Saturday, September 11, 2010

Background: We Gotta Get Out Of Here

I went home from that last pancreatitis hospitalization a changed woman. Something inside me had broken and I was just not the same. Pain to that extreme, shamed to such a degree, I felt overwhelmed. That first week home I just sat and stared at the TV, watching that Umbrella Rhianna video over and over again, slack-jawed and drooling as she swept and swung her mile-long legs and slithered her silver-painted self across the screen. I was mesmerized by every stimulating sight and sound. I would literally stare into space for 5 minutes at a time before coherent thought would take over and I could focus again. However, I refused to allow myself to view this as a major setback, more like a routine surgery. I had just returned to work 2 months prior after 7 long and grueling months on disability. So I took my required 2 weeks off, going right back without a question as to whether or not this was a good idea. I was hell-bent and determined not to let yet another health saga get me down. I was done being beat down and wanted control, damn it!

I still held the Assistant Manager position at the cosmetics counter, being a union employee they were forced to hold my job for up to a year. I resumed my position upon my return from disability but it was quickly becoming obvious it was too much for me, especially after the Pancreatitis. Then they started getting screwy with my set guaranteed schedule and tried to force me into a 5 day a week job when I had worked a 4 day a week position for the last 3 years. I was offered an hourly raise to step down into a sales position to compensate for loss of manager commission and I took it, taking yet another step further down that career ladder that no longer existed for me. Then they forced me into a part-time night position. My union rep was a fluff of puffed feathers, spewing anger and emotion and did absolutely nothing to further my cause. I was obviously being discriminated against because of my health conditions, which is illegal, but that was the last thing I had strength or fight for. I resigned myself not to allow rage and anger at the situation take over because the consequence on my health were so severe. It was a big practice of namaste, let it go, don't own this, release it back into the universe and focus on what is good in my life. I had to focus on my recovery and progress, but it was so hard, I was so angry! I had lost darn near everything in my life and although I had regained some health, was still in excruciating pain every moment of every hour of every day of my life. 

The rest of the year passed in a blur as I faithfully swallowed my Vicoprofen & Tramadol to get through daily life and eventually switched out Neurontin for Lyrica because the pain was just too much. My husband and I decided to make a geographical change for a variety of reasons and we set out to cast our net and see what turned up. We were vacillating between Las Vegas and Phoenix, sussing out the best opportunities in each city. We had family in both cities, were desperate for some warm weather and simply could not afford to live in the Bay area any longer. I was bringing in close to no income, spending a fortune on supplements and my prescription drug co-pays alone were $270 a month. Credit card bills were insane at this point and we had to go into debt consolidation to try and save ourselves from bankruptcy. We were both working hard, freezing cold and quite unhappy. Lyrica helped quite a bit more with the pain then Neurontin, but I was still taking Vicoprofen when I worked. It made me so nauseous, mood-swingie & constipated it was awful. Each time I took a pill I had to make a choice, pain or side-effects. That was never an easy one.

My husband set out to look for a job in our new yet-to-be-determined city. He was desperate, miserable, unhappy and faithfully searched for months with no nibbles, no bites, no interest. We believed it would happen, though, and began packing up the house, one box at a time. People would come over and look at the wall of boxes in the living room and ask us when we were moving. We would tell them soon, and either to Phoenix or Vegas. We got a lot of strange looks. But we knew we had to go, it was just a matter of the right opportunity at the right time. We firmly believed we had not made it this far to fail at this point and really did live in faith that the situation would work itself out. We ultimately decided Phoenix was a better choice for us and flew out for a weekend in January to look at apartments and check out the community. We found a place we liked in a great location and put an $80 deposit on it with an April 1 move in date. We figured if we lost the $80 so what, but it put us 1 step closer to actualizing our goal. And then low and behold, my husband got a call from a head-hunter in mid-March, did his round of interviews and got a job offer with an April 14th start date! We put in notice at our respective jobs, finished packing in a flurry and hauled our asses to Arizona, ready to start a new life!

Thanks for joining,

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