I am a forty year old wife and mother to a six year old daughter. I have not been able to work since the fall of 2003. Before I got sick, I was the Public Relations Coordinator for an animal shelter/rescue. I also did fundraising, event planning and freelance writing in addition to my work at the animal shelter.
I graduated with honors from high school and also college. I have degrees in both English and Public Relations from Smith College. It was in college when I started writing full-time and earning a good living doing what I love. Writing was all I was ever good at and I was thrilled to be able to pay my own way doing it.
My mother always told me "You are so blessed not to actually get the flu." As a child and teen-ager I always had flu-like symptoms, but never ran a fever. I know now that it was Fibromyalgia, something never heard of back then.
I was first diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in 1991. I had never heard of either one and thought the doctor didn't want to treat what was really wrong with me. He said, "There is nothing we can do. You'll have to learn to live with it."
I always worked a lot of hours each week. Seeing I didn't have a "regular job," I always had something going on. As time went by, I wasn't able to work as much. I would "push through," but it was getting harder and harder to do that. I noticed my work was beginning to suffer. I couldn't concentrate and my memory was not at all like what it had been. I called it "laziness" and did what I could to keep going.
I got married in 2002. I was only working a few hours per week by that time. Thankfully, my hourly rate was high enough for me to "almost" support myself. My health continue to decline and the doctors would tell me it was all in my mind or I needed to take it easy. I was taking it easy, but I still felt horrible. Despite needing the income, I quit working in early 2003. My body couldn't do it anymore.
Our daughter was born in 2004. During my pregnancy, I felt better than I had in my entire life. I was always tired, but I didn't hurt as much as I usually did. Once Siobhann was born, I started hurting again. It was worse than ever before.
I found a wonderful physician's assistant in 2005 who understood what was wrong with me. He put me on Lyrica and an anti-depressant. The Lyrica worked great for a few weeks. The longer I took it, the less it worked. My dosage was increased , but my pain wasn't relieved. The Lyrica made me tired and confused. In a short time, I was maxed out on Lyrica. Percocet was added. I felt some better, but didn't feel safe driving or doing the things I should do as a human being - certainly not as a wife and mother of a little girl.
My wonderful physician's assistant referred me to another doctor in February of 2006. The new doctor ran all sorts of tests and found my other "health issues." He told me I couldn't work - would never work again. He laughed and asked "How could you work with all the medications you are on to get out of bed?"
So, here I am. I've been fighting to get my Social Security Disability since early 2006. Crazy it has taken this long and I feel no closer to getting it than when I was first denied, isn't it?