Medical Leave

  1. First time post for me, so hope this works right. I am a 51 year old nurse (30 years since graduation) who was just diagnosed with breast cancer - had a bilateral mastectomy 1 week ago. Two of five lymph nodes were positive. Bone scan negative. Will see the oncologist in two weeks. Have many other tests before then. I work in a clinic setting as the on call outpatient nurse, doing lots of shots -allergy, B12, kids shots, etc and then a lot of walk in type work - strep ID, UTI, ? pregnancy.

    I was told today that they are setting me up for my 12 weeks of medical leave - boss had talked with OSHA and because of my almost continuous exposure to the infections in the clinic, they recommended relieving me of my duties for the time being. I know I need to recuperate, and I know that chemo is not going to be fun, but what do you guys think about this? I don't want to use up my leave before I'm able to come back to work...
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   jemb
    Sorry about your illness. I'll keep you in my thoughts.

    Chemo can knock your resistance down to practically nil. We always tell our patients to stay away from places where they are likely to be exposed to infections of any sort. You'd be taking a big risk, plus chemo also saps your energy so you may find that you'll be grateful for the time off.

    Use the time to take care of yourself.
  4. by   Disablednurse
    My best friend just finished chemotherapy following a left breast mastectomy right after Christmas. They did not want her even going shopping or to the mall for fear of her getting an infection. They said if she did to be sure and wear a mask. You will be very close and right up on these people. I would not take a chance if it was me. You take care of yourself and you will get back to work a lot faster than you would if you caught something in a weakened state and had to get rid of it. That is just MHO. Hugs and prayers for you.
  5. by   rileygrl11
    I agree with the above posts.

    You will be in my thoughts and prayers!
  6. by   canoehead
    Some employees at my hospital were allowed to do the jobs that were appropriate for their medical condition. Paperwork/or shorter hours. With the nursing shortage could they find a spot for you elsewhere, so you would have the option of having a bit of money coming in? Of course if you prefer to take the time off go for it. Good luck with your treatment.
  7. by   gail323
    As has been said before, in many of the other forums, you guys are the best. Especially appreciate your well wishes. I know it's going to be an interesting summer...
  8. by   das
    We have had several nurses and other hospital personnel go through various treatments. Most have continued to work. The nurses (breast Ca) have used Neulasta to allow them to continue to work. One nurse monitored her counts and decreased her work load and schedule accordingly and avoided the obviously infected patients. She was very diligent in monitoring her counts and her work assignments. Good luck and take care of yourself!!!!!
  9. by   BadBird
    I think that with your compromised immune system you should not be in any hurry to go back to work. 12 weeks seems like a long time but when you are recovering it isn't. Please take care of yourself and don't be in a hurry to return to work. Perhaps a telephone triage job would be in the future, a job where you aren't exposed to so many germs. Good luck with your treatment, hope you have a speedy recover.
  10. by   renerian
    Having worked on hem/onc over 6 years I would say take the time and rest and this will help decrease your exposure to infections. Your going to need your rest.

    renerian
  11. by   gail323
    Tried to do a few things this weekend - nothing huge, just attend church and run into a store for a couple of things. Sure found out that I'm not back to normal yet - just plain exhausted. So far, the head CT and bone scan returned clear and I'm scheduled for the abd/pelvic CT tomorrow and the echocardiogram on Wednesday. And lots of naps... Thanks for your insight. Gail
  12. by   Disablednurse
    Gail, My friend finished her chemo right after Christmas and is still not hitting on 100%. She is still taking ProCrit to help her keep her blood levels up to prevent weakness. Just take it slow and let others do for you know. I am one to talk, too. My husband stays on me about the same thing with my back disability. YOu will be in my thoughts and prayers.
  13. by   gail323
    It's been a while since I posted so thought I would let you know how things are going. I have completed 5 of 8 chemo treatments - 4 Adriamycin/Cytoxin and the first Taxol. Will have my 2nd Taxol on Monday. Up until August 4th, I continued to be employed - unable to work the week of chemo and working only half days the other two weeks. On August 4th, I became unemployed for the first time in 30 years. Clinic was not willing to work around my schedule and legally didn't have to. I am ok with it - my first task is to get better and I have a better chance of doing that without the stress of work. and I have no doubt that God has something in mind for when I'm done.

    Chemo - no true nausea, but the feeling that if I swallowed one more time, everything would come up. White count dropped while on the first set of chemos - so learned about Neulasta. Having some problems getting my hemoglobin back up to acceptable so am also a poster child for Procrit. I feel good the two weeks between chemo but get tired very easily. And yes, I did experience the bone/muscle/all over pain of Taxol...

    After chemo is done, will also get to experience radiation but if all goes well, I should be done by Christmas and maybe have hair back by Easter...

    Gail
  14. by   IowaKaren
    Gail, am glad to hear your doing fairly well with all you've had on your "plate". Am also sorry to hear of losing your job but, the attitude you are taking is an excellent example of the Spiritual power of recovery. I believe there is a divine plan for all and you're recognition of that will see you through this. Take care of yourself, rest, and my prayers are with you.

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