Some of you will know that since my diagnosis 2yrs ago, I have made 2 unsuccessful attempts to return to my job working in a nursery class in a primary school. Over the past two years I've only managed to attend work for two half term periods!
I absolutely love my job and love all the wonderful children I work with (and have worked with over the past 12yrs.) They bring me such satisfaction and more importantly joy, so returning to work was always going to be my aim.
The school working environment can be challenging and very hard work but it has NEVER felt like a chore and never have I awoken on a work morning and not wanted to go in.
My plan was to return for a 3rd and final attempt after the May half term. Everything was set....phased return, appropriate change of duties, final meeting with OH and full support of Headteacher and the SLT, but something changed!.....
......Lockdown eased, and my little protective bubble burst! During lockdown there'd been no pressure on me and no reason to push myself beyond my comfortable and manageable little daily routine.....with a few slight variations from time to time, basically I'd get up, shower & breakfast leisurely.....go for a walk..... rest.... lunch.....rest..... yoga....... rest..... dinner.... rest......bed. Easy peasy. No stress, no rushing and nothing beyond my capabilities. Suddenly, the demands of the country opening up a bit more led to firstly a visit to my son's for the day. Nothing too arduous I thought...I sat in the car for 5hrs total travelling time, sat in the sunshine in his garden all day and had a lovely time. Next day I felt more unwell than I'd done for ages. Totally wiped out! I then took a trip to the garden centre and planted up half a dozen patio pots one Sunday. It took my muscles 3dys to recover! I felt shocking. Together with other similar scenarios...all big 'wake-up' calls!......I quickly came to the conclusion that as noble as all my efforts were, I was not going to be able to return to work and maintain the level of functionality I was currently achieving.
So, I've finally pulled my head out of the sand and with an enormous amount of sadness...and a very heavy heart....I've told my Headteacher that I won't be returning to school. I'm going to apply for medical retirement and have the full support of my GP after a long conversation with him yesterday morning.
Many of my friends and family have over the past few months been tactfully and kindly trying to help me see the enormous challenges I'd be facing if I returned to work, but I didn't want to know. I finally realise that balancing the demands of work with managing PMR & keeping as well as possible will be more difficult than I care to admit and yoyoing up and down doses of steroids will not be good for me, particularly as I've noticed that each progressive time this has happened, it's been much harder to taper back down to lower doses and the side effects have been stronger!
There are obviously a few other reasons contributing to why I've had to make this decision and I know you'll all understand what those are.
I'm a fairly upbeat person but today I just feel a little glum and very tearful. I know it'll be ok though and as one door closes another will open. New opportunities will present themselves and I'll now have the time to explore them. Most importantly, I can continue to really focus on my health & well-being and know I don't have to challenge that with the demands of a working day.
I'm sorry this is so long. I just wanted to get it off my chest. I do feel a sense of relief though for both putting it out there in the ether and for having made the decision I have. In my heart of hearts I know it's the right one.
Have a good day everyone.