How much can one person take?

Posted: 18th April 2011 by That Ghoul Ava in Random Shit

It’s no secret I’ve been sick for awhile now. It’s also secret that no one is 100% sure of what’s wrong with me. It started out with general pain in the upper shoulder and back. Eventually it migrated all over, but different areas would hurt at different times. Then the skin started burning. It became intolerable, but I dealt with it…or at least tried to. Anyone who’s had any moderate amount of pain can understand that it’s hard to do much; when the pain never goes away, and sleep is impossible, well….everything, from walking, to getting dressed, to even getting out of bed, is a huge ordeal.

I’m a tough chick – I don’t go running to the doctor for every little thing. Quite honestly, I try not to go at all. But when the pain became so bad that I would vomit and be in tears, I didn’t know what else to do. I had to do something – that couldn’t continue. I was at work the day it became totally intolerable, and how I managed to get to the ER is beyond me – I don’t remember the trip. In hindsight, I should have asked someone to take me, but I really wasn’t thinking straight.

The next 2 weeks, with leave from work, were a whirlwind of doctors, tests, specialists, and more tests. Blood tests, Biopsys, even a nerve cauterization in the shoulder (which was done as a last resort), and finally I had a TENTATIVE diagnosis: Rheumatoid Arthritis. I say tentative because while the tests pointed at it, including an elevated RA factor from bloodwork, it didn’t explain EVERYTHING, namely the burning of the skin. It gets so bad that you can actually FEEL the heat radiating off of it, and nothing can touch it – even clothes are painful during the worst flare ups.

So I’m put on some heavy duty meds to treat the RA, shots to neutralize the pain in my shoulder tendons and spine, and we continue to throw darts at the other symptoms. I have good days and I have bad ones. At first I would get optimistic – there would be some days the pain was totally gone, sometimes as long as a week, but it always comes back. You’re almost scared to wake up, because you have no idea how the pain dice are going to land.

Daily living is tough like this….working is even tougher. My ability to think clearly is shot. I can’t concentrate. I have blackouts, for lack of a better term, where I can’t remember hours at a time. I’ve started to worry about my future…if you can call it that. If I don’t get better, and soon, I may be forced to admit my only option may be disability.

It’s humiliating. I honestly think I would rather die than become someone else’s burden. And the thought has been eating at me. I have no doubts I’m developing some sort of full blown depression – luckily, I’m one hell of an actor when I have to be, so I doubt the people I interact with on a daily basis know. Hell, I hid most of it from my fiance. I cry a lot. I feel hopeless. I don’t know what to do. I think about suicide a lot. I take my pills in the morning, and think in the back of my head “how many would it take?”. I drive to work and think “If I crank the wheel hard, would the impact do it?”. I cut an apple and wonder if I could do that to my wrist. But I’m sure if I say something to a doctor, they’ll just put me on MORE MEDS for that (or throw me in the hospital) and I’ll be digging an even bigger hole.


This isn’t a cry for help…I’ve been getting help. I just haven’t been getting any better. The pain is slightly better, but mentally, I’m just not there. The doctor I saw today said it may be a reaction from the steroids…but I need to take those to keep the RA in check. How long can I function like this? How long can I work? An engineer that can’t think straight isn’t that desirable. Honestly, if I don’t leave of my own free will anyways, I’m sure the asshole I work for will fire me. He seems to think this is flu, and I should have been all better after my short term leave. But it’s a large company, and I’m sure he’s forced to play the PC game -otherwise I would have been gone months ago, and replaced by someone he can hand pick. I know I’m being set up for failure anyways, and honestly, I’m tired of being his verbal punching bag when he’s having a bad day. It’s really not helping things.

I think that’s the biggest thing: I’m just tired. So fucking tired. Tired of pretending I’m fine. Tired of pretending I’m getting better. Tired of pretending I have options. Because at this point, I don’t. So why am I writing this? I don’t know. Perhaps, some time down the line, if I do end it, I want people to know it wasn’t because of anything that happened, or anything anyone did; it was simply because what I’m going thru isn’t living. Like they said in Pet Semetary: Sometimes, Dead is Better.

  1. Jake says:

    I don’t know how to say what I want to say but, if there was a way to make you feel like I slapped you in the face and gave you a great big bear hug at the exact same time it might do justice.

  2. Samodean says:

    A world without Ava would be a world without sarcasm, insensitivity and offensive jokes.

    Fuck that.

  3. Fieryangel says:

    You don’t know me, but I got to your blog through Tales of a Priest somehow… I’m not going to say I know how you feel because I don’t. I will say that you are extremely talented and I love looking in my RSS feed and seeing that you have posted something new.
    I am under no delusions that my post will make a difference – I can’t imagine what you’re going through. I hope you can find comfort somewhere, but not by ending it all. That’s just too easy and you seem like a fighter :)

  4. Shannon says:

    Well, I DO know how you feel. Exactly, in fact. I am in the same boat as you. Similar symptoms even and some diff ones too. Given a diagnosis of RA with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. My workplace has been sympathetic and understanding for over 6 months now. But I’m finally at a realization that I won’t be going back to work any time soon.

    I’m popping pain meds too, hoping they’ll take it down a notch. It’s never quite enough. We’ve tried new meds, lately it’s Tridural and I while I prefer it to Oxycontin, it’s not enough either. Waking up with pain sucks, but having pain that doesn’t go away is so much worse. But you know that.

    I may not have a happy story or even a happy ending suggestion, I just don’t see one for myself either. But I CAN tell you that you are not alone. You are not alone at all. And that is something :)

    So I play Rift when I can focus for a bit. And I run my fansite to keep me busy.

  5. Ellandria says:

    I’m praying for you.