Work and IBD: patient stories

Read time: 2 mins

Make IBD work! 

19 May World IBD Day – Awareness raising campaign in progress.....Patients from around Europe are telling us their stories on how IBD has affected their professional life. 



Javier Alises, School teacher

When I was first diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, I was off sick from work for about 6 months. It was a severe flare and I had to have parts of my colon removed. When I finally got back to work, I experienced two emotions: energy and fear.

Energy because I wanted to go back to normal, the last 6 months have been an emotional rollercoaster and I wanted to find some normality in my life and leave the disease behind.

At the same time, I was also scared. I didn´t know whether I could keep the same rhythm I had before this happened. How will this affect my daily life? How will my colleagues and my bosses react to this?

After my first sick leave I went back 100 % my usual workload, as if nothing had happened but soon, I realized that this was not the case as I got a second flare and I was off sick 17 months. It was then when I realized that I could not go back full time. I wasn’t 100 % so I couldn’t give 100 %.

We discussed reducing the hours of classes I was teaching but of course this would also mean less money. I was lucky because my bosses and the school leadership looked at ways to keep my usual salary but with reduced hours of teaching.

I am not a UC patient; I am a person who has a disease that is called Ulcerative Colitis. I am more than that: I am a language and literature teacher, I teach Latin, I like IT, I organize school camps, I am a librarian…and many things more!

Everyone has to find out for themselves what their talents are and strive to find the best possible work environment where he/she can apply them and were their talents are being put to good use.