Working from home may be one of the best things to come from living with Fibromyalgia. I have been forced to adjust my career to allow for flare-ups and for days when I am not suitable for human consumption. It has been a gradual transition from the full-time job I had when I was first diagnosed, to my current career as a freelance writer and homebody, but I am very pleased with the direction my career has taken.
The doctor who diagnosed me told me plainly and simply, “You are going to have to change your life, and most definitely your career, but you will be able to live and work productively with Fibromyalgia.” I did not realize it at the time, but by saying that she had given me a gift, and her words play a huge part in how I have approached living with Fibromyalgia. And the accident too, it also played a huge part in the changes I have made – forced change if you will. I understand that I cannot be productive the way I once was. I can no longer work a routine schedule set by the needs of an employer, but I am still capable of working at my pace. So I have found a career to suit my needs and stimulate my mind. So far it has been very satisfying, if not yet financially rewarding. And now here I sit at my desk, which is an old refurbished army desk from my husband’s Dad, in my lovely antique chair that my husband procured for me off Craigslist. I sit here each day and feel lucky to have the opportunity to pursue a writing career in the comforts of my own home with all the benefits it affords.
For instance, I get to spend the day with my lab Casey curled up behind me in her favorite leather chair. She is thirteen and has endured a lot this year – 4 surgeries to open her scarred esophagus and later an awful stomach infection. She is old, skinny, and riddled with arthritis, but she is a happy girl and it brings me great comfort spending every day with her, and feeling her constant presence behind me. I have found there is a rhythm to the sound of her snore and it soothes me.UPDATE: Today the leather chair behind me is empty. My beloved baby girl passed away on 3/23/09, just shy of her 14th birthday. I miss her terribly but I know she is peaceful and pain free now. She was a gift and a blessing in my life, and I am so thankful that I was home this past year to spend each of her last days with her.
The coffee breaks are better when you work form home. If I decide to go out for my break I have several nearby coffee shops to choose from, and I get to take my work with me. How great is that? It is a good way to stimulate my brain and usually gives me new and fresh ideas for my writing. It is also a good way to counteract the isolation of working from home and to remind myself that the world is still abuzz with activity.
Working from home has helped save our budget too. Previously I was a commissioned sales rep and traveled 3 counties to visit accounts. I had to spend money to make money. Not just on gas, but on lunches, and supplies, and general wear and tear on my car, and also on my wardrobe. A sales rep lifestyle is expensive. Now I can do everything from my desk, and who cares what I am wearing!
You have to be disciplined to work from home otherwise you lose a lot of valuable time. I am fortunate (when I am not sidelined by a flare-up) to not have issues with this so far, and mostly that is because I love writing and when I am not writing I am doing research for my writing, which I enjoy as much if not more. There are so many freelance writing opportunities on the Web on such varied topics. It is fascinating and I feel constantly driven to get my piece of it. I am not the most accomplished author, but check back with me soon!
Despite my limitations, I still need to feel productive. I need to feel like I am contributing to my life. I cannot give in to the pain. I will not let it defeat me. Disability is not an option. That is what my doctor told me eleven years ago. That was her gift to me and I hold onto it tightly. It is because of her gift that I sit here today in my antique chair; at my refurbished army desk; with my cup of coffee and my lab Casey, and write these words that few will read. But these words will lead to the next, each one building the foundation of my new career. Just think, without the Fibromyalgia, I may never have made this leap. I am not quite ready to “thank” my Fibromyalgia, but I do acknowledge that it just might be taking me to a better place. I hope it not to be with me when I get there!