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by Anonymous

16 November 2016 at 11:46

Work work work

Seems the initial hope about sick leave I was given by my Breast Cancer Nurse was a bit in vain. Because the closure days at my workplace over Xmas and New Year are in addition to my annual leave entitlement, it seems that if I am off sick it definitely WILL use up yet another of my weeks of full pay sick leave. That's the law. Macmillan advice was, talk to your employer and see if they will make a special case. Appeal to their humanity. Sigh. This is the garbage I have been trying to avoid getting stressed about. If I had had my cancer diagnosis in April/May, this wouldn't have been an issue. The generosity of my employer closing for extra days between Xmas and new year would unlikely have impacted in me so late in my treatment because I would likely be past both chemo and surgery and would have already hopefully been doing some 'return to work' days. Because my diagnosis fell in the latter part of the year, I'm still in the thick of treatment so my sick leave weeks are most definitely still required. Would I have been physically able to mix work and chemo if my workplace was less of a complete stress-filled basket case? Well it isn't a guarantee but if this had been a normal year at work I suspect I may have felt more inclined. As it has turned out, I ducked out completely because my colleagues - though ably protecting me from the worst of the day-to-day storm of technical and managerial effluence making the job nigh unfeasible - nevertheless could not prevent me being smart enough to see sufficient of whats going on and to know I needed to be as far from it as possible. A workplace that had proven so stressful over the past year that it had played its own part in my cancer was not one I could be part of whilst navigating chemotherapy - so I have been on long-term sick leave pretty much since my diagnosis. Understandably this is using up rapidly my weeks of full paid sick leave. As my entitlement to this ALSO depends on how many weeks I may have had full paid sick leave in the past 12 months before I went on sick leave.... well that probably lops off another couple of weeks of sick leave and I doubt my full pay sick weeks leave will stretch me even to my surgery date (provisionally mid Feb 2017). So that week/near two weeks over Xmas could have valuably helped protect me a little longer. Not going to happen. So now I'm wrestling with bosses over the issues of how, if and consequences of going in to work just before Xmas Purely because I don't want those days over Xmas being taken from my sick leave weeks. I know I'm going to have to have some time on half pay at some point simply because surgery and it's recovery (especially as I'm still unsure/terrified about reconstruction) is going to be unavoidable. But... the thought of being in work soon, of having to have these discussions about coming into work just so that 8 poxy days of public holidays and closure dates - WHEN I COULD/WOULD NOT BE WORKING ANYWAY - will be just be paid as they would normally be and not diminishing my rapidly vanishing sick leave entitlement ..... well, it is raising my stress levels. It's not about the money per se. It's the principle. It's the humanity behind the application of regulations. It's making me angry; the way that the past year has made me angry and I know that's not good for me. I've spent years giving my heart and soul, making other people's lives better (I think), enabling things to not be as horrible as they could be for some people and for my employer to reap the benefit of that. And for what? Yeah. This is an angry week. Not angry at the cancer. That's another kettle of fury I've scarce acknowledged. But angry at the situation that contributed to the cancer. Angry at the decisions I'm having to think through and make right now when I'm still in treatment. Angry that things have been so bad that I've not been able to combine some work with my treatment because to have done so would almost certainly have made me less well, less capable of fighting the cancer, less able to retain the levels of being me that I have managed. I'm just angry.

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