Don’t we all think we can do anything? We get this mind set as young children playing superheros. Many of us continue on in life with the same mind set.
For myself I fight a daily battle between what I feel I can do and what my body actually says it can do. When we fight this type a battle non stop and do not accept what really is, it can lead to more health issues. In this segment of my personal journey I will share my deepest fear, most hurtful realization and how I choose to handle it.
Coming out of a 14 year career in the Metal Finishing and Industrial Screen Printing Industry I was faced with that underlying emptiness that shared in my first two blogs. Today I want to share the segment about my physical struggles while still working my business and also after slowing my pace and career down.
Being one-year post curing Hep C, I felt in my mind I was the “New” and “Improved” Kim. After all, my tough body just battled to beat all battles....Hepatitis C. Failing the first harsh treatment of interferon and ribavirin, I was put into a trial of Sovaldi and ribavirin for late stage liver disease. Happy to report I AM CURED. I BEAT IT! I am strong, I am tough, I am Kim.!!!
Selling my companies, starting a new beginning...I thought I was ready for it all. But what really transpired was a spiral effect down effect that took my self worth, self dignity down another dark path. In my last post, I talked about the mental stage I went through; today is the physical end.
After sitting here going through my “Slump” and feeling like I need to be doing more. I got this wild hair to apply for a local coffee chain here in my hometown. Going online filling out the application, I was hesitant and scared to be honest. I have not filled out a “application for employment” in over 25 years. I worked for my father in his machine shop for 11 years, then purchasing and venturing out on my own adventure of owning a business, which I ran for 14. I wanted a career for which I did not have to put my young children in day care, a place I could do the “mom” things like field trips etc., so I embarked on a 14 year adventure of owning a screen printing and metal finishing company. My life was good. I had it all, career, family, until being diagnosed with Hep C 2 years into my business adventure. But my journey there was a good time if any to have to go through my hep c treatments. I was able to conduct business as normal as I could, go to kids functions, go to my doctors, seek treatment, you name it, I had the means to fit around my schedule.
Did my best to maintain that sense of normality for my children knowing I had a fatal disease that claimed the life of my mother. I wanted them to have a life filled with love and a parent who was at every game, every cheer leading event. And I was...no matter how sick I was on the inside, no matter how bad I hurt sitting in the bleachers in the cold watching my beautiful daughter cheer or my handsome son bowl/ fooball... I made sure they knew I loved them and was proud of them. I did not want a diagnosis to hinder my life or the lives of my children.
Closer to the end of my first treatment that failed, I had to face and share my situation with my customers. I needed to share that I no longer had the strength to push a squeegee to screen print. I had to face I was NOT NORMAL.. I was sick..that most of my days were spent laying down in the made up bedroom in my office. Too fatigued to move and unable to answer phones as the hepatic encephalopathy had set in. (brain fog) My liver condition was worsening from the attack of hep C. I could go on and on with the ways I fought through my days just to maintain some sort of normality. It was exhausting to say the least. As with anyone fighting to live normal in a non normal situation.
Bringing you to current day, after applying for this position as barista, I got the call...They wanted to interview me. Driving over there I was beyond nervous, talking to my daughter all they way about what I should share about my health what I should not. Coming to the understanding that I must share my situation good or bad. I was hired for part time work. This includes anywhere from 15-25 hours a week. I went through a couple of days of training all of which I fought so hard to stay focused on what was being taught. Struggling yet again to “maintain normality” and absorb as much as my fogged brain could take in. Leaving each day completely exhausted knowing I worked twice as hard as anyone else being trained because of my situation. Crashing immediately as I arrived home. I would dose up on my lactulose ( to maintain clear thinking) and have my pain medication ready in case I needed it. Having nerve pain still is one of my biggest battles to date. So much my body has to go through in a day and then I go and beat it up even harder trying to prove something or fulfill a empty spot in my life. I know after talking to many fighters out there that we all connect in this battle here. It is the most difficult thing to accept that we are not able to do what we once could. But I am cured... I should be back on the easy road... Right?
I have now made it through several weeks of working here. Although it takes me a tad bit longer to grasp the concept of things I am proud to say I managed to understand the basics of my job. Not fully all the way, but for my capabilities I feel I have proven to myself I can learn new things. Yes there are days I feel hinder my “team ” there more than I help them but they have welcomed me with open arms and have given me something to be proud of. These ladies and gentlemen have no idea what it is like to muster the strength to go to work to be mentally “clear” for the job. I share my story with those who want to listen and most can’t believe I am even there working. The face of stage 4 liver disease is not one that shows on the outside. The demons I fight can’t be seen but might show in my face after a long day at work. The way they welcome me to my day ahead when I arrive, to the patient way they assist and come to my aide when I am stuck in a daze. Fighting to just be “normal” that is all I want. I want to feel whole again. The reality my liver is still very bad but my mental toughness wins more so than it should. Not everyday is a tough fight for me but the fact I make it happen no matter what. I put that smile on my face and I greet each customer knowing that just maybe...they too are hiding behind a smile. In some small way people cross our paths and share a story, a fight and all the sudden... your struggle seems so small in comparison.
I have come to a point that for me I am always looking out for the best for others. Although this journey at my local coffee shop has taught me so much I really must think if this really is something my body can handle and at what pace? What pace is physically good for my liver? Can I bring to this job a person capable of filling duties at hand. I too want the best for those I work with and fight very hard to pull my weight while I am on the clock. But I also understand that the percentage I can offer is not the same as one healthy person.
I have never been one to stay at home and do nothing...my mind, my body must be challenging itself daily. That was the whole reason I set out on the journey of obtaining a new job. Not because I had to, but because I needed to for my mental state.
Sometimes in life we must challenge ourselves....to go outside of our comfort zone. To push ourselves to the limit. Not to hurt ourselves but to see what is our limits. By stepping out of my comfort zone and getting this job I am learning daily what that comfort zone is. I don’t know what tomorrow brings for Kim but for today, I push myself to be the best I can with what I have...MY LIFE... MY SMILE :)
“Not with out a FIGHT!~HCV~(c)”
Kimberly Morgan Bossley