Taming the Wolf

The ups and downs of life as an early 30s career girl trying to balance the various demands of life, including fibromyalgia. autoimmune and dietary issues. Somedays I succeed more than others, but it’s an adventure…

Admitting I can’t do it all… March 8, 2009

Filed under: Flare,FMLA,Misc,work — jwz1978 @ 8:22 pm

Friday was probably one of the hardest days I’ve had emotionally dealing with my health.  I had to admit, to myself and to others, that I just couldn’t, and haven’t, been able to keep up.  Anyone who lives and dies by the billable hour knows that once you get yourself in a whole, it’s hard to dig yourself out of it, even if you’re feeling particularly healthy.  Since my flareup started in November or so, I’ve had a huge drop in productivity.  It’s amazing how fast it all adds up.  Arriving at work later and leaving earlier.  Not working nights or weekends and just sleeping.  Less productivity even at work because I’m so tired or in so much pain it’s hard to focus.

Unfortunately, the drop in productivity and work is just one more stress and one more thing to worry about.  On Friday I had to sit down with two partners and talk, try to figure it all out and figure out what I needed to do.  The first time I had a flareup, when I was diagnosed, I was in college.  It was a whole lot easier to manage when in school than when working.  I could work with professors, had a much more flexible schedule, it wasn’t a piece of cake, but it was easier.  Later flares, when I was working before I went to law school, were harder, but still easier.  I had a job with a lot less pressure and many fewer demands.  Now, the fact I’ve chosen such a stressful, demanding, time-consuming career is an added challenge.

In the end, I had to call and talk to someone in our main office and start the process of working with HR, getting medical/physician forms filled out, and getting a paper trail on this.  The partners were very good about it all, stressing we needed to get it sorted out for my benefit, and making it less of a concern for me.  That however, didn’t make it easier for me to accept.  All my life I’ve been a total overachiever.  Involved in everything, volunteering for everything, generally trying to do it all.  And for the most part, I’ve done it, or at least managed to keep up.  After my call to HR on Friday, I sat there in my office and just lost it.  In fact thinking about it makes me start to tear up again.  Luckily I have an office door, and no one tried to touch base with me until I managed to get myself under control and until the facial redness had relatively faded.  But it flat out just sucked.  I felt/feel like a total failure because I can’t manage my health, my job, my family, I just can’t manage.

In my head, I know that lupus and fibro, autoimmune diseases in general, aren’t something you can control.  I know that I can’t do it all, that in trying to do so I actually can make it worse.  Knowing that, and admitting that, are two different things though.  I’m fortunate that I have people who care, and a job that is going to work with me on this.  I just really, really, really hate the fact that it’s come to that.  I hate not being able to tell them, well, I was sick, I flared up, but now I’m over it and it’s all better.  Or, I’m flaring, but hey, I’m really almost done and by next month, I’ll be back to myself.  It’s the not knowing I hate.  One of the things I hate.

When I get the paperwork from HR, I’ll be taking it to my doctor or my specialist, depending on what it requires, and getting a doctor to sign and fill it out.  At this point,I really have no idea what that all entails.  It’s all a bit new, a bit scary.  And aside from the feeling like a failure, and hating having to admit that I can’t keep up, it bothers me too that now this is on my record.  I have no problem talking about my health problems, and the treatment and how I’m feeling, but I hate that this is now part of my employee file.  I think that comes from a lot of years of being in remission, and a lot of years of convincing myself I was ok.  I know that it could be a lot worse, and I think that’s what scares me a bit too, knowing how much this is affecting my life now, wondering what will happen if the next time I flare, whenever that may be (and assuming we finally get this one under control) it’s worse yet?

In the end, I came home Friday, and then totally lost it again when my wonderful husband took one look at me, gave me a hug, and asked me what was wrong.  It’s his first time dealing with me and lupus and all the effects, and he really is handling it all well.  And then I decided I needed to do something (other than hug my husband and my dog) to make myself feel better and made the massage appointment for Saturday.  🙂

That’s my vent for the week.  Again, I know, the logical part of me, that overall, I’m fortunate.  But, even “knowing” that, accepting the changes and limitations that my body is wanting to force on me is not an easy thing.  The emotional side of me is back to the kicking and screaming and whining phase (at least internally, and now thanks to the internet, on this blog). I’ll probably never accept it, but at least now I guess I’ve started a process on the professional side that will let me deal with whatever my archenemy the wolf decides to throw my way.