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You Don’t Gotta Go to Work

You Don’t Gotta Go to Work

When starting treatment, it’s an important question, how much can I work while on treatment?

Of the six different treatments I’ve been on, I’ve worked part-time, full-time, some of the time, and been disabled. And it’s not that everyone should or shouldn’t work – it’s just important to consider a few factors.

Things to Consider

On my first treatment, I was finishing school and working part-time. Despite it being one of the harder treatments (interfereon+ribavirin), at the time I was healthy besides hep C and mild hepatic encephalopathy. Missing class was inevitable as were sick days, but both my employer and professors were understanding of the absences. It’s also important to know that newer DAAs don’t cause the severe side effects of the older injection therapies.

On my second treatment, I was working full-time and missed several days of work or came in late at least once a week. I was lucky in that my employer at the time was incredibly understanding with my treatment.

The same cannot be said for my third treatment, my supervisor was very uneasy about me taking any time off, especially sick. In order to ensure that I wouldn’t be fired by my shaky supervisor, I took FMLA (time off through the Family Medical Leave Act). While on treatment, FMLA can be used by a person or caregiver (to assist in that person’s treatment) to give up to 12 weeks off unpaid, taken in any order during a calendar year.

I ended up missing some key promotion opportunities, but I had other priorities. It was my most difficult treatments, but going in I was physically fit, and besides bleeding varices in my throat and a MELD score, I was healthy.

Sometimes, You May Be Too Sick to Work (Regardless of Treatment)

But no matter how fit I was, or how healthy I ate, by the time I hit my fourth treatment I was waiting on the transplant list and transitioning from unemployment to disability. I was doing some occasional volunteer work at a local school. But other than that my condition wouldn’t allow any real work, so working on treatment wasn’t even a question I wrestled with then. And the same can be said for my fifth treatment.

My last treatment was on recovery after my transplant, and similarly, I found myself doing mostly volunteer work and writing for this lovely website. B-) The treatment had little impact on my ability to do work when compared to other times during my recovery.

The newer treatments are significantly easier side effect wise, and under normal circumstances, a person should be able to tolerate work. However, it’s important to consider three major factors:

  • How comfortable you feel with the treatment/on treatment
  • Your work situation
  • And your personal health

Otherwise, it’s important to note that treatment affects everyone differently, some people trudge rough side effects, others may opt to use the time to recover during lighter side effects. How best to proceed is ultimately a decision between you and your doctor.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.