Flexible part-time work options for someone with chronic illness?

Nov 02, 2011 4:33 pm

I was diagnosed with Crohn's in 2007 (even though I've had the symptoms and was being misdiagnosed for 18 years). By 2009, after many surgeries and procedures, I was given a permanent ostomy. Before then, I was a full-time case manager with a company for 20 years. I decided to resign before I was fired for all the lost time I had. Anyway, it has been two years, and I am ready to work again. I don't think I am able to work full-time due to stress, but would like part-time. My question is, is there a place where you can work that the hours are flexible to meet my needs? I have periods of flare-ups and chronic fatigue, and I need to work for someone who is understanding. Any suggestions or ideas? I tried working from home through the internet, but that was a joke. Thanks.

Nov 02, 2011 11:31 pm

Go to your local job service and find out where the rehab place is. They can retrain you into jobs that fit your needs. Make sure you tell them all about yourself so they can look at many different ways.

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Nov 03, 2011 3:17 pm

There is always light at the end of any tunnel. In my experience, it really is down to what type of work you are seeking, and I do agree your local job agencies will be most helpful in finding you a placement that works for both you and a new employer.

I did it when I was going through my treatment. I found employment with someone who knew I could only perform certain duties. He just made the most of my skills which were left. You have no doubt got a lot to offer still, so go for it, but be clear with future employers and then they have no surprises in store.

Best of luck.

Nov 07, 2011 11:46 pm
Do hope you hear from more of us who have been where you are now and are back at work. My own experience with my complete and permanent ileo was once healed up it did not hurt my ability to handle my accounting job. Does seems if relapses and chronic fatigue are a problem something else might be going on.

I worked for years in government-funded job training programs; I'd not right off tell them upfront you need a job with little stress and fatigue. Such jobs are few and far between. Seems like strong case management experience is a pretty good work history. Case management is a key skill at all levels of job training and placement from the state agency level to every subcontractor, like community colleges and training contractors.

Good luck and do look into what's causing fatigue and ostomy function problems. Also look into ostomy support groups in your community. Helps to share with others "like us".
Nov 08, 2011 12:48 am
I had a diagnosis of colon cancer due to Crohn's colitis back in February in California. At the same time, I was selling my house and working for a high-stress, high-pay, high-travel job.

I moved back to my hometown to be with my family and went to the best doctor in the country (in my humble opinion) at Brigham Women's.

He did a total colectomy; it was preliminary stage one.

I also had a second cancer (a tumor in my kidney, totally unrelated but coincidental in timing) that I had removed a few months later.

On August 1, I was cleared to return to work, but my job could not support me past June as it required me to work in the Western US out of the Western US. While not explicitly stated by HR, it was known by me that I would not do well under that stressful job.

I connected with a local company that was in my line of work (advertising sales) and took a part-time job working out of their office instead of out in the field (20 hours a week, flexible) for low pay and commission, just to keep busy and build up my strength and figure out what my digestive system's needs would be.

I am happy to say that my bathroom needs are not an issue, and I can be more or less "normal" and safe with diet and a mix of Imodium and Benefiber to regulate my bowels. And I love my job. I will look to increase my hours next year!

And a probiotic.

So look for something less stressful. Work-at-home opportunities may still be out there. And there are tons of customer service jobs for big companies that might be a good fit too...don't give up hope!
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Nov 08, 2011 2:56 am

I was in the same boat; misdiagnosed since 2001. Then I started bleeding old blood and clots, was admitted and a new surgeon took over. He said I had a big problem and should go to a bigger hospital for surgery, which I did. I now have a permanent colostomy. I have problems with it yet. However, there is no reason why you cannot work that I know of, unless it is heavy labor or something like that. I went through the Crohn's workup which was negative. I was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome which I have had for many years anyway. Best of luck to you.

Nov 08, 2011 4:32 am
I was in the same boat. I had been on disability for 20 years due to Crohn's. When I was first showing symptoms, I had just started a job and 3 days before my probation period was up, they gave me the boot. So for about 20 years, I was on disability but things do change and I was hired by a union for 2 weeks to simply put manuals together. Easy job, not stressful, and good pay. That was 4 years ago. I'm still employed there; however, I have been off since February due to issues and complications from my Crohn's. I have had surgery in June and now waiting to find out about another surgery to fix the hernia I got from the last operation.

I have been put on disability again but through my work and even though I have been off for 9 months, I still have a job waiting for me when I'm cleared to return to work.

There are lots of jobs out there that YOU can set your own hours. I did Merchandising, ran my own printing business, and simply got local businesses to hire me to print up menus, letterheads, information pamphlets, etc. I worked my own hours.

Look into taking a course to upgrade your skills and perhaps you could start your own business. There are part-time jobs, but you need to be honest with your employer so they are aware you will have bouts and attacks and will need to take time off. Of course, you may not want to mention that until you are actually hired lol.

Good luck in your search.