Losing my job because of my endo

I'm a PA - think "Devil wears Prada" - I am a perfectionist and have a great boss. I have been utterly open with her about everything that's been going on - I've had a rough ride - both physically and administratively. I started here in February and was diagnosed in March - I've been getting steadily worse and worse - I'm forgetting things - I'm screwing up tiny things - I feel like crying so much of the time. Just when I think I have nailed something I get an email with - "Erm... you missed A, B and C - and C was REALLY important - we talked about it...".

This happened this morning - I feel like I'm breaking in half. I have endo all over my bowel and 3 very large endometriomas. I was mis-diagnosed for 25 years and I'm all over the place in my blind panic about the timescales of funding for IVF (I'm 39 and you only get to have a go until your 40) - I found out on Friday that I might have to wait until February for surgery (I was told "Autumn"). I haven't had kids because I never met the right man. I was SOOOO lucky to fall in love at the end of last year - we had about 4 months of me being thin and healthy - and since Xmas I've gained 2 stone, a permanent frown and a whole heap of "baggage" - he moved in anyway... but is understandably reticent to plough into fertility treatment less than a year after we met....

I'm distracted, in efficient, in pain and unable to support my boss properly. I took this job because it's not for a big corporate - she won't be able to pay me when I'm out sick - it'll be Statutory sick pay for over a month. I've had 4.5 days off - 2.5 of which were for medical appointments (not "sick" days) and I've taken very little holiday - I'm too scared to plan any because of the time off I'll need...

I'm in bits - there's no one to cover me and I spend my weekends trying to get enough rest to be able to do my job - and then Monday morning whams me with "Look at everything you did wrong".

She travels - so this was via email - I went back to her with a highly emotional email telling her that basically I'm sick - I'm trying and I'm sorry....

I just want to crawl home and close the door. I have major adhesions to my bowel and my lower bowel transit is incredibly painful. Painkillers make me constipated which makes it worse. That never goes away. I was told on Friday it might have to "function" (I can't say "live") with this for twice as long as I thought I would.

Now i feel like i'm going to get fired. And I almost want to. What can I do?

8 Replies

  • Hi,

    So sorry to hear you are having a rough time. Are you a member of a Union? If not see if you have a local Independent Advocacy Group who can help you both work & support wise?


  • Thanks Jessie,

    It's not really the kind of job where you join a union. ~Ironically I work for a business consultant who has probably helped other companies deal with situations like this. I read on the government website that it's perfectly legal to dismiss someone who is not capable of doing their job due to a medical condition. I've applied to Endo UK for Advocacy support... so we'll see.

    Thanks for your reply.

  • No worries Lou, Im a huge fan of being in a Union tbh, my own is Unison & they have been brilliant but for others Independent Advocacy is the way. I have a friends who have used our local one to take on Council & LEAs & found them invaluable.

    Employers cannot just dismiss someone for having a medical condition, in fact they have to be really careful how they deal with it to avoid unfair dismissal suits. Check out your HR policy, read the fine print. They have to go through certain procedures to safeguard your wellbeing.

    Good luck x

  • Thanks Jessie - we're a company of 3 - I think that negates a lot of the policies that protect you when you're working for a big corporate. We didn't qualify for the compulsory pension - that kind of thing. I genuinely don't want to fight her on this - she's a lovely woman - but I am failing in my ability to do my job...

    If you look here: gov.uk/dismissal/reasons-yo...

    There is a very telling sentence: "You can be dismissed if you have a persistent or long-term illness that makes it impossible for you to do your job."

    Sadly, Endo is not yet classed as a "disability" - which would afford me a lot more protection.

    Right now - I just want two weeks off to hide under my duvet. I'm seeing my GP on Wednesday - so I might find some help there.

  • Hello LouLou

    I'm so sorry to hear you've had such a rough time of it lately. Finding out you have endometriosis after years of misdiagnosis can be really overwhelming in itself, and I totally sympathise with you trying to keep going at work, ivf and just trying to keep it all together.

    I was diagnosed last year after almost the same number of years of being misdiagnosed too. For approx 18 of those years I worked in a high pressure publishing role ; I loved the challenge when I was younger but as time wore on and mistakes started happening I was in the same boat - recovering at weekends then back to the bad stress on Monday...I completely get where you're coming from.

    Long story short I was made redundant and took on a less pressured job 3 years ago then got diagnosed end of last year. This job is still busy but the reduction in pressure has helped me to get home on time, rest, eat properly and not dread returning the next day weighed down with exhaustion.

    In your situation though you are doing the very best you can when trying to cope with not being well at the same time. It takes a lot of strength to do what you're doing. I wonder if the downloads from the Endometriosis UK website might help your boss to understand what you are going through in the first instance. If she's a decent person, she'll be reluctant to let you go without trying to help first hopefully. Meantime if you do need to get signed off for a week or two, it might help to get a bit of breathing space, distance and recovery time. Wishing all the best for you X X X X

  • Hey, I'm sorry you are in this situation! Have you been offered any other treatment whilst you wait for surgery? And you say you were diagnosed in March.... Were you reffered by your GP? And are you with an endo specialist center or just under general gynae? (Just trying to understand your history)

    Have you heard about the 'NHS 18 week right to treatment'? It might apply to you and might be worth ringing up your patient liason service at the hospital to see if you can use this to help you get surgery sooner?

    If you google it , it's basically information on the NHS guidance that patients should be treated within a maximum of 18 weeks. This is the time from the GP referral to the hospital, to actually receiving the recommended treatment (such as surgery) and all relevant tests etc should be also completed in this time.

    It might help, I managed to get my surgery within this 18 week timeframe, by speaking to pals after being told I was potentially going to be waiting well over 6 months.

    Happy to tell you what I did and said if you think you might try this (It can't hurt!)

    I suffer with endometriomas and they are soooo painful when they become large. So I sympathise. I only work part time and it is such a struggle with the endo pain and issues xx

  • Thank you - that's really really sensible advice and I appreciate it very much. I was aware of the 18 week "guide lines" - but I wasn't aware that it was considered a "right".

    I have been contacting my surgeon directly - asking her what she needs and basically asking different GPs in my "general" surgery to do what she's asking. Sadly I fear I might be too good at the research as I managed to have a conversation with her scheduler on Friday - who was lovely but made it clear that I could be waiting 6 further months until I have the op - with the way I'm feeling at the moment that almost sent me over the edge...

    Really appreciate your reply I'll look into it now.

  • Hi. I just hope it helps! It is certainly worth a try..... I used pals this time, like I said, to help me get my surgery within the time frame ( the consultants secretary was telling me I almost certainly wouldn't have my operation within 6 months of waiting and my GP didn't have a clue what to do) so it was worth contacting pals and seeing what they could do.

    My endometriomas grew quite quick, the longer I waited the more pain I had as the bigger they got. I also explained that this increased my chances of loosing my ovaries and that, as I still want children, this was not acceptable and terrifying! Also said about sick days and loss of earnings and being worried I would loose my Job as a result of waiting too long and being of sick so long! Generally I told pals exactly how awful my life and the situation was.

    Good luck x

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