Things to consider when returning to work.
Getting back to work is one of the things that can help you feel life is returning to normal. However, it’s not something that can be rushed. You may not feel physically or mentally ready to go back for quite some time. It all depends on your job and how confident you feel with your new routine. Here are a few helpful hints to make the process as smoothly and stress-free as possible.
How soon can I go back?
This is really down to the individual and you should never feel forced into returning to work. Talk to your employer and healthcare provider about how you feel. Employers are required to listen to any requests for part-time or flexible hours now that you’re living with a stoma and your doctor will only sign you off as fit to work if they think you are emotionally and physically ready. Don’t put pressure on yourself. Work can wait. You may be told not to drive for about six weeks after surgery. It is worth contacting your insurance company to check.
Should I tell people at work I have a stoma?
This is also a personal choice. Some people find it easier to tell work colleagues they have a stoma. While others prefer to keep it completely private. This is totally up to you. It sometimes helps to tell one or two close friends who can be there for you if you’re having any problems, but nobody needs to know if you don’t want them to.
What if I have a very physical job?
Most physical jobs should be fine providing you’ve had the relevant conversations with a healthcare professional who has declared you fit to work. An ostomy support belt or supporting underwear might be helpful if you do a lot of lifting or carrying. If you work on a building site, there are ostomy shields available to protect your stoma. Ask your stoma nurse if you have any concerns or need advice on the different products available.