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Provisional Diagnosis and work

I have recently been given a provisional MS diagnosis by a neurologist, pending further tests, after some lesions showed on my spine during an mri trying to rule out a slipped disk as a cause of back pain.

I’m 22 and have been suffering for about 6 months with back and neck pain and fatigue, but recently I’ve had two periods of time about 2 months apart where the fatigue and other symptoms (such as pins and needles in my legs, blurred vision, lack of balance etc) have been overwhelming.

I’m a secondary school teacher, I’ve just started my NQT year, but I’ve had to take sick leave because I’m struggling to walk or stand and I’m needing to nap twice a day. I don’t drive because I have a long term eye condition and getting around is a nightmare when my legs keep letting me down. I feel like I’m just going on endless waiting list after endless waiting list, and doctors don’t really seem to be listening.

I’m scared I’m going to lose my job before I get a diagnosis, let alone any sort of help. Has anybody been in a similar situation and have any advice? Most people I’ve spoke to with MS have been older than me, and with teachers their job seems more secure.

Unfortunately getting a diagnosis takes time. I know there are teachers & ex teachers on here who can be of more help, so I’m posting reply to bump you back up the top. Take care C

Hi Hannah,

sorry to hear you have been so unwell x I am a teacher but don’t really know what to say!! I am 35, diagnosed this year but had MS about 11 years in retrospect. I have never, as yet (touch wood!!!), had to take long term sick leave. I managed to struggle through work during my last relapse but it did knock me about a bit x x I can mange now but I do get really third by the end of the day!!

i would explain to school what is going on. I immediately told my head and business manager once diagnosed and they have been very supportive. I imagine your school would want to help and support you e.g. Less duties possibly or maybe dropping to a part time role. I love teaching but it is exhausting. Currently I am head of curriculum area, but I imagine that I will drop down and work part time in the near future so that I can look after my health a bit better.

I hope you feel better soon and come to some decisions regarding your teaching,

Stacey x

Hi

access2work, a government scheme, run by the DWP may be a way to go initially.

They offer support to people who work / want to work and their aim is to help you stay in work.

whether this is helping with a taxi to work ( you pay the bus fare equivalent), adaptations at work or assistance in the class, they will look how best to help you.

all the best

neil

Sorry to butt in, if anyone is thinking of reducing hours of work, be aware that this will effect any work related pension you are contributing to. If you do reduce hours you my be able to pay AVC’s to enhance your final pension.

Jan x

As I understand it, if you have to cut your hours or reduce your job role as a teacher due to a disability, it is not legally allowed to effect your pension. This may be different though for younger teachers due to changes in the pension rules. Not quite sure - I have been teaching a while!! You need to speak to the Teachers Pension for clarification because as Jan suggests, it could eventually effect your final pension in the long term.

It’s more important though, that you are healthy and able to be both fit for work and fit enough to get the most out of life. I am also encouraging my school to look at access to work (as Neil has suggested) for help and assistance and they should be able to give you lots of support.

Teaching is a fantastic job, very rewarding and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else, but it is very tiring and you need to make sure you get the support you need. Good luck with everything! X x x

Hi everyone

I went back to work last week, working 4/5 lessons so that I can go home to sleep in the afternoons. I’ve also been taking taxis to and from work. I’m finding it very tough to keep up, but I’m hoping that as I get back into a routine it will get easier.

School are being very supportive.

Hannah