I was told to report to my local social security office to apply for disability. I begrudgingly agreed, for no other reason than to say to them I didn’t want their money! During that time, I remembered being a teenager and having reconstructive arm surgery. I was almost 16 and ready to take on the world! The doctor who was overseeing my case said he would go get the disability paperwork we could fill out because I now qualified. I shook my head “no,” and my mom said, “But she plays the piano!” (Like that had anything to do with it!?!?) But due to the birth trauma I suffered, I did indeed qualify. I didn’t take the disability then, and wasn’t going to now! I’d get better, one way or another. No mysterious illness called fibro-what-ever would stop this gal!
I walked into the social security office, was greeted, and lead to a seat at a desk with a woman who appeared to be really organized. She advised me that they had received all necessary paperwork from my lawyer so we would only need to sign some release forms. (Efficient, this one.) I asked her if I could decline the disability pay even if they approved my claim? She looked at me surprised and said, “Oh… no honey, you’ve already been approved, are you back to work?” My jaw must have hit the floor! I explained I wasn’t currently working but would be one day very soon. She smiled and said when I returned to work, call the office, and they’d discontinue payments.
Wait… was that it? What the…? What was going on here??? I thought I had to go to assessments, special doctors, maybe even court to qualify for this ‘disability’ pay. Nope. Already approved … not for Fibromyalgia Syndrome but for clinical depression and chronic pain.
So I moved out of the little farmhouse and into a metropolitan area with my younger sister and her family. I enrolled in a community college to become a chemical dependency counselor, It would only take me a year as I already had my bachelor’s degree. I would do daycare for my sister on days I didn’t have class. Long story short, I moved closer to the college, they moved to a new city. Within 7 months after starting my coursework, my fibromyalgia became so unmanageable I had to leave the program. For the first time in my life, I became idle. I had no plan, I did nothing… but sob.
One evening, about three months after I quit my college coursework, I received a call from my mom. My brother, who was in the Army, was being shipped stateside. He had been diagnosed with a very aggressive form of cancer. My mom wanted to know if I could go to him? I booked a flight that night and the next morning flew to Texas to the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. You can read about it here.
After losing my brother, I started dating my high school crush. A man that was my friend. A man I had known my entire life, my current (and only!) husband, Jeff. You have read bits and pieces of our relationship throughout this blog. We continue to laugh a lot, discuss many things, love each other and offer support to one another. We also have a date night at Menards or Home Depot at least bi-monthly! (Keeps the marriage off the rocks!)
Then in 2012, I got very, very ill. This was not because of my fibromyalgia, this was a completely different issue. I was hospitalized many times and went through surgery after surgery. It was my pancreas. It was inflamed and was shutting down. You cannot live without a properly functioning pancreas. My type of pancreatitis was idiopathic (unknown) but thought to be from a likely bile dysfunction. There are so many who believe only alcoholics have pancreas or liver issues, but that is just not true. Never assume. You can read a bit about it here.
Now that I’ve been given the green light to keep on living, we are working towards a nomadic life. We’ve decided to downsize and travel before we retire! Jeff has completed his studies and is a day trader. I finished my book, and the royalties are rolling in! Not really, have you bought my book? It’s a journal with interactive questions!!! Enticing, isn’t it? You can get it here.
Shortly after starting to write this blog, I started writing my book. Never had I experienced a community like this ever in my life! So supportive. I am thankful for each and every one of you. I am so honored to be a part of this blogging tribe of imperfectly perfect people! I never understood how internet friendships formed, until now! Amazing. Grateful.
Now, this series has come to an end.
Thank you all for sharing my journey thus far, and remember to always live your best life!