MRI results in ... worried about work

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So, finally have all my test results in .... MRI report shows cervical disc degeneration, mild to mod forminal narrowing at c2/3, moderate fn at 4/5 and severe at 6/7. Also osteophytes in disc spaces impinging on anterior of spinal cord. ... my GP is referring me to spinal team at Sheffield for next steps etc.

I am not sure what my future holds .. the last 6 months have been madness. Diagnosed with Osteoarthritis in November last year, turned 50 in March and its been downhill from there!

My worry is work - I have a unique and sometimes serile job as sole housekeeper in a country house. It is like stepping back in time - think Downton Abbey! - seriously though, I am responsible for the upkeep of 12 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms and 6 general rooms. I clean the silver, iron big linen sheets, prepare meals and organise and host shooting parties in the winter months. My employer is very old fashioned and we have spoken about aids to help me in my daily tasks, but he isn't keen - I do have a perching stool but it stays out of sight in the housekeepers room. I am struggling with some tasks - the bed changes are the worst with multiple linen sheets and blankets (no duvets!)

Its a lovely place to work ... like stepping back in time, but I don't know whether its conducive to my health, especially with these latest results ....

What do you think?

Thanks Sonia

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  • Posted

    Hi Sonia

    It's probably important for you to recognise the activities that aggravate the C/S.  I managed to carry on working as a decorator for many years,  but it was always a learning process of identifying the activities that would strain the neck,  and taking time out to recover between jobs, as necessary.  Trial and error/success,  I suppose.  The movements I learned to avopid were.....not looking overhead,  not doing any stretched overhead work,  being careful with shifting or lifting heavy items  etc.  Basically,  not straining the neck if possible.  Recovery from any aggravation can take weeks,  so best to avoid if possible.  Also,  I found it helpful to adjust my sleeping regime to help ease or alter the symptoms when needed.  I think certain grades of C/S are manageable, up to a point,  but there will always be a negative undertone....particularly, perhaps,  when under pressure to get things done as would be expected under normal circumstances.  Stop and think before doing anything too strenuous,  maybe.  For me,  I think I learned a lot about the condition by continuing to work,  but I appreciate that such an option is not available to everyone, whether due to the conditions of work,  or due to the severity of the C/S.  It usually boils down to a personal decision,  weighing up the pros and cons.

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  • Posted

    Hi Sonia,

    Dear me, no wonder you have these problems with your workload. Going back in time is one way to put it, I would point out that even in those days more than one person would share most of your workload. You have a monumental decision to make. You are not going to be able to continue working under those circumstances. You have very serious medical problems which will only get worse. Your Neurosurgeon will undoubtfully tell you to put no stress or strain on your neck, shoulders or upper body as you may trap the spinal cord even more which could result in paralysis. Your lifestyle is about to change dramatically and you should prepare yourself. Don't worry about your job or your employer you are the most imprtant thing right now. I hope I am completely wrong but, these are exactly the same as my symptoms which came to a head in 2011 and I had to take early retirement. You will be able to have operations but will still need months off work to recover. All the best luck in the world, Mike.

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  • Posted

    Dear Sonia,

    I feel for you.  I truly do.  

    Just to say - you are your own best guide.  It is your body after all.  Trust in that.  (It is - I have sometimes learnt - all too easy to forget that simple but true fact.)   You will know best and whatever you decide will BE FOR the best no matter what anyone else tells you and no matter which way you travel.  Have faith in that and yourself.  Grow your confidence.  I wish you well in this crucial decision.  

    All best wishes.



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  • Posted

    Hello Sonia

    If you have a diagnosis, it is the responsibility of your employer to make "reasonable adjustments". This is obviously easier in a large company than in a situation such as yours, but if they value yuo and you have been there for some time, they should be able to put things into place to help you continue in your job.  I've just been through exactly the same and have had to battle a little bit, but I was desperate to keep my job and have had to make quite a few changes. It's a horrible word to use, but it is classified as a disability and as such you have the law on your side.


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