My husband had a bad year last year. From March to about mid May, he could not work, he spent a majority of that time in a hospital bed fighting crohn's and c-diff. And even after May, he still wasn't 100% - he had developed foot drop in his left leg, was very tired after losing 45 lbs at the hospital, and turning anemic, and he was also being investigated to rule out MS. It was a very very trying time for both of us.
During that 3 month time, when basically he couldn't work, his job was very flexible. They basically gave him unpaid time off (FMLA + more), and also let him work from home from May to August, when he felt able to come back to work. Since then, he's been working full time, since remicade made him healthy again.
Now he's fighting off c-diff again, and this time, it isn't nearly as bad - he just prefers to work from home, to avoid using common restrooms and possibly spreading infection. So, he is just working from home - he expects if everything goes well to be back at work the first week of October. So basically he worked from home all of September.
I think the key to being gainfully employed with a serious chronic illness like crohn's is to find a job that will give you flexibility to both work your own hours, and from home when needed. Also, if you find an understanding employer, who will make it easy on you when health is rough, it makes a world of difference. So, more than money or position in company, I've come to realize that if you find a place that will treat you well, and give you kindness and understanding when you need it, you are darned lucky. Before my husband got sick last year, he was thinking of finding another job . . . now we are very happy for him to finish out his career here if they'll have him, because they were so good to him when he was sick.
Don't give up - there are jobs out there that are doable for people with Crohn's, and also employers who can have a heart.
Husband with Crohn's
Diagnosed March 2003 Ulcerative Proctitis
Diagnosed March 2008 Crohn's & C-diff, hospitalized 45 days
Canasa, Lialda, Remicade, VSL#3, Florastor
In Remission since June 2008
Stopped vancomycin for c-diff Jan 1 2009
C-diff free, until Sep 2, 2009
Fighting c-diff, I guess for life