career goals with Crohn's?

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ZenaWP
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 884
   Posted 11/17/2008 10:20 AM (GMT -7)   
Lately I've been feeling like I need to make some career related decisions...either start moving more towards what I've thought for a while I wanted to do or decide something different to do, start doing some volunteer work and stay with my current job, go back to school, something.  My question is, though, how many people gave up their career goals and settled for a job they could do without getting too sick or how many of you still worked really hard to reach your goals, even if that maybe wasn't the best for your health?  I don't like my job and I don't know that I want to continue down the HR road, as HR is stressful at times and not helping the gut any.  But, my boss is very understanding with my illness and my job is low enough level right now that she gets to deal with most of the problems.  I would LOVE to get certified to teach pilates or something maybe one night a week in addition to my current job, but don't know if that is at all a realistic goal, given the arthritis problems too.  Any input would be greatly appreciated.   
Crohn's Disease, Acid Reflux/Gastritis, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Endometriosis, Arthritis, Depression/Anxiety.  Too many meds to list them all.  =) 


TeacherBetsy
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 310
   Posted 11/17/2008 10:52 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Zena, I think your question is an excellent one... I've wondered about this myself. I'm not currently working in my chosen field, but I like my coworkers and my job has wonderful benefits. It's a trade-off, really, when you are dealing with chronic illness, unless you happen to find that ideal situation that allows you to do exactly what you want to do and have terrific benefits at the same time. My career goals now are not what they were when I was younger, before I was diagnosed, but I still have a certain level of expectation about what I will do eventually and I am working toward my goals gradually. I would say that a big part of making this decision depends on how severe your illness is and how much time you have to take off from work to manage it... my disease is mild and I rarely miss work, but I know that is not the case for many people with Crohn's.
Dx Crohn's Disease 1996
Have taken Prednisone, Pentasa, Rowasa, and Asacol
Currently on Asacol 2400 mg daily to manage remission
 
 


Sway_79
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 47
   Posted 11/17/2008 11:43 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Zena,
 
It's a hard choice to decide what to do with your career/education goals.  I'm not in my "chosen" career either, but it is a good job with benefits (which we all need!).  I have found that going to work helps me have a motivating factor to get out of bed (or get out of the bathroom) on those days that I otherwise wouldn't.  But, it also depends on the severity of your CD, your tiredness levels, etc. 
 
My job is stressful with lots of deadlines, etc.  I have learned to manage the stress by exercising or by meditating.  I am looking at enrolling in school again to finish my degree, but I'm not sure having classes 3-4 nights a week is in my best interest right now (nor my energy load right now can take that big of a hit).  I have moderate to severe CD. 
 
My best advice is to start small and see how you do!  I do volunteer work as well as my full time career, and it is very gratifying. Which that in itself seems to help me out on those "blue" days.
 
Best wishes!!
~Sway

bektold
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 456
   Posted 11/17/2008 12:30 PM (GMT -7)   
I wasn't working in my chosen field even before the diagnosis, so I can't really give you a good answer to your question.  But I will say that I have considered the pilates certification, too.  It really depends on what you want out of teaching pilates.  The certification is pretty expensive.  If you are looking for a little extra cash for teaching a class once a week, it's not a practical option.  It'll take you a long time just to break even.  I'm not sure what the continuing ed requirements are to keep your certification- I didn't get that far on my research- with follow up classes it might be impossible to break even working one night a week.  If the pay-off is spiritual/emotional/physical, then that's a whole 'nother game.  If you want to teach a class a week because it makes you happy, then it may be worth the expense to you.

gardenlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2003
Total Posts : 3103
   Posted 11/17/2008 12:48 PM (GMT -7)   
That's a complicated question. I would have to preface it by stating that I'm not sure what my field is. I have a degree in political science and writing. But life has led me in a lot of weird directions, and I don't feel that any of it has been a waste of time or anything like that. I've worked for dirt pay and okay bennies in a high stress position, and did great because I loved what I was doing. It's not just how you handle the stress, or the level of the stress, it's the stress to reward ratio, sort of. I felt like what I did was worth something, so the stress...was still there, but was sort of background noise, if that makes sense.

Provided I live through the LSAT with my sanity intact, and score well enough on it to make it count, I'm planning on going to law school. Hubby has to get his LPN, so that at least one of us will be working at something other than food service (stability is a good thing!), then I'm off and running to get a JD. From there, who knows. I'm really attracted to health care law, labor law, and civil rights. Anything with an advocacy bent to it. Heck, I've looked into Lawyers Without Borders. I get called nuts pretty often, but it's what I have to do. Ignoring my instinct to advocate for others is more stressful than just going with it, I've found.

If you have a calling in life, chase it. You might not get there on the fast track, but that doesn't mean it isn't worth going after.
"Let me light my lamp,"
Says the star,
"And never debate
If it will help to remove the darkness."
-- Indian poet, Rabindranath Tagore


inflamed
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2005
Total Posts : 1340
   Posted 11/17/2008 4:33 PM (GMT -7)   
I went to law school. Started before I was sick, but got sick the first month. I never considered leaving or doing a different job. I loved law school (that's rare and I'm probably nuts) and I love my job. I purposely took a job I loved rather than one that paid well. That made it come with people who also loved the job and understood my passion for it enough to not question me when I was taking a lot of time for appointments. They knew I wasn't skipping out.

As for the pilates, why not? I know a yoga teacher with IBD. She teaches independently and can adjust her schedule based on her health.
Hoping to stay in remission after the birth of a healthy baby girl. On Pentasa during my pregnancy, but Ive gone rogue and med-free to nurse.


bookworm21
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 1766
   Posted 11/17/2008 9:21 PM (GMT -7)   
I have UC, but I've been having problems with choosing career path, too. The field of study I chose would require a Ph.D. in order to have a decent job, but getting a Ph.D. is tough and stressful for anyone. So, I've decided not to go that path and now I have no idea what to do.
I guess I don't really have any advice, but just wanted to say I understand!
Female, Age 20
9 Asacol, Rowasa, 1000 mg Canasa, Proctofoam, Rifaximin 2/day
Digestive Advantage (Crohn's & Colitis)1 Florastor, 50 mg 6MP,1 Primadophilus reuteri, Remicade (4 infusions), 2.4 g Lialda, 1 Forvia, 6 Colazal/day, 1 Anucort, Culturelle, Fish Oil, Calcium/Vit D supplement
 


brit tuck
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 143
   Posted 11/17/2008 11:14 PM (GMT -7)   
I was diagnosed right before I started law school, so I'm still in the whole process of getting the medication figured out to help me stay out of flares. But I really hope I can do what I want instead of letting it determine the kind of work I want to do. But I will practice law regardless, at least that's my hope. I refuse to let the Crohn's win out and determine my job for me. I'll do what I can handle and see what comes my way.

ivy6
Elite Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 10404
   Posted 11/18/2008 12:27 AM (GMT -7)   
For a long time I refused let the Crohn's beat me and was dazzled by the li(n)e that people with Crohn's can do almost anything a healthy person can: that is what I was told by my doctors when I was first diagnosed. I tried very hard and, despite very severe disease, worked very hard, excelled at school, did well at uni and finally progressed to PhD level. I think I did myself a lot of damage in the process. My health collapsed to a very dangerous level, and, ten years later, I still haven't recovered enough to hold down a job of any description.

Now I regret not having used that time of comparative health in achieving some sort of vocational qualification that might have enabled me to do some sort of casual or temping work. Now, that is the only sort of job I'd even consider applying for, but I don't have the health, stamina or medical stability to undertake long training courses to qualify for them.

Me, I'd advise any Crohn's person to think very carefully before undertaking lengthy or stressful study or training, especially if they start that training before they are qualified for some sort of job that they could do on a casual basis or from home.

All of that's a general ramble, Zena. You have a job already. If pilates is your passion and you think you can manage the extra training, I'd say "go for it"... unless, as someone else said, you know that you'll never be able to work enough hours to recoup your investment. If you an afford it, financially, in time and in energy, then why not give it a go? You'll always wonder what might have happened, if you don't.

Good luck with your decision!

Ivy.
Co-Moderator Crohn's Forum.


Keah
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2003
Total Posts : 7314
   Posted 11/18/2008 1:02 AM (GMT -7)   
Zena, if you are feeling physically up to it, then defintely go for the Pilates. The bottom line in all of this is to do whatever you can do and to try and make it something you love. The more you like your job, the easier it is to continue on with it even when you are sick.

I started workig when I was 16 and switched from communications into HealthCare at 23. CD was suspected when I got very sick at 10, but none of the Docs were really sure what was wrong with me. By the time I was 39, I was in a very stressful position and sick as a dog. Finding the time to deal with my myriad of medical and dental problems was nearly impossible. Time off from work just wasn't going to happen. The side effects of my meds were killing me and I was starting to make mistakes and was terrified about what important project/report/problem I might have forgotten. I could barely get myself out of bed and getting to work on time seemed an impossibility. Then my boss (the VP) was let go or allowed to resign. I knew I wouldn't be far behind him just because that's the way it goes and I was right. I might have bee able to keep my position, but I was literally too sick to fight for it.

As it turned out, I was in thyroid failure thanks to Hashimoto's, another autoimmune disease. The Spondyloarthropathy (inflammatory arthritis) has been a real problem for me as well. In fact, my joints are far worse than my gut. So, going back to what I was doing or even back to school to do something else is not really a possibiltiy at this time.

I can almost laugh at myself sometimes. For 10 years I worked two jobs in 2 different ERs and now my carreer goals consist of waiting for an approval or denial from SSDI.

Good Luck to you in whatever path you choose.
Keah a.k.a. Wormy
 God helps those who help themselves.
Please help us support this invaluable forum.
Crohn's Forum Moderator


ivy6
Elite Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 10404
   Posted 11/18/2008 1:05 AM (GMT -7)   
Keah - does failure mean your thyroid will never work again? (Hello, btw, it's nice to see you!!)
Co-Moderator Crohn's Forum.


ZenaWP
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 884
   Posted 11/18/2008 10:45 AM (GMT -7)   

Thank you to everyone for the replies.  Keah, I also have Hashimoto's and arthritis, so I understand there is also a possibility that the Hashimoto's could cause more problems down the road.  I looked more into the pilates certification today and, as bektold said, the full certification is pretty expensive.  The mat certification is only a few hundred dollars, but I guess it depends on what my gym would require me to have in order to teach.  I plan on talking to the aerobics director just to see what she says.  It's not like pilates is my life-long dream, just a more recent interest that has come up.  HR was always what I thought I wanted to do, but I've learned that I don't like having to deal with problems all day long.  I have a bachelor's degree in business mgmt, so anything I'm looking at now would require a lot of school (since most of what I've looked at is health related...a totally different set of school requirements). 

I think maybe some volunteer work would fill the void that I feel, but I haven't been able to find something I'm passionate about lately that is in need of help.  I've done lots of volunteer work, but nothing that I would want to do for years on end.  I wish our chapter of the CCFA didn't break up, as I was supposed to volunteer for them.  Maybe I'll just call some places and see if they would allow a volunteer...even if they aren't actively seeking them out. 

Thank you all for the suggestions.  I admire those of you who were able to stick it out and finish your Ph.D.'s or law school...my arthritis is much worse than my gut and I still don't see how you had the energy to do it.  =) 


Crohn's Disease, Acid Reflux/Gastritis, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Endometriosis, Arthritis, Depression/Anxiety.  Too many meds to list them all.  =) 


gardenlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2003
Total Posts : 3103
   Posted 11/18/2008 5:51 PM (GMT -7)   
Zena: if you're interested in health care/related fields, you might want to check into volunteering for the Red Cross -- they might have some interesting opportunities. You could also check into senior and community centers -- they would probably have something that you would be really uniquely suited to, with your interest in fitness. And, check local schools for mentoring programs -- Communities in Schools is the org that does most of that kind of thing around here in WA, but Boys and Girls Clubs and the YMCA are big ones too -- you can ask if there are kids with health concerns (either theirs or in their home -- I worked with a kid whose Dad had a blood condition once) that need someone who "gets it."

Those are just the first few things that jumped into my mind at your last post...there are probably tons of others. It sounds to me like you really want to work with people, it's just that your situation has specified the kind of people you want to help. Going to work in HR and listening to and settling disputes between employees, managers, etc (and a good many of them can be over stuff that seems silly when you get *right down to it*) can be draining, and pretty unappealing when you look at other people who are facing things that seem insurmountable -- when you've faced things like that yourself.

Good luck and if you need anything, just email. It's in my profile.
"Let me light my lamp,"
Says the star,
"And never debate
If it will help to remove the darkness."
-- Indian poet, Rabindranath Tagore


FitzyK23
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4219
   Posted 11/18/2008 6:16 PM (GMT -7)   
I was sick while I was in college but I was not diagnosed. I continued pursuing my goals. I have worked in jobs that had limited bathroom access and I know that is stress that we don't need. Also I worked in law enforcement and I can say unequivocably that deadline stress is nowhere near as bad as I have no idea what is going to happen next I might have to fight for my life kind of stress. So some would say I "chose" the super stressful world of law but I honestly think it is so less stressful than working in corrections/probation etc. I have decided that I am going to follow my goals but recognize when I need accomodations or when there is something I just can't do. I was a first responder in corrections and when I left I considered being a volunteer EMT - but I knew that if a call came in while I was on the toilet I wouldn't be much help - and I couldn't really ask an ambulance to pull over so I could use the bathroom. So I decided that wasn't a good path. But I am still going into litigation because in the type of law I want to practice it is years before a case gets to trial. I am very comfortable being open about my crohns and so far I just let people know that I might need a recess and that if it is at an inopportune time I am not being rude but just need to use the restroom urgently. I have never had a problem. In fact, people often thank me for letting them know ahead of time. It has actually been a big conversation opener at times. Once I was assisting at a trial and with a witness when I remembered I had forgotten to take my meds. We were in the attorney room. So I just took them out and took them. She said "is that pentasa?" Turns out her daughter has crohns. So I think part of what you "can" do depends on what you are willing to do. For some, making others wait while they use the bathroom would be mortifying and cause way more stress and more problems than it is worth. For me, I don't care what other people think (does that make me arrogant lol) so it doesn't bother me that much.

I do agree though that it is a good idea to have a back up plan of things that you can do from home or easily. You have to also keep in mind how much debt you are getting into. I'm over my head in student loan debt and have to work a high paying job for a good number of years to make it worthwhile. That is a lot of stress. My private loans also can not be wiped out by bankruptcy or forgiven due to disability. So - that might not have been the most responsible decision. But my husband and I plan on living on a much lower income to pay the loans off as quick as possible.
27 Year old married female law student (last year!!). Diagnosed w/ CD 4 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 also take a birth control pill to allow some fun in my life.


Jen77
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 2690
   Posted 11/18/2008 7:01 PM (GMT -7)   
I too wanted to have that approach of not letting it beat me, and I could do whatever I wanted in my life regardless. But it quickly taught me that wasn't the case. I was working in doctors offices, looking to becoming a medical assistant. With hopes of maybe going back to be a nurse. I got real sick, with a bad flare up. It showed me how unpredictable my life will be with this. I just couldn't sink a lot of time and money in to something, knowing I most likely couldn't hang on to it. Even if I managed the schooling.

I couldn't even hold my full time job with the doctors offices. Sick too often, too fatigued, spent too much time in the bathrooms. The stress for working was tearing my down. I found I do better at home, I'm healthier, I get more rest. I'm less stressed out. It's been better on my body, and I've accepted where life has taken me. I've found other interests in my life, besides a career, and I have my family to take care of.

I'd just advise anyone in these situations, to stay realistic, and keep your expectations where they should be. Everyone is different, and so is their disease.
~Jennifer
 
Diagnosed with Crohn's Disease 2/06 after sever GI bleed. Has been suffering since 1998. History of rectal fistula and gallbladder removal. Taking Asacol, Questran, Toprol XL (for high blood pressure). Tapered off prednisone a month ago!


pb4
Elite Member


Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 20576
   Posted 11/19/2008 12:02 AM (GMT -7)   
I always feel completely hopeless when it comes to these questions...this disease is so aggrivating, has such a mind of it's own and I don't trust it one bit, I don't know how you guys get over that mentally because I cannot...this disease scares the hell out of me that way, like it's keeping me imprisoned forever when it comes to "careers/work". It makes me so sad, but I sure envy all of you that can push through and have careers.

:)
My bum is broken....there's a big crack down the middle of it! LOL :)


ZenaWP
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 884
   Posted 11/19/2008 10:09 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks again, everyone...I REALLY appreciate the responses.  I think, since I am not really sure what I want to do career-wise, I will try finding some volunteer opportunities that meet my interests and see where those lead me. 

Crohn's Disease, Acid Reflux/Gastritis, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Endometriosis, Arthritis, Depression/Anxiety.  Too many meds to list them all.  =) 


LMills
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 1753
   Posted 11/19/2008 11:35 AM (GMT -7)   
I always wondered about this as well...

What if you want to be a social worker, or a psychiatrist(needing years of med school), or a scientist, chef etc. etc.

I know some doctors say you can do whatever you like but the hard reality is that we have clear cut limits. More so than 'normal' people. I think it makes it especially hard for college students with Crohn's because we're not sure what we can do and if we try, will we completely disable ourselves? It was hard enough before the disease to figure out the future but afterward is nearly impossible. Unless you're a clairvoyant.
20 years old, Diagnosed with moderate to severe Crohn's and Colitis in May of 2008.
Currently taking:
Prednisone(down to 10 mg), pentasa, bentyl as needed, prilosec, tandem plus, humira, and good probiotics
Surgery for ectopic pregnancy most likely the result of severe Crohn's inflammation in July of 2008.
http://weblog.xanga.com/harlequin_garret


gardenlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2003
Total Posts : 3103
   Posted 11/19/2008 5:54 PM (GMT -7)   
BetaGirl -- I don't know how much she's been on lately -- I think went for a degree in psychiatry, specializing in helping people with chronic illness. She also used to bike long distance, and all sorts of other crazy stuff. So I hesitate to say that anything is impossible, even when you have Crohn's.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a worry in the world about going back to school. But, I also consider that I'm making something of a trade in stress. Yes, school is stressful, and requires a lot of energy and focus. I might not always be at my best. And it might take me a little longer to get through than some, if I have trouble. *But,* for instance, right now, with the degree I have, I'm trapped in limbo. I have too much education for a lot of jobs, and not enough for the rest of them. I discovered during my last flare up that I am totally incapable of leaving work at work, and trying to alter myself to be the person who can do that was harder on me than anything. So...I needed to find work that was *worth* bringing home. So here's the crux of the trade. I can stress over working in fast food or retail or some other minimum wage job with no chance at benefits, and take all the garbage from those jobs home with me and stew over it there, too. Or I can get the education to do something that will be worth bringing home -- something where I'm helping people, something that challenges me, something I can build some flexibility into when my guts don't behave themselves.

Food service is challenging -- I'm not saying that. You can look at each customer as a challenge, or each cleaning job, or each dinner rush. But there isn't any real flexibility in it -- it's a very physical job, and there are times when you might need to lay low for a couple weeks. In that case, you better have one really understanding manager to work with your schedule, which is rare. Worrying about that even happening is stressful in itself, and it isn't productive stress -- you can't really DO anything about it. If I have a problem in a job like I had with AmeriCorps? I can go and research, or call up the local politician, or type up a statement, or plan an open house, or any number of things that don't require me to physically hustle, that I can do from home if I need to, and in doing any of those things, I'm actually solving an issue instead of clearing one away from the table just to face the same ol' thing again (one dinner rush after another).
"Let me light my lamp,"
Says the star,
"And never debate
If it will help to remove the darkness."
-- Indian poet, Rabindranath Tagore


bookworm21
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 1766
   Posted 11/19/2008 6:56 PM (GMT -7)   
I've spent so much time (like months) stressing over what I want to do and researching different careers, but I've gotten nowhere. It's so frustrating that IBD is really limiting my life.
 
gardenlady--I agree with what you said. I'm so worried that I'll end up doing a retail job even if I get my BA. I know I need to go to grad school or get a more useful degree, but I don't know what will be a good job. gardenlady, if you don't mind me asking, what are you going back to school for?
Female, Age 20
9 Asacol, Rowasa, 1000 mg Canasa, Proctofoam, Rifaximin 2/day
Digestive Advantage (Crohn's & Colitis)1 Florastor, 50 mg 6MP,1 Primadophilus reuteri, Remicade (4 infusions), 2.4 g Lialda, 1 Forvia, 6 Colazal/day, 1 Anucort, Culturelle, Fish Oil, Calcium/Vit D supplement
 


gardenlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2003
Total Posts : 3103
   Posted 11/19/2008 11:25 PM (GMT -7)   
Comedy -- ask away. I'm planning on going to law school. I have two BAs in political science and writing. That BA is better than just chilling on a high school education, but it doesn't get you near what it used to. What are your interests?
"Let me light my lamp,"
Says the star,
"And never debate
If it will help to remove the darkness."
-- Indian poet, Rabindranath Tagore


Texan with Crohn's
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 362
   Posted 11/20/2008 5:16 AM (GMT -7)   
Wow, I cannot believe how many folks here have gone to or are in law school! I worked at two law firms over the last five years and was a court reporter for seven years prior to that. For those of you who are planning on becoming attorneys, for your health I would highly recommend being an associate at a smaller law firm. The associates I have worked with all put in 60+ hours (on the light end) and take a LOT of C#@p from the partners at larger law firms. Please know I am not by ANY means downing the legal profession. I kept many attorney friends when I left the legal profession altogether. You make great money 95K + starting and bonuses of roughly 45K up working for larger law firms... but as an associate you earn every last penny. Those associates who got nice partners were the happiest, so take a good look at the personality type of your partner when interviewing. If you have any questions for me, I will be happy to answer, since I have worked with just about every practice group in law. :-)

PS: Please don't shout at me too much for posting my thoughts here. K? Just been there and seen it all. yeah

FitzyK23
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4219
   Posted 11/20/2008 7:42 AM (GMT -7)   
Very good advice Texan - I am looking mostly at smaller firms for just that reason! I know I am going to have to work my tail off.
27 Year old married female law student (last year!!). Diagnosed w/ CD 4 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 also take a birth control pill to allow some fun in my life.


gardenlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2003
Total Posts : 3103
   Posted 11/20/2008 9:05 AM (GMT -7)   
Ditto. Not looking to get in with a big firm. Way more interested in setting up my own little office somewhere, or just working with a couple other people.
"Let me light my lamp,"
Says the star,
"And never debate
If it will help to remove the darkness."
-- Indian poet, Rabindranath Tagore


inflamed
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2005
Total Posts : 1340
   Posted 11/20/2008 9:21 AM (GMT -7)   
Texan you're right. That's why I do government work. I make 1/3 to 1/2 of what my friends at firms make, but I love my job, have flexible hours and am currently on a 7 month maternity leave. The law degree wouldn't be worth it if I were doing other work and didn't have these benefits (although I could pay the loans much faster).
Hoping to stay in remission after the birth of a healthy baby girl. On Pentasa during my pregnancy, went med-free 2 months to nurse (stupid), but back on Pentasa and still nursing.

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