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Patient Perspective – Working with CML

written by

Leukaemia Care, Charity

  • Vickie

When I was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) seven years ago, I wasn’t working at the time. However, I did have a part time job last year, where I was made redundant. I was there for six months and I was an administrator.

That is my job role. Working in the office environment.

I used to enjoy working; I was independent. It made me feel good about myself and proud that I have CML, have two young children, I’m a wife and look after my house.

Whilst working, it was great, however, when I had my bad days I didn’t want to be there. I wanted to be in the comfort of my own home. It was a struggle trying to concentrate and complete any daily tasks. My manager knew what was wrong with me, as on the day of my interview I did explain I had CML. I thought as I wasn’t myself, I didn’t want to make any mistakes. I would be slower and didn’t want to be a burden on anyone. Also, I was feeling very under pressure from my work colleagues and didn’t want to let the team down. Yet my good days were great, I would complete all my tasks and feel very proud of myself.

However, working and children and home life was really hard. I was becoming more exhausted and more tired. I went home and just wanted to sit down or go to sleep, which was not fair on my children at all. Also, suffering with cramps, muscle joint pain, headaches and sickness didn’t help. Typing would give me cramps, meaning I would have to stop and massage my hands, which then meant slower progress on my work and home life. Being seated as well, I would experience more cramps.

Even though it was a great feeling to be working, it was not practical for me as it was making me worse and affecting my home life. My children are my world and I would sooner put all my energy into being exhausted and tired whilst doing things with them. Seeing my children being happy is what my life is all about.

I am very lucky my husband works and can just about provide for us. I feel no pressure from anyone by doing housework in my own time. I am my own boss. I can take it steady in my own time. No pressure, no added stress.

When my children grow up, I will consider going back to work maybe, but I have enough hobbies to keep me occupied when I’m feeling better on my good days. However, on my bad days, I cannot do anything. So, every day is different for me, yet I am a positive person.

I wouldn’t rule out not going back to work in the future, but at the moment it’s not for me.

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