Thursday, August 25, 2011


I have been with my company for exactly ten years.


It's been a great ten years. I've learned a lot and have had the opportunity to do some amazing things. For the first nine years, I'd tell anyone that I met that I was beyond lucky because I had the absolute BEST job in the world. I loved the work that I did and more often than not, I felt like I was making some incredibly positive contributions for my company and for the environment.

It certainly helped that I had wonderful job flexibility that allowed me to have the optimum work-life balance for myself and my family. Why, on many occasions, I would take my family with me on some awesome business trips.

These days, the maximum flexibility that I have surrounds whether I want to start my eight-consecutive-hour work day at 8 or 9. To say that my transition from a home office to a work office has been challenging would be the largest understatement of the century.

At least for me.

And I knew, full well, coming in to this that the transition would be difficult. But that knowledge wasn't enough to stop me from accepting the job because we were excited to try something new and getting closer to my mother was a top priority. So to say that accepting this position and moving our family back to the east coast was a great decision, would be the second largest understatement of the century.

This move has been fantastic for us.


Early this morning (too early if you ask me because I was still in bed sleeping), my doctor called to tell me that my most recent round of lab results were in. While we won't know definitively until my appointment in mid September, all signs are currently pointing to a positive diagnosis of lupus. Which, it turns out, is a disease that has plagued (at least) one of my sisters for the past several years. My reaction, upon hearing this, was mixed.

Yes, it's a major bummer.


I haven't been imagining the aches and pains and fatigue!! And the rashes that I break out in every time I step out in the sun may be a lingering effect of Prednisone ... OR, it may be a result of a lupus flare-up!! Why, I'll bet that I've been in one huge flare-up for the past several months and if so, that might explain my often times, overwhelming feelings of anxiety and depression!!


And if I know what it is, I can manage it.


During the conversation at an ungodly hour this morning, my doctor told me that she wants for me to resume Prednisone. Which I'm hesitant to do, for a number of reasons.

Namely: Rapunzelesque nose hair.

I'm not necessarily opposed to medication, but a few weeks ago, my doctor ALSO prescribed me a very mild anti-depressant that is intended to help me sleep better at night. Her theory is that if I can get a deep restful sleep, my body will have more of an opportunity to heal. I tend to agree with this theory. The problem is, the children don't understand that they aren't supposed to jolt Mommy awake at 3 AM.

Why, just once, can't they wander over to Daddy's side of the bed?

Also, our friends that got confused the other night by thinking that we were three hours BEHIND them, instead of three hours AHEAD of them, called us at 2 AM to inquire how we held up during the earthquake and that didn't really help my REM sleep, either.

Anyway, Charlie picked up my little prescription bottle and shot me a concerned look when he saw the pastel warning labels taped along the side. "Uh, Jen? This says that you might have hallucinations, panic attacks or thoughts of suicide. Love of my life, mother of my children, keeper of my secrets, critically important coordinator of my wardrobe ... please promise me that you'll let me know if ANY of those things happen, OK?"

I replied, "OH, so that explains why I saw pink elephants running down the beltway as my heart was pounding out of my chest and I thought about veering in to a bridge!"

If my work-life balance does not quickly improve, I know that my stress levels will soon return to an extremely elevated state. And if my stress levels are extremely elevated, the potential for flare-ups and general rapid health demise, is also extremely elevated. Hence the (continued) need for my ingestion of some serious medication that will make me grow outrageously long nose hair and entertain thoughts of careening my car off a cliff.

Therefore to and forth, my goal, at the moment, is to figure out how to SIGNIFICANTLY reduce the stress in my life so I am not required to be on medication that may kill me faster than the condition its designed to treat.

(Newsflash: I have ONE and possibly TWO co-leaders for Girl Scouts. That's RIGHT. I'm taking ACTION over here.)

I've written about my commuting woes before, ad nauseam. I'm not going to repeat it here. Except to say that the two hours that I spend in the process of commuting each day could and should be better spent doing something else.
Good Lord, I hate sitting in traffic.

My body hates sitting in traffic. Despite books on tape and happy music, I can feel the energy literally slip out of me and my body seize up with stress when there are brake lights and angry drivers on the road. And around here there are MORE THAN ENOUGH angry drivers.

Have I ever shared the personalized license plate that we put on our car?

Since "Be Nice" and "Be Kind" were already taken, we opted for NO HONKIN.

It's received many a thumbs up from fellow motorists.

It always frustrates me to be sitting in a car, when I know that if my circumstances were slightly different, I could be working AT HOME in the comfort of my yoga pants. That I, undoubtedly, would have worn whilst doing yoga in one of the two hours that had been sucked up ON THE ROAD.

After the past few life-threatening months, it should come as no surprise that I'm seriously (Honest to God, seriously) contemplating throwing in the towel. While it is great to be back to work after 10 weeks away and my higher mind is genuinely enjoying the varied projects, my morale has taken a beating over the past 14 months and I'm not too hopeful that things will get better, any time soon. My usually happy attitude is Code Blue.

Quick! Get the paddles!!

It's a bit discouraging because I know that I could continue to do some great things for my company (and I feel like they need me!) but I just don't know if I have the stamina to "hang in there!" as many of my friends and co-workers have suggested.

Particularly in light of my current health situation.

That being said, I'm not sure what I'd do if I stayed home? I mean, would I pick up a little part time job on the side, or would I just go for it and be a rockstar STAY AT HOME MOM? That sounds so romantic and dreamy ... except, the other day I was scrolling through my archives and stumbled upon this post that I wrote.

AH YES. Reality.

That was another (sorry folks, this is cathartic stuff) long and rambling post I wrote when I was five months in to an almost one-year maternity leave and was a bona fide SAHM with four children under the age of four and I forced my husband to stay home from work one day, for fear of what I would do to our children, before locking myself in the broom closet and crying a river of desperate tears.

Sure, times have changed and the children are older now. But it's not like life is DRAMATICALLY simple. Heck, whenever I think for a moment that just maybe things are getting easier, one of our little minions will try and flush a hairbrush.

"Not so fast, Mommy Dear. Just you wait until you see what we're going to stick in our ears tomorrow! Here's a tip: It's a whole lot smaller than an elbow!"

Part of the reason I think I can manage things so well around here, is because Charlie is ALWAYS around to help. And if I just threw in the towel on my career ... well ... onset of panic attack ... he'd need to leave me .... heart palpitations .... so he could go bring in the bacon ... OMG OMG OMG, we're going to crash and burn ... and support our family.

Darn it all.

There really is no perfect answer, is there?

A quick check of the calendar reveals that our triplets will be seven years old in less than two months. One might think I'd have the slightest clue of how to manage motherhood at this point in the game. Alas, no. At this rate, I'll still be debating and whining, "WHAT TO DO?! WHAT TO DO?!" as the children are pulling out of the driveway on their way to college.

SOB!! I can already see the day ....

Hopefully, their ears will be clear and their hearing will still be fully intact.