Going back to work full-time

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by JulieO, Aug 25, 2005.

  1. JulieO

    JulieO New Member

    I've decided it's time for me to go back to work and my doctor has given me a release.

    I know it's going to be difficult, but because my career is important to me, I have to do it. I have faith in myself to have a positive attitude and fight through the challenges I am sure to face.

    I went on medical leave in April because I was unable to concentrate and was in constant pain (which adversely affected my job performance, obviously). In addition, I was so fatigued that I literally would nod off while working. (I have Fibro and CFIDS). I work at a brokerage firm and it's imperative that I am able to concentrate and make no errors.

    I am posting to see if others have gone back to work (after having been on medical leave). I am curious as to how easy (or difficult) it has been to adjust.

    I believe that my sheer determination will be enough; however, a part of me is very scared. What if I can't cut it?

    I'm hoping some of you can share your "success" stories.

    I've been going to a FFC since January and I am a lot better, but I still have bad days. Days that I can barely get out of bed.

    I'm determined. Logically, I think determination should be enough, but this sickness has scared me to death.

    I don't want to push myself so hard, that I have to go on medical leave again.

    Does anyone out there have any tips or suggestions?

    I'm a very stubborn person so I think I can do this, but why am I afraid? I've never been afraid of work. I've always been the top performer because I try so hard.

    Thanks for listening,
    Julie
  2. jaltair

    jaltair New Member

    I am 58 y.o., and have had FMS for many years (since my 20's) as well as CFS. I've worked over the past 25 years (after kids were older and in school) and was in fact a work-a-holic in my younger years. I had my good times, bad times, and worst times and held in. In addition, I raised 3 kids. Probably my biggest regret is that I wasn't energetic enough to be a really active mom with my children, and just felt so horrible sometimes that I would wish to become ill so that I would "have a reason" to stay in bed! That was way before anyone knew what FMS or CFS was. This was all through sheer determination. About 4 years ago know, I was Dx with FMS / and doc says probably CFS along with some other medical problems that are unrelated.

    In 1 year and 19 months, my husband and I will be retiring. It has become harder and harder for me at work now, and my energy levels are really low and pain much worse. In addition, I have degenerative arthritis and bone spurs that are poking into my spine at certain points. However, despite all this, my sheer determination will get me through. I have no choice. We need the retirement monies to survive after we retire.

    I have the advantage of having good insurance right now through work, and my husband's covers me as well. This is my biggest scare after retiring as I won't be eligible for Medicare for about 5 years. I just don't think that I can work until I'm 65. My body is already too broken and hurting.

    I wish you well in starting back to work. Look at working like you are doing exercise. In fact you are. You are exercising your mind and in some ways your body. In addition, you are adding to the benefits that you will receive after you retire. That may be a great benefit if you use your "sheer determination" etc. I'll keep you in my thoughts, and let us know how you do.

    Jeannette
  3. KMD90603

    KMD90603 New Member

    Julie,

    I hope and pray that the transition of going back to work will go smoothly for you. I'm sure it will take some getting used to, however, make sure to pace yourself and rest as much as you can while you are not working.

    If you need any special accomodations, talk to your boss and see if they can provide you with them. Maybe a chair with better support or allowing you to take small breaks throughout the day.

    Another thing I would highly recommend is something I've been doing for about a year now. Depending on the size of your company, they should offer it. It's called intermittent FMLA. Basically it means that if I'm sick because of my disease (CFIDS), I can call off, leave early or come in late without being penalized for it. It's not covered by short-term disability so the days come out of my PTO (paid time off), but at least I don't have to worry about losing my job over my illness. It's been very useful because this past year I've had alot of days where I've been bedridden or nearly bedridden and have had to take off in order to recuperate. Usually by the next day, I'm well enough that I can make it to work. Talk to your boss about intermittant FMLA. If they do offer it, you'll just have to bring some paperwork for your doctor to fill out. My infectious disease doctor is handling all of my paperwork for me.

    Hope this helps,

    Kim
  4. JulieO

    JulieO New Member

    ...everyone! If I'm struggling with something, it always helps to come here and post. You guys are wonderful!

    I am feeling better about going back to work. I talked to a couple of my coworkers last week on the phone, as well as my manager. I am returning with (what I consider to be) a great shift for my situation. I'll be working 4 10 hour days (which may be a bit challenging), but I'll be working Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday...the night shift, which will be 12:30 (noon) to 11:00pm. This should give me time to get up and get going, take pain meds, adjust, etc.

    I won't get to see my husband as much, but at least we have two days off together.

    So...off I go! I'll probably come back and post as to how things are going (if I have the energy). I imagine I'll be pretty drained at first, even though I've been trying to ease into being more active.

    Thanks again!
    julie
  5. pam_d

    pam_d New Member

    I wasn't on medical leave, but I was a stay-at-home Mom for years who got FM during that time; when my daughter was old enough for me to want to return to work, I wasn't well enough, so I stayed at home some more. During this time, I always had a vague sense of depression...not the depression one can get trying to cope with FM, or the grief one goes thru upon diagnosis, just an odd sense of feeling vaguely down...

    I finally decided to go back to work, after going on a gluten-free diet and finding that I lost weight, felt like I had more energy, etc. Did for me maybe what the FFC is doing for you---the FM wasn't gone, not at all, but I just felt better overall.

    Anyway, it was the best decision I ever made! I enjoy my job enormously, I work with very difficult kids at an elementary school, but I feel I have a knack for this work & do it well, so it's stressful, but at the same time, rewarding. I work with great people, we all keep a sense of humor about us, which helps us cope with the day-to-day challenges. I only have a 7-hr. day, so not as long as yours, but the job's very physical. Still, I've gone home tired, but never had to call in sick in two years (just starting my 3rd) and that vague sense of depression is gone---doing something worthwhile, earning money, having health insurance provided, etc. is all good.

    I'm lucky to feel well enough to do this---I always want to clarify that this choice isn't for everyone, and I DO admire those who have made the choice to quit; those in severe daily pain or fatigue have a fulltime job in just caring for themselves, getting pain relief & adequate rest, etc.---working isn't for everyone, certainly, each person is an individual.

    But I wanted to share my positive experience; I can't imagine going back to NOT working...I enjoy my weekends, but I actually get bored on school vacations now.

    Approach this positively, which it sounds like you are doing, and expect that at first, your time off will be downtime to rest & recover...but you'll get used to it & hopefully the rewards of being back in the career you love will kick in and you'll be tired less & energized more.

    Good luck, I'll be rootin' for ya!!

    Hugs,
    Pam
  6. pam_d

    pam_d New Member

    for Julie O
  7. Christinawensell

    Christinawensell New Member

    Julie:

    I also was on medical leave and went back to work. It has

    been very difficult to say the least. I hope you had a

    great back-up while you were away, because I was gone for a

    month and a half and all my work (most of it anyways) was

    sitting at my desk waiting for me. Then I had my bosses

    breathing down my neck wanting to know when it was going to

    get done. It was very stressful.

    I have continued to be sick since returning and I have had

    to miss alot of work due to that. I also really love what I

    do (anyways I did) I never have had any performance issues

    the only thing they ahev ever had issues with is me being out

    sick all the time. I just recently had 5 biopsy's taken of

    colon. Which was very painful and again made me miss time

    from work.

    I have been put on corrective action this past month due to

    my absences and they seem to not want to work with me.

    I really hope your situation turns out better than mine, but

    I really personal wish I would have stayed on medical leave

    and then tried after 90 days to get the long term disabilty

    insurance that I pay into every week.

    I hope the best for you. Here is to better brighter days.

    Christina
  8. JulieO

    JulieO New Member

    Thank you so much for your encouraging story, Pam!!

    Well, today is my first day back at work. So far, so good. Of course Of course I have 7.5 hours left. Bah! These 10 hour days are going to be hard, but that extra day off should make it worth it!

    That is such a coincidence that you mentioned a gluten-free diet, Pam. I just had a test done that indicates that I am borderline sensitive (just barely) to gluten. So, I've been cutting out the gluten. This is all pretty recent so I can't tell a huge difference but I'm hoping I will! I could sure use to lose some weight too!!

    Thank you again! I just logged on to the board quickly during one of my breaks!

    love,
    Julie
  9. pam_d

    pam_d New Member

    I hope the rest of the day went OK...

    The gluten-free diet sounds hard, but you DO get used to it, and there are more & more stores & restaurants offering gluten-free choices. It took about 6 weeks on this diet before I realized I had more energy & was less tired. I didn't have a huge degree of pain with FM, not nearly as much as some folks here do, but a lot of people here who've gone gluten-free have noticed less pain over time. AND I lost about 25 lbs. in 4 months (which was about how much extra weight I had been packin') and the weight loss wasn't even intentional, it was just the result of not snacking on pretzels, crackers, not eating bread, etc. So that was a nice bonus!

    Good luck at the job, prepare to be tired & probably spend every bit of those 3 days off re-couping energy at first, but hopefully it'll get better. My first two weeks were tiring, but things did a lot better from there, once I was used to the schedule. You'll go through that, too, but hopefully things will improve---doing something you like & are good at makes a huge amount of difference, too.

    Let us know how it goes!

    Hugs,
    Pam