OT supports a cancer patient as she gradually transitions back to work

After spending the last two years recovering from breast cancer, Samara, a 43-year-old executive was ready to return to work. She was worried about her continuing feelings of tiredness and wondered if she would able to handle the same amount of work she had before she got cancer.

Samara decided to contact an occupational therapist available through the employee assistance program as part of her workplace benefits. The OT met with Samara and looked at what she could do and how much she could push herself. Working with Samara and her employer, the OT also identified the key demands of Samara’s job. The three of them worked together to create a return to work plan and a schedule that would allow Samara to slowly return to her work duties.

The OT was also available to provide coaching and support. Samara felt uneasy talking about her illness with other employees and wanted to find a better way to answer their questions. With practice Samara became confident and comfortable talking to co-workers and her employer about her weaknesses and strengths. Once everyone saw that Samara was feeling better and was making a successful return to work, they began to include her in all work activities again.