HELP! Career and Crohn's

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buffa
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 4/18/2008 1:45 PM (GMT -7)   
Hey all -
 
I am considering pursuing a career as a teacher, but I have found myself a little bit paralyzed by my anxiety about my ability to cope with Crohn's symptoms and illness during the workday.  In fact, I think that my anxiety is really getting to me as I prepare to enter the workforce in general.  I have mild to moderate CD and had a perforation and bowel resection in 2003.
 
I was wondering if anyone has experience with Crohn's and being in the classroom, or any words of encouragement in general about dealing with CD and career.  Just feeling a little scared/discouraged and starting to feel as though my anxiety is delaying my entrance into the workforce (and the real world!), so any input would be appreciated!
 
Thanks. 

MikeB
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 1169
   Posted 4/18/2008 2:15 PM (GMT -7)   
I've had mild to moderate Crohns for 40 years and been an adjunct college instructor for 17. You can always excuse yourself and go to the john. Don't let this disease curtail your aspirations.

Roni
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2003
Total Posts : 2480
   Posted 4/18/2008 3:19 PM (GMT -7)   

It will probably be a little more difficult to teach children if you have to go to the bathroom all the time, unless you have a teacher's assistant at all times.

You could always teach at the college level, night school, or better yet, an online/distance educator.

Best wishes!


mel05
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 87
   Posted 4/18/2008 3:20 PM (GMT -7)   
I am a kindergarten teacher.  I was just recently diagnosed with crohns.  Up until my diagnosis (having symptoms for over a year) things were tough...hard to get out of bed and make it to work, and through the day, etc.  But now that my symptoms are under control, I am doing fine!  I love it! :-)

Diagnosed with crohn's in January 2008! 
Pentasa 1000 mg 4 times a day
On Topamax twice daily for migraines
On nexium - continuing for a month or so...the pred upset my tummy pretty bad. :-(
 
I am 27 years old and have been married for 2 years.  I cannot wait to try to have children so I want to get this under control!!


mel05
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 87
   Posted 4/18/2008 3:21 PM (GMT -7)   
P.s. I just go next door (the room next to mine has a teacher and an assistant) if I need to go to the bathroom!  Good luck...let us know what you decide.

Diagnosed with crohn's in January 2008! 
Pentasa 1000 mg 4 times a day
On Topamax twice daily for migraines
On nexium - continuing for a month or so...the pred upset my tummy pretty bad. :-(
 
I am 27 years old and have been married for 2 years.  I cannot wait to try to have children so I want to get this under control!!


Trina
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 34
   Posted 4/18/2008 4:41 PM (GMT -7)   

Hello!  I am currently in my fifth year as a High School English Teacher (best job in the world by the way) and have Crohn's.  I was actually diagnosed during my Master's Program to get my teaching certificate.  It was the most challenging thing I have ever encountered. 

I have found that the more you explain to the students the more understanding they are.  Same goes for administrators and coworkers.  When I tell my students I am not feeling well they immediately become the most well-behaved and understanding individuals I have ever encountered.  Becuase I took the time to explain the disease and symptoms to them they feel like they know me better and want to understand. 

I have been getting Remicade infusions for the last four years every 8 weeks and have been feeling well about 90% of the time. The insurance through my school district has been amazing and I pay virutally nothing. 

In education people tend to be understanding and open if you are willing to share with them.  Do not give up your dream, because teaching is something that makes you and the world better. 

Let me know if you have any questions. 


"Without Love, Day to Day, Insanity's King"
                  -Jerry Garcia-


Dagger
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 1522
   Posted 4/18/2008 5:21 PM (GMT -7)   
Some classrooms/schools are more flexible than others. 
 
In my experience, in elementary schools you are not allowed to leave the children unattended.  Depending on the staffing of the school, getting coverage when you need it may be a problem.  It won't matter if you have a disability if there is no one available at that time to cover for you.  Some schools have you ask the teacher in the classroom next door to stand just outside both doors and moniter two classrooms. 
 
The staff at my former school were very considerate of the teacher undergoing chemo, which was short term; but eventually got annoyed covering for the teacher with a bladder problem, long term.  They were all great people, they just got frustrated at the constant unpredictable disruptions. 
 
I am not trying to discourage you; you just need to do a little research into the policies of the schools you may be interested in.
 
Have you considered special education?  The classroom is more likely to have a bathroom right there, plus, you usually have at least one other adult around.  Other possibilities would be the 'speciality' teachers like resource, library, speech etc.  They do pull out programs with small groups for shorter periods of time allowing you to easily use the bathroom between groups.
 
It is easier with older students, you can usually get away with leaving them for a few minutes.  Plus, middle and high schools usually have discrete periods so you can go between classes if you are near the faculty bathroom.
 
Teaching is the best job I've ever had!
 

FitzyK23
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4219
   Posted 4/18/2008 8:01 PM (GMT -7)   
I agree about being open about it. I worked corrections and couldn't leave kids unattended. But, my coworkers knew that when I called for a bathroom break they had to HUSSLE. But it caused me a good deal of anxiety and got embarassing when I had to call for my 3rd bathroom break in an hour. I started calling staff on the phone instead of radio-ing them. Otherwise the whole building heard that I needed a 10-100(bathroom break). To be funny I called in a 10-200 once or twice.
26 Year old married female law student.  Diagnosed w/ CD 3 years ago, IBS for over 10 years before that, which was probably the CD.  I am sort of lactose intollerant too but can handle anything cultured and do well w/ lactose pills and lactaid.  For crohns I am currently on Pentasa 4 pills/4x day and hysociamine prn.  I also have bad acid reflux and have been on PPI's since age 13.  I have been through prilosec, prevacid, and nexium.  Currently I am on Protonix in the morning and Zantac at night.  I alos take a birth control pill to allow some fun in my life.
 
 


buffa
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 4/19/2008 2:25 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for the input. I have found in the past that it is true, the more you communicate, the more understanding people are. I am a little worried because i am considering teaching in high school, but I will just have to make sure to be good friends with my neighbor I guess! I suppose if FitzyK23 could work corrections, I can teach with CD! Also, good luck in law school Fitzy...I graduated from law school last year.

Sometimes postive attitude works the best, so all of your advice has been helpful. Any more stories/tips on how people manage would be greatly appreciated!

FitzyK23
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4219
   Posted 4/19/2008 4:58 PM (GMT -7)   
Hey buffa - there is a big difference between corrections and teaching [edit - i dont know why I said law school here before, I meant teaching]. Each unit was assigned 3 staff where as most classrooms only have 1 teacher. So, if I was doing a gym call or medicine line I would be alone and need to call if I needed "relief". But, in a regular situation I would have other staff around and could use the restroom without having to call. It still came up if there were 2 activities going on. We would have 1 staff at each activity and 1 back in the unit. But we also had a portable staff to call on anytime someone needed something. In addition other units generally had a staff member I could call and I always had one of the 2 on duty supervisors I could call if no one else was available. I feel like your options would be more limited teaching. But, high school kids can be left alone for a few minutes where as the incarcerated can not. So, you would have more freedom in that regard.

Now I have to ask, why teaching AFTER law school?!? Will you qualify for loan forgiveness for doing non-profit work?


26 Year old married female law student.  Diagnosed w/ CD 3 years ago, IBS for over 10 years before that, which was probably the CD.  I am sort of lactose intollerant too but can handle anything cultured and do well w/ lactose pills and lactaid.  For crohns I am currently on Pentasa 4 pills/4x day and hysociamine prn.  I also have bad acid reflux and have been on PPI's since age 13.  I have been through prilosec, prevacid, and nexium.  Currently I am on Protonix in the morning and Zantac at night.  I alos take a birth control pill to allow some fun in my life.
 
 

Post Edited (FitzyK23) : 4/19/2008 6:19:13 PM (GMT-6)


Crohn'snme
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 734
   Posted 4/19/2008 5:01 PM (GMT -7)   
I was a substitute teacher when my symptoms started. Pretty hard to deal with keeping a classroom and not feeling well. I continued to work up until two years ago and I started a business from home. It's the best thing I ever did for myself. I loved working with kids, but the stress was just too much for me. But, don't lose hope, you could do lots of things with your career, private tutor etc...... I mentored online students before leaving my job, that didn't require a classroom setting. Do you have an educational district in your area? Check to see alternative jobs available and be creative!!!!!!!!!!!

buffa
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 4/19/2008 6:54 PM (GMT -7)   
Hey Fitzy - in response to your question, while I loved the academic study of the law, I hated the practice of law. I didn't find it stimulating and I tried to experience practical work by participating in internships and clinics where I had the opportunity to represent clients. I found it stressful and unfulfilling - kind of saw the bad side of life and i often stressed about being in the courtroom.

I took the bar exam after school and passed and since then have been trying to figure out where I want to be. I love the academic world and I am really interested in the inequalities in our education system, so my long-term goals are to obtain a PhD and work in the field of educational policy and reform. However, the best way to get my foot in the door is through teaching and I feel I can best help fix the system by really experiencing it. So I that's where I am at. Trying to convince myself that I can do it with Crohn's.

Best of luck in law school....how much longer do you have to go?
Diagnosed with Crohn's Disease in 1999.
Bowel resection in 2003.
 
Have taken Asacol, Pentasa, Prednasone, Entocort, Remicade, 6MP (and probably forgetting something!)
 


FitzyK23
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4219
   Posted 4/19/2008 7:32 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm in my 2nd semester, 2nd year. So after this, 1 year left. I will be doing a clinic next semester as well. I already work for a law firm (worked there before law school) and really enjoy it. I think you can do anything you want with crohns as long as you make the accomodations you need to be comfortable. But that said, I think it depends on the severity of your disease. Part of being strong is recognizing our limitations as well. From the looks of your meds your crohns is more severe than mine. So I don't really feel comfortable saying "you can do anything you want to" when your every day life might be much harder than mine.
26 Year old married female law student.  Diagnosed w/ CD 3 years ago, IBS for over 10 years before that, which was probably the CD.  I am sort of lactose intollerant too but can handle anything cultured and do well w/ lactose pills and lactaid.  For crohns I am currently on Pentasa 4 pills/4x day and hysociamine prn.  I also have bad acid reflux and have been on PPI's since age 13.  I have been through prilosec, prevacid, and nexium.  Currently I am on Protonix in the morning and Zantac at night.  I alos take a birth control pill to allow some fun in my life.
 
 


lakergal
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 4/20/2008 1:56 AM (GMT -7)   
FitzyK23 - I love my job. Law school wasn't the most enjoyable, and I have had many positions where I wanted to switch careers. But I believe I found my purpose with my current position. I am a Public Defender.

Sarita
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 2486
   Posted 4/20/2008 2:01 AM (GMT -7)   
I'm a medical student and being illin'-like-a-villain while studying for 12 hours a day really sucks, so I decided to take an extra year and cut down on my coursework. In the real working world, this might not be so easy (I was a social worker for a few years, but always had access to a bathroom and only rarely had to interrupt meetings when nature called). I can imagine it's ridiculously hard doing it as a teacher, but what about having a teacher's aide to take over in case you have "one of those moments?"

It's hard not to let chronic disease pretty much halt your entire life sometimes, but I forced my administrators into realizing that NOT pursuing my education would probably be worse for me in the long run because I'd get too depressed! It's all about making some accommodations...
Co-moderator - IBS Forum

Please always remember to consult your medical professional regarding your medical questions; this forum is intended to provide patient-to-patient support. Although some of us have healthcare backgrounds, we cannot diagnose or treat patients on the board.

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