337 // The Good News

The only good thing about having to work during a pandemic is at least the schedule is light. The first half of the week was hard, but in order to minimize the number of people in the office, everyone’s time is split and Wednesday has become my new Friday. I only have to get through midday and the second half is all mine. Hours to fill as I please, or as my energy or anxieties will allow, though there is more hope for me this week than in many weeks past.

To be honest, I’ve been reluctant to write here lately. For so long now there has been nothing but bad news and worse news. This year, my year, like the year many of you are having too, has turned out to be one of the worst in recent, if not complete, memory and for many more reasons than the collective COVID one.

It’s no secret chronic illness has been kicking my ass and with nowhere to go and nothing to do but work and wallow, there hasn’t been much worth sharing or saying, until today. Today I feel good. I have been feeling good, and I want to share the good news with you now.

Some weeks ago I started a new medication and treatment plan and for the first time in many, many months pain, fatigue, and distress are no longer defining every waking moment of my life. For the first time in many, many months, I recognize myself in the mirror.

What’s funny is, this year has been so hard on me that even speaking that good news scares me. I’m worried I’m wrong or that the improvement was only temporary, a tease, another trick of 2020, but some time has passed now, enough to allow a sense of optimism to creep in.

I can imagine a life that is more than work and sleep again. I’ve been reading constantly and thinking more and more of writing again. I’m excited at the prospect of making something of this last month, even if all I do is spend it preparing for the new year. My expectations aren’t high. Being able to do anything at all is progress. I’m happy and hopeful again, and that is everything.

Today has not been a good day. I wanted to stay home but calling in on Mondays makes me feel even more guilty than calling in any other day so against my gut instinct I dragged myself in. I was miserable and stressed the entire time. I’m still so sick and getting worse all the time and being sent out on a route is the last thing I need.

I learned a valuable lesson today though. I learned that I need to be firm about what I need and what I cannot do no matter what. I felt bad, and I let my boss guilt me into work I knew I couldn’t do and I may have made myself worse as a result. I learned that no one will put me first except me and I learned that that advocating for myself is one of the hardest things to do but it’s the most important thing right now.

Luckily my leave has all been approved now and for the rest of the year taking a day off, even if I feel bad, my job will not be impacted.