I had to stop working due to my CF in the middle of 2004. I was not bouncing back from sickness/exacerbations like I used to and I was getting sick more often. Since CF is progressive it will get worse as time goes on so doing anything that can help slow down the progression is good. It was time for me to focus solely on my health and not getting back to work. It was a very hard decision because I really liked my job as a medical biller. My boss was very understanding and would have let me work from home had the company still allowed that. I then applied for disability and was approved about a year later. It is a shot to the ego that you are sick enough to get disability and that you can’t work anymore. It was hard to process but was the best decision.
Most people think that because someone stays home due to not being able to work that they sit and do nothing all day. Taking care of ones self is a full time job. In my case, every day consists of multiple breathing treatments, dozens of pills, doctor appointments, IVs if needed, hospital time if needed, exercise to keep lungs strong, sleep and much more. Yes sleep, sleep is a key to taking care of myself. If I don’t have enough sleep to be able to function through out the day it means I will be worn down and not feeling like I can do all the other stuff I need to do in the day. I sleep much more when I am sick, or at least I try to. Sleep helps your body to fight off infection also.
I am good at finding things to do to keep myself busy during the day. When I am feeling good I organize and reorganize things, just ask my husband, he can’t find things a lot of the time…haha. I do love me some HGTV and DIY and can watch re-runs all day long! I go to my husbands work and have lunch with him when he is able which is nice. As I have said before I am very proud of my husband and what he does so anytime I can see him in his element I take advantage of it. Some of my other past times are thrift store shopping, enjoying the sunshine whenever possible, home projects, yard work when I can handle it, writing, painting, enjoying the company of my family and friends, chick flicks, playing and snuggling my furry kids and of course eating!
When you are faced with the decision to stop being a part of the work force and staying home to focus on your health you go through a lot of emotions. It is not an easy thing to do, or at least it wasn’t for me. You have to find other things to do to occupy your time. I am thankful that I have the kids, husband and the pups to keep me busy. There are many days that I feel worthless because I don’t have anything to show for myself, meaning not feeling accomplished. I miss being around others, having adult conversation and feeling like I had a purpose. I know I have a purpose but it is different when you can produce something for your time at work, heck even if it’s a spreadsheet. When we moved to TN I missed working even more for the simple fact that you meet people at work and it is a great way to make friends. I met people in our apartment complex at the pool or while out with the dogs but another outlet would have been great. I am a people person and wanted interaction!! Mind you I was here for the first 3 month with just my bonus son and the dogs while my husband was finishing up work back in MO and training for his new job in AL so it was hard but I made it through.
I am not worthless because I don’t work nor am I lazy. I am probably more productive now that I don’t work because I make it a point not to sit and doing nothing so that I can feel like I was productive every day. “To do” lists are my friend. I like seeing things checked off so that I can see what I accomplished. This is why it is very hard for me to sit still when I am sick. I don’t like being unproductive. I know at times it is needed but it is hard. I know that as time goes on my endurance and tolerance for things will decrease so I want to make sure I do all that I can now while I can. Makes sense, right? It does in my head. I don’t want to look back and say, “I wished I had done _____ when my lung function was better because now I can’t.” I’m all about the right now.
Until next time…