Having a career w/ FM

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by JJMMRJ, Jun 29, 2008.


    JJMMRJ New Member

    Hi everyone,

    I was wondering how all of you w/ FM handle dealing with a career while you have FM, or maybe not at all. It's hard b/c I'm at that stage in life where I will be graduating and then starting "real life," and I am worried b/c I have never been able to hold a job for more than 6 months at a time b4 I have to quit b/c of FM. I've quit Macys, OSH, and working at a tutoring center in the past years all right around 6 months b/c my health was getting too bad.

    I don't know if my FM was getting too bad b/c of both going to school full-time and working (usually only 20 hrs/wk at the most), or just working in general. I know after graduating I won't have to worry about school, but what about when I have kids? My fiance and I were planning to have kids in the next 5 years or so - can I handle the stress/schedule of this and being a career woman?

    This has been worrying me lately, b/c I have such high aspirations in my career (I would like to start up my own biotech company after getting a MBA/MPH, or be a director for a research group after getting a PhD). Should I not dream/work towards this, b/c it is not realistic w/ my lifestyle/health? Even though I take meds to control it, and it does an alright job when I'm not 2 busy, but when I have too much going on, my FM always breaks through.

    I would appreciate any advice and personal experiences to help me w/ this.

  2. dragon06

    dragon06 New Member

    "Was stunned to find out that FM really only means "pain" and that symptoms of FM fit the criteria of LD."

    I am insulted by this statement. I KNOW that I do not have Lyme Disease but I have way more symptoms than just "pain" with my FM.

    Please don't generalize like that.

    Thank you
  3. layla1954

    layla1954 New Member

    Firstly, to sutherngrl: I am astonished by your comment about FM. That sounds like something so many of us have heard from poorly educated doctors and uninformed friends, family members, and acquaintenances. It would SEEM that someone who posts on this board would have a better grasp and understanding of what FM is, and would realize that it's FAR more than "just pain." Like dragon, I find that comment insulting and belittling. You have LD, okay. We get it. Most of us here DON'T have LD, that doesn't mean our problems are in any way less legitimate than yours.

    jjmmrj: My dear, you can have and do anything you want in life, but not necessarily everything all at once. Given my experiences with this DD over the years, the best advice I can give you is pace yourself, pace yourself, pace yourself! Listen to your body, rest when you need to. You CAN achieve your dreams... and if it takes longer to get there than you'd like, so be it, that's better than allowing yourself to get so mentally and physically exhausted that you end up bedridden. You may need to take a semester off at some point, or attend classes part-time some semesters; when thinking of starting a family, consider ways to balance family and career and yet still ensure you have adequate time for rest and self-care, working part-time or taking some time off from your career.

    Many of us were high-achieving go-getters prior to the onset of DD, and our ambition to GO FOR IT - heedless of the physical, mental, and emotional impact of the "driven" lifestyle - probably helped trigger or worsen the DD.

    Good luck to you, pursue your dream but put your health first. Take it slow, be patient, you can do it!

    Best regards,
    Layla1954/Lee Ann
  4. jaba520

    jaba520 New Member

    Obviously you dont have FM, If it were just pain we could get through the work day by taking regular old Tylenol or Advil. Im insulted...............
    Janelle dont give up on your dreams learn to pace yourself and if you are strong willed enough you should be able to accomplish anything just belevie in yourself and good luck.
  5. texangal81

    texangal81 New Member

    Someone just said you can have your dreams maybe not all at once and I have to agree with. I hate repeatedly boring people with my story but at 40 years of age God blessed me with this crazy knack I seem to have for computers. I was healthy then, I pursued a certification, got a dream job and finally had the life I wanted. I left the dream job for a HUGE pay raise and it was a mistake. I then bought a house and shortly thereafter my fiance and I called it quits. I think the confluence of all 3 either brought on or exacerbated my FM.

    I still work. I lost that highly paid job, got another one that I was very overqualified for that had a killer commute and nearly lost that one. Then this one came along and it has truly been a blessing.

    How do I handle it? Working is the only thing I do right now. If I'm having an exceptionally bad day, I have the option to work from home. If I can't even do that, I manage to stay within my allotted PTO. Because I'm in IT support, I work every holiday that I physically can to bank comp time. You are going to hear mixed opinions on telling your employer. I told mine as soon as I was diagnosed to at least establish some legal footing about being disabled. It protects me a little bit more, especially since I'm a woman over 40. I also work for a small remote office of a large company, and we are like family. They do everything they can to help me out and no one gives me dirty looks. I am truly blessed.

    I'll be honest. It is hard. Every day I want to stay home but I can't. Today I hurt, but my mind is in pretty good shape. I have a pool so I make sure I get in it every morning. Since my son lives with his dad, I pay child support - A LOT. I want to be able to work at least 4 more years so that if I do have to go on disablity, my money won't go to child support anymore - he is 14. My ex is a jerk, I'll leave it at that.

    If you CAN start your own company, you will have the best of both worlds. You can put a couch in your office and rest when you have to. I would highly recommend an understanding, trustworthy partner with whom to start your business because it will be hard. I think trying to do school and start a business will cause you more grief than good, but that is just MHO.

    As for kids, since you are young so you have a few years to think about how you'll deal with that. Again, ONE DAY AT A TIME!!!

  6. Kate16

    Kate16 New Member

    I've had FM for most of my 55 years of life. I have successfully reared 2 children. I completed a registered nursing degree while a single mom. I remarried and worked as an RN for several years until my pain made that impossible. I went back to school (commuting 120 miles to and from the university for a year) and completed a degree in education. While my kids were teenagers, I worked full time teaching 6th grade and went to school in the evenings for 2 1/2 years to earn my masters degree in education. I am now entering my 22nd year of teaching - currently 8th grade English. I have constant pain and have had to make adaptations such as using a cane when I walk. I say all this, not to glorify myself, but to say YOU CAN DO IT!!! I've made the commitment to not give up on life. Yes, I have a lot of pain; but I am going to have that same pain whether I give up, or I keep going. I have a terrific health care team - physiatrist, general practitioner, chiropractor, physical therapists when needed, orthopaedic physician for arthitis in knees and hip, and massage therapist. I have had to learn to say "no" when I don't feel up to doing something. But, I also know that I must get out and enjoy life! Doing things with my grandkids keeps me young. My daughter and I go on our yearly Las Vegas girls getaway - I rent a motorized scooter while there to help get around. I use the motorized carts at the grocery store and other stores. Saturday mornings are my "don't bother me I am resting" times. And, I've had to become less of a perfectionist and super woman. If my house isn't always the cleanest - so what. My husband has taken on more household chores - I've found I just have to tell him what to do from the comfort of my easy chair. And, he's gotten pretty good at cooking dinner especially after he bought that big barbecue grill! I've had to learn that worrying and stressing about things doesn't make the outcome any different - but giving it to God does. Yes, I have my down days when I grieve and feel sorry for myself. I still get stressed, I still get very tired, I still have pain, and some days I wonder if it is all worth it. But then I look at all I have been blessed with - wonderful husband, children, grandchildren, parents who are still living, job, friends, and I thank God. Sorry this has been so long, but Janelle I want you to know that you can have a very satisfying life even with FM. Hope this helps in some small way. Kate
  7. Pansygirl

    Pansygirl New Member

    I wanted to respond even though I'm new to chronic fatigue and FM . I've been sick since April of this year and I"ve already had to learn how to say no and how to make more realistic goals for each day. I have 2 kids ~ 11/15 and a husband and two dogs that feel they have to walk mom around the block each day.
    I would say keep those dreams ! You might have to make some adjustments along the way but believe in yourself that you can do it! :)
  8. marti_zavala

    marti_zavala Member

    "Was stunned to find out that FM really only means "pain" and that symptoms of FM fit the criteria of LD."

    Wow, Sutherngirl. That is a really awful thing to say.

    I had CFIDS for 4 years without FMS and I was able to keep working, making a lot of money - albeit from home and a recliner.

    Once I got FMS, I couldn't do that anymore.

    Gee, my FMS made me lose my job, lose my car, just about lose custody of my son. We had to live in the woods, with water froma hose. Getting down to our "lucky dime" trying to make a game of our hard circumstances.

    Wow, I am appalled. I wish you could spend a day in my shoes.

    It is a fine line between living your life and getting sicker. YOu can relapse. I did and my relapse was worse than my illness. I don't want to scare you but I wish someone had told me that.

    If you take very good care of your body, support detoxification and sleep. NO STRESS, can I stress NO STRESS! If you are managing, working half-time, school full time AND a fiance then you should be good at that level of stress (which is rather high).

    You have high hopes and dreams. I think that you can reach them. It will be a challenge to keep your health intact but I think you can do it. Others have done it but your health has to be priority.

  9. texangal81

    texangal81 New Member

    NO STRESS as much as possible. I sold my bedroom furniture last week and the stress of having to unload it all by a certain time when I couldn't even move sent me into a major flare. That is when I wrote my "what I've learned this week" blog. My folks have been out of town (we live together) and I had my daughter come over to pick up what little mess I created. It isn't great, but they'll have to live with it. I'm not risking what I went through last week again, not for anything!