Possible cancer and upcoming job interviews?
June 26, 2014 1:05 PM   Subscribe

I am a 36-year-old woman that was just diagnosed with (endometrial) atypical hyperplasia, which is a precursor to uterine cancer. (I may have cancer already, but I'm trying not to let my mind go there). I will, most likely, need a hysterectomy. The thing is, I'm scheduled to move 300 miles away, and I have several job interviews lined up in my new location - great ones, too. How should I handle this with potential employers, particularly when they ask me when I can start? Or should I forget about my job search for a while?
posted by amyshmamy to Work & Money (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Many laparoscopic hysterectomies are done on an outpatient basis nowadays. Vaginal hysterectomies have about a 2 day inpatient recovery period. This isn't to say that you'll be 100% pain-free and at the top of your game to interview, but most folks are good to return to work within a week of surgery (as long as it's not bricklaying or other physically-demanding activity).
posted by The White Hat at 1:17 PM on June 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

My mother developed uterine cancer, had a hysterectomy, and then followed it up with radiation for a few months, and it was such a small impact on her life she actually forgot to tell me about any of this until her last radiation appointment. You're hopefully looking at a few days out plus followup appointments, not weeks or months away. Good luck!
posted by olinerd at 1:20 PM on June 26, 2014

Currently in my workplace, we have a new employee starting a month after the agreed-upon start date because she had "abnormal test results and needs a procedure." Nobody batted an eye, and we moved her start date back a month because she was the best candidate for the job and we picked her for a reason.

YMMV and our management is very reasonable, but I would think this shouldn't be a hindrance for most employers if you're otherwise qualified and enthusiastic.
posted by magdalemon at 1:27 PM on June 26, 2014 [6 favorites]

Interview away, and as you get offers, tell them what magdalemom suggests.

FYI, I had robotic surgery and was home in less than 24 hours. I was back at work after 2 weeks.

So the actual surgery is no biggie. I discovered that I really like morphine.

Just so you know, I didn't feel any pain, just mild discomfort, like doing too many crunches. So no need to fret on that account.

Hang in there!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:30 PM on June 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

I had a laparoscopic hysterectomy (tubes, uterus, and cervix all came out) last month and it was an outpatient procedure, I was home and eating ice creams by 4pm on a 10am procedure which started an hour late. The recovery was longer than I would have liked but this was mostly due to the fact that I had two huge fibroids and a retroverted uterus which had been pressing on my SI joint and distorting my gait for a dozen years, and I had to kind of relearn how to walk properly. Other than that the worst part was the epic constipation. I was out of the office for about 3 weeks.

I would go ahead with interviews and such and then set a month past your surgery date as your job-starting date. Since you don't have any kind of confirmation re: actual cancer at the moment, it certainly doesn't need to be discussed in an interview.

(also, since you don't mention anything about a lapse in health insurance while between jobs I am assuming this is not an issue.)
posted by elizardbits at 1:58 PM on June 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

Thirding, fourthing the ease of laparoscopic. I was in the hospital less than 24 hours, and with my ride, stopped by a crafts festival on the way home (yes, to morphine!). I slept a lot for the next couple of days, and moved carefully, but didn't even bother with pain meds. Of course, credit is due to one of the best OB-GYNs in the business.
posted by mmiddle at 2:31 PM on June 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

I am going to be a dissenter a bit. My full hysterectomy took two procedures, was at 39/40, and done robotically.

Both surgeries, I walked out of the hospital a few hours later but pushed too hard from the start (I have two kids and no support network outside my husband), delaying my recovery both times, although the second time I was better prepared.

I was fully recovered about 6 weeks after each surgery, but that was without much rest.

So, I would totally keep on the interview path, enjoy finding a great job and a big move, and take very good care of yourself before and after your surgery!

Good luck and be well!
posted by mamabear at 3:19 PM on June 26, 2014

You don't say when you're moving (now? or say a month from now?), or if you have a doctor you trust where you live now. I had a laparoscopic hysterectomy (uterus, tubes, cervix) at 40 due to endometriosis/adenomyosis. I was very comforted by the fact I fully trusted my doctor. I'd have been hesitant to have surgery in a city I just moved to unless I already knew the doctor.

I was in great shape before the surgery and it took about 2 weeks until I was ok sitting up all day--necessary for my job. But like several others said, I was ok moving slowly around the house and doing stuff for myself from about day 2 or 3. It was definitely worse than just feeling like I overdid it on crunches, but not nearly as painful or taxing as recovering from open surgery. The bloating, the constipation, and the exhaustion were what I had to recover from.

If you're not moving for another month or so, I'd say have the surgery now. But even if you feel better really quickly, don't plan on moving anything heavy with your own hands.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 7:07 AM on June 27, 2014

Do you have time to get a second opinion before your move? After my hyperplasia was found (at 33) the GYN oncologist I went to requested the slides from my D&C and the pathologist didn't see the hyperplasia with atypia found at the smaller hospital. I'm now 35 and haven't had a hysterectomy yet; however, I know that someday I may have to do so. YMMV.
posted by princesspathos at 2:32 AM on June 30, 2014

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