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Effect of work-related stress on recovery? Effect of work-related stress on recovery?

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Unread 12-04-2004, 07:02 PM
Effect of work-related stress on recovery?

Sorry this is long--skip to the bottom to find the question!

I've had a very uneventful recovery until this week. I decided I was strong enough to handle a work project that normally takes me three days full-time. I have a laptop and can do this at home.

Drove to work Wednesday to pick up reports. Stress #1: boss' boss tells me that a new manager starts the day I return to work. This meant that my old boss was being replaced. (Do I need to know this?! Boss' boss confides in me, inappropriately, because I don't talk about it.) Worked Wednesday from home.

Thursday, worked at home. Experienced project problems (stress #2), meaning I would need to briefly go into office Friday.

Friday morning, current boss calls me to tell me old boss has been fired. (Stress #3) I go in for help with project. Not only has old boss been fired, another accountant quits. No notice. (Stress #4). Current boss tells me that I should attend meeting of our entire department--general manager tells us our accounting issues have to be fixed, whatever it takes, no excuses. (Stress #5). I have now spent three days and only 1/3 of project is done and I am physically not in shape to finish it.

Physical effects of all this have been swelly belly (worst in weeks), more physical discomfort (stiff, sore, some sharp twinges). Emotionally, I feel like I'm failing and letting the team down.

I am supposed to return to work on Dec. 13 (6 weeks). There is no physical reason that my doctor will not send me back.

Does stress slow recovery? I feel like this is a setback! I spent most of today on the couch, absolutely wiped out and exhausted.
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Unread 12-04-2004, 07:35 PM
Effect of work-related stress on recovery?

Oh Susan,
Sorry you are have so much stress at work.

The No 1 killer is not heart attacks or anything else. It is stress!! Your body is already telling you that with the way it is reacting to what you have just said.

"I am supposed to return to work on Dec. 13 (6 weeks). There is no physical reason that my doctor will not send me back."

If this is making you this sick tell your doctor. Your still recovering. He/She should give you more time. I have found most doctors will listen if you tell them your job is making you sick and you need more time before returning to work.

I know it is easier to say then do, but don't let your boss put your health in jeopardy. You only have one chance to heal. Take the time.

Maybe your job is more stress then any one needs in their life.
Unread 12-04-2004, 07:39 PM
Re: Effect of work-related stress on recovery?

[quote]Originally posted by susan0520
"You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." Isaiah 58:11b

Susan, the first thing I'd say (reverently) is that Isaiah never had a hysterectomy. Nor did your Bosses, sounds like.
Stressful? Oh Sister!
I can't comment on most of your questions because I'm not back yet either, but my guess is that stress like this will take a big toll - if you're not very careful with yourself. Looks like it already is, otherwise you wouldn't have written your post.
The obvious stress is how do you do that and not lose your job, or more importantly, your health? (referring to the "no excuses" part here) Sounds like a very nasty setup you walked into the other day. I'd try to stay away completely until whatever date you have to return. If you don't feel ready - please talk to your Doc and get extended!
Meantime, try to keep your feet up & rest as much as possible. I'll be thinking of you - keep us posted!

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Unread 12-04-2004, 07:44 PM
Effect of work-related stress on recovery?

Hi Susan - don't know if you had to go back to the work scene or if you just felt obligated to jump back in so soon? gosh I know from my own experience in the office it is stressful enough when I feel good, let alone after having major surgery. I stayed away from work 8.5 weeks, did not go in or offer to help on any work related projects, didn't feel like it and didn't feel obligated. I would say you are doing to much to soon, you need to be resting and working on getting your health back work stress will always be there and trying to keep up with the maddness is no fun if you are not feeling well. If you can afford it I would suggest asking your Dr to put you out you out at least 8 weeks - this is not an unreasonable amount of time for initial recovery from TAH. I would not have been able to handle the stress you are speaking of at such an early time - but we are all different. Please step back and take this time for yourself you need it and remember you only have 1 chance of healing right the first time. Hope you feel better soon kick up those feet and rest girlfriend you just had major surgery - let us know how you are doing.
Unread 12-04-2004, 07:46 PM
out on leave

Stress at work might be good sometimes, but you shouldn't even be at work yet!

You need to stay away, don't call, don't think about it, you are out on sick leave.

It takes a while to find an even keel after this surgery, hormones are upset, the body has been hurt.

Tell you doc you tried a little work and ended up on the couch for a few days. Ask if you can him to ok 1/2 days for a while because of all the upset at work and that you are feeling pretty drained by it all.

Otherwise, you still have several days to do nothing but whatever you want to.

A lot of people take off 8 weeks and some even more, so don't feel guilty if you need more time.

Unread 12-04-2004, 07:58 PM
Effect of work-related stress on recovery?


I did not have stress at work that kept me off for 10 weeks post op. I had lots of stress at home. I was worrying about bills, housework, etc. I hit rock bottom at 7 weeks. I completely broke down in my gyn"s office. I had put so much guilt on myself and always felt I should do everything, that my body couldn't handle it anymore. I had never felt so terrible in my whole life. My open incision was taking way longer to heal than my dr. thought it should. I think it was due to the stress I was going through.
If this week stressed you out, I can just imagine what going back full time will do to you. Please reconsider. At 8 weeks my dr. asked if I was emotionally ready to go back to work. I wasn't. I broke down again in his office. He thought I made a good decision and wrote me off for two more weeks. I got myself together emotionally with the help of meds. and family and friends here, and was able to face my job ay 10 weeks.
It is a big step and you really need to be able to emoptionaaly handle work. Stress really wears on the body.
Good luck with your decision. I hope all goes well with you.

Unread 12-05-2004, 02:08 PM
thanks for the great feedback

Thanks to all of you for the excellent feedback. Yes, it is most likely "me" that is pressuring myself to be ready to return or be able to handle projects. The past three days have showed me that physically, I'm not back to normal. And the fatigue definitely affects the emotional/mental processes.

Yes, I am considering whether the stress of this position is worth it! For now, I know that God has me there for a reason. The time away from work was a great opportunity to look at the company and position from a different perspective.

I will talk to my doctor about the effects I've had from working part-time from home and see what she has to say (restricted hours, perhaps--or who knows, maybe more time off). My boss is actually pretty cool--he already told me he's planning on short days for me when I get back. The workplace will take everything it can, and I know I have to set good boundaries.

This site has been the greatest--I appreciate everyone's experiences and input.
Unread 12-05-2004, 02:11 PM

I wrote the previous post from the couch. I am taking your advice to rest!
Unread 12-05-2004, 02:35 PM
Effect of work-related stress on recovery?

HI! I can relate about going back to work and the stress issue. I am almost 3 1/2 weeks post-op TVH and go back to MD tomorrow. I do want to go back to work (medical transcriptionist mostly) but since I do a very wide range of things, I don't want the boss' to take advantage of the fact that I'm back and them thinking I'm up to par, as I don't feel that I'm 100%. Take it easy as much as you can. I think we (women) are harder on ourselves and expect more than others do of us. Don't know why that is, but it seems to be true. I am going to ask doc for 1/2 days til the first of the year, I think that will be fair for me and my employer.
Good luck.
Unread 12-05-2004, 02:46 PM
Effect of work-related stress on recovery?

Hi Susan,

I had my TAH a few days before yours. I started working from home (or more accurately, just reviewing my work emails and trying to manage my department by remote) at 10 days post-op. I'd say for the next three weeks (until 4.5 weeks post op), i'd work from home about 2-4 hours a day. Felt like I was still connected to the office, but when i needed/wanted to, i would lie down and rest.

At 4.5 weeks, i went into the office for the first time (well, that's a fib - at 3.5 weeks i went in for 2 hours one day and found that that was a HUGE mistake!). That week (4.5), I went in for 3 days - 3 hours, then 4 hours and then 5.5 hours. Felt good building up. Granted, over the weekend, I spent most of my time lying down in bed, and took afternoon naps, but still, i felt good. This week (at 5.5 weeks), i'm trying to go in everyday for 6 hours/day. BUT - i'll see how I feel and do what i can.

My boss sounds luckily like your new boss - is understanding and telling me to take it easy. I put pressure on myself to get back to the office. My boss did not pressure me to come back in. I generally love what i do, and wanted to get back in the swing of things.

the important thing to remember is - listen to your body. try to go back gradually if you can. For me, I enjoy being at work, so the stress, for me, is positive. But I also set limits so as not to overdo it. If you're going back out of guilt - then that's not positive stress. (I'm sure some people think i'm nuts talking about "positive stress"!) If you're going back because you want to, and your doctor oks it, it should be ok so long as you remember to listen to your body and rest/stop working when you need to.

Good luck -

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