I hope I am posting this in the correct forum.
I work full time in a non-profit call center (I am a social worker). I was just diagnosed with AS last week, but it has been causing problems for years. Around this time last year, I started having horrible stomach problems, which I now recognize as being related to the AS. The gastroenteroligist I had saw inflammation when she scoped me, but just said it was garden variety IBS. She filled out FMLA papers for me since I was missing so much work. I finally got the stomach problems to calm down by adopting a wheat-free diet, but used up all the FMLA time by then.
I had a stomach flare in July, followed by an attack of anterior uveitis (which at the time, I thought was pink eye). When I returned to work, I was written up and told that due to the "pattern of absences", if I miss any more work to the extent I have to take leave without pay, I will be fired. My boss said she believed I was sick but just couldn't have me out that much. My AS has continued to flare in the form of back/joint pain/stiffness, stomach problems, and 5 bouts of anterior uveitis. I accumulate sick time monthly, so if my sick hours are over the amount of time I've got, I am told I have to make up the time and that under no circumstances can I take leave without pay. What this results in is me working 6,7,8 days in a row, stressing myself out and causing more flares. I thought once I had the diagnosis and all of these seemingly unrelated problems were shown to be from the AS that things would change. They've been dangling that write-up over my head to make me work whenever they want, and I felt like they did that because they didn't believe I was really sick. Now they know I am really sick and they are still refusing to let me take leave without pay; they act like it's out of their hands when all they have to do is get rid of that write-up. Can they do that? And can they fire me for missing work when they know I have a real illness?
I hate to sound naive, and I know other people have it worse. I am just getting so frustrated because they say they want to help me be healthy but in the same breath, refuse to let me take the time I need to rest!