Going Back to Work with Multiple Sclerosis
Last updated: April 2023
It is 8:05 a.m. on Saturday morning and my cat Pippin is meowing loudly at me. He’s tapping my forehead with his front paw and starting to get a little annoyed that I am not awake and out of bed yet.
Why would my cat expect me to be awake at 8 a.m. on a Saturday?
He’s come to expect breakfast is served in his bowl by this time each day now that I’m working full-time from home. It’s hard to explain to a feline you need extra sleep on that precious weekend morning to replenish your energy stores that were depleted by Thursday afternoon.
Back to work and all that jazz
Going back to work sounds like a phrase which implies you hadn’t been working. For many of us, that doesn’t accurately describe our situations. Taking care of your health can be like an unpaid full-time job; keeping up with medical visits and insurance, and staying mentally and physically active.
For many years, I have been self-employed. My music and writing have allowed me to pay for health insurance and stay fed. Over the years each gig has taken its turn in the spotlight, like a really good riff in a jazz club, while the group holds everything together.
Last summer I reached a milestone with my 50th infusion of rituximab since 2009. This is big because both my MS and RA are stable and haven’t progressed. I used to worry a lot about my health future, but instead I was cycling multiple times a week and putting miles on those wheels.
Things were going so well I decided to take a chance and try something new: working for a company full-time. I got really lucky and a recruiter saw my resume on a job board and connected me with a health company looking for someone with writing skills and social media experience.
I may not have a college degree in communications or marketing, but I have more than 15 years of real-life experience storytelling and writing about health, including 10 years with Health Union.
Happy 10th Anniversary MultipleSclerosis.net!!
Work-life balance is a phrase I hear frequently. It’s one that I’m trying to take to heart. Working from home is a tremendous blessing. I honestly don’t see how I could commute to an office and work around others for a set period of time each day. I don’t have that type of energy nor stamina. Even the frequent pinging of emails and Teams messages can overwhelm me at times from my make-shift office in the dining room.
Fatigue and stimulation overload have been the two most prominent MS symptoms that have become much more noticeable with this new job. But even with those making each day challenging, I do love working and being part of a team.
The appreciation and satisfaction that come from a job well-done are hard to quantify. I just know that they feel good.
Tips from the dining room office
Going back to work was a big change for me. In another article, I will share some of the tips I’ve learned while working from the dining room office.
Spoiler alert: I have definitely come to appreciate movement more than ever and realize that I must put myself first.
Thank you for reading. As always, I would love to hear about new challenges or adventures you’ve tackled after living with MS for some time. Your stories help us all. Please share in the comments.
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