work and cancer

Early retirement… and cancer.

I met some friends last weekend and had a lovely night catching up. We know each other for over thirty years since our training began. We have been there for each other through all the ups and downs that life brings. The funny thing is that we may not meet up all that regularly, maybe every six months or sometimes it could be a year before one of us picks up the phone. More recently we have a Whatsapp group and some nights the phone could be pinging  in a flurry all evening and then be quiet for awhile.   I laughed hard and freely last weekend and ended up with a bellyache at one stage with all the antics going on. This night was exactly what I needed and gave me a brief reprieve from grieving for my mother.

All of my friends are working and have been successful at whatever they are doing.  As they described the various difficulties they encounter on a daily basis and the obvious frustration at some aspects of their respective jobs I couldn’t help but feel a pang of envy in the midst of all the hilarity, as I watched them one by one animatedly discuss their stories.  The passion they feel for their work was palpable.   I know I am still not reconciled to having to give up work even though it is coming close to three years now.    I don’t know what to do about it…    If I am honest this unease has been creeping up on me since January when everyone returned to work after Christmas. Hubby reassures me when I am feeling like but the reality is that I would still be working if I didn’t get cancer a second time.

Things I do know:

  • At the moment I need to be at home for my children. They still need me to be around. One of my  biggest regrets when diagnosed for a second time was not spending more time with the children as I was too busy working and organising the house on my days off.
  • As most of us are all too aware being healthy is not an absolute. It has to be proactively  nurtured, the only way to do that is to watch my diet and have a regular exercise regime which I always found difficult to do when working.   For the first time in five years I can say my energy levels are improving and I don’t want to compromise that in any way.  After my first episode of cancer, once my energy was restored after treatment I worked full time again and on reflection think that may have been a mistake for me.
  • I am not ready  to commit x number of hours to an employer as I can’t plan how I will be feeling on any given day.
  • For the moment my ramblings on this blog give me some focus and is the nearest feeling to work that I have. The advantage to this is that I can give as much or as little attention as I want.
  • If I ever work again I will be self-employed as I couldn’t bear to be in a position again  When work doesn’t work out..

There that’s better… It always helps me when I write a list!    I am resigned to having these feelings from time to time.    What has given me some hope is that Shinecancersupport and ASTRiiD have initiated a system to enable people living with cancer become employed again by opting for flexible hours or part-time work. Have a read as it gives hope that we are not put out to grass just yet. Thanks to Marie Ennis-O’Connor @JBBC for tweeting it!

For now, where I am is where I need to be.

If you fancy seeing how I got to this stage check out my other posts on work:

Back to work after cancer: part 1

Back to work after cancer: part 2

4 thoughts on “Early retirement… and cancer.”

  1. You are right where you need to be—with your children. It took me 4 years, several stable scans, and the realization that my last child doesn’t need me quite like she used to before I decided to find a part-time job. And mostly I did that because of the guilt that it is my health that is causing all of our financial problems. I say if you don’t have to work, don’t. Life is way to short to give it to someone else.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment. I know you are absolutely right but every so often I wistfully look at what might have been. Possible nostalgia and some guilt too. I am so grateful to be able to be with my children. I especially like your last sentence- life is way too short to give it to someone else! Take care x


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