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.