emaweston 13/05/15
Last reply 3 years ago
In need of reassurance…

Hey – this is going to be quite a long post but, like I’ve said, I’m in need of some reassurance.
After being absolutely symptom free for five years after my diagnosis, in 2013 I had what my MS nurse has called a ‘devastating relapse’. I basically experienced every possible MS symptom all in one go – brain stem swelling.
I lost the use of my legs, my right hand and most of my left too, had double vision, constant sound in my ears (like standing next to a motorway), difficulty swallowing, my voice went all weird and I couldn’t speak properly – basically it was terrible. Thank god for my husband and my family.
Fast forward to this January and after a long and slow recovery, just my walking slower than I’d like, I wisely (!) thought that if I started a new job, working full time – I’m a teacher – everything would fine and I could forget about MS. In addition to this, prior to the awful relapse I’d been working part time, and after the relapse the school that I worked at (14-19 age group) had been brilliant and I was only teaching a reduced timetable over 2.5 days. My current school is 11-16 and I’m doing a very slightly reduced timetable, full time.
I’m exhausted (fatigue is hitting me big time) and I’m struggling to cope, while also being terrified about bringing on another ‘devastating relapse’.
I’m handing in my notice so only have one half-term (and a bit) to go but I’m feeling a bit of a failure and also like I’m copping out and/or making it all up.
So. After all that, any reassuring words? x

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northernlass
3 years ago

Hi emaweston… it sounds like you have really been through it 🙁 and sorry to hear you feel you need to leave your job as a teacher … maybe if the actual difficulty of getting into school arranging a lesson plan.. teaching your 11-16 year olds.. and then the work you have to take home with you afterwards.. no wonder you are feeling exhausted. What about using your skills as maybe a home tutor…?? you can pick the amount of students you want to help.. and what areas you can work.. basically the ball will be in your court. Best wishes 😀


northernlass
3 years ago

What I mean about “home tutor” is where you go to someone’s house and teach their child… 😀


stumbler
3 years ago

@emaweston , before you resign, have a read through this, http://www.mstrust.org.uk/shop/product.jsp?prodid=246 .

And also have a word with your Union and discuss the available options.

It would be very honourable of you to hand in your notice, but you may be discounting other options, which may have a positive financial impact.

Otherwise, I really respect your profession , but it must be a hotbed of stress with the age range that you teach, together with the undermining of discipline imposed by the politically correct brigade.

But, I do understand your thought process. You have to manage your MS in the way that suits you and your family best. You’re important and worth it. 😉


emaweston
3 years ago

Thank you @northernlass – I am planning on doing some home tuition

@stumbler – I think I just need to take the plunge and spend some time building up my strength while I decide what to do instead of teaching. I hate all of the big decisions that MS forces you into making!


stumbler
3 years ago

@emaweston , that sounds like a reasonable strategy, but rather than handing in your notice, get your GP to sign you off for 2-4 weeks.

Use that time to just be nice to yourself and make enquiries about what options are available to you. You can always resign at a later date……


tabbycat
3 years ago

Don’t push yourself too hard. I am a teacher too and know what a bitch of a job it can be. I have walked out of plenty of jobs and always found something better suited eventually. My advice is don’t say you are leaving for health reason, but because you want to write a novel, or something plausible . Then if you want to return you can. The world is short of teachers and when you feel stronger you can find the job to suit you. Remember there are lots of private school, tutoring agencies, online schools and you can always set up your own business teaching something lucrative that middle class parents worry about. The world is your oyster! Walking out of a stressful job is intelligent, not defeatist!


emaweston
3 years ago

Thank you @tabbycat – that’s exactly the reassurance I’m after! I think I just need time to work it all out, you know how difficult it is to find any time to do anything other than work, work, work when you’re FT teaching! x


cameron
3 years ago

Stopping f/t work may ultimately prove to be the wisest move to reduce the chance of further relapses, but so too is getting on the right treatment. You don’t mention which drug (if any) you’re taking or what support your neuro team is giving you to deal with fatigue and your other MS issues. After such a major relapse, they really should be on your case, possibly considering a change of meds and referring you to other professionals e.g. physios. Big decisions are best taken when you have all the facts in front of you. Are the med team helping you to do this?


emaweston
3 years ago

@cameron I’m on Tysabri and moving to Lemtrada(it’s been nearly a year and I’m JCV+). My neuro team are fantastic!


cabbage777
3 years ago

I am presently working two days as an early years teacher, but in Sept increasing to 3 days in early years. I was diagnosed in Dec with rrms and on tecfidera since february, my hubby and parents are concerned that I will be doing too much as had 3 relapses in 6 months. I am still just trying to get on with things and putting Ms in a box locked away till I can deal with it!! We have two young children too and I feel I need to work as long as possible as I don’t know what this Ms is going to do!!


katjay
3 years ago

Hi Emma hope you sort something soon . Kat x x


CClaire
3 years ago

I once read what I already knew, thag with ms you have to cut yourself some slack. However old the kids are that you teacb, ( I did primary), teaching in 2015 is not cutting yourself any slack. I didn’t realise how much I thought about it until I stopped doing it. Am waiting for pension application to go through at the moment. Felt frustrated, as I have worked witb it for years without too many people knowing, repleased, off work for months and then everybody knew. I hope one day to be able to work in school again in some capacity. If you do consider the early retirement route, the younger you are, the more years get added on to your pension. I wish I had known that ages ago instead of stressing about it. I have done the failure and frustration part too.xx


emaweston
3 years ago

Thank you @katjay!
@CClaire – what do you mean about early retirement? That’s not something I’d even considered. I’m 35 (well, nearly).


CClaire
3 years ago

Do not resign, it may be to your financial disadvantage.xx


poptart1977
3 years ago

Forgive me if you have but have you looked into reasonable adjustments such as flexible working to cut your hours down to something more manageable – similar to what you were working before your mammoth replase? If it’s “just” the fatigue but you can work and are still enjoying it so don’t really want to resign that could be the way forward if your school can accommodate that maybe?
I haven’t had anywhere near as big an episode as you but my most recent involved partial paralysis on my left side. I carried on working throughout, stupidly some might say, but my workplace allowed me to work shorter hours over fewer days gradually building back up to full time over 8 weeks. I not only think this helped me recover more quickly as I had something other than my ms to focus my brain on but I’m sure it also helped me avoid my pit of depression which I suffered with badly during/after my first episode. I’m not a teacher though so I’m not sure how practical this would be in a school environment but it is mentioned in the Equality Act that employers should try and offer this where applicable.
If this isn’t suitable try not to think of resigning as defeatist. It’s the right decision for you and your health which is the most important thing to you and your family. When you’ve figured things out you can always get another job but one which suits you better.
Good luck 😊


cameron
3 years ago

The long-term financial consequences are what you should bear in mind. As long as you’re in public service you’re building up a pension fund, which despite the recent changes is still one of the very best there is in the UK. Put another way, ten years in public service is worth VERY many more in most of the private sector. Even if your future employment is never more than very part-time, if it’s in the Teachers’ Pension Scheme, it will count towards your retirement income. You’ll also get a lump sum, which is (or was when I took mine) the equivalent of 1.5. years’ salary, tax-free. My advice would be to ask for a year’s leave of absence on medical grounds. Particularly if you get your union on your side, asking your employer to keep your job open for twelve months would be in the spirit of them making the ‘reasonable adjustments’ required by disability legislation. Re: early retirement on medical grounds, this is also a possibility, but they’ve changed the criteria and it’s difficult to qualify – e.g. I knew a colleague with breast cancer who was refused this.

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