Back to Work…and Back to Life!

Ugggh, it’s been WAY too long! My apologies to those of you who frequent Brainthunders. I really have no good excuses for not posting in about 6 weeks, but I believe I have a reason. So, here goes!

On January 3rd, I started a new job. Yes, a full-time job. It truly wasn’t one that I applied for, but it was one which I was contacted about, and after interviewing and learning more, I became extremely interested in. So, here I am…a Public Affairs Officer for a major Detroit hospital. And, life has been so incredibly busy!

Heading back to work really got me thinking about ability and how able I am to manage my Epilepsy, manage my household, take care of a 5-year-old and…work (not to mention picking up after all three humans in this home, and two fur-people). Being a working Mom is quite a feat, but being a working Mom who also manages her own neurological disorder seems at times, to be quite a marathon. Still, in just 6 weeks, I’ve come to the conclusion that it can be done, and I’m not one to give up.

Since I don’t drive (and Detroit has one of the worst public transportation systems in the nation!), I’ve hired someone to drive me to and from the hospital. I rely on my wonderful sitter to assist me in getting Hayden to and from school and her activities. I lean on my husband and my Mom now and again for transportation and logistical support. And, as I’ve always said, there are a few friends who step up and assist me in managing my world. But, the most important factor in taking on this job, was my employer’s acceptance of the fact that I’m able to perform my duties, I understand my responsibilities, but I live with this illness, so I am different. There’s no other way to say it. I have Epilepsy, so in order to do this, I must work from home a couple of days each week.

I learned a lot when I proposed my ‘Alternative Work Agreement’. Yes, I understand that there are companies that aren’t exactly accepting. But, I like to think that for all those that aren’t, there are two that are.

So often, we go into a situation with a negative outlook. “There’s no way they will understand my Epilepsy and they aren’t going to let me work from home.” But, if you take a much more positive approach, “I’ll explain my Epilepsy, but first, I’ll elaborate on my qualifications and my accomplishments, and I’ll re-define my commitment, then I’ll ask them to understand my needs.”

We are different. Period. I’ve had grand mal seizures in front of some of the most powerful people in Corporate America, but it’s never hindered my abilities to perform my job. More than ever, my Epilepsy has given me the confidence to continue to work.

So, this morning I’m grateful for the ADA and I’m thankful that there are accepting and understanding people out there. I know there will be those who disagree with my outlook, but for me, it’s my strength. And, in this new endeavor of mine, strength is most important.