Thyroid UK
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Work help

Hi everyone,

I have been trying to research illness in the workplace and am a little stuck on what to do.

A little background: I have been off work unwell for almost three months due to recently diagnosed hypothyroidism, I am 6 weeks into treatment and still feel the same, this is really making it difficult for me to work as I am dizzy, struggling to concentrate, easily upset and very weak/tired and anxious.

My doctors have given me a sick note but as I think this will be a long process I feel I am going to need to leave work and move back home, but I am very cocnerned about money if I do (I am already short due to taking up all sick pay).

How have people dealt with this illness and with work?

Thank you in advance.

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My doctor encouraged me to try and keep working - god it was hard I was almost incapable. I had to do a lot of outreach visits and used to make a muck of things I just told the people I was meeting with that I was not very well and they were all pretty good about it. The optimisation was painfully slow to be reached (9 months) My line manager started to turn on me and was really nasty but the people in my office were really wonderful (a different organisation to my actual employer) it was dreadful. I got made redundant (along with everyone else in my project so at least that was not personal!) and had to fight for my refndundancy money (thank god for trades unions) and my doc was very supportive. I did pack up and leave to a new place, job and life but only once I had a job. It did not go very well at first because despite being optimised I was still very poorly and my confidence had been wrecked with what I had been through. Jobs came and went and I decided to retrain which was a good move. It helped boost my confidence I got new qualifications and then a dream job. I switched from Levo to NDT and this made the most difference as I felt properly me again and regained most of my health. After 3 years things are good but it has taken 7 years, probably 5 to really turn a corner since diagnosis. Think carefully before throwing up everything, I’d try to get finances back on a good footing first. Your work should make reasonable adjustments to help you get back to productivity again. Once you are on an even keele you could take stock and decide what choices you have and want to make. It is a life changer for sure. Only you can live your life of course and know what is right for you. Good luck whatever you go for 🍀☘️🍀

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Thank you : )

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It’s a tough one I am sure I should not have been working in a state like that (TSH was massive - like 110, 80 ish - and I only got 25mcg Levo for months due to heart pains so felt utterly rubbish) it goes to show how tough we actually are and our ability to keep going despite the odds is impressive. It caused me a great deal of distress trying to work when I was clearly so ill. There is no give in the work place any more they seem to have become faceless sweatshops just bleeding every last ounce out of the workforce and anyone who falls behind is unceremoniously dumped as soon as possible. But the law does protect us to some degree and there must be some decent employers out there who have a longer term view of the value of their workers.

Having carried on working makes my CV/job history completely water tight leaving no akward gaps to explain which is an advantage to bear in mind. It also makes me appreciate my grim determination to keep going no matter what.

In a kinder society we would be allowed to recover in our own good time with adequate support to get there. The illness is made out to be nothing more serious than a cold that a few pills can fix in a few weeks - if only!

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a few week to feel better-no no no!!-it is a big massive life changer- its just not right, we have to live but at the same time we need to feel well.😕

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Hi. I would check contract to see how much sick leave you're allowed before they reduce your pay. If you can manage on the reduced pay, I'd use that sick leave too if you really can not return to work at that stage.

If you can take max leave, I would then ask for a phased return to rebuild stamina in work place (which is more demanding than energy needed at home!). This is not part time one week, and full time the following week, as many employers think. It's part time depending on what you can safely cope with, with a view to very slowly increasing your hours as your stamina improves.

Beware of employer switching you to a part time contract if you need longer time to increase stamina.

Remember, if you go to work you declare yourself "fit for work", therefore, ask yourself if you did something wrong because you were unwell, who would be responsible? You, or your employer? You don't want to be sacked for doing something wrong.

I would also contact union to enlist their support, as employer more likely to follow the rules if union present.

If you can hold onto your job, it does avoid awkward cv gaps. It's easier to get another job if you already have a job, because you have up to date referees, and are up to date with the work place.

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Hi there very good advice there, i will go back on a phase return which is for 4 weeks around 2 hours a day for 3 days a week. Then i have decided to go partime 3 days aweek 9-4. Occ health have been excellent but like you said if you go back you are saying you are fit for work but how many people actually go back because of lack of funds to keep the money flowing!. My concern is going back and then going off sick again, i really find it a sad situation for many people and myself.xx

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Hi ther i have been off work for 6 months now and have good and bad days and things are looking a bit better but i am still suffering borderline anemia which i am supplementing but still not capable of going back at the moment-it has been rough-work has been very supportive and occ health fir the workplace and they have deemed me unfit for work still. I have now used my ssp from work and are now on ESA has my pay is half pay-i am yet to receive my 1st payment as the dwp have made a balls up!! Have you applied for esa, what about pip, and also there is income protection insurance-all this does take time but i know exactly how you feel-i just want to go back to work and have my funds back to normal, i was originally of with hyper and are now on titration doses of carbimazole-i also have hashis and suspected graves. It is so hard that we have to choose between health and money-i have always worked, it is a worrying time when money and health is concerned-look into various ways of boosting your money but sometimes we have to go back and be ill agsin-its a sad situation. I am going to go back on a phase return 1st and then partime 3 days a week, i wish you luck 😊😊

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Thank you, how did you apply for ESA?

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Just call the dwp and ask them about it-i also had a letter from work to say that my ssp had ended after 6 months sick and to call dwp, it was a simple call but you have to send them in original sick notes and last 2 pay cheques and ssp1 form that your workplace sends you. The tele conf interview lasts around 20 mins and then you will get a letter to say it has been agreed or not. But even with that money it will still leave you short-im losing £130 a month!! Xx

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Thank you, think I will try and sort this out tomorrow xx

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How much levothyroxine are you prescribed R120 ? Your doctor should be retesting every 4-6 weeks to see whether your dose needs increasing - so do you have another appointment lined up yet? It may be a little early to decide that you’re not going to be able to work - a dose increase will likely make you start to feel a lot better.

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Hi Jazzw

Thank you for your reply, I have had my 6 weeks test results, I was on 50mg Levo.

THYROID STIMULATING HORMONE (1.43) mIU/L 0.27 - 4.20

FREE THYROXINE (19.7) pmol/L 12.00 - 22.00

TOTAL THYROXINE(T4) (102.0) nmol/L 59.00 - 154.00

FREE T3 (4.19) pmol/L 3.10 - 6.80

THYROGLOBULIN ANTIBODY (<10) IU/mL 0.00 - 115.00

THYROID PEROXIDASE ANTIBODIES (12.7) IU/mL 0.00 - 34.00

I upped my dosage to 75mg but have felt worse (very dizzy, head pressure, anxiety) so not sure what to do.. I feel like I am never going to feel better as I feel just the same.

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Oh, bless you - that sucks. :( How long have you been on 75mcg?

I’ve had a look through your other posts and see you’re short on B12 and folate. Getting those levels up may well help.

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Hi Jazzw

Only 2 days! Yes I seem very low on Folate, I am going to start a B complex which should arrive soon, I have also been supplement Vit D as this was also low. I think I need to take time out and maybe move home as I can't afford rent with this sick pay. Did you continue work?

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