I’ve been shielding for 15 months now and luckily been working from home, furloughed twice but now back full time from home. My recent blood tests show my lymphocytes and haemoglobin still below the normal levels they should be. I’ve had my first covid jab and my second is due around 17th April. I’m taking medication for a blood clot in my lung, which was only discovered two weeks ago. I’m very scared and anxious on the restrictions easing but i am also distressed about returning back to work in the office. My company have written to me instructing me that from 1st April the lockdown restrictions are changing and i no longer have to shield and must return to work. They are offering me a phased return working 5 mornings a week for 2 weeks and then back full time. I am not comfortable doing this and would prefer to work from home for as long as i can. I’m also not happy returning before my second civid jab. I would prefer a longer phased return so i spend as little time as possible in the office. Am i being unreasonable? Do you have any advice for me?
I definitely feel for you. I think it’s really important you speak to your employer’s and I certainly wouldn’t say that you’d prefer to work at home. Instead I would use the phased return as an insight for how safe your workplace is… collate evidence and experiences as early as you can regarding how you are feeling, your conditions and your work productivity and hopefully your employer will suggest it’s better to work from home.
Feeling anxious and nervous about returning is perfectly normal. Just don’t give them a reason to give them the power to reduce things for you at your cost.
Just because things maybe safe for one person doesn’t mean it’s safe for all… and workplaces should be doing their best to make work as safe as possible. They should be abiding by equal opportunities too.
This is just my opinion and hope things go well for you.
Hi @TM1972. I’m not sure how to link this to another thread but I hope a forum member can help me as there were some useful posts there to.
I’m currently in the same position and am expected to go back to my job in a school on Thursday. Like you, I have been offered a phase return. I won’t have the option to work from home forever, but what I have asked is that I don’t return until two weeks after my second jab. Work haven’t agreed to this and we are still in discussions. Unless I am saying the work place isn’t safe I have no reason not to return, hence coming at it form the health side of things and risk factors.
I am lucky enough to have a great medical team and my consultant has written a letter of support. It is currently being referred to occupational health but if I need to I will contact my GP as I am not returning until the time talked about above.
I know how difficult this is and to be quite honest, the stress this has caused me over the last week has been so unnecessary.
So, contact consultant/GP and see if they can help, give ACAS a ring and ask for a occupational health referral if you haven’t had one already. All this extra info can be added to your risk assessment - I’m assuming you have one?
Please take care of yourself. As difficult as this is I just keep reminding myself it’s about my health and that’s what comes first. Make sure do the same.
Please keep us updated x
Hi @TM1972, @Rammie18, @Nichola75 you are both in such a stressful, anxious, awkward position, I really feel for you both. I will copy this to @SuBloodcancerUK and @Alice_BloodCancerUK to see if they can link these threads because I fear that there might be others with this dilemma. Take care.
Thanks @Erica . There are quite a few posts around this subject x
Totally best way to tackle you’re nervousness and anxiety in from a health angle. Some great advice above
Id speak honestly with BCUK support and you’re medical team first and see what advice and evidence they can help you with to take with you to your workplace. Saying you don’t feel comfortable or not happy returning to a work colleague or employer may put you in a difficult position going forward.
Hi, I have MPN (essential thrombocythemia) I have had it for over 25 years and I am treated with interferon. I work as a dental nurse so clinical work and because in dentistry we created aerosol generating spray and mists this is considered a very high risk profession because of Covid 19. I have been shielding since the pandemic and have had my first vaccine just awaiting my second. My question is how will I be able to return to dental nursing after second vaccine, will it be safe to do so especially after the recent data showing people with my condition and similar are not getting great antibodies uptake. Will I have to look for another job as I need to work and what job would be less risky
Hi @Amanda1, I have responded to your other post.
I can feel how anxious you are and the medical situation is changing so rapidly.
I attach my response, take care.
Oh @Amanda1, firstly a great big welcome to our forum. You have really shown that no matter what our blood cancer is we probably all share similar, fears, thoughts, feelings, questions and practicalities.
You also touch on the issue that is often not talked about - financial issues and earning a living.
The Blood Cancer UK gives us reliable information and their website talks about just this issue, but perhaps whoever you deal with medically about your MPN is the person to talk about effectiveness of your vaccination(s) with your medical history.
WE are here to support each other and if you would like to talk you can contact the Support Services Team on 0808 2080 888 (10am-7pm Monday-Friday, and 10am-1pm Saturday and Sunday) or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please keep posting as I would like to know how you get on.
Hi. I i derstand your feelings on this. I was diagnosed with non hodgkins lymphoma jan 2020 and begaon sheilding in march. I am a midwife so javent worked clinically since then. I must admit I am nervous the thought of going back to work. I am being referred to occupational health before I physically return. I also jave an appoi tment with the haematologist before I return. It is a worry tho osnt it. Take care of yourself
Hi @Newgirl, a great big welcome to our forum and already you are echoing the concerns of so many people.
What I would say because I always need to do it, is that you have appointments with your occupational health and haematologist coming up so it gives you the opportunity to write down all your fears, thoughts, feelings, questions and practicalities, even solutions if you have them so you cover everything you want to say at those appointments.
The Blood Cancer UK website will have up to date information now and as the date comes nearer and we are here to support you. If you would like to talk to someone you can contact the Support Services Team on 0808 2080 888 (10am-7pm Monday-Friday, and 10am-1pm Saturday and Sunday) or via email at email@example.com
Please keep posting as I would like to hear more about you and you might even get posts from people in similar situations.
Hi @Newgirl and @Amanda1 . I do t work on a clinical setting but in a school. I’m going to have a discussion about not returning until I’ve had my second vaccine - I don’t understand the logic in going back before then. I have a meeting with work tomorrow, but as @Erica suggested I’m also going to discuss it with my consultant at my appointment on Thursday. I’ll keep you updated. You do the same too
With there being changes in the guidance across the four nations soon to be coming into place, it’s completely understandable to have concerns regarding returning to work. And @Nichola75 and @Erica have given some great advice here.
Please do keep us posted on how you’re both getting on, we’re always here for support. And in the meantime, we just thought we would share two of our webpages which you both may find helpful to read through:
- our “antibody tests after a covid vaccine” blog: Covid vaccine: should people with blood cancer get an antibody test? | Blood Cancer UK
- our “work and money” webpage: Blood cancer: money and work | Blood Cancer UK
Our “antibody tests after a covid vaccine” webpage talks through what such tests can and can’t tell about immunity responses for people affected by blood cancer
And our “work and money” webpage talks through our advice and tips on what people can do if they have understandable concerns relating to their work and finances during this time.
Hope this is helpful to you both!
Take care and we’re always here,
Thanks @SuBloodcancerUK. My meeting wasn’t great, actually it quite upset me. My request not to return until after the second vaccine wasn’t agreed. They have loads in place for when I do return, which is great. However, I feel really strongly about staying away until I receive it which has made things really hard and affected me more than I though it would. Speaking to my consultant tomorrow so will see what he says. Will also try and get vaccine bought forward but not been successful as yet! I’ll keep you updated
Oh @Nichola75 I am so sorry that your meeting was not great, probably an understatement.
People just don’t understand what it is like for us.
I would have probably have burst into tears on them.
Please let us know what your consultant says tomorrow.
@Nichola75 We hope you’re okay Nichola and we’re so sorry to hear how this has made you feel. Like you say, it is reassuring to hear they have measures in place but of course it’s so understandable for those concerns to remain. Has there been any opportunity at all to talk through with them any further adjustments which could be considered for you? Be it relooking at the times you start and finish or reducing your hours, for example?
Like you also say Nichola, do let us know how you get on when you speak to your consultant, hopefully it will give you a chance to talk through how they see your level of risk at this stage and what they think about this in the context of you returning to work.
Take care of yourself, and as you know- the forum and Support Services Team are always here for you,
Hi @SuBloodcancerUK . I’m meeting with them again on Friday and will talk through it some more. I also emailed my concerns as sometimes it hard to verbalise. To be quite honest, in terms of putting things in place and a phased return, there isn’t much more they can do. It’s just my personal feeling about returning. I just want the best protection I can get and that means getting the second jab x
Relief this morning. Had my four monthly check which was all ok and my consultant has agreed to write to my workplace and advise that I shouldn’t return to work until two weeks after second jab. Phew! Speaking to GP tomorrow about bringing vaccine forward.
Oh @Nichola75 what a relief and brilliant news, you should pat yourself on the back.
It really is @Erica. Have forwarded the info to work and meeting with them tomorrow x
@Nichola75 Nichola, it’s so good that you’ve been able to speak to your consultant now and it sounds like they have been really supportive too- which we can only imagine must make such a difference during this ongoing and really trying time of uncertainty. Hope you’re feeling okay after speaking to them, and hope too that your meeting tomorrow with your workplace goes alright- do keep us posted Nichola and take care of yourself