Chronic Illness, working and recovery days

This post describes living and working with chronic illness and chronic pain SO well. I felt like I was reading about my own life. The parallels are endless.

lovemylifeanyway

When you have a chronic illness you lose the control over your body, your physical wellness, that you used to take for granted.  One particular problem I have is balancing work, rest and everything else.  It would be ideal if I could work four or five days a week and then have enough rest time to ease off my symptoms so I could continue working happily the next week. Of course, this presumes there are only two things to consider, work and rest.  There are many more things to consider obviously and that is one part of the problem.

Energy is very limited in my life.  It is very easy to “overdo it”. Sometimes five days of work is too much.  If I encounter extra stress, a night out, an after-work work commitment or a sixth day of work or effort on the sixth day (say, a child’s birthday party…

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Working with an Invisible Illness & Chronic Pain

If someone asked me what my greatest challenge was, with regard to living with an invisible illness and chronic pain, I wouldn’t even have to think twice before I answered “working.”  The reasons are likely obvious to anyone who has a chronic illness and/or lives with chronic pain and those reasons are MANY.

We never know how we are going to feel from one minute to the next, let alone one day to the next.  For me, something ALWAYS hurts.  Not just a little annoying pain, but severe, debilitating pain.  Luckily my brain seems to process primarily one pathway of pain signals at a time.  This means that the most severe source of pain is what I feel at any given moment.  Sometimes that is facial pain due to Atypical Trigeminal Neuralgia or Atypical Facial Pain (the doctors keep switching back and forth between these diagnoses) and TMJ/TMD, which feels like someone has placed a needle into my upper right teeth without ever taking it out.  That pain radiates into my cheek, temple, head, and neck.  Sometimes it starts in my neck and radiates outward from there.  My other source of chronic, invisible pain is in the abdominal region due to Endometriosis, PCOS, Endosalpingiosis, and abdominal adhesions.  I usually just refer to it all as “Endo” for the sake of simplicity.  This is often the most debilitating pain of all because it is peritoneal quality pain, which has a tendency to affect a large portion of the body (stomach, abdomen, pelvis, lower back, and upper legs/thighs).  Sometimes it is only a dull ache (my facial pain is usually more severe during those times), but other times it causes severe stabbing, cramping, ripping, crushing, and tearing pain which can bring me to my knees, cause nausea, severe GI symptoms, make it hard to breathe, and even cause me to pass out.  Many compare Endo flare-ups to acute appendicitis or even labor contractions.  It leaves the body in a constant state of inflammation and causes my abdomen to swell to the point of looking pregnant at times.  All of this also causes a debilitating fatigue, which research has shown often reaches a level experienced by those with end-stage cancer.  When that happens, it feels like my arms, legs, and other body parts are carrying around 100 pound weights (which is more than my total body weight).  These are just some of the physical symptoms.  The psychological and emotional symptoms are another monster all their own.  Imagine trying to concentrate on work, completing complex or even mundane daily tasks, dealing with co-workers, attending meetings, managing stress, and meeting deadlines while feeling this way.  Sound tough?  It is.  This is the best way that I know how to describe it but even these words don’t do it justice.  Continue reading

Depression & Our Anniversary

I know the title of this blog post may seem strange.  There is really no connection between the two words except that they are both present and on my mind.

Today is our 6th wedding anniversary.  Billy and I have been together for 11 years now and our love is strong.  We have been through challenges that would be hard to imagine and many that no one knows about except for us.  Things that would test and destroy the most solid relationship but somehow our love has always pulled us through and prevailed.  I am so thankful for my husband and the unconditional love that we share.

This should be a joyous day but I cried all the way to work.  Yesterday and the day before, I cried all the way home.  Last night I sat and cried on the couch but I don’t think Billy noticed.  He has his own overwhelming struggles to deal with and I tried not to make it obvious.  Throughout my years of participation in online chronic pain, Trigeminal Neuralgia/Facial Pain, Endometriosis, and PCOS support groups, I have read and been acclimated to the very real link between chronic pain and depression.  I knew it could happen and the likelihood that it would is very high.  I have watched my husband struggle with it for years, even before the wreck and his botched surgery, but so much more afterwards.  It has been ripping him apart for what seems like forever and it appears to finally be taking hold of me.  Continue reading