I am admittedly a little late with this post. It has been on my mind but I have not found the time to put fingers to keyboard…because….life?
This month was a great example of the choices I have learned to make since my diagnosis. I have been working on a project at work. It has been a ton of work over two years, fraught with pitfalls and roadblocks. There were times I thought we were just stuck. There were times I thought that banging my head on the desk sounded more productive than the project had been. Then at the beginning of the month, it kicked into overdrive. The right person got the right information and all of the obstacles were removed. For two solid weeks, my colleague and I dropped everything else to get our project across the finish line.
I only worked my regular eight hours, but was so mentally engaged and stretched, I came home exhausted. I had horrible headaches and my throat ached (one of my clues I have pushed myself too far). I noticed, at times when I went to rest my head on my hand, that my forehead and cheeks were flushed and warm. My elbows ached from hours of typing and phone calls, and my fingers were numb and tingly. I went to bed around 6:30 each night, and had very little time or energy for my husband or kids. It was a choice, and I knew that going in. I know my limits now much better than I did a year ago. I knew I could only stand those eight hours and then I had to come home. I knew that pushing it would set me further behind the following day, so at the end of each eight hour shift, I turned off my computer and left.
My work is rewarding to me. In addition to paying for my family’s daily needs, it provides me with a sense that I am contributing to society in a positive way. The project we finished is something I believe in. I knew, when we got the go-ahead a couple of weeks ago, that I would not have room for anything else on my plate until it was done. Even this post had to wait its turn. Luckily, I have a family who believes in me and is willing to pick up some of the slack when mom/spouse heads to bed two hours early.
Lupus has in many ways become my life. It is my silent partner – the one I didn’t choose. Last year, I participated in a Make Your Mark fundraiser through the Lupus Foundation of America, and raised over $800 via sales from my Etsy site and from direct donations to the Lupus Foundation. If you have the bandwidth – and I certainly understand if you don’t – please consider donating for Lupus Awareness Month. You will assist in education, research, and support for the approximately 1.5 million Americans with Lupus. It has already made a positive difference in my life, as in so many others. Just think what we can do in the future.