Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Dealing With Chronic Pain In The Workplace

Picture credit Dr. Seckin

When I look at this picture it brings me back to when I was around 17 yrs old at work lying on the bathroom floor in complete agony. I forgot to take my Advil the night before so the pain could not be controlled to any degree. I found that if I lied down like this with my legs up on my back it helped. So there I was on the cold hard dirty floor at 7:30 with my male manager banging on the door asking me what was going on and I really don't remember what I said but I knew I had to get up and go back to work. I could barely feel my legs because they went numb and the pelvic pain was so strong I wanted to vomit. 

That was 10 yrs before I was to be diagnosed with Stage IV Endometriosis. Once diagnose it all made sense and the surgery was done by an amazing surgeon and I have had great success and am around 75% pain free but that is with the help of the Birth Control Pill I need to take every single day. If I don't the pain returns with vengeance along with hormonal migraines that last around 48-100 hrs. So I take this pill which in turn I have developed many side effects that cause me to have to take time off work. So if I wasn't taking enough time off work this just adds to it along with the Osteoarthritis in my jaw, Chronic Fatigue syndrome and Fibromyalgia. 

So here I am almost 10 yrs with this company and there is no one in Management that I can talk to about this "Gynecological Disease". I have tried to explain it but end up getting so emotional because people just don't care and they certainly don't want to hear about my pelvic pain issues.

 What if  men had a testicular or penile problem? I am sure it would be easy for the men to talk about and it would be understood but the vagina/uterus/ovaries etc? Hey its a good subject to joke about when talking by the water cooler but when it comes to a disease like Endometriosis I am left to feel like this dirty person and this disease is no laughing matter. 

So I go through the motions now as I struggle through strong med side effects like feeling groggy, vertigo, irritable, tired, hormonal, menopausal symptoms, joint and muscle pain and frustrated. Along with the med side effects there are the side effects of surgery from Endo and Endo itself. I have had a total of 3 Pelvic surgeries one being when I was 7 which has caused horrible side effects because of the 3 cm laparotomy scar right above my bowel. So because of these surgeries my SI Joint is stuck and won't move, I have permanent nerve damage in the pelvis and that means I can't sit for a long period of time but guess what? That is most of what I have to do at my job. My right side ends up attacking me by going numb, I lose circulation and there are times where my leg entirely gives out on me because of the sciatic nerve. 

So I go in every day and the stress is so high I want to just walk out and leave because anyone with Endo or any other Chronic disease knows that any increased stress will only cause flares and make the pain worse. 

So what am I supposed to do? I feel so lost and alone there because even if I talk to people about my disease they aren't listening and I get so angry inside. I don't want sympathy all I am asking for is understanding and get that I can't do what other people do but I have been forced to do it and in turn my health is taking the brunt of it. I really feel that I will die before I am 50 because of stress but what can I do? This disease is not taken seriously and it will be a long time before the world knows what it is so in the mean time I have to push as hard as I can possibly push and keep going even when I am seconds away from a nervous breakdown. 

Do you have someone in your workplace that you can talk to about this that understands the needs for appointments and sick days? 

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