A Tribute to the Thoughtful Boss Who Gave Me a Break When I Needed It

Retha De Wet avatar

by Retha De Wet |

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I try to be honest about my shortcomings, but I have always struggled with asking for help.

If you frequent my column, you may have realized that I’ve been missing in action. I was struggling and pushing my body to the extreme, when all I needed to do was stop and ask for help. Luckily, my boss was looking out for me. She intervened before I worked myself into another unplanned hospitalization.

My boss advocated for me to change roles at work. This meant I would have fewer physically demanding duties. It also meant that she would lose an employee in her department, but she said that was better than losing me altogether.

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At this point, my guilt crept in. I felt like I was letting her down. She needed to compromise because my health wouldn’t. Yet, something about her set my heart at ease. I guess a perk of having a social worker as a boss is emotional intelligence in the workplace.

My boss stepped in in the nick of time. I was admitted for my routine intravenous immunoglobulin and Rituxan (rituximab) infusions. Usually, I tolerate them well, only experiencing mild side effects, if any. This time around, I was out for a few days. I experienced extreme headaches, body aches, and vomiting. I could barely function.

I attributed my reaction to my body’s state of complete exhaustion. I was burned out.

My neurologist also had a stern conversation with me about pacing myself, especially in regards to my weekend shifts. “You spent most of your early 20s in your pajamas. You can’t just go cold turkey all of a sudden.” She made a valid point.

So, I accepted the transfer, and have been in my new role for almost two weeks now. Look at me, accepting help as if I know how to do so.

This shift has had a huge impact on my health. For the first time in years, I was able to go grocery shopping after work and pick up dinner. Usually, I need supervision or support for any activity after work. This time, I could do it all by myself. The best part is, I’ll be doing it again soon.

My boss was right — I needed help. Now, she’s no longer my boss, but my friend. She gave my body a break when I was being too stubborn to admit that I needed help. I have many strengths, but today, I am thankful my friend saw that I needed help and stepped in.

Life is full of beautiful people. Don’t stop looking for them, and never stop fighting.


Myasthenia Gravis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.


Yvette Jordaan avatar

Yvette Jordaan

Retha, you are an inspiration and ray of sunshine. A true hero.


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