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Avatar universal

Work and Treatment

I'm going to be starting treatment after the first of the year.  I'm a single Mom, very physical job, and I'm trying to figure out the set up for treatment with work, children, etc.. My doc was pretty scary when first explaining to me about treatment.  Being a single Mom he said that I should make provisions for my children now as treatment would be very difficult.  After coming to this forum for a few months now, I'm inclined to think that it's not going to be as bad as he said.  I see people that work, know of one man that is in construction that worked, etc..  Then I'll read where one is on the couch, unable to move because of the sides.  I know there are other avenues such as, the Family Leave Act, Disability, etc.  Of course I would prefer to continue to work as it pays better.  I take care of my children by myself financially, 8 & 15. So...
I would please like to hear from people who continued to work, in what kind of job, sides at the beginning of treatment and as it progresses.  I know that for every person the sides can be subtle or more intense for others.
Thank You,  Robin
26 Responses
Avatar universal
I worked throughout treatment as a teacher (University). I did get tired, and would usually crash out as soon as I got home. I don't know that I could have worked AND kept a house running, much less coped with children (I have none). My husband did all the cooking and most of the cleaning for 6 months, but we did it this way round as I earn more than he does. Do you have family/friends who could help you with the children? I was lucky in that I had no major side effects to cope with....but the fatigue was considerable.
Avatar universal
Sorry to butt in, but I had a question for Britgirl in a thread awhile back but it got buried in other comments.  I saw you in here so I thought I would try again. I developed hypothyroidism on treatment and I know you did as well.  When did your hair loss stop?  I've been off treatment for three months now and show no signs of stopping.  I did just start Armour Thyroid about a month and a half ago and I'm pretty sure my dose isn't optimal yet.  I was very hypo with a TSH of 47 when I started meds. I would appreciate other comments from others with hypo as well.  Thanks  pj

Robin - I was very affected by the meds.  They knocked me out.  I had to stop treatment because of the side effects.  I'm one who could not have worked during treatment.  I type medical reports at home and most days I had to fight sleep while sitting at the computer.  I was taking 800 mg of Rebetol and the standard dose of Pegasys.  I am a small person, weighing only about 110 pounds.  Maybe that had something to do with it.  I felt was overdosed.  Just my experience...  You may handle it just fine. Everyone is different.  Good luck.  pj
Avatar universal
I'm on #14 tomorrow night pegasys/copegus TX. I still work as a engineering automation support engineer. I only work 4 days a week right now. I take Mondays off for the extra rest. I have to use my brain alot. This is difficult on TX. I also get tired very easily. My chores around the house have been slidding. Sides are mild to rough at times. Most of the time it is OK.
Avatar universal
Hi robin,
I started tx Dec 1st, so it's very early days for me....however, so far, it's been ok....don't want to be too complacent in case I get a big slap in the face!  I, too, was worried about work as I run my own business, but I'm carrying on as normal and feel fine apart from the nausia and loss of appetite.  Spoke to my hep nurse this morning and she told me to try peppermint tea and ginger for the nausia and it seems to have worked... Haven't had any sleepless nights as yet either, infact, I've slept pretty good.  new-sojourn told me about eating buttered toast before the pills and somebody else told me about eating ice cream...it seems to help.
If you look down the posts to my last one..."Last minute advice" there's some good advice from people more experienced than I am.
Somebody said to me "Positive thinking is a powerful thing" and it really is.
Wishing you the best of luck
Avatar universal
Hi there!

I am on week 47 of ? (going to a half dose of Pegasys w/no Ribavarin -- for probably 6 months, after week 50 of full doses of both). I have missed maybe 10-15 days of work over the treatment course, mainly due to fatigue. I used FMLA and get recertified every 60 days. I work on telecommunications switches for a large RBOC. It can be a stressful job where you have to think quick on your feet or you'd be crashing 911 and 1000s of customers, that has been difficult at times. Luckily, my co-workers all know I am going through treatment and help me out. My direct boss has been great. I have been able to handle it mostly -- the reserve of strength in all of us comes to the fore.

At home my wife has taken on a lot of extra tasks or we've just put them off until I complete treatment. It has been tougher watching my family watch me than I would have realized.

Avatar universal
I don't know where you are in the Liver Damage Department but the "12 week 2 log drop or quit" is NOT the magic number where a patient goes "I haven't made it so I will stop." Some people take longer to reach undetectable/get their 2 log drop. I would not give up, especially after starting. I know it is hell -- I am on week 47 of an 'undetermined' campaign to eradicate the virus -- but as my family doctor put it before he sent me to the REALLY scary doctors "the treatment isn't benign".

If you have FMLA rights, which I believe any company with over 50 employees, has to grant you by Federal law, USE THEM.
Avatar universal
I forgot to add: if you can switch to Pegasys. Almost everyone I've talked to that has done both found PEG-Intron harder to tolerate.
Avatar universal
I took the Peg-Intron and tried to work through the treatment.  I'm a computer programmer and got laid off, about 4 months into the treatment.  It took me about 5 months to find a job.  I really had a hard time presenting myself well at interviews.  My wife wasn't supportive of me during the treatment and I was the primary care giver for the kids both while working and while job hunting.  I found myself very irritable (?sp) and lost my patience with the kids (5, 7, & 9).  Since my wife was not able to take up any slack, I had to lean on family.
Avatar universal
I finished 48 weeks Peg-Intron and 1000 riba Thanksgiving. First 6 months were a breeze. Never any flu-like symptoms. Procrit and Neupogen from week 10. They kept my blood counts OK until the last 3weeks. Worked everyday, own a business but I don't sit behind a desk. My wife pretty much did everything for a year. My sides were wierd. I lost my voice a day a week probably 40 out 48 weeks. Didn't hurt so it was a pretty good side to have. My wife wants me to do another 15 or 20 years because of this. Developed gout. Horribly grouchy some days, others just fine. Not easy but not as bad as I imagined. Good luck.
Avatar universal
I will be taking 12/48 pegintron/Rib and my experience has not been that great with sides.  I run a federal funded youth program by myself and I have basically run out of sick time/vacation time and my comp time.  I am also taking AD and procrit, I have four children and a grandbaby at home ranging from ages 8 months to 17 years of age.  The teens have been a huge help in taking care of the younger kids and house and cooking.  On an average I miss 1 to 2 days a week for the last 11 weeks.  I'm scheduled to get my 12 week VL check next week and really concidering ending tx if the #'S haven't dropped the 2 logs.  For me things have been real rough, however there are many more out there I believe that do much better on tx.  You have come to the BEST place for support and info.  Good luck to you and all of us.
Avatar universal
I am 4 weeks into treatment pegasys/copeg. So far the worst sides have been mental, in fact the (so far) physical sides have been light. The brain thing is tough though. I run my own technology sales company and I am starting to be quite forgetful. I write lots of things down and I have sticky notes all over the place. I am thinking of geting one of those recording gizmo's to jot down mental notes, I hope I remember to buy one. I even forget why I go into rooms sometimes. Rest does seem to help, I should probally get more. Any way I am babbleing here. Work and TX can be done, you just have to adjust

good luck

Avatar universal
Hello everyone and good thoughts to you rsterling. Just 24 hours ago I received the good news that I'm nondetectible 6 mos. post tx!!!!!!!!!! I almost can't believe it! I started treatment a little over a year ago...3A. I'm a mother of two kids, 11 and 15 and work in the fitness field. I managed to work throughout treatment and although it was quite tough on the family unit we are all still together!
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