Cancer stories

Kristin’s story

I’ve been employed with a Commonwealth Government department since 1995.

In 2009, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I told my boss I’d be taking extended time off and wrapped up some work before taking six weeks of sick leave.

My employer connected me with a workplace rehabilitation consultant who helped create a return to work plan for me. The consultant spoke to my doctorsand manager and determined my working hours and tasks.

Because I was having several months of chemotherapy, I started working from home for four hours once a week. Over a year, my hours increased and I worked at home and in the office. If I worked more time than planned, my employer would re-credit my sick leave.

Having a written plan was a safety net for me. Each month I would forecast the amount of work I thought I could handle. When I felt I should be working more or was anxious about people’s expectations, I knew I could stick to the approved plan and return at my own pace.

Being back to full-time work is a juggling act because I’m still fatigued and have a lot of appointments, including for my clinical trial. I also have work‑related stress – I’ve lost some corporate knowledge because I was out of the loop for a year.

I’m enjoying being back at work. I know I’m very lucky to have a supportive employer.

I hope employees know that they can ask for support from their employer – especially a written return to work plan. The support from my employer helped me to keep engaged and get back to work when I was able.


This information was last reviewed in January 2017
View who reviewed this content
View our editorial policy

Support services

Coping with cancer?
Speak to a health professional or to someone who has been there, or find a support group or forum

Need legal and financial assistance?
Pro bono services, financial and legal assistance, and no interest loans

Cancer information

What is cancer?
How cancer starts and spreads

Dealing with the diagnosis
Common reactions to a cancer diagnosis and how to find hope

View our publications
Guides and fact sheets for people with cancer, their families and friends

SHARE
TOP BACK TO TOP