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Monday, October 31, 2011

Road Blocks and Giving Up

  It's almost Halloween, and I have a scary story to share. It's scary because it's true, and it's about me, and it's happening right now. 

I have an incurable chronic illness.  It's autoimmune in nature, which means my own body is attacking itself because it does not recognize me as "self".  My predicament does not surprise me as my mother's illness was similar in nature, and I inevitably inherited it from her.  So, in order to deal with this issue, I consume plenty of anti-inflammatory medications.  As with many sufferers of autoimmune illnesses, I seem fine outwardly, but inwardly a terrible battle rages. 

  I still get up and go to work and return to keep house. I also have a few "extra curricular activities", such as functioning as the state president of my professional society, secretary of my local RWA chapter, and writing my own book.  However, the reality is that pain is a constant in my life and everyday it chooses how much wrath it will leash upon me. Some days are more merciful than others, but I am almost always exhausted by the time I return home from work.  With the day only half-over, I still face dinner and the cleanup, after which precious little time is left for personal interests. 
  However, there are a few things my disorder has NOT taken from me, such as my drive and determination.  Writing my book is second-highest on the list, the first is to take back my health.
Working at the Urinalysis bench
  That is not to say however that I don't have my black moments, as well as your basic crisises of faith.  There are days when I want to just lie down and give up.  In fact, I have given up much lately, such as taking advantage of conferences and educational classes that would enhance both my writing and profession, all in the name of keeping my stress levels down and getting more rest.  But let me tell you this, the book WILL be written.  Maybe not this year OR the next, but it WILL be written.  It will be written because it's the only strategy that has not yet been attempted to interest young people into entering a profession where the number of practitioners are dwindling down to a critical level.  I'm talking about my profession, medical technology.  If we don't get those numbers up, then sophisticated laboratory testing will one day be performed by high school graduates.  (worst-case scenario here!)
  But for now, I am forced to pace myself and take many rest breaks because my immunity is still more of a whack-job than a Lady Gaga presidency would prove to be!  I fully expect that for the time being I will take two steps forward and one back.  In fact, I have become the queen of beginning projects that never seem to be completed.  But at least there is forward motion, and that still counts as progress.

  So here's my question, when you are in the darkest pits of despair and/or impossible deadlines are racing toward you at light speed, what is your coping mechanism?  To put it another way, how do you get past all the perpetual roadblocks  and just "git'er done"?  
  For an eye-opening insight into the daily life of a person with an autoimmune disorder, please read "The Spoon Theory" by Christine Miserandino at:


  1. I just wanted to say, what a beautiful post. I have fibromyalgia, so I hear the days of pain. For me, I keep my goals in mind, and I surround myself with the most loving, supportive people I can. Hang in there, and thank you for this post.

  2. Oh no-so sorry to hear about that. Fibromyalgia can be so very painful-my heart goes out to you! You have a fabulous coping strategy Mary in addition to a great attitude. You're welcome-and I'll keep hanging on as long as I can! :)


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