I met her a couple of years ago when I ventured slowly back into the work force after years of being so very sick with AS. After my eventual diagnosis I thought I was ready to dip my toe back in and see if I could handle the many pressures that come with a job. That sounds odd to most – of course I should be able to handle a job right. Hummm… here were my worries:
1. Would I be able to sit on a chair that would most likely be extremely questionable and super inexpensive. Wal-mart “task chairs” have their place in this world but they tend to become the ones pushed in front of most desks these days and especially in front of the part-time job desks. A chair seems like a very silly worry for people looking for work but for people with AS, a chair can make or break your ability to do your job. And once being hired and realizing that the chair is less than adequate for an AS body you ask yourself if you can gut it out because the last thing you want to do at a new job is alert HR to a possible disability or OSHA violation. So the chair prospects were enough of a worry to keep me rooted to home.
2. My brain had been so under flexed for so many years and highly medicated. I was worried that I might not be able to mentally do the job. I just didn’t know. Many medications for pain, muscle spasm, sleep issues, and nerve trouble can really sap the regular thinking process let alone the new information I was looking to acquire working part-time for a bankruptcy attorney. Could I think quickly enough? Could I learn the new material? And, could I cover the times I couldn’t recall fast enough or find the proper word for the discussion? I had no idea.
3. Infusion times and dates – how was I going to explain the need for a day long absence to get the exact biologic medications that gave me my life back and had me thinking of working again? What would I do and was it “fair” to not disclose this information to my prospective employer?
4. What if I couldn’t do it? Who was I kidding – I had AS – I should just be looking for a disability attorney and filing the necessary paperwork.
These were some of the thoughts that went through my head. The self talk of should I attempt to go back into the work-force were intense at times but I had another big motivating factor. My husband had been laid off in the 2009 bust and our COBRA was going to eventually run out. My biggest motivation became my health care and my medications. I was not going back to the days before my medications – to the days prior to a diagnosis. No way. No how. So I picked myself up and put my resume together with a few missing years that I hoped could be explained away. And, yes… I explained them away with a story that was plasuible but didn’t paint the entire story. I was trying to start a family – and it didn’t happen. Who would have hired me if I had shared the whole picture and I knew that legally I didn’t need to tell. So I didn’t.
What does this have to do with Stacey?
It’s Stacey’s Birthday today and I met her thankfully because I was able to go back to work. I was in fact so able to go back to work that after 7 months working for the attorney I got a job with amazing benefits working full time. Of all of the wonderful things that have happened to me in the past few years I rank meeting my dear, lovely, and amazingly beautiful friend at the top.
Happy Birthday sweet lovely friend. I love and adore you!
Day 212 was created in mixed media for Stacey Ballow’s Birthday – she just turned 29 – again!