Hi all! In addition to my work with PH News, I work as a freelance photographer. I started my own business, knowing I would be able to set my own hours and take time off if health issues came up unexpectedly. Fresh out of college, I didn’t know how to explain my unpredictable needs to potential employers. Individual clients were more understanding. In fact, I took about a year off work while waiting and then recovering from my heart-lung transplant. Now, I have been able to go back to working with past clients, and I’m thrilled to have more energy for them and new clients.
Freelancing allows me to make time for frequent appointments with my transplant team, as well as for exercise, which has been essential to my recovery. I’ve been able to avoid getting sick by working from home instead of in a traditional office setting.
How do you modify to be able to work with PH? What accommodations has your employer offered? What barriers do you still face?
Most employers don’t like to accommodate and some have fired people for whatever contrived reason they can. I have known people to be fired when diagnosed with cancer, PH, epilepsy, etc. People just resign themselves to the status quo instead of fighting back. Fortunately for me, I worked for an agency that supports people with disabilities, and they know I know my rights and don’t back down. My daughter was born with a physical disability and we fought the accommodation battle over 30 years ago. I did have some issues when I had cancer since chemo brain received little attention then and people didn’t understand, kind of like PH now. Persist!!! We are our best advocates so we have to know our rights.
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