Vent and Notifying Employer (again)

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compiler
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 7269
   Posted 3/5/2011 9:20 AM (GMT -6)   
I guess another vent/cry is in order. I am just having trouble dealing with this latest huge PSA increase. As a result of my last increase, my doubling time is actually a tad less than 2 months. That is SCARY and does not augur well. I had felt very much in control with a PSA of 0.13. I figured I could start SRT with the expected small increase. Now I am starting SRT with a much higher PSA than anticipated. By the time I actually get started, my PSA will be over 0.33 at this rate. Basically, it is a total loss of control, being swept up. Not a good feeling.
 
Adding to this emotional upheaval is the fact that once again I had to send emails to my bosses (Division Chair and Dean -- I teach at a University). We did this 15 months ago when I got dx. They have been great. I have been working there for about 6 1/2 years and I currently have about 13 weeks of sick leave. In short, I haven't missed a day other than PC stuff (3 weeks due to surgery plus a nice 2-week semesters break at that time). I know my SRT schedule might conflict with my teaching schedule (I'll know after the set-up when they show me what slots they have open -- my teaching schedule varies each day so I anticipate a conflict somewhere). I felt I had to tell them due to the anticipated schedule problems plus possible side effects that may put me out for awhile. At least this way we can come up with some contingency plans. I HATE this.
 
Has anyone else here had to notify their employer not once, but twice?
 
Mel 
 
 
PSA-- 3/08--2.90; 8/09--4.01; 11/09--4.19 (PSAf: 24%), PCA3 =75 .Biopsy 11/30/09. Gleason 4+3. Stage: T1C. Current Age: 64. Surgery: Dr. Menon @Ford Hospital, 1/26/10. Pathology Report: G 4+3. Nodes: Clear. PNI: yes. SVI: No. EPE: yes. Pos. Margin: Yes-- focal-- 1 spot .5mm. 100% continent by 3/10. ED- yes.. PSA on 3/10/10-: 0.01. PSA on 6/21/10--0.02. 9/21/10--0.06; 1/4/11-0.13,3/1/11--0.27

Mackattack
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 78
   Posted 3/5/2011 9:54 AM (GMT -6)   
I just got done with my first leave post surgery.  I have been with my company for 10 years and never abused the use of sick days.  At my company, we don't carry over sick leave from year to year.  So, technically I was out of sick leave and into vacation time after 1 week.  Including pre-op appointments, scans, etc.  I have missed about 4 weeks this year due to PC.   
 
I was concerned like you about work, however, I was honest with my boss about my situation, telling him beforehand that I did not know what to expect.  My boss has been great and we have agreed to work together as long as I keep him informed.  I worked from home as I was able.  I probably will not take my normal 20 days of  vacation time this year, but may take some.
 
It sounds like you have earned credibility with your employers through your entire work history.  I think if you are straight up with them, you should have nothing to worry about.  I think employers may become more easily frustrated with employees who somehow manage to use all of their sick days and somehow they always get sick on Mondays and Fridays. 
 
I think most of us know which group we fit in.
 
Good luck. 
PSA 3.9 - October 2010 at annual physical
PSA 4.1 - November 2010 after a month of antibiotic, DRE Normal
Age 41 in December 2010 at Dx of 6 of 12 cores positive T1C and Gleason 3 + 3

open RP on 2/14/11 at Mass General

Post Surgery Pathology Report: Gleason 6, T2, Cancer in 35% of Prostate, All Margins Clear

DaSlink
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 713
   Posted 3/5/2011 10:53 AM (GMT -6)   
My situation is a bit different, I work construction and that is very slow. I was unemployed at the time of my surgery. I have 2 things against me now,I am over 50,which seems lately to out to pasture age and I'm damaged goods.
It's funny, not Ha-HA,that you put 31 years of blood and sweat into helping contractors grow and now "nothing is available right now". I have not yet been released to return to work,but when I'm able it looks like there will be no work. And that sucks! Right now all I should be worrying about is defeating this silly disease,but that's not the case. Being able to work and provide is what give me some self worth.
I guess I'm just having a whinney baby day. Thanks for letting me vent!!!
Every minute you fish or ride,adds an hour to your life!

Age 52 Dx age 53 daVinci surgery
prostate volume 24gms
Biopsy 12 cores with 7 positive- left base,right base,left mid gland,right mid gland, left apex.
Gleason score of 7
First PSA 38.7 on10/05/2010
Second PSA 49.9 on11/23/2010
CT negative
Bone scan Negative
daVinci RRP on 01/25/2011 by Dr Mark G Delworth at Bethesda North Hospital.

Mackattack
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 78
   Posted 3/5/2011 11:26 AM (GMT -6)   
DaSlink,

I empathize with you about working and self-worth thing. I was able to go back and work a couple of half days this week. It goes a long way for the mental recovery. I hope that part improves for you.
PSA 3.9 - October 2010 at annual physical
PSA 4.1 - November 2010 after a month of antibiotic, DRE Normal
Age 41 in December 2010 at Dx of 6 of 12 cores positive T1C and Gleason 3 + 3

open RP on 2/14/11 at Mass General

Post Surgery Pathology Report: Gleason 6, T2, Cancer in 35% of Prostate, All Margins Clear

compiler
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 7269
   Posted 3/5/2011 11:56 AM (GMT -6)   
Let me add that I am not worried in terms of what my employer will do to me. In fact, my last evaluation resulted in my being on merit. So, they know I'm a good employee.
 
The angst just comes from within myself. I hate having to do this and bringing attention on myself this way. It really tears me up inside. If anything, my credibility is enhanced. I'm sure the University appreciates the heads-up, so they know I won't leave them in the lurch. In fact, I may end up interviewing some of our adjuncts to take my place, if necessary. It might be based on scheduling difficulties. I'm hoping it won't be due to the SE of SRT.
 
Mel
 
P.S.: Maybe we should start a thread called VENTING!

fulltlt
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 264
   Posted 3/5/2011 12:27 PM (GMT -6)   
I had 5 weeks of IMRT treatments and didn't miss a minute of work. They were so nice at the cancer center to schedule my sessions in the early morning before my work started. The hospital was on my way to work so I really didn't have to go out of my way at all. Check with your radiation facility and see what they can do as far as scheduling is concerned.
age 57 2/2010
PSA Feb 8.2
biopsy 2/2010 - 2 of 8 left & 2 of 8 right positive, Gleason 3+4=7
attended support group - advised to get a second opinion
second opinion on pathology from Johns Hopkins 4+4=8
PSA 15 4/2010
5 weeks IMRT 4/2010-6/2010 at Copley Hospital in Aurora, IL
91 palladium 103 seeds 7/2010 at Chicago Prostate Center, Westmont, IL
PSA Oct 3.97, Dec 2.78
no ED or incontinence

davidg
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 4093
   Posted 3/5/2011 1:20 PM (GMT -6)   
My boss got prostate cancer a year before me. He used Strum at Mount Sinai. When i told him he obviously understood and has been in my corner ever since. I also have the option of working from home when I want so it isn't that big a deal, but I imagine how hard it must be for someone going through this with an unsympathetic boss. My other boss is one of the few to survive pancreatic cancer, so he too is great about it. Of course they're both 25 years older than me.

F8
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 3984
   Posted 3/5/2011 2:04 PM (GMT -6)   
i am my boss.  i don't work; i don't get paid.  simple as that cool .
 
ed
 
 
age: 55
PSA on 12/09: 6.8
gleason 3+4 = 7
HT, BT and IGRT
received 3rd and last lupron shot 9/14/10
2/8/11 PSA <.1, T= 6 ng/dl

Skate
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 424
   Posted 3/5/2011 2:20 PM (GMT -6)   

Mel:

I originally took an 8 week leave mid school year for my  RP.  When I began RT,  appointments were  arranged in the afternoon so I worked half days for the entire duration (September to December) I drove 70 k both ways for treatment and literally exhausted myself.  So I took January to March off to get my strength back.  There becomes a point where "You" need to be recognized as the central figure in the big picture.  My employer was understanding but, you know,  I really didn't care at that point.  You are #1 in this war!

Jack


compiler
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 7269
   Posted 3/5/2011 5:01 PM (GMT -6)   
All excellent answers.
 
My problem is I won't know anything schedule-wise until the set-up. That kind of irritates me. If, for example, I KNEW that they could schedule me where it will not interfere with my work, I wouldn't have to say much to my employer. But with this situation, I do NOT want to spring it at the last minute.
 
Anyway, as I said, my employer has been good
 
Mel

geezer99
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 990
   Posted 3/5/2011 5:52 PM (GMT -6)   
In my case, my dean came up with the funds to bring in a replacement (an adjunct who had experience with the course) for my two weeks after surgery (I offered to come back in 10 days but was told to stay home.) More recently a colleague has had a much more difficult diagnosis and has been to surgery. Everyone has pitched in -- a number of faculty have been rescheduled at the last minute -- the office staff have worked with students to accommodate changed class meeting times and the dean has gone to the provost to get approval to hire additional adjuncts to cover some classes. The most gratifying thing was the feeling that we were all in this together to help a colleague.

I can't say how this applies to your situation, but perhaps one view would be that your situation offers others the opportunity to behave as the best possible human beings. I know of no belief system which would oppose such a chance.

Purgatory
Elite Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 25393
   Posted 3/5/2011 6:46 PM (GMT -6)   
My version is somewhat different. It got laid off from a great job/company (They went Chapter 7) in July 2008, then got my PC dx 2 months later. Company was too small for COBRA requirements, but my former boss paid out of pocket to keep my Blue Cross as normal for 5 months until my wife's plan had an open enrollment. Her's picked me up, also Blue Cross, with no pre-existing restrictions to worry about. Still thankful to my former boss. Since my open RP in November, 2008, I have not, and still not cleared medically fit to work. So I didn't have to deal with that Mel.

I could imagine anyone thinking less of you in your profession because you are dealing with a secondary cancer treatment. My way would to be an open book to those that need to know.

David
Age: 58, 56 dx, PSA: 7/07 5.8, 10/08 16.3
3rd Biopsy: 9/08 7 of 7 Positive, 40-90%, Gleason 4+3
open RP: 11/08, on catheters for 101 days
Path Rpt: Gleason 3+4, pT2c, 42g, 20% cancer, 1 pos marg
Incont & ED: None
Post Surgery PSA: 2/09 .05,5/09 .1, 6/09 .11. 8/09 .16
Post SRT PSA: 1/10 .12, 4/8 .04, 8/6 .06 11/10 Not taking it
Latest: 6 Corr Surgeries to Bladder Neck, SP Catheter since 10/1/9, SRT 39 Sess/72 gy ended 11/09, 21 Catheters, Ileal Conduit Surgery 9/23/10

p_elliott
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 143
   Posted 3/6/2011 4:02 AM (GMT -6)   
You are entitled to 12 weeks of leave per year under the federal Family Medical Leave Act FMLA. Your employer can not disciple or fire you for using this time. It's a federal law.

H555
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 15
   Posted 3/6/2011 10:06 AM (GMT -6)   
I've been in the same situation and also work for higher ed in oregon. my President was great about it both times. I had 33 IGRT sessions at 8:15 in the morning each day. I left a few days toward the end around 3:00 because I was tired. came in around 9 a few days a week for about the 1st month after treatment ended. you should be fine and I'll keep my fingers crossed that you are.

Zen9
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 314
   Posted 3/6/2011 1:24 PM (GMT -6)   
Mel,

Seven operations 2008-2010. Six colon, one PC.

I was up front with my employer, kept them informed each step of the way. They seemed great, told me that "my only assignment was to get well, whatever it took." I returned the favor - worked from my hospital bed, worked from my bed at home, worked from home, and returned to the office each time as soon as I could.

Finally that wonderful day last summer when I went in and happily announced that the nightmare was over, I am fine.

A month later they let me go. Out of the blue, no clue it was coming. Never lost a job before.

Now I spend my time hunting down any temporary work I can get. My wife left me, of course - no sex, no money, why stay? I live in a one room garage apartment; the most high-tech thing I own is a clock-radio. Still have my philosophy books though!

You asked.

Zen9

P.S. Don't get me wrong, life is precious. Very precious.

compiler
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 7269
   Posted 3/6/2011 3:09 PM (GMT -6)   
I am in a very fortunate position in one sense: I do not have to work for financial gain. I have been very frugal and an avid saver. When my wife and I bought our first house, we had about $200 left between us, but neither of us are big spenders. We never did buy that second vacation home, but we have gone on our share of vacations. Fortunately, investing has been a passion/hobby for me so I was able to do some good things that way. Stocks, bonds, options are my forte. We are not wealthy at all but we are not hurting.
 
But I HAVE to work for my mental health. I've had a variety of jobs (mostly teaching but also some industry work with NASA). The last 7 years with my current employer has been a dream job. I gave up (retired from) a very hectic job as a teacher/administrator. I decided I preferred the teacher part. Best move I ever made. I totally enjoy my subject and I totally enjoy my students. I also have great colleagues and bosses and just about zero stress at work. I have always enjoyed my work but never in my life had this total winning combination. In short, I wake up looking forward to going to work. I guess this is like Sonny's thing where every day is a gift. I do feel that about work and I do not think AT ALL about PC. I have a feeling with the new developments that will change as I will probably be rushing between work and SRT.
 
Giving up this work that I love would be devastating for me, but it would be tempered by the fact that I got to do this for 40+ years. It may be that for health reasons I might have to give it up. I guess that depends on the tx. and the disease. If I did give it up, if my health was still passable, I'm sure we would find some other things to do.
 
Mel

James C.
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 4463
   Posted 3/6/2011 3:18 PM (GMT -6)   
Mel, it is seldom I can say I know a fully satisfied man, you fit the bill exactly. Thanks for sharing that.
James C. Age 63
Gonna Make Myself A Better Man tinyurl.com/28e8qcg
4/07: PSA 7.6, 7/07 Biopsy: 3 of 16 PCa, 5% involved, left lobe, GS6
9/07: Nerve Sparing open RP, Path: pT2c, 110 gms., clear except:
Probable microscopic involvement-left apical margin -GS6
3 Years: PSA's .04 each test until 04/10-.06, 09/10-.09, 12/10-.09, 02/11-.08
ED-total-Bimix 30cc

Purgatory
Elite Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 25393
   Posted 3/6/2011 3:29 PM (GMT -6)   
Zen,

You have had your share too the past 3 years. I feel for you, brother, that's a lot on one plate.

David in SC
Age: 58, 56 dx, PSA: 7/07 5.8, 10/08 16.3
3rd Biopsy: 9/08 7 of 7 Positive, 40-90%, Gleason 4+3
open RP: 11/08, on catheters for 101 days
Path Rpt: Gleason 3+4, pT2c, 42g, 20% cancer, 1 pos marg
Incont & ED: None
Post Surgery PSA: 2/09 .05,5/09 .1, 6/09 .11. 8/09 .16
Post SRT PSA: 1/10 .12, 4/8 .04, 8/6 .06 2/11 1.24
Latest: 6 Corr Surgeries to Bladder Neck, SP Catheter since 10/1/9, SRT 39 Sess/72 gy ended 11/09, 21 Catheters, Ileal Conduit Surgery 9/10,

BB_Fan
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 1011
   Posted 3/6/2011 4:16 PM (GMT -6)   
Mel, my employer (very large company) allowed me to go on short-term disability (80% pay). If that did'nt work I would have taken family leave. I traveled 4 hours daily for SRT, so part time didn't work. To be honest I was so concern/worried about my BCR with rapidly increasing PSA, not unlike your situation, that I needed some time off for my mental health. Best of luck with your treatment decisions. Once you determine a course of action for yourself that you feel comfortable with some of that worry will drain off. BB
Dx PCa Dec 2008 at 56, PSA 3.4
Biopsy: T1c, Geason 7 (3+4) - 8 cores, 4 positive, 30% of all 4 cores.
Robotic Surgery March 2009 Hartford Hospital, Dr Wagner
Pathology Report: T2c, Geason 8, organ confined, negitive margins, lymph nodes negitive - tumor volume 9%, nerves spared, no negitive side effects of surgery.
PSA's < .01, .01, .07, .28, .50. HT 5/10. IMRT 9/10.
PSA's post HT .01, < .01
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