working full time and getting healthier?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by pammy52, Jul 6, 2006.

  1. pammy52

    pammy52 New Member

    I am interested in hearing how many of you are employed?

    How many employed and aggressively treating fibro and how does your tx impact your job?

    If you eventually stopped working due to your fibro and/or tx how long did you muck thru before no longer being able to hold down a full time job or work at all?

    I would find it helpful to hear how others have handled this aspect of life with fibro.

    My primary dx is fm but with overlapping cfs..
    Also hypothyroid which has been tx. for 12 or so yrs but probably not adequetely according to my new doc..

    During the 30+ yrs. of dealing with this nemesis,until 5 yrs ago it waxed and waned.
    Over the last 4 yrs. it has gradually crept into my daily life in a way that has resulted in every day of the past 2 yrs becoming an enormous struggle to get thru..

    Just hearing others stories of if when and how you stopped working would help me at this point.

    Thanks, Pammy

  2. CanBrit

    CanBrit Member

    I'm 50 and was diagnosed 2 years ago. I've had so many strange conditions, illnesses, etc over the past 20 years or so that it's likely FM was the cause. I am also hypothyroid.

    I have a desk job which helps greatly, I think, with this condition. I can get up and walk around and stretch when I need to. The drive (about 50 minutes) each way is getting to be a bit of a problem though, just with fatigue.

    I started taking calcium pyruvate about 2 months ago, 1 1000mg pill a day in the morning. I follow this with a half hour walk at lunch time. I've found that my energy has doubled and mentally I feel so much better.

    I still take my pain meds at least once a day and need Lunesta to sleep at night. I've come to the conclusion that whether I walk or not, I'm going to hurt one way or another so I might as well hurt and be healthy too!

    I love my job and feel challenged by it daily so I know that this helps me carry on.

    (Honestly.....if I felt the way I do now, I don't think I'd manage 30 years of work)


  3. pam_d

    pam_d New Member

    I am going to be the odd duck here. My going back to work after a 10-year absence (I quit to become a Mom fulltime, but my FM began about halfway into that time off period) was actually the beginning of my getting better. I started back not fulltime, but with a 30-hour week. I did have some fatigue and soreness the first couple of weeks, but after that, noticed steady improvement in FM symptoms that has lasted now for 3 years.

    What do I attribute this to, when others here often find that with each year of work, things get worse? I think I was in a bit of what I call a "vague" depression over the last few years prior to my returning to work. Maybe I wasn't deeply, clinically depressed, but I definitely felt a sense of floundering, of wanting my life to be about more than just FM. I found I loved my job (working with high-risk kids), loved the people I worked with to the point where I was almost able to "forget" about FM. I loved this new sense of purpose. I also loved the health insurance I got---no question that my nice schedule & healthcare plan were motivators. Anyway, for me, my improved mental health and attitude, I believe, had a positive impact on my physical health.

    This isn't for everyone---those who are much sicker with FM than I was are doing a fulltime job by just taking care of themselves and their health without trying to add a career to the mix. This is a very individual choice, and I applaud those who are smart enough to make the decision to quit their job & apply for disability, when they know that's the right choice for them. But for me, work had the opposite effect.

    Right now, I'm on an extended medical leave for cancer treatment, and boy, do I miss my job, the kids and my co-workers! Work makes me feel "normal" and my sense of normalcy is gone right now...but I hope to return in a couple of months.

    Another Pam
    [This Message was Edited on 07/07/2006]
  4. pammy52

    pammy52 New Member


    I am glad you can maintain at this point.
    I made the switch from a very physically demanding job to a desk job last fall in hopes it would give me some relief.
    Not working out to well though for whatever reason.
    I have been fighting this DD every step of the way in terms of staying employed but just not feeling as though that is going to be an option at this point.

    I can empathize with your struggle with driving.
    I no longer can drive for more than 1/2 hr. without struggling with the fatigue and pain.


    I can relate to what you are saying about your job being a positive for you.
    I used to be that way and still want to be able to work and don't see how I can't in terms of finances and insurance.

    I am sorry to hear the reason why you are presently on a LOA.
    I do hope all is going in a positive direction in your treatment and have sent up prayers for you.
    Hope you can get back to that job that keeps you going.

    Best of luck to both you ladies.


  5. jole

    jole Member

    Hi Pammy -
    I have worked full time for lots of years,first as a nurse, then when I could no longer handle the stress and hours went to being a transcriptionist full time. It has been hard for me with the pain, fatigue, fog, etc. But I found the hardest thing was actually the stress from coworkers in my department.

    I finally cut back to 4 days a week 2 weeks ago, and can tell quite a difference this week. I now have Wednesdays off and that was always my hardest day. I can now handle the stress much better, and get extra sleep between the 2 work days, which helps also. The best thing I could have done for myself, and I still keep insurance, which is a must for us!!! I feel like I have a little bit of a life again, and I'm not in bed by 6 every night just to make it to work the next morning.

    BTW, I can't drive any more than 14 miles. Anything more than that and I get overstimulated and will end up in the ditch or somewhere. Just can't do it, like you.

    Friends - Jole
  6. Zzzsharn

    Zzzsharn New Member

    Hi Pammy,

    I'm 36 - I work full time - Because I need the money. I think the hardest part of it is that I'm using all my energy to get to work, and I have nothing left for my kids. I'm exhausted, cranky, drained, and my kids suffer for it.

    I'm on intermitten FMLA- which gives me time off without affecting my job.

    I don't how much longer I'll be able to continue full time employment, as long as I have to I suppose.

    There are days that I'm happy to be working, or I think I'd be dwelling on my illness more.

    It's hard to find balance.


    [This Message was Edited on 07/10/2006]
  7. rachel432

    rachel432 New Member

    i work as a nurse and i did some adjusting with my job to make it work with my health issues. first i started by working for an agency instead of one hospital so i had more control over my hours. i work four evening shifts a week. by working evenings it actually helps with my sleep schedule that if i'm up most of the night i don't have to be at work until 3pm so i can sleep in. also i set the days that i work so i only work 2 in a row and then have a day off to recoop, i find i don't get the severe exhaustion this way. none of this helps with the pain but it does help the fatigue. i think if i stay with this current schedule i'll be able to keep working for quite awhile. at least i hope i will, i really love what i do.
  8. pammy52

    pammy52 New Member

    the responses here.

    Forgive me for not responding to your replies by your name.
    I did want to acknowledge some of the things said tho.

    Raising children and working while dealing with our illness is certainly a huge challenge.
    I can remember those days and how hard it was. We used to laugh about how Mom was usually in bed before the kids but it was so frustrating. I managed to push to take them to all their games and such but so much time was lost to sleeping.

    A good support system is vital.
    Learning to ask for help is crucial..and sometimes the hardest thing to get used to doing.
    I know it has been one of the more difficult changes for me to make in my "take care of business" personality.

    I appreciate the input about making changes in work schedules.
    I recently wrote that down in my journal as a probable necessity in the near future.
    Using FMLA as a tool to make that happen is always a battle where I work..even though it is obvious it is necessary.
    It usually isn't the dept. managers that give you grief but
    Our HR person who is a dragonlady.

    An O.R. nurse applied for FMLA for hip replacement surgery. She had been struggling with incredible pain for 6 mon. prior and had missed some time because of the pain, etc..
    Our HR Dragon commented on the missed time and told Dee that some days she made herself come to work even though she was so sick she had to throw up in her wastebasket.

    Dee told her it hardly compared and considering the only place she would have to throw up is on the patient that was on the operating table she really could'nt see the point of her story!!

    Just what you need is someone who is adding stress to your already stressful situation!!

    I love being productive and doing a good job and of course money and ins. is what keeps most of us going to work even when half dead.
    3 cheers to all of matter how we chose to deal with this issue.


    I really wish there was a way to see all replies to a thread as we are posting to it. I have to respond to all my emails as a reply nowadays so I can keep scrolling down to make sure I don't forget what I wanted to touch base on.
  9. pammy52

    pammy52 New Member

    bumping for more input.
  10. Skristm

    Skristm New Member

    I wish I had insight to give, but I am discovering how to make my job work. I am 22, and I am just starting my first, full time job. I was diagnosed with CFS a year ago. The past year I have just been a full time student, so aside from friends thinking they understand, while judging at the same time, I could manage and rest when needed. So my concerns are do you tell your empolyer, how do you tell them? I felt when I finally overcame my fears of working fulltime, it was a big secret when I was interviewing. So now what? Help! By the way I am a horrible speller and tend to make run-on sentences sorry!:) Thanks
  11. suzetal

    suzetal New Member

    I had just gotten a promotion and a 15,000.00 a year raise.I was promoted to management at Wal-Mart.

    My DH had been teaching for 34 yrs. we decided with my pay increase he could retire from teaching and work at his second love as a hobby.Woodworking.He had to return to work full time in a different field to make more than what his pension gave him.

    Well when I started my new position I was in charge of the whole store and about 200 associates.I worked 50 to 60 hours a week.

    It became so hard to even walk I would use a shopping cart to do my rounds around the store.I would get home and my DH would have to help me out of the car in into the house.

    My doctor who diagnosed me suggested FM LA for a month or so to see how I would do.

    I became bedridden my FM was so bad.I also have CFS and OA.
    And everything that comes with FM and CFs.

    Thats when I and my doctors ( I have 4 of them ) decided I could not go back.

    It was the saddest day of my life.You see I am a high school drop out .Only finished 9th grade needed to work to help my Mom out.So I was so proud of my self for getting were I was.I worked very hard to get there.It all came to an end due to the DD.

    I am better than I was no longer bedridden still have pain and can only do things for about an hour than need rest for about 2.

    My doctors are hoping that someday there will be a cure and I can work again.I miss it so much.

    I filed for SSDI took 3 yrs but won my case.I got a bench approval.My pay after my Medicare payment and the script plan is a whopping 524.00 a month.I do not know what I would do if I did not have my DH.

    Were all different and in different circumstances.Some are worst than others.

    I am not in any way ashamed of being on SSDI I payed in to it so I do not live off the system.

    Sorry I am rambling .I hope you can make it all work for you.My saying is.

    For Every Day A New Dawn Will Come..........Sue
  12. SweetT

    SweetT New Member

    I'm Sharon's (zzzsharn) age with two teen girls (well, preteen and teen, and all my energy goes to working, as I'm a single parent mom. I also utilize intermittent FMLA and while I'm supposed to have certain accommodations under ADA, my employer (a large county government agency) is not complying with them. Plus, even if in place, I need to be able to get my 40 hours however (not a set shift) and be off every Wednesday, like Rachel432, because that is the day that I'm most absent on.

    Like Jole, my biggest exacerbater is stress from my coworkers. I'm going for a promotion-------if I were a supervisor, I wouldn't be caseloaded, plus I'd have a private office, which I desperately need.
  13. alaska3355

    alaska3355 New Member

    I was worried about his interview, about his CFS. He handled it with aplomb- when asked if he could come in at 7 a.m. to train, he told the manager it would be impossible, since he has CFS. The guy looked at him, then said "I have it too" and gave him a high five. So it is good to be honest, but sometimes I'm sure they'll decide not to hire you. I guess it's a chance you take.