Co-Workers and Work.

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 86
   Posted 10/17/2007 9:40 PM (GMT -6)   
Regarding the most recent thread about going back to many of your co-workers know about your surgeries?  Do they know the severity of your disease and that you wear a bag?
I have a unique situation.  I work in the same hospital that I've spent much of my time as a patient.  Everyone, including the therapists, radiologists, techs, etc. etc. know of my disease because they have taken care of me through the past six years.  It's been challenging to keep the focus off my GI system after returning to work. Everyone is curious, but no one asks the questions they are thinking. 
Diagnosed Crohn's/Colitis 2003.  
Subtotal Colectomy w/ Ileostomy May 16, 2007.
I'm off the meds!!  

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 1998
   Posted 10/17/2007 9:59 PM (GMT -6)   
Yeh, most of my co-workers do know about it.  Most are just apprehensive now if I call off work, wondering if it has anything to do with my medical history, or if its unrelated.  I can see how it would be hard not to talk about it.  The should have their answer on how you are doing now that you are healthy again!

Diagnosed with CD in 1979, many resections and meds
Perm Ileostomy July 1984 at Cleveland Clinic
Disease free since surgery 

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 42
   Posted 10/18/2007 3:34 AM (GMT -6)   
Yes all my co-workers know about my condition and that I wear a bag. It doesn't bother me in the slightest that they know and I dont mind talking about it if they want to know anything.
Diagnosed Crohn's 1994, panproctocolectomy with ileo Feb 2006.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 1998
   Posted 10/18/2007 7:27 AM (GMT -6)   
I agree with you, xdeex.  I have absolutely no problem talking about it or answering any questions.  I look at it as just another way to educate the public!  I don't initiate conversations about it, but I certainly don't avoid answering any questions from co-workers.  And I have worked with the group of people for so long that they feel comfortable and I feel comfortable.  Their response to my ileostomy is that they can't believe how active I am - more so than some of them w/o any medical issues.  That sure makes me feel like I have conquered it.  I still have my issues here and there, and I have to say, all of my co-workers are just the best!  It is up to you how to approach it with your coworkers, but you will feel more comfortable in time, IMO.

Diagnosed with CD in 1979, many resections and meds
Perm Ileostomy July 1984 at Cleveland Clinic
Disease free since surgery 

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 1251
   Posted 10/18/2007 7:46 AM (GMT -6)   
I currently work at an office with about 25 people and about 23 of them know (the other two are only new, I'll get to talk about it with them soon lol). It turns out that one of the other girls has UC and might need a bag in the future and yet another girl has a hubby with crohns. You never know who you might be able to help if you let people know :)

At my previous workplace, there was about 75 people and I'd say half of them knew because I told them. I have no qualms about telling anyone, it might just educate a few :)

I've never had any negative reactions from any of them (in fact, in more than a few cases, just the opposite - they tend to admire me and tell me how they'd never have known if I hadn't told them).
I have had an ileostomy for 31 years now due to UC.
Moderator of the Ostomy Forum
I'm not a complete idiot - some parts of me are missing!

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 420
   Posted 10/18/2007 11:49 AM (GMT -6)   
I just went back, and most of my co workers know. I feel like talking about it helps me, and educates them, so whenever someone asks, I tell them more than they ever wanted to know!
UC diagnosed: December, 1999
Asacol: 1600 MG daily
Immuran: 150 MG daily
Prednisone: 4 MG daily (Woo-Hooo! Getting lower and lower!)
Remicade: Infusion every 7 weeks
Probiotics 4 billion CFU Daily
Glutamine 500 mg 2x Daily
OFF all meds!! Liver failure, and emergency surgery as soon as liver levels return to normal. ACK!
Surgery August 24, 2007. Home now!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 942
   Posted 10/18/2007 2:40 PM (GMT -6)   
I have been sick for so long and every year for the past three years I have gone into the hospital for some type of surgery. My co-workers are always worried about me. So, after this last surgery they wanted to know what the doctors did this time. I have no problem sharing with people that I have a bag. I have found that many people feel inspired when they learn of my health problems. I feel more confident around people when I tell them so if I have to excuse myself, itch or if my stoma makes a little noise I can just blame it on my recent surgery. Usually I get a laugh out of my co-workers and I do not feel embarrassed.
Ileostomy 8/2007
Revised Coletomy/ Reset Anastimosis 2006
Revised Colectomy/ Obstructions 2005
Sub-total Colectomy 2001
Prov. 16: 20 Whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he.
Zelnorm, Colace, Motilium, Citrate of Magnesium, Nexium, Amitiza, Potassium, Magnesium, Miralax, Milk of Magnesium, Corgard, Glycerin Suppositories, Sorbitol, Bentyl, Senokot

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 2765
   Posted 10/19/2007 7:13 PM (GMT -6)   
Everyone at my workplace knows, and they are very accepting. I work at a church and was on the prayer list for many years, so people always ask me how I'm feeling.
I tell them that I had surgery and feel great now... praise the Lord! yeah
Dx'd w/ Crohn's in '99 at age 28. Proctocolectomy and ileostomy in '06.
Pain-free, med-free, and very thankful to be healthy again :)

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 280
   Posted 10/19/2007 9:42 PM (GMT -6)   
I went back to work last week after being off 3 months, I work in a hospital. My first day back I had a woman come up to me in the cafeteria telling me that she had heard that I had surgery and how her mom had the same surgery, but had the J-pouch soon after and her exact words "my mom would rather die than wear a bag forever, is yours permanent?" I told her "I don't know but thankfully I'm not as stupid as your mother" I have no idea who this woman is and how she knew me! Before I even came back to work I had been told that everyone knew about my surgery like it was no big deal. I was very angry because it should have been my decision to tell who I wanted and I told my boss that my right to privacy was just as important as a patient's. I'm over it all now, those who were sincerely concerned will see that I'm getting stronger and will be happy for me and those who just wanted to gossip can go to He$%. devil
CD diagnosed in 1991
Only one serious flare up in 1998 and again in July 2007
Total colectomy August 2007 now saying UC
J-pouch surgery to be scheduled in 08

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 6571
   Posted 10/19/2007 10:22 PM (GMT -6)   
LOL tbraz, that is priceless!
noone at my work (unless my sis is working that night) knows that i have a bag. they all know i had surgery but i just gave sketchy details. I work at a small resturant, and i think that everyone would be ok with it, actually they would probably think it was cool, at least the guys anyway, the maturity level is rather low there, lol. But i don't relaly feel like explaining it to them, and having them ask me tons of questions. Actually noone knows, except my family, i didn't even tell my best friends. I just tell them that i had part of my instestines removed.

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2004
Total Posts : 277
   Posted 10/20/2007 9:57 AM (GMT -6)   
Bacially, if they ask and want to know, i tell them. Anyone who doesn't ask and seems like they don't really want or care to know, i could care less.
I've had friends and co workers ask me questions about the whole deal, and i've answered all of them with no problems. At the same time i've had people look at me, knowing the deal, like i'm crazy or something. To which i reply...............bite me.

You learn who your friends are. The others aren't worth the time.
Crohn's for what seems like forever
Bagged in August 2006
We cheer for 2 teams. The Red Sox and whoever is
playing the Yankees.

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