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Old 10-05-2012, 07:22 PM   #1
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Challenging Return to Work after Stroke

Hello everyone,
I have only posted here a couple of times, but I read messages very often, and i find it very helpful to learn that as survivors we struggle with many of the same issues.
I had a stroke last December, cerebral hemorrhage, and for many many months i was convinced that I would recover fully. I am very happy to have survived, a guardian angel must have been looking out for me because my life was hanging in a thin thread. I was cleared by the neurosurgeon to return to work, and i started part time and slowly increased the hours. I have now been full time for three months. I was so eager to return to work to prove to myself that I was back to normal. On the outside i look like I used to, but on the inside things are much different. Work is really, really hard. It is so extremely hard to focus many days, and I have headaches all the time. I can't shake my head, can't nod, I'm often very dizzy, etc. so I basically have to move my head very slowly. I am dead scared all the time that my performance is suffering, and I can't tell my boss at work anything or put ideas in his head. If I said that "on several days I will not be able to focus or get my job done I will probably lose my job. I have asked the doctor about the outlook for my future. The majority of the clinical recovery has basically been done, and there is a possibility that I won't get much better. Part of me wants to quit working, and part of me wants to continue, but I am also getting a lot of pressure from my husband to continue working. He has a good paying job, and we have three kids so my income is good to have. Do I just keep plugging away at work?

 
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Old 10-05-2012, 11:31 PM   #2
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Re: Challenging Return to Work after Stroke

G’day MarieKD,
It’s great to hear your back at work. I suffered a clot in the brain stem on the 18/03/0210. I’ve been back at work for about a year. Like you, I started part time and progressed to a full time position, to look at me one would think I have made a full recovery, except for a slight limp.
Every day is a real challenge, my balance is not the best, and sometimes I find myself searching for words. Like you, I really need the income I don’t have much choice but to work. I am blessed that I have a very understanding boss that me treats very well.
Most days I’m totally exhausted and fatigued. No matter the amount of rest, the result is constant tiredness. I’ve found that my improvement has increased since I started work all be it ever so slight, but at least I’m not going backwards. Every day I feel like cutting back on work hours, and then I think if I do I may stop improving.
At the end of the day you can only do, what you can do, no more or no less. May be you went back to work to soon. Its fine for the doctors to clear you for work, but the best judge of when you’re ready is you. You may need to go back to part time work for a while.
I wish you and your family all the very best. Please keep in touch and stay positive.
George……….

 
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Old 10-07-2012, 07:20 AM   #3
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Re: Challenging Return to Work after Stroke

Dear MarieKD
My dear friend you were saved for a reason and that you must remember. We all want to get back to normal and family expecially want us back doing things we did before. It is healing for THEM to see us back. But it is not healing for us. Oh yes we want it to but we must remember the life we had isnt necessarily the life you were saved to return to.
Everyone has been there and everyone has focused at one point in our recovery wanting to return to "normal" But we now have a new life and a new normal and its not a bad thing.
A dear friend on this board told me we must "accept, analyze and adapt". Very very wise words. I typed those words out and hung them on my wall and I see them every day. It was words that told me this is a new beginning. It is a new life and it can be a great life.
I told my husband that when I had the stroke it felt like everything fell apart. He said well, now you can put it back together again only this time much much better than before. These too were wise words and stayed with me through out my recovery.
Im not saying you shouldnt work but it is very obvious this job is not the one you should be doing. Your symptoms scare me to be honest and remember right now they are symptoms of a job you shouldnt be doing. If you continue to subject your body to these symptoms they then become something much more. They become a journey towards unwellness and you do not want to walk that path.
YOU are imporant YOU matter and the life you were saved for shouldnt be one that causes you to become unwell. If you have faith and believe in God then ask him to guide you. Ask him to make clear the life he saved you for.
Good Luck, I hope I havent said too much. God Bless Mulchie

 
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Old 10-07-2012, 09:14 AM   #4
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Re: Challenging Return to Work after Stroke

If all else fails you could always deliver pizza like I do. With tips I average $17.00 a hour. Will I get rich doing this? I doubt it, but you are alone most of the time cruising around town listening to the radio. The pace is nether fast or slow My boss hired me knowing about my major brain stem stroke along with all the problems associated with it. He was very nice hiring me and has been a patent boss allowing me to work at my own pace without pressure. Another thing to consider some states consider having a stroke to be a disability and as such a employer gets a nice tax credit for hiring you. The amount of profit a employer loses because you may be a little slow or have memory problems are more than made up for with the money they save having you on the job.

Last edited by goldsworthy; 10-07-2012 at 09:15 AM.

 
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Old 10-08-2012, 12:42 PM   #5
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Re: Challenging Return to Work after Stroke

Hi George,
Thank you for your words, it sounds like we face some of the same challenges. I can tell that you are staying strong and continuing to "fight" the obstacles. I will think of how you have stayed strong when I think days are tough! Thanks again.

 
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Old 10-08-2012, 12:59 PM   #6
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Re: Challenging Return to Work after Stroke

Hi Mulchie,
Please be patient with me on how I reply (not quite sure if I'm doing it right). Thank you for replying to my post, I appreciate you taking the time out of your life to post a reply to my question. You are a very wise lady - I will remember to "accept, analyze and adapt". I value your direct answer to my question, and deep down you are confirming what I am scared to admit... the job I am in is not a good fit for me at the time. I don't really know what to do, but I am feeling better knowing that someone (you) actually understand me even though we haven't even met!! Thank you, thank you Mulchie!

Hi Goldsworthy,
I would never have thought of delivering pizza. This support group is a very valuable place to get help and ideas, and it opens up the idea to me that maybe I need to start thinking about the future in non-traditional ways. Thank you!

 
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:04 PM   #7
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Re: Challenging Return to Work after Stroke

Hello MarieKD
Thank you for your kind words. Im really glad the post helped and please continue to ask questions or tell us more about your stroke and how your recovery has been. You can come to us anytime because we understand what you are going through. We have big shoulders and two good ears for listening. It helps to vent or discuss problems your having. Your posts help you and also help others who read them.
It is exciting to think about a new life a new beginning. Its great to think about what would I like to do and what would make me feel well.
Good luck and please remember your a courageous and brave stroke survivor. We climb mountains and defeat the odds. Be proud of yourself and the recovery you have made. Your opinion matters, how you are feeling and how you see your life now is important. My Gosh you had a stroke and you have done well but those stroke symptoms like to come flooding back when we are doing something we shouldnt. Let them be your guide towards a better life. I still cant master driving. Every time I go out and drive my car my stroke symptoms come back. 10 min is all I drove last time and when I pulled back in the driveway I couldnt walk to the house. My drop foot came back, my right side when very weak, my hand tremor looked like it was on a sugar rush and my migrane was back and I was so neauseated it was terrible. All for a 10 min drive. NO thanks. Its very common for symptoms to come flooding back when we have stressed out our bodies. We really need to evaluate what type of stress we are putting our selves under and if its leading us to good health. Thats the question to constantly ask yourself. Is this making me better and stronger or making me sick? Me doing a 20 min walk is making me well. Me driving and having to go to bed for the day after 10 min of driving NOT making me well. I dont think your job is making you well. But there may be a job out there you can do that will make you well and happy. Or maybe you shouldnt work for awhile if you can. Because you need to heal. Mind body and soul.
God Bless Mulchie

Last edited by Mulchie; 10-08-2012 at 07:06 PM.

 
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Old 10-22-2012, 10:22 PM   #8
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Re: Challenging Return to Work after Stroke

I too have gone back to work. Unable to Davis clearly and feel like I am struggling somewhat. That's ok. I am doing the job to the best of my ability and I am trying. My boss tries to make me feel like I need to do more. I try my best. Good luck and keep us all posted how things are going.

 
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Old 10-23-2012, 10:04 PM   #9
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Re: Challenging Return to Work after Stroke

Hello Marie and all,

I think it is very brave of you to return to work, and I understand necessity, but to push yourself over you limits will take its toll on you, as you have learned. I have always thought that we should keep balance on everything we do, as much as we work, we must rest, as much as we give, we must receive. When one side becomes dominant, the whole thing will tilt. Until that balance is restored, we will feel the strain. Our performance will fade, and our mood will dwindle.

With so much pressure to do the right thing, and to live up the wills of society can work against our bodies needs. Hopefully, you can avoid the tug to work work work, and take back some time for yourself.

By the way, it is great to hear from you, please come back soon!

Janet

 
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Old 10-28-2012, 08:03 PM   #10
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Re: Challenging Return to Work after Stroke

Dear Marie
How are you doing? I was wondering if you had re thought the work issue and how your symptoms were. Just thought I would drop in and say hello and I was thinking about you. Keep in touch
God Bless Mulchie

 
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Old 11-19-2012, 02:01 PM   #11
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Re: Challenging Return to Work after Stroke

It hasn't been a month since I suffered cerebellum stroke and brain surgery. The surgery and medical care solved all of the symptoms i had before (headach, vertigo, nausea). It even looks like (to me and to the doctors) that I don't suffer the aftermath they thought I would (paralysis or speech problem). Even went back to my apartment, I take care of myself, cook and go to the market. I even finished and submitted my Master thesis while in recovery ! Like OP I can't wait to go back to work. But, at the same time, I don't want to end up in the same stressful situation I put myself in this fall. Wouldn't be very wise. Thank you all for leading me to think about that : going back to work calmly.

 
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Old 11-19-2012, 03:04 PM   #12
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Re: Challenging Return to Work after Stroke

I am so glad you are doing well. I was glad to hear you are going to think about work with caution. Remember you were saved for a reason and it wasnt to put yourself back into the same stressful environment. I know its easy to say but the bills have to get paid. I understand that. However, have a plan in place. Remember your yoga and meditation to keep your body and mind in healing mode not stress mode. Is it possible to go back to work part time at first and see how your body reacts?
I wish you well my friend please continue to let us know how your making out. It is very encouraging to us to hear such positive posts filled with hope and posibility.
God Bless Mulchie

 
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:33 PM   #13
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Re: Challenging Return to Work after Stroke

Hello,
Well, I am now on medical leave from work. My headaches (and several other problems) just don't mix well with work. My GP has referred me to go for a cognitive assessment, and I am very curious to see what it reveals. I don't really know what to expect. My first plan for "life after stroke" was to return to my old job, but it didn't work, so a new plan for "life after stroke" has to be created. My GP is sending me for the cognitive assessment to see where I am at, and that will hopefully help in creating a new plan. I do have some thoughts; will I ever even work again, what kind of a job can I do if I can work, etc., etc.

Being away from work has lifted so much weight off my shoulders, and I am feeling much more relaxed, almost calm I guess you could say. I am now able to appreciate "simple" things in life because I am not completely drained for energy the same way anylonger. I can appreciate my kids, my home, snow (LOL, well not really), and the list goes on and on. It feels a lot better to stay at home, and when things "feel right", they probably are...

The daily headaches are hard to take sometimes. The neurosurgeon told me that there is nothing to worry about as long as the headaches feel the same. Does that sound like what everyone else has been told?

Marie

Last edited by MarieKD; 11-21-2012 at 05:03 AM.

 
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Old 11-21-2012, 06:01 AM   #14
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Re: Challenging Return to Work after Stroke

I am so glad you are not working at this time. You sound terrific and you defently have the right attitude. relaxed and calm is good, appreciating the small stuff is good and rebuild a better life is good. I am so happy for you.
The stroke left me in migrane for the first year and a bit. I didnt think they were ever going to go but they did. They return quickly if Im not behaving myself and pushing the limits like I have been this last week. It feels like someone has cracked me in the back of the head with a baseball bat. OUCH! But if I rest it gets better so what does that tell you. Most days I am headache free. It will be very interesting to see what happens with your headaches the longer you are home and away from stress. Remember some symptoms do come back when we push it and I think that happened to you at work. I was so glad to read your post and you were not working.
When I finally came to grips with the idea that I couldnt return to work there was both sadness ( still wanting my old life back) and there was some peace at the same time because deep down I knew I had to create a new life. Once I got that in my head that it was a good thing and creating a new life could be wonderful, well it began a wonderful journey. Good luck to you and keep up the great work. You are on your way to a more magnificent life. A life you were saved for.
Please keep posting and let us know how your doing. Sounds like you have a really good GP.
God Bless Mulchie

 
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Old 07-13-2013, 04:02 PM   #15
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Re: Challenging Return to Work after Stroke

I must say..being new here...your words help. Even if things look dismal

 
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