The reality of returning to nursing 4 weeks after finishing active treatment 😴
Well phasing back into work has not been easy! I have now been back at work for 4 weeks. That means I am now 8 weeks since finishing active treatment. Definitely recommend a phase return back to work! Initially I returned to 4 hour shifts and have now increased to 7.5 hour shifts. I will soon be back to 12 hour shifts in a couple of weeks time 😬. I feel like phasing back in to work doesn’t just get easier it’s like you have to build up a tolerance and push through. I am fine on shift and getting in thousands of steps but as soon as I sit down at home I’m asleep for sometimes 4 hours! This has worsened again as my shifts have recently increased but fingers crossed over time things will gradually get easier.
Being a nurse isn’t the most ideal place of work after just being a patient yourself 😂. No nail varnish allowed means my nails are taking a battering, the constant hand washing and sanitizer meant I left work yesterday with half a nail missing 🙈.
Also my skin has never been the same since docetaxel and my feet got so dry! Being on my feet longer has lead to deep cracks in my heels which are soooo painful!! BUT this is the reality. Having cancer doesn’t stop the needs of life, the need to work and pay the bills.
Emotionally, there has been times where I’ve wanted to cry and felt overwhelmed but literally picked up where I left off. But nursing is nursing and as we all know staffing in the nhs is never good and trying to finish on time and take breaks is such a challenge! Trying to push through and get things done but there’s always a little voice in the back of my head saying to remember myself. Remembering what I’ve been through and that sitting down for 15 minutes actually makes the world of difference.
I am taking part in the BACSUP programme by bhlive gyms next week and I will get a free gym membership for 6 weeks. This will allow me to try and build my strength up a little bit at a time to get back to how I was before chemo. I’ve always hated the gym and never really went before I got cancer so life seems very unfair sometimes that you have to do things such as this! BUT it’s got be done and hopefully going will ease my anxiety over my weight gain especially now on hormone therapy and also make work a little easier if I’m feeling stronger!
Whilst being back at work I’ve now started my new medication of exemestane tablets and prostap injections. I’m feeling pretty weary and lots of achey joints! Been hard to tell with the heatwave but definitely having hot flushes more often and sweating more than I ever knew was possible! 🙄 I try to remind myself of the good these meds are doing in keeping the cancer away to protect me from going through all this again. Taking a handful of tablets every morning isn’t the best but at least the chewy calcium ones for my bones taste good 😂! An adapted breakfast shall we say!
Positive: Realising it’s so important to always be kind to yourself and remember you cannot look after others unless you look after you first. Life is too short to be stressed, tired and overworked so making time for you should be at the top of your list! I have a couple of exciting opportunities coming up over the next few weeks and cannot wait to be able to share them with you ❤️