The types of pain and fatigue that come with an autoimmune disease are not the same pain and fatigue most people understand or ever experience. I’m exhausted and I am in extreme pain everywhere. My eyes are burning from forcing myself to stay awake. I just want to crawl back in bed and fall asleep, but I’m at work and I still have half a day to survive. Yes, I’m grumpy and I’m trying to keep it to myself. This is no fun. Unfortunately, I can’t get a refund on this defective body.
I am sitting at my desk trying to be productive, trying not to cry because the pain is really bad today, trying to find coping methods. I am diving deep into my reservoir of strength to face today’s challenges regardless of the pain I am feeling. I have pain pills, a heating pad, etc. Sitting at a desk all day, staring at a computer screen, with my body desperately needing to lie down, is not fun. I don’t have a choice, I need to push through, even when it feel impossible to do so.
Since I am having radiation in a few months and I’m not exactly sure how long I’ll be recovering and how my health will take a hit, I am cautious about taking off from work. I barely made it last year and it caused me a lot of additional guilt and stress I didn’t need.
While at work, I am learning how to appear functional even when I am anything but. It’s funny on some people can see through my face right away and know that I am struggling today and doing my best, while others see nothing at all.
I am very aware that I’m that employees in the next cubicle that take extra days off now and then. I hear the chatter about me when I’m present and I see the looks I get from people who believe I’m milking it when it’s quite the opposite. On the days that I don’t come in, I am trying to manage my symptoms and am too sick to do much else. So I try to work twice as hard when I can be there knowing all along that it may end up putting me back into a flare up, but I do it anyway because I fear loosing this job that I really want and need.
I understand that I may not look sick, but underneath my appearance there is a person fighting fiercely to be well. I would never wish this upon anyone else.