Working while undergoing treatment for multiple myeloma (MM) is a challenge for members of MyMyelomaTeam. Some members continue to work full or part-time, while others retire early or apply for disability benefits.
Physical ability, type of job, financial need, and insurance access all contribute to the decisions members make to continue or stop working.
Members in physically demanding jobs often found that they had to stop working. “I had to retire early. I physically could not do my job,” one member wrote. Others continued to do physical labor: “My whole body hurts so bad but I just push myself.”
Recovery from treatments made working too difficult for some members of MyMyelomaTeam. “I had to retire when I was diagnosed. I had two surgeries at the time and just couldn’t work,” another member commented.
Other members found working during treatment for myeloma a helpful distraction. “My husband worked all the time,” a spouse wrote. “It was good for him because it kept his mind busy. Still it was hard😢.”
Many members remain at work despite physical limitations because of financial need or insurance access. “I don’t have a spouse so I need to work. It is a challenge every day.” one member shared.
Some members consider Social Security Disability benefits in the United States or similar programs in other countries to support them if they’re unable to work. One member wrote: “I am making more changes like lowering my cost of living so I may be able to take disability if I need to.”
Stopping work isn’t always a choice. While there are legal protections for people with cancer, some members of MyMyelomaTeam have been fired because of their medical needs. “I lost my job due to being so ill and taking too much time off,” a member reported.
On MyMyelomaTeam, the social network and online support group for those living with myeloma, members talk about a range of personal experiences and struggles. Working and myeloma is a frequently discussed topic.
Here are some conversations about working and myeloma:
Can you relate? How have you managed working and treatment for myeloma? Share your experience in the comments below or directly on MyMyelomaTeam.