Don’t get me wrong, I lead an active and full life, I haven’t given up by any means, but has anyone successfully gained early retirement due to ill health with a blood cancer diagnosis? I work in an environment of superspreaders and also have a very mentally stressful occupation. I have so much I want to do, but in a safer environment. Any advice gratefully accepted!
@Kimmie17 I had to apply for early retirement during my treatment for aggressive relapsing Hodgkins Lymphoma. As my prognosis was not good I had a very strong case. You probably need to speak to your line manager, union and consultant as each case is different. Best wishes
Thank you, appreciate you letting me know. I will do some more research. My union said if I go for it and don’t get it it might not look good for me
I was successful in getting early retirement in 2006. I was diagnosed with Myeloma and this had affected my kidneys. I had two occupational pensions and I remember it being fairly straightforward and I received the pension very quickly. I think I might have used hospital letters as proof but really can’t remember. Certainly worth asking what the process is as there is nothing to lose from asking. Good luck.
@Kimmie17 like @Joan I had two occupational pensions. The one post I was in when I became ill was straightforward, and my employers were also supportive. The other one said that I may be able to teach after treatment, and initially refused, but my consultant wrote to them again and I eventually got it. I would have thought your union would have been more supportive, even if you did not have a strong case
Thanks, I’m making investigations around it…I have a new consultant and Im not sure he would agree I can retire. I will speak to him though next time I go!
Hi @Kimmie17, I was diagnosed with CLL in 2003. Since diagnosis I do not deal with what personally stresses me as well, I was also getting very feint and the fatigue really set in.
The fatigue either came on immediately or up to 48 hrs after I had overdone it either emotionally, physically or practically. Therefore it took me a while to work out cause and effect. I was struggling.
I needed to write lots of notes of questions I needed to ask and my evidence.
At 58 yrs old I worked with my manager, the occupational health department and the union. In the end my department had to make cut backs and my job was made redundant so it was a win - win situation. Good luck and please let us know how things go.
Hi Eric I can identify with the fatigue…if I have a full on day I can barely move the next day. My issue is my consultant who seems to think it’s my mental state that is making me tired not lymphoma. I am honestly a bit offended by this and not sure what to say when next he and I meet!
Perhaps some evidence from the Blood Cancer UK, Macmillan websites etc on fatigue might help and focus the words you use. Take care
I was very fortunate as my employers were very supportive of my decision to retire, I was in the pension scheme which paid out, I also got good advice from a local Cancer charity, Beatson Cancer charity in Glasgow, they had a designated employment officer who if required, would attend meetings with me so unions did not need to be involved. Not sure if other charities offer this service, might be worth looking into. Good .
Hi @ckquinn, a warm welcome and thanks for the handy tip of seeing if we have any local charities with such a valuable advice and service.
How have you been in lockdown and how are you now?
Thanks Erica, lockdown has been a huge challenge, particularly as there was conflicting advice about CML and to what level of isolation should be. I’m well at the moment, regular appointments are with clinical nurse and via telephone, bloods and medication are done at local Cancer Centre which had excellent measures in place. Like everyone else I am anxious about going out and only go when essential, thankfully due to people like yourselves I can get good information and keep up to date online. Take care.
I am NHS and post AML/SCT and recent additional complication of SID- with chronic dis regulated immune response, i did not respond to mt vaccines for example- I am a nurse and its basically impossible to be in a clinical area or with colleagues let alone patients-i am battling nhs pensions to try and claim early retirement on ill health after a nearly full career as a nurse-i am a bit angry and frustrated i should ave to fight for this and have no confidence it will get through…am hanging on.
Welcome to the forum @trudiA. I am sorry to hear of the problems you are having with NHS Pensions as I had no problems when I applied for early retirement 10 years ago, even though I had only been working in the NHS for a few years. Has your consultant written a supporting letter, and have you spoken with MacMillan?
There is information on the Blood Cancer UK website on finances. Also, if you wish to talk to someone the Support line is available on 0808 2080 888 10am-7pm on Mondays to Fridays, and 10am-1pm on Saturday and Sunday
How are you feeling otherwise? Take care, and we are always here to chat.
Hi @trudiA, a great big welcome to our community forum, I am glad you have found us.
I worked for local government but I can remember the hurt, anger and frustration I felt with over 16 years service at diagnosis, and with never a day off sick, I seemed to be treated unfairly over medical appointments and sick leave (very little) and proof being asked for.
Yes, that feeling of having to fight for when I was feeling so rough and it was taking me all my energy to do a days work and that was without the fear of Covid in the area you work.
@Pisces56 has given you good advice are you a member of a union?
We are here to support you and this forum gives you a place to say it how it is and feels for you.
I think the support of your specialist doctor is critical. In my case, my employer could see I was clearly too unwell to work, with repeated prolonged infections and fatigue. But because my CLL was early stage, I was refused ill health retirement and early access to my pension on the grounds that my fatigue might improve sufficiently before my normal retirement date for me to be able to return to work. In the end, my employer resolved the problem by including me in the voluntary redundancy programme, giving me a payoff that I was able to invest in a flexible pension to give me a small income up to my normal retirement date. The key issue was that my consultant saw the compromised immune system as not caused by the CLL, even though later I was told that a genetic defect in immunosurveillance might be what had let through both infections and CLL cells.
Welcome to the forum Emily, and thank you for the support you have given @trudiA. Like you say, if you have your specialist on side it is a great help. My employer also did as much as they could to help in claiming benefits and accessing my pension early. It is dreadful that when we are trying to cope with fatigue, nausea and hospital visits we have so much red tape to deal with.
How are you now, and are you having any treatment at the moment? There are posts about ways people have dealt with fatigue on the forum, as well as on the Blood Cancer UK website. I hope that you enjoy using the forum
Hi @Emily_London, a great big welcome to our forum.
I know I found it very difficult, with fatigue and frequent infections, to have to fight for mutual redundancy, actually it was really early retirement at 58 yrs old. At that point I did not understand my fatigue and how to manage it. It really drained me and when I got home in the evenings I was very tearful.
How are you now, and how have you been in lockdown?
Gosh @trudiA. Lovely to meet you! That’s a hard situation to be in. I can tell how much you love your job! Good advice given already. Let us know how you get on x
Hi @Emily_London and welcome! You are so lucky to have a good team around you. My consultant was the same when supporting with a critical illness claim. How are things with you now?