Feel Your Best at Work During Chemotherapy

These strategies will help you keep up with your job demands when undergoing chemo.

By
Rita Ross

A cancer diagnosis may upend your life, but working through your treatment can help you maintain a semblance of normalcy. Balancing a career and chemotherapy can be difficult; fortunately, the workplace is more accommodating than ever. In a recent survey, 85% of employers allowed patients with breast cancer to reduce their work hours and 79% okayed a flexible schedule, according to the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans in Brookfield, WI. As a result, about 80% of patients work through their treatment, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Try these strategies for battling common problems at work and keeping up with the demands of your job:

Time it right
To minimize the impact of treatment side effects on your job performance, schedule chemo sessions for late in the day or book them for Fridays, right before the weekend.

Fight fatigue with food
Fatigue is one of the most common side effects, so ask your boss about taking short breaks during the day—even 10 minutes can boost your energy—and eat a nutritious snack if your appetite allows. Munch on a protein bar or a tablespoon of peanut butter on a whole-wheat cracker, plus a small glass of skim milk.

Fight fatigue in other ways
A short walk can also give you an energy boost. Another strategy is to take three slow, deep breaths whenever your energy sags.

Cope with nausea 
Consider temporarily relocating to a workstation near a rest room in case you need to slip out now and then.

Stay sharp
If chemotherapy or radiation interferes with concentration, schedule your toughest work duties for the morning or whenever you feel especially sharp.

For more info on undergoing chemotherapy, visit Guide2Chemo.com.

Published
October 2012