Working with an IBD . . . .

I took a sick day and I’m grateful to say I do not regret it. We accumulate sick leave/ PTO for a reason. But unfortunately, when you have an IBD your sick days can add up, which will eventually worry me. Thankfully, I have a very understanding boss, which I’ve learned is very rare.

I posted a question in a crohn’s/colitis support group on Facebook aimed towards young professionals, asking do you fear your disease can impact your professional life? Should you bring up your disease at your job? Would you ever leave a job even if you had a very understanding boss? The responses were mixed and I noticed the older you are the more pessimistic. “No, I would never leave because finding an understanding boss is very rare”.  Some even stated, “bringing up your condition or leaving is  just stupid”. The younger people that responded were totally different (millennials! smh), they stated you should not allow your disease to hold you back or impede your professional growth. “If the job is not flexible,then it’s not the right job.”  The one thing that both sides agreed on is that you never mention your disease firsthand, because it’s a big possibility that you will be discriminated against, and I totally agree.

In my situation, I had been in my position for over a year before I became sick. So  my manager knew about my many doctor appointments because she approved my leave and when I finally got a diagnosis of course she was curious. At first I was afraid to tell, but I’m glad I eventually did.  Since I’ve been really sick lately, I don’t know how I could have kept it a secret. My situation is rare, and I’m very grateful for the support I have, but there are resources out there if you do not have support, you do have rights.

In the US you might be able to file for disability. According to the CCFA.org you may be able to apply for social security benefits if your condition is found in the list of disabling impairments, the CCFA pointed out 3 conditions where IBD would fit:

  1. Disorders of the Digestive System
  2. Malnutrition or Weight Loss
  3. Surgical Diversion of the Intestinal Tract

Read more at this link:  http://www.ccfa.org/resources/applying-for-social-security.html

CCFA also has an employee accommodation letter template that ask for office placement located near a bathroom; allowed to start work an hour later each day; and other accommodations. Letter may be given to healthcare provider to complete and provide specific needs for the employee. Letter is then provided to the patient’s employer.

Review the accommodation letter here: http://www.ccfa.org/resources/employment-accommodation.html

The CCFA also provides a summary of disability laws and even job search engines for persons with disabilities, CCFA is freaking awesome lol Check out the info here: http://www.ccfa.org/assets/pdfs/employment-and-inflammatory.pdf

Positive vibes . . . :)

The past 3 weeks have been a new low for me, but I am happy to say for the past 24 hours it has been a good day! And this beautiful weather is totally matching my mood.  I’ve been out running errands and even attended my first crohn’s/colitis support group through the CCFA.  It was a very positive experience, and to meet other young people of difference races with this disease, it was very comforting. It was also great to talk about symptoms in graphic detail without grossing people out, that was pretty cool. I plan to keep attending and the facilitator stated how today was a smaller turn out, so it’s exciting that  it might be a larger group next time.

For my fellow IBDers or parents that have children with IBD, I highly advise that you look into CCFA local chapters and their support groups. Writing this blog has been a wonderful experience and my online community has been very supportive, but I will admit, meeting people in your area that have the same disease is even better. Check out the link below.

http://www.ccfa.org/living-with-crohns-colitis/find-a-support-group/

In regards to my blog, its being featured in a new online blogger magazine titled “Twenty Somethings” which is freaking awesome!  And if you’re a blogger in your 20’s, they are looking for new bloggers for the summer edition, so check it out!   https://issuu.com/twentysomethings/docs/twenty_somethings_-_edition_1/1?e=0

Lastly, I have the song “Whistle while you work it” stuck in my head. I heard it on Pandora recently and it put a smile on my face this past week. I think it’s an uplifting song and I love the beat. Just wanted to share 🙂

℗ 2015 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc

As always, I remain hopeful 🙂

Remaining hopeful . . .

I am currently experiencing my first BAD flareup. After 3 days of hell, I am now starting to feel better. To have intense cramps all day and going to the bathroom at least 10 times a day, I feel so relieved that the pain has stopped.  I also feel safe to eat again, earlier today I was scared to eat anything just to avoid any more pain. I prefer hunger pains any day over severe abdominal pain.

But even though the past few days have been horrible, it could be worst. I found the below video of a young woman’s struggle with Crohn’s, please watch.

Remaining hopeful 🙂

CCFA Team Challenge . . . .

Prior to being diagnosed with colitis I was very active. I would jog 3 times a week and attend a body-pump class every Saturday, which was a mixture of aerobics and weight lifting. It was for my training for the Mudderella, my first ever mud run.  It was a great experience and I’m glad I did it. After the race I had hoped to continue running, but the pain in my hip increased and I officially had a hip injury. After seeing my doctor, a chiropractor, and a physical therapist for weeks, I went cold turkey and haven’t done high impact exercises since September.  Now that its getting warm again, I really want to start running, but knowing me I have to be motivated.

After browsing CCFA.org I discovered “Team Challenge”.  It’s a 16-week endurance training program where you get the opportunity to raise money for Crohn’s and Colitis research by running a half marathon, marathon, or triathlon.  You can join a local team and members can be fellow IBDers or people that know someone with an IBD. Since I live in the DC metro area, I attended an information session for the Greater Washington DC/VA team. I decided not to sign up this year since I’m newly diagnosed and still adjusting to this new lifestyle, I didn’t feel I was in the right place to take on such a commitment. Maybe next year 🙂 The cool thing about the information session  was that I met the team’s coach, mentor, and manager and they all had an IBD  and shared how Team Challenge changed their lives for the better, it was very inspirational.

I’m not doing team challenge this year, but for those of you looking for an endurance challenge and have an IBD or know someone who has an IBD, check out the info below.

More details about Team Challenge can be found at http://online.ccfa.org/site/PageServer?pagename=tc_home and check out the video below: