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Being a Chef and Dealing with Medical Issues

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Well as some of you saw i have another topic talking about my Medical issues and I just figured it would be interesting to talk and hear about everyone else in this world that has the same passion and how they deal with their "Medical Issues" and at the same time fulfill their love.

So a little about me: Im 19 ive got Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis which is hard to deal with on its own but when you add stress to these two lovely illnesses it equals long nights, lots of meds, and very very unhealthy situations. I have never had a job outside of a kitchen so i dont even know how to work anywhere else but in this environment. Its hard to deal with but at the same time has made me who I am today. So i wouldnt have it any other way.
"Some of us Cook. Some of us Grow. All of us Eat."
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"Some of us Cook. Some of us Grow. All of us Eat."
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post #2 of 18
I hate to be a downer.....but....you might want to find a like, but, different
type of work.....eventually this kind of work is going to really drag you down.
I can empathize with you...have some similar problems.....if you do stick with
it.....more power to you....good luck....
post #3 of 18
I've worked in kitchens for 30 years and am a celiac.I can't eat most of the things I cook and must get the other staff to help me taste for seasonings in soups and sauces etc.It can be a little hairy putting out food I can not taste.
For years people have complained that I do not put enough salt in my food.
However salt is on the table so all is not lost.
post #4 of 18

stay in good spirits

First off, I'm sorry to hear about your dillema, my grandmother has crohns disease and she had to stop working at the age of 35 or so. It's something that she definately doesnt enjoy but a lot of good things have come out of her not working. The beauty of our profession is that you can cook at home and there are so many different types of establishments that serve food. You could volunteer at places, work part time, cook at home a lot or work at a lower stress place like a retirement home or something of the like. Im sure that you are very passionate about this profession, but your health is faaaaar more important. Good luck with everything.
post #5 of 18
I have epilepsy. Although I don't have a lot of full-blown seizures, I do have minor-seizures with more frequency. As I am preparing to be a chef, thinking about the stresses and the long hours that come with being a chef...it gives me pause, because stress and exhaustion can really cause me issues. However...one has to be happy in life. If you have a passion in life, do not let anything get in your way. God forbid, if you were ever to die from your ailment (Which I pray you don't)...at least do it on your own terms...happy and content in the fact that you were having fun. I don't know if what I say helps...but I know for me, I am not going to concern myself if I seriously hurt myself cooking, because I may have a seizure episode. ****...we have more chance dying and killing someone else, driving to our jobs day to day. I'll keep you in prayer.
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thank you marc, beleive it or not, that did mean alot to me. I know exactly (well not exactly for close to it) how you feel having a major health issue and having to sit there and question is this a matter of what i want or what i should do? Its a hard thing to do and keep sane at the same time.

As you are in my prayers.

Good luck in your future and best of luck/health. :chef:
"Some of us Cook. Some of us Grow. All of us Eat."
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"Some of us Cook. Some of us Grow. All of us Eat."
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post #7 of 18
I don't have anything as serious. I have sleep apnea, a condition that causes me to stop breathing at nights. I'm not as bad as the majority but it does take its toll as you wake up every morning after 8 hours of sleep but feeling like its only been 2 or less because your brain is deprived of oxygen and has to basically wake up to get your breathing again. I had to buy a CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Presure) machine that forces me to keep breathing while I sleep that set me back a few biggies.

There is usually a way to deal with your disease and/or condition that won't force you to give up what you love to do the most. Keep a bright perspective on things and you may find a solution.
post #8 of 18
It may not be related to this topic per se', but I definitely think this article that outlines the trials that Grant Achatz of Alinea had to overcome once he was diagnosed with tongue cancer is worth sharing.

As a Chicagoain, the diagnosis really hit home, it hit hard, and it hurt.

FOXNews.com - Chef Battles to Regain Taste After Rare Tongue Cancer - Health News | Current Health News | Medical News
post #9 of 18

I have a question for you-  Are you happy in your present situation?  The reason I am asking...I work for a wealthy family who have a 16 year old child diagnosed with Crohns.  He is really having a  hard time accepting this.  His family can not get him to eat at all sometimes...other times he just eats junk food and gets sick. They are presently looking for a Chef in the DC area.  You would be perfect because you would understand what  their son is going through.  If he doesn't start eating things will not be good.

Let me know???

Thanks

JB

post #10 of 18

JB,

 

Sorry to hear about that, he is so young. What the family must realize and the son too, that this is not going to get "fixed" necessarily by a good or great chef. This is a life style change that the family must accept and try to deal with. Maybe they don't know all that is involved with this. Maybe they should get a dietitian  involved for the food aspect of it all ? Or have the child talk with other people who are dealing with the same circumstances. Maybe having some insight into how other people deal with it may help.

 

Knowing your body and its limitations is key.

 

You say you work for the family.....my guess is that you probably know more about the child and his diet than anyone else. Good on you for trying to seek help for him.  I hope things work out for him. All the best to you.

 

Petals.

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(168 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
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Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(168 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
Reply
post #11 of 18

To Quinn01. I feel your pain.I am a severe diabetic and have stage 3 kidney disease and after 10 years of cooking part time and being a long haul trucker I am now pursuing my Red Seal and I am starting my formal apprenticeship..I have faith in ya..you can do whatever you put your mind to!!

post #12 of 18

I have irritable bowel syndrome which is a lot of times seen as kind of joke thing, but when it gets to the more severe end of the spectrum, it can make life very hard. About 3 years ago I was having a lot of stomach problems. I would vomit, severe constipation, weight loss that I couldn’t afford, and it felt like I was getting jabbed in various spots on my chest. After I was diagnosed, it was all about managing symptoms which was very challenging because everyone will have a different set of symptoms and triggers. A lot of trial and error. That management stage took about 6 months, because it was all about finding out what I could and couldn’t eat, as well as A LOT of doctors’ visits. Thank god for health insurance. During this time, about the only thing I ate was grilled chicken breast, steamed broccoli, and mashed potatoes; imagine that for 6 months. It was one of the only things that didn’t cause me to go totally haywire. It took everything I had to get through the work day and then would collapse exhausted every night. I managed to go without having to take time off, say for one medical procedure. For me personally, I thought if I missed work, I'd be giving in. I eventually was able to trace most of the trigger food and beverages, as well as a few changes in lifestyle. It still flares up every once in a while but have some special pills that help with that.

post #13 of 18

 

 


Edited by Guts - 7/5/12 at 11:43pm
post #14 of 18

I'm allergic to eggs so I need to be careful what I eat, and I have endometriosis and moderate (so far) fibromyalgia.  I pretty much suck it up and deal with it every day and it hasn't really affected mywork.  Ido have to be careful what I taste test and everyone who works with me knows I can't eat eggs so they are ok to help me with that if I need it...

OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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post #15 of 18

I'm not going to say what my conditions are (because I'm new here and don't know anyone yet) but if I can embark on this new career amidst my menagerie of health problems and excel like I have been doing thus far, anyone with any of the medical issues listed in the posts before mine can do it. Don't sell yourself short. 

post #16 of 18

I've been a Chef for 20 years. That's really all I know. I love what I do and love cooking for people. My past health issues have finally caught up with me. I recently had a surgically repaired ulcer and will be out of work indefinitely. On top of that, I have not eaten a thing in 37 days! Doctor's orders. When, or if, I finally do go back to work, I do not know if my body can handle the day to day activity of a working kitchen. The stress, the heat, the lifting, etc. may be more than I can handle. The doctors may not allow it, even after sufficient healing time. Now what? Looking for ideas and inspiration to get me through my life after the kitchen.

post #17 of 18
Had a friend's son have the same problem.
He first applied for disability, which can be a long process and a pain in the butt, but it provided him with financial support through a rough transition in his life.
He also took his 15 years of kitchen experience and became a food rep. That later opened more doors up outside of the food industry.
Hopefully this helps in some way.
Good luck.
post #18 of 18

I'd say that's an option, Frank.  Lots of chefs go into sales.  It does allow a lot of that knowledge to be used on a daily basis.

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
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