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  • How will I know when I am able to return to work?

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    Old 12-05-2007, 12:56 PM   #1
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    How will I know when I am able to return to work?

    In advance thank you for all of you who have provided your experiences on other threads they have been extremely helpful.

    I was diagnosed officially with fibro January 07 (although a doctor had told me this a few years ago and I was in denial). While I thought I knew what a flare was last spring I had no idea until this fall. After ankle surgery and MAJOR stress at work I knew I was in a flare. I have since taken a leave of absence from work and am being treated in a partial program for depression and anxiety as well as working with my Rhumi and Pain Management specialist. Since that there are days I feel great and think I can do quite a bit, (such as laundry, cleaning around the house, getting groceries) only to
    discover the next day that I am sore, exhausted and unable to accomplish anything.

    My doctors have told me that I need to learn how to pace myself as I will not be able to return to the same level of activity that I was once used to. This is a slow process for me but I am trying to learn how to pace.

    My work has now called and wants to know the date of my return and the level of activity for work. This sent me into a full blown anxiety attack. Realistically at this point I can not see myself returning full time to work between the level of activity, long hours and stress that the job has. Half days are not an option as I tried that with my ankle surgery and was not supported.

    As for the depression and anxiety I am still in treatment and the doctors can not provide an actual date. I thought I would be in this program for a week or two, and it has now been 4 weeks. Each individual is different I am told.

    So after this long drawn out storyhow will I know that my body is ready to go back to work physcially and emotionally especially as I am still in the process of learning how much activity is appropriate.

    If anything has had any experience with this I would be greatly appreciative.

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    Old 12-13-2007, 06:06 AM   #2
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    Re: How will I know when I am able to return to work?

    hi mc,
    you pose a very difficult question. realistically it is up to you and your doctors to decide this. if you feel unhinged by a call from your employer it is too soon yet. adaptation is not a magic fast change. it takes time and is a constantly changing grey area. one day as you said, you are superwoman, only to find you are a marshmallow of pain the next day.
    learning to pace yourself is a biggy. i was a dive in and go do sort of working woman.
    i have been off work 13 years. just recently i took on a little thing that has turned into work. the stress has put me in bed a couple of times. fortunatly i do this from home and the travel is mostly easy. i ask myself every day if i am up to what i am doing and i always give myself permission to quit anytime i feel it is too much.
    perhaps it would be best to simply tell your employer you will ask your doctors for their input about returning to work. the docs can write you a note to get your emp off your case. never forget a job is just a job. we are all replaceable. our bodies however, are not. they are vital to our lives and must be cared for.
    i remember the lack of support at work way back when it all started. cried alot. then i realized, oh i realized so much. as you are now doing. you see the not so pretty side of the people you work with. not a pretty picture. reality tho. i realized who i matter most to, me. so i quit worrying about my job and focused on my health. lost the job eventually, but collected a bundle as the cts was the catalyst for fibro.
    i swallowed my pride and got on social security. that was a hassle. i hired an attorney to deal with it all. the same one who had handled my employers.
    sorry it took so long to get back to you. just found you. i don't like to see any post go uncommented on. we all need support, even if only to say, i don't know.

    Old 12-13-2007, 11:56 AM   #3
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    Re: How will I know when I am able to return to work?

    mckess, blue is so right, it is time for you to think about you and not to worry about your employer. Not knowing the situation between you and your employer, I will just give you a little story about my last job. We had a young (18yr.s old) girl who came to work for us, I think it was her first job. That job was extremely stressful and she suddenly became ill and was off work for weeks. We all eventually found out she had neurological lupus and was in an awful flare from the stress. She felt guilty leaving us shorthanded and returned to work as soon as was possible. One evening while working with her she started having trouble standing (we had to stand for our job) and was having involuntary motions in her arms and body. It was the stress of the job!!! It was a slow enough evening and I knew I could handle it so I told her to call her mom and GO HOME! She didn't want to but knew she had to. Her mother came and said how B. felt so guilty and felt obligated to come to work. My response to her mother was tell her to stay at home until she is totally well and to not worry about this job because this job (management) was not worried about her. They would not hesitate one minute to get rid of her if they needed to cut staff, I told B. to listen to what I said because I was older and had been around a lot longer than she had. That's the way they all thought of me was the older one, because they were all young enough to be my children or younger than my kids.

    So I am saying to you, don't return to work until you know FOR SURE you are feeling well enough to handle it. I don't know where you work or what your job is but you know how your employer would treat you if you weren't sick and how loyal they would be to an employee. Life is too short., make sure you are feeling well before returning


    Old 12-20-2007, 08:10 AM   #4
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    Re: How will I know when I am able to return to work?

    Thank you so much for your replies. While I want to return to work, I am learning right now it is just not possible. As I type this I am in extreme agony--it hurts to sit, lie in bed etc, etc. The past few days have been great days so I've been shopping for the holidays, running a few errands and attending doctor's appointments (all normal stuff I would do after work in the past) and today I am suffering. I can't even imagine how I would survive a day at work as today it is so awful. I am a school principal and my job involves alot of running around, and long hours. Also anytime I have a conversation with a person from work or talk about work major anxiety takes place.

    I've talked to my therapist (who has RA and can relate somewhat to what I am going through) and she feels it is best that I apply for long term disability through work. I can officially do that at the end of February. My focus will from now until June will be to put in place routines for taking care of me--exercise, healthy eating, pacing ,etc.

    Thank you again. This forum is a god send for me.

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