Chronic Pain at the Office
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 feels 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.