms, having helped develop a role that played to my strengths and enabled me to work part time, the prospect of giving it all up is daunting. Just two days before I was admitted to hospital I was in a mock panel interview for promotion, declaring what I was going to bring to the firm – several months on this feels like a lifetime ago.

My illness has completely changed my outlook. My focus is now short term. Who knows what lies around the corner? I’m reticent to make commitments and spending quality time with family and friends has to come before work. 

With work previously being such a large part of my life I have a perpetual need to feel I’m being productive with my time.  To date I’ve got involved in reviewing cancer-related books for Macmillan and I’m a patient representative for the Yorkshire and Humber Genomic Medicine Centre bid, which is part of the Department of Health’s 100,000 Genome Project. Both roles allow me to give something back whilst allowing me to understand more about other patients’ experiences and developments in medicine.

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