Back to Work: The First Few Days

April 13, 2008

My first few days of work were wonderful and awful. It was so good to see all of my co-workers, and to get so many hugs. They’d actually left my desk intact– I couldn’t believe that it was still there waiting for me.

Half of the department is gone now. This contract was supposed to last a year, but it’s dragged on for almost two. Many people have become impatient about putting their lives on hold, and they’re moving on, finding new jobs and foregoing their severance. The people who remain seem tired and stressed, but still as kind and funny as ever.

I’ve been staying at the home of Kim, a supervisor in the department whom I love. Her house is almost an hour from the office, and it’s just beautiful. I go out on the deck in the mornings and drink coffee, listen to the birds, and watch old dead leaves float from trees, making room for new ones.

My body has not been holding up well through this, but my supervisor told me on my first day back not to worry about anything. She’s given me an unbelievably easy job to do, so there’s no stress involved. She also made it clear that I am to leave whenever I need to, and she doesn’t care if I’m late. “I just want you to get your severance, and to have a proper going away lunch like everyone else.” I heart her.

I have mixed feelings about it all. I’m so thankful for the opportunity, but I’m angry at my body. I’m coddling it, and in a way, so is everyone at work. Stress exacerbates fibromyalgia, but there’s absolutely none involved. I can sit or move around, or do anything I need to do to relieve the pain if it gets bad (including going home). If standing on my head would help the fibromyalgia, they’d provide me with a pillow and the space to do so. But nothing seems to matter. The fibro does what it wants to do, and what it wants to do is wipe me out with exhaustion and send pain shooting through my limbs. I find it all so frustrating. People can see the effects of this written on my face. I don’t want them worrying about me, or having to deal with this at all. It’s embarrassing to feel like a forty-seven year old ninety-two year old.

“I think the worst part of it is the mental aspect,” I told a couple of work friends. “The fact that I can’t control the pain or anticipate when it’s coming or how long it will last drives me crazy.” I try to keep it in the background, but it keeps screaming at me.

There are great lessons in all of this. I’m learning to let go and accept this gift that I’ve been given by the people at work, and to try to do it gracefully. I’m beginning to understand that I will never understand this syndrome, and that, try as I might, I’ll never be able to fully predict what it’s going to do. I’m trying mightily  not to hate my body for what it’s doing, but to instead listen to what’s it’s telling me, and to try to obey its orders as much as I can. I’m trying to learn to not be humiliated or feel “less than” because of all of this, but that’s been a little more difficult. Right now, I’m missing the part of me that was energetic and fun. I hope it comes back soon.

Quite honestly, I’m a bit terrified. I will never have an easier job, or one where I am accommodated to this degree. This wasn’t even a full work week, and I’m not holding up well. I’ll try again next week and the week after that, and hopefully, my body will respond better. But this experience has made me decide that I need to think much more seriously about the future, and how I’m going to survive financially with this uncooperative body of mine.


14 Responses to “Back to Work: The First Few Days”

  1. […] the first few days of work had so much to do with Fibromyalgia, I’ve written about it on my other blog.  I’ll be posting other things here a little […]

  2. kaylee Says:

    sorry to hear that 😦

    It’s really fine, Kaylee. This week was much better than last week. Of course, it’s only Tuesday… 😉

  3. Little Miss Says:

    You know I know. That last sentence is exactly how I feel too. It’s scary, but I know there has to be a solution somewhere. I pray every day that it appears to me.

    You know I know you know! It is scary, but also good, because it really clarifies things, and has me thinking in a bit of a different direction. There is a solution, and it’s probably really obvious; I just haven’t quite gotten there yet. I do hope the answer appears to you, and that you’ll share it with me!

  4. CuriousC Says:

    E-hugs and happy healthy-ish good energy vibrations being sent as I type this!

    Thanks, C. I’m feeling the good vibes!

  5. thegirlfromtheghetto Says:

    I’m so excited for you, that you are able to work and earn some extra $. And, a severance package? Fabulous! Try as hard as you can for as long as you can. And that’s all you can do. It’s amazing that your boss loves you this much, that she is willing to have you stay in her home. But I hear you on the feeling 92. On vacation this week, it was pathetic that it took me 8 hours (Well, we stopped for meals, too) to walk the 3 mile Freedom Trail in Boston. Sure, we stopped every 5-10 minutes, but I had to do it and even though I feel like my feet and legs are going to fall off any second, I’m glad I forced myself to go to such a cool walking city.

    Thank you Ghetto Girl, my friend. I am really lucky. It’s not even my boss who’s letting me stay with her– another supervisor is. Next week, I’m staying with someone else who’s offered me a place to stay (just so I don’t wear out my welcome in any one place). Can you believe all of this kindness?

    Today I found out that in addition to the severance, I’ll probably qualify for unemployment too, which makes me less panicky and buys me more time.

    I can’t wait until I have some time to read about your Boston trip. I hope you’ve posted pictures!

  6. Laurel Says:

    Remember you aren’t alone in this struggle. I’m there with you.

    (((Thank you, Laurel.)))

  7. Adam Says:

    It’s so wonderful that you have such a supportive environment. An understanding supervisor can be a difficult thing to find in this day & age where everything is so “bottom-line” oriented.

    I’m so sorry for the constant struggle you have to fight. It’s a cruel infliction for any life to have to bear. I’m glad that you’re trying to find a constructive life, in spite of the pain… but don’t push yourself too hard. Everyone wants you to feel as well as possible for as long as you can.

    The fact that your co-workers are so supportive and eager for you to succeed not only a great tribute to their kindness, it is also a wonderful compliment to how valuable a person you are. And beyond being a worthy employee, you are a rare and wonderful soul and our lives are richer and more colorful with you around, even when you’re feeling weak and unwell.

    You’re co-workers know this, as do we, your blog-friends, and we all love you dearly.

    Take care.

    (((Adam))) this was just the kindest, most thoughtful comment. As I’ve been pushing to get through the days, I keep in mind all of the beautiful comments that I’ve gotten. Believe it or not, you all help me gain the strength to do this thing. Thank you sooooo much.

  8. joanharvest Says:

    It’s a shame you have to go through this. But I suppose it will be worth it if you can stick it out for the severance package. It’s really too bad you couldn’t get on disability.

    Well, at least you can dump your feelings out on this page and people will understand.

    Take Care, Joan

    Thanks Joan. Actually, I suppose my fibro blog is my “dump blog.” I don’t like to whine, so when I have to, I just come over here to do it.

    This experience is overall a good one. I’m learning a lot about my strengths and limitations, and about accepting other people’s kindness. I also have learned that I have GOT to apply for SSI disability after this!

    It’ll all be okay.

  9. Hope everything is going well.

    You have every right to whine. Fibro feels like my whole body is one big bruise that keeps getting punched on.

    Sending warm thoughts and wishes to you!

    Thanks TPB! Right now, it feels like my bruises have bruises, and Mike Tyson is the guy punching them. Ugh!

    Thank you for the good wishes!!! Can’t wait to have time to visit your blog this weekend!

  10. Wendy Says:

    Well, you’re certainly a trooper. You’re probably tired of hearing that but it’s true. A lot of people couldn’t do what you’re doing, myself included. I’m hearting you.

    Thanks (((Wendy))). I’m not sure how much of a trooper I’m being. I cry alot and I wanna go home! Hopefully, I’ll make it through though.

  11. Lucky Says:

    Wendy is right…you are a trooper. I think a lot of people would have given up a long time ago. You are an amazing person and I’m sad to see you go through this but inspired that you don’t let it control your life and emotions. Keep it up, Lady. 😉

    Thanks Lucky. It’s most definitely a learning experience. It does control my life and emotions to a degree– it’s like a wrestling match between me and me! I’m hanging tough though– sorta. 🙂

  12. romi41 Says:

    good look to you and that’s such a big step to go back! Just take it ONE day at a time…

    Sending you *hugs*! 🙂

    Awwwww….thank you, Romalita. Sending you hugs back!!! I’m taking your advice, and just doing this in small pieces.

  13. gypsy-heart Says:

    I have been thinking of you MB and then you stopped by today. 🙂

    I will continue to mention you when I light my candles…May a gentle and healing energy surround you..and enter your being until your heart feels the power of divine love.

    I know I do not normally talk quite like this MB but I wanted you to feel this now because I know you are away from home and your normal routine.

    I really do feel it is the energy of your good and loving heart that caused this to happen…the meaning you will eventually understand. I read your words dear one..and you put it out to the universe and so it happened. Be strong…’tis for a reason.

    Blessings to Tom and your boss too (earth angels they are)!

    You are so very sweet. This made me all sniffly and teary. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the kindness of your words and actions. I hope that I do come to some understanding of all of this (I think I’ve gotten some clues), but even if I never fully get it, it’s all change, and change is good.

    I’m getting stronger by the day, and I think it all somehow has to do with love.

    You’re right– Tom and my boss are angels, as are so many people that I’m coming into contact with right now. It’s amazing!

  14. I just stumbled upon your blog and this post is incredible. I am currently going through a flare up that has kept me away from my office for 2 months, as of today. Part of me is afraid of what will happen when I decide I am well-enough to return.

    This helped me feel optimistic while still acknowledging the reality. It will be rough no matter how easy my coworkers may try to be on me.

    Good luck! Thank you for keeping us posted.

    Want to swap links?

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