Psoriatic Arthritis, Biologics and the Workplace
Last updated: July 2023
Should I inform my boss that I am on a biologic injection? This was a difficult question for me. First, I didn't want my employer to think I was incapable of doing the job. Secondly, would I be considered uncooperative if I refused to do something? Thirdly, can I be fired for the results of my treatments in side effects?
My employer and I have a great relationship. My executive chef is a very caring person ad a terrific friend. When we first met, I was very cautious about saying anything about my psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis. My honesty about the situation has most definitely helped our relationship.
Are you nervous about telling your employer about your psoriatic arthritis?
Most places are uneasy when they see a candidate or an existing employee that may not be able to perform their job. When I look at the situation through the eyes of an employer, I understand how it could be a huge challenge to employ someone with medical issues.
Paying for insurance can be difficult if the business is small and cost the employer and employee a lot of money. This may mean they need to take off time from work for doctor's appointments, therapies, or illness. Calculating the costs of having a fill-in for an employee when they are out can be expensive for the company.
There is also the question if they can perform the job. If the limitations of their condition limit their output. We are worth the gamble. We are employable. We do work hard.
Just because I have health issues, I pride myself on being able to be professional. I'm confident you feel the same. Our condition doesn't define us. I decided to have a conversation with my employer and offer up the very great qualities I have as proof.
Setting up the big reveal!
First, I took the initiative. I asked my executive chef if we could have a meeting. I set the date and time according to his schedule. Next, I ensured I had all the information from my doctor, my current medications, and a few notes about my hard work and performance. Once I arrived, I sat very professionally across from my boss.
After we exchanged pleasantries, I stated my purpose for our meeting. I admitted full disclosure of my disease. He took the time to admit he knew about psoriasis. We talked about the effects it had on my physical well-being. Then we discussed pain and management.
Discussing the topic of arthritis was fairly easy. Much to my surprise, he, too, has arthritis but not psoriatic.
Biologic treatment was easy enough to explain. Primarily, his concern was how to help me to do my job. This was a concept that was new to me! No one had asked me that before. Now my mind was traveling down a new path.
I thoughtfully looked up and said, "time to recover after my biologic has been administered." He smiled, "I can do that!" When I took time to explain that my immune system would be suppressed, he stated that whatever we needed to do to keep me safe, he was all for.
I found relief and I found support
Now that my chef understood that, I would not let him down. He spoke with me about ensuring I had a paper trail for the HR department. Taking time to talk with my doctors and having them send notes with me for work has kept me employed without being in trouble.
Being at work is important to me. My employer knows that and sees my value. Doing my best to care for myself and knowing my job has my back is a great comfort.
This or That
Compared to other seasons, how is managing PsA in the summer?
Do you usually need to recover from a vacation?