In January 2008 my Dr told me that I'd never work full time again. That was a shock and very difficult to accept. After I'd gone back to work in September we'd planned for me to be working full time by the end of 2007. When that didn't happen the Dr said we'd just see how I went. Then in January he told me that I'd never work full time again and that if I could work 4 full days he'd be happy. After the joy finding out that I was in remission this news was a real blow.
Once I came to the
understanding that I was going to be dealing with this for a while, work
and my rehab provider started talking to me about applying for a
partial pension through my super fund.
I hadn't been having any
troubles with work, my bosses and the HR people were amazing and took
really good care of me, but they decided to hire a Vocational
Rehabilitation Provider to help me out. His name was Darrin and he was
amazing. He made my life so much easier and I will be eternally grateful
for the help that he gave me. He organised everything to do with work,
so if I needed something I just asked Darrin and he arranged it. Like I
said, I hadn't been having any problems, but having to deal with one
person is much easier than having to deal with several people. Plus,
having Darrin meant that I didn't have to worry about anything, cause
that was his job. I knew that if I had a problem he'd sort it out for
me. He came to the Dr with me and after speaking to the Dr he arranged
for me to work from home 1 day per week. I was reluctant to do that
because I liked the human contact, but it meant that I could work more
hours which was good.
With Darrin's assistance I applied for the
partial pension in March. I hadn't wanted to, as it felt like admitting
defeat, but my leave was quickly running out, and I need the money.
Plus, I needed to take the pressure of myself to try and increase my
hours. I didn't like having to apply for the pension, but as I had no
choice, I did.
All up it took about 3 months for the partial
pension to come through, but I am so grateful that this was available to
me. It made life a lot easier for us. The day it came through was a
good day and a bad day. I was relieved that I didn't have to worry about
money, but was upset at the thought that this was going to be an
ongoing thing. To be eligible for the partial pension my condition had
to be permanent and I didn't like having to admit that to myself.
January, for 1 day per week I started catching the train to work. It was
tiring having to stand up on the train and then walk to work, some
mornings it took me ages to get to work because I had to stop and rest
until the pain went away, but being able to catch the train made me feel
like I was making progress.
We'd bought a house and moved in
April 2007. I'd been sick at the time, so hadn't been able to do all the
unpacking. I'd done the main living areas, but I had a room stacked
full of boxes that needed to be unpacked and I just hadn't been able to
do it. In January I decided that I'd tackle it. I started out doing 5
minutes per day, and slowly worked up to 15 minutes per day. Eventually I
could do 15 minutes twice a day. It took me until August, but I finally
got all the boxes unpacked and was so pleased with myself once it was
The rest of 2008 was pretty uneventful. I had a few scares,
but no flare ups, and I remained in remission. I got lots of colds due
to my weakened immune system, but thankfully I had a magic potion from
my naturopath, so that kept most of the colds under control. We had a
few scares where we thought I was having a flare up, they turned out to
be false alarms. I think the pain was triggered by exercise, both false
alarms were just after I'd exercised for a few days.
My gastro Dr
told me that I only needed to see him once a year unless I had more
than 2 flare ups and he was happy with my progress.
naturopath said that I could start taking silica gel, and as soon as I
started taking that my hair started to grow back thicker and stronger.
I'd lost about 1/2 of the volume of my hair, if that makes sense. What I
mean is that I had about half as much hair as I used to, but once I
started taking the silica gel my hair stopped falling out. Through
taking the fish oil my skin improved heaps.
I slowly began
increasing my hours at work, and by the end of the year was working 18
hours per week over 3 days. I'd stopped working from home and was
working the whole time in the office. I gave up my parking space under the building and
caught the train to work every day.
I stopped focusing on illness
and started focusing on wellness. I stopped reading about Crohn's on
the internet and instead of thinking about what I couldn't do, I
focused on what I could do. I still spoke openly to anyone who asked
about my illness, but it was no longer the main point of conversation.
It felt so nice not to be talking about illness all the time.
like to say that Tiger dealt with my illness well, but he didn't. He hated
it, and that made me feel bad about it too, even though I knew it
wasn't my fault. At times he acted like he thought I'd got sick on
purpose. He was angry and resentful. Him not dealing with it made things
a lot more difficult for me at a time when I really needed his love and
Every now and again I'd push myself, just to see what
would happen. Tiger wasn't impressed when I did this, so I'd time it for
when he wasn't there to stop me. He'd get worried about me, so I
wouldn't tell him what I was up to. I was always careful. For
example, I'd started going for slow, gentle walks, but I went with Tiger
and we didn't go far. I decided that I wanted to walk to the post
office, which was 3km's away. I knew Tiger wouldn't agree to it (I'd
mentioned it a few times and he'd said a very strong no), so I waited till
he was out at martial arts, took my phone and wandered on down there. I
knew I wouldn't be able to walk home cause I'd be too tired, and I
figured that it'd take me about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes to walk there, so
I waited till 1/2 hour before he was due to get home before I left.
Unfortunately, the day I chose to do this, he was held up, so didn't get
home when I expected him to.
I made it to the post office and
was totally exhausted, so I sat down and rested for a while. Then I
decided that I'd try to walk home. I'd been walking (actually, it was
more like trudging at this stage) for about 10 minutes, when Tiger rang,
frantic because I wasn't at home. He panicked when he heard the
exhaustion in my voice and wasn't at all impressed when I told him I'd
gone for a walk and even less impressed when I told him how far I
walked. He came and picked me up and spent a lot of time telling me off
for being stupid. But I felt triumphant, I was so proud of myself. I'd
achieved my goal and I was happy.
I checked with the Dr at my
next visit and he said that it was okay to push myself like that every
now and again as long as I didn't do it too often. Once a month or less
was okay, but no more than that.
Finally I was starting to feel like I was getting back to my old self, the person I used to be before I got ill.