Working and holding a job while suffering from NTM (MAC)
Hi, is everyone working and holding a job while dealing with NTM? If so I'd like to hear about your experinces and what kind of jobs you have and how do you manage woking while dealing with a chronic disease and side effects of medications. Not to forget the emotional and psychological pressure of this disease.
I am a hairdresser and have been off work and considering career change because I find my job physically vey demanding and it makes me too tired and I believe I shouldn't push myself too hard but instead keep my immune system high and not stress myself much. Can anyone offer their opinion or medical advice on whether as a hairdresser dealing with hair and hair products and blow drying hair can affect my MAC or not?
Also which job are better to avoid as a NTM/MAC patient and are more harmful to the lung condition.
Thank you in advance 🙂
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Hi, @amn17 – I agree with you, it would be great to know more about how others with NTM/MAC manage working and holding down a job while dealing with NTM/MAC and side effects of medications. Hoping that members like @auntgranny @windwalker @alleycatkate @flib @ling123 and @ginak will share some of their thoughts on this topic and also offer any insights about jobs to avoid with this disease. They may also have some opinions specifically about your work as a hairdresser dealing with hair, hair products and blow drying hair affecting your MAC.
Has your doctor weighed in on your consideration of a career change, @amn17? Where are you leaning currently as far as staying with your hairdresser position or making a change?
I saw the posting by @amn17 but did not think my response would offer much help. Although I have been diagnosed with MAC, I do not have any of the symptoms many others have, such as weight loss, fatigue, etc. I'm not on any drug treatment and, therefore, do not suffer any side effects. So I have no problem holding down a full-time job. Also, my line of work is vastly different. I'm a computer programmer. I spend majority of my working hours sitting in front of a computer rather than standing up. I don't have other underlying diseases or weakened immune system either. Hopefully others are able to provide more valuable opinions and insight on this topic.
amn17 —- I'm responding although I have no answers. I've not been diagnosed with MAC — just a little of it but Mayo's didn't feel it was enough to take the meds. I have bronchiectasis. I'm older — 77 — so I don't have a regular job. We are farmer/ranchers and the work I do depends on whether I feel like doing it. I have raised and shown Labradors for more than 30 years and Mayo's suggests I not be around the animals more than necessary. I have a young man who has worked for me a long time and I'm blessed with that. I cook lunch each day for the guys who work here. I was a music teacher for 27 years and I have a real estate business in town. So….. my work is varied and I can go at my own speed. So, again, I'm not much help but I didn't want to not respond. I do pretty well most of the time. When I'm having a flare (and am doing so right now) I don't feel so great with the meds but feel lucky to be able to do what I can. I think the hairspray might not be the best environment for you but….. you should ask your doctor about that. I feel sure he will most likely say the same in that I doubt hairspray is recommended for anyone with a lung problem.
@auntnanny Thanks for response.
@ling123 Thanks for responding. You are right its much easier without symptoms and I think computer programming or office jobs are easier to manage for NTM patients.
@lisalucier Thanks for your response and involving others 🙂 I haven't talked to my doctor about career change yet but thanks for reminding me. I'm leaning more towards a career change but perhaps would take time.
@amn17…I wish I had some input regarding your hairdressing work and your health. I am fortunate to have mild bronchiectasis and mac and am also retired. I personally try to stay away from anything that could be problematic for my lungs so I understand your concern about your career choice. I guess your Dr would hopefully have good advice on the subject. I do wonder about the effect of the chemicals/aerosols as I am sure you do. Does your shop have good ventilation? Would your shop get an air purifier for you? I hope your Doc has some answers for you…. I would start there. Best of luck. Kate
Looking for air purifier recommendations or feedback on ones that don't work well
@ann17, Hello. Fatigue has been the greatest problem for many of us with this disease. That alone makes it difficult to go off to a daily job. I left the workplace in 2005. I was too ill to continue. I went on disability in 2007. I was fortunate enough in that I had rental income to suppport me along with my husband's financial support. @auntnanny and @alleycatkate both brought up good points about the aerosols and chemicals involved in hair salons. You didn't mention whether or not you also have bronchiectasis. If you do, all of those fumes are a no-no. For example: if I use hairspray on my hair, I will cough non-stop all day. Moroccan oil…forget about it! The smell of it tears me up. Is there any way you can move your business to your home? That way you could set your own hours and save on space rental. You could advertise that you have a chemical free zone for those with asthma and other lung issues. I would go to a salon like that if they had one here. I actually left my hair appt. once due to the heavy smell of a Brazillion Blow-out in there. If you are considering a carreer change; perhaps some kind of office job where you are not on your feet. Please keep me posted on what you decide. Before I forget, were you also diagnosed with bronchiectasis?
@lch713 I know that Sharper Image used to sell them. I bought mine at Lowe's. It has a hepa filter that I periodically rinse. It is filthy, so it must be working. You can Google it and then read reviews.