Sometimes, it's good to be honest, even if it may end up being ultimately bad for business. I've been meaning to do one of these posts for a long time, but I haven't known how to word it; I'm still not sure I'm saying things correctly. But this is a part of me that I don't want to hide, and if you've read this blog long enough, you've probably put together some of the puzzle pieces already.
So I present to you... The Health FAQ.
(Imagine that you're asking questions, and we'll get along fine.)
I have an autoimmune disease called fibromyalgia. I was diagnosed with it almost three years ago, and it's a chronic condition. Fibromyalgia causes me to have muscle pain, increased fatigue, and a susceptibility to illness. My immune system doesn't work as well as a normal person's, and things hit me harder than they would a fully healthy adult woman. For example, when I have a simple cold, I often feel like I have the equivalent of the flu. Colds often also turn into infections, which is one of the reasons I get so many sinus infections.
Last week, I was diagnosed with seronegative arthritis, in addition to the fibromyalgia. This means that I have symptoms that are consistent with rheumatoid arthritis, but my bloodwork comes back negative for the rheumatoid factor. My doctor is treating me for rheumatoid arthritis, and says that there are many medications that can help alleviate the pain that I've been in for the last month or so. Among them, is an antimalarial drug, which effectively means that I can frolic freely among mosquitoes, when I'm up to the full dosage on it.
Arthritis is also a chronic condition, and it affects people of all ages. Essentially, it's an inflammation of the joints (in my case, my body is attacking my own joints, hence the inflammation). If the inflammation in the joints is left untreated, deterioration of the joint itself will occur. That's why it's so important to be diagnosed early, and take preventive care.
But why am I telling you all this, you ask? What impact can it possibly have on you?
Well, for starters, it means that I work slower than other people. I always will--not due to any incompetence on my part, but merely because I have a limited supply of energy each day, and when that's drained, I'm done. Many, many people out there have cases of fibromyalgia and arthritis that are much worse than mine, and most are able to live productive and happy lives. I have every confidence that I will be able to do so too. =)
For the time being, I'm learning to adapt to the reality of having arthritis in my mid-twenties, and the changes I need to make in my life and work schedule. Anyone who has talked to me in the last month may have realized that I've had about as much energy as a dead snail. Thankfully, the new medications I'm taking are starting to kick in, and I'm told that most of the pain will be gone within the two months it takes for the medication to start being fully effective. This is a very good thing.
It also means, however, that I'm severely backlogged, and will probably be so for the next few months. I've already started working on it, and it feels wonderful to be functional again. I've got a wonderful new intern who is helping me sort through things, and I'm looking to acquire more. To help with the fatigue, I'm going to delegate more of my workload, and learn to streamline what I'm doing during the day, so I can be more useful to my existing clients. I'll still be taking on new clients, as they're the lifeblood of this business, but I'll most likely be more selective about who I take on. Each new client represents a piece of my energy that I need to use during the day, so I have to be careful that I'm using my strength in the most effective way possible.
I'm also going to be concentrating on improving my health. From the day after Christmas onwards, weight loss is going to be a priority for me--because the less weight I'm carrying around, the less stress I'm putting on my skeletomuscular system. I intend to exercise more, eat better, and rest more often. Life is too short to spend it being continually stressed about work. Overall, this will contribute to a happier, healthier Jenny.
Blogging will continue, because as I've said many times before, it's an outlet for me. I like being able to connect with writers and readers and all the assorted people who come to LIT SOUP. =)
There's an expression in Japanese, a verb, really: "ganbaru". This is often translated as "Do your best!" or "Work your hardest!" ("Ganbatte!" in Japanese). And that's what I'm going to be doing--working my hardest within my physical limits, making the most of my life and my agenting career and all the other things that I love to do. So thank you in advance, for your understanding and sympathy--regardless of whether I ever work with you in a professional capacity, it means more than I can say.
So let's do our best together, shall we? In Japanese, as they say, "ganbarimashou". =)