So yesterday I had my first day at the new job. It was a slow day, but still quite exhausting. Basically, it was about getting all my paperwork in order and getting acquainted with the staff and environment. I only saw one patient, but it took awhile to finish because I was still trying to figure out the electronic medical record system.Despite the slow day, I still left work drained.
I had become comfortable with not working. My body was used to sleeping in, and being able to nap whenever I didn’t feel well. I had enough time to take care of my chores and errands and plenty of time for exercise and my other hobbies. I never really needed to plan anything out, since I just did whatever I needed to whenever I wanted.
After only one day of work, I’ve realized I am going to have to make some adjustments in my lifestyle to be able to maintain my health and minimize stress. First, I’m going to have to go to bed earlier, which means no more late night TV. I am also going to pay more attention to my diet and eat foods that will give me more energy during the day. I will plan out my chores and errands better, so that I can do little things on the days I work, and save bigger projects for my days off. I’ll need to switch up my exercise routines so that they days I work, I do a little less, and make up for it on my off day. I’ll also have to accept there’ll be days when I just won’t be able to work out at all.
I’m happy to be working again and know it will take time to get in my groove. I’ve never been one for change, but I’ve learned that sometimes it’s not such bad thing and with every change in my life comes new experiences. I look forward to my new job and hope to have new stories to share with you!
Being diagnosed with lupus was a major blow to my self-esteem. I was used to to being a very independent person. I did want I wanted, when I wanted. Being in control of my life made me feel confident. I liked seeing myself as a self-sufficient person.
But now I felt weak. I felt like I was somehow less than all of my colleagues. I would never be that strong woman again. I was embarrassed for people to know. I was afraid of what they would think of me, feeling sorry for me for being a pathetic, helpless person.
As physicians we and our patients hold us to a higher standard. We don’t need to eat, sleep, or go to the bathroom. But here I was needing ten hours of sleep at night, and as many naps as possible. I needed to eat meals so I could take my medications. I was running out of clinic to go use the bathroom because my meds were upsetting my stomach.
Then there was the weight gain. I gained about 20-30 pounds that first year from steroids and my inability to exercise. Previous to my diagnosis, I considered myself to be a pretty girl, maybe even a little sexy. I wasn’t skinny, but I was curvy in all the right places. I was used to guys finding me attractive and flirting with me. I wasn’t perfect,but I felt good about my appearance.
Not only did I gain weight but my whole shape changed. My tummy got fuller, my face got rounder, and my upper back developed a little hump. My lashes became so thin, that even with mascara, you could barely see them. Guys wouldn’t even give me a second glance. I wasn’t even the same person anymore. I was ugly.
It’s taken a really long time to regain some of my self worth, but I don’t feel the same as before. I’ve lost most of the weight, and have started to take my normal shape. As I see how much I still am capable of doing, I realize that I am a strong person, perhaps stronger than before. It is going to take time, and a lot of work, but I believe the person I become will be even better than the person I was before.
So I am going down South to visit my family this weekend. It’s my niece’s one year birthday and dedication. Now I usually fly down every couple months, but it’s been seven months. This really is the longest it’s been since I’ve been back.
Since I started my new job, it’s been tough to go down there. I work Fridays and Mondays and it doesn’t make sense to fly down for less that 48 hrs. And with the part time hours, I definitely do not have the funds to fly as often.So I’m super excited I have the chance to go, and as a bonus my husband will come too.
There was a time earlier on when I was afraid to fly home because of my health. I worried about being there with my family, and having one of my pain episodes and they wouldn’t understand or be able to help me. For a time I really was worried about being with them for more than a couple days, without my husband.
I did that with other trips too. Afraid to go away for weekend conferences with friends, or to drive the five hours to go see my aunts and uncles. Worried about planning things and then having to cancel and lose money.
I also have this weird paranoia about running out or losing meds on vacation. I always back an extra three days worth in my pill box to keep in my purse, but then I fill an empty medicine bottle with a jumble of more meds, just in case, and hide that in my backpack. If I’m feeling especially nervous I pack unable mixed bottle and slip it into my suitcase. You should see how many times I check and recheck my pillbox.
Travelling is one of my favorite things to do. And so is being with my friends and family. I’ve realized I can’t live my life being afraid of what might happen.I have to live in the now without fear. But it still doesn’t hurt to buy a lil travel protection:)
Yesterday I went out to a Lupus fundraising event at a restaurant in my town. The money collected went towards supporting research at a local academic hospital. It was so amazing to see all the support from the community. The event was hosted by a young woman with lupus and her boyfriend who was part owner of the restaurant. She shared her story with me about how she used to be a professional dancer, and loved going on auditions until lupus took that away from her. She now works full time as a make-up artist.
It inspires me to see someone who has lost what they loved, but didn’t let it keep them down. Instead she found something new to love. Sometimes it is all to easy to give up completely because we can no longer do what we love or are familiar and comfortable with. It’s easy to become close minded and think “Well, now, I can’t do anything.” I’ve often wondered what I would do if I couldn’t practice medicine anymore. I’m really not qualified to do anything else. But maybe I could teach. Maybe I could do research. Maybe I could write a book.
I think in order to not just survive, and truly live, we need to be adaptable. We really do need to think outside the box. We need to reach beyond ourselves, and explore all that we can be. We can develop our other talents, or learn new skills. I challenge every one of you to discover something new about yourself and use it to do something great!