When I chose my career path in high school, I had no idea how perfect it would be for me. At 19, I was in college pursuing a career in journalism when I was diagnosed with granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) in 2001.
I was the editor and designer of our yearbook in high school, and I absolutely loved it. That, along with the fact that my brother was already in journalism, put me on the path toward becoming a copy editor and page designer.
I could never have known that decision would work out so well. When I was first diagnosed, I thought my plans for the future were dashed. Thankfully, I was wrong. I chose a career that is not physically taxing, and I’ve been working full-time mostly as an editor and designer for 16 years.
I am exhausted at the end of my shift, but to be able to support myself and live on my own is completely worth it.
The hours are the best part. They have been different at each job, but it’s basically second shift. That means I don’t have to wake up at 6 a.m., jump out of bed immediately, get ready for work, and somehow function all day. With GPA, morning is the hardest time of the day for me. I take at least an hour just to get out of bed, mainly because I’m heavy with fatigue.
With this job, I can get up at 11 a.m. and take my time before I have to be at work. Usually, I don’t have to leave for at least four hours after I’ve arisen. It really does take that long to wake up completely sometimes, so having that time has been essential for me to be able to work. I have never been a morning person anyway, so it works out that way as well.
I do sit at a desk all day, but I can take breaks whenever I need to. As long as the work gets done, and gets done well, breaks are not an issue. That has been a godsend, considering that GPA makes me need to use the restroom a lot.
Even when GPA makes me feel under the weather, I find that I can still work most days. There are some days, however, when GPA absolutely defeats me, and I have to call in sick. But most of my bosses have been very understanding.
The only real issue I had in the past with this career was the lack of opportunities. There usually aren’t many newspapers in a given area, so to find another job, I always ended up moving to another city. That results in a quest to find a new rheumatologist, which can be extremely stressful.
Overall, the career has been perfect, and I have never believed that more than I do this year. When the pandemic started, I panicked about my life, job, and everything else. Obviously, I am high risk for COVID-19, and I was terrified. My boss knew of my condition and called me into his office on March 18 to ask if I wanted to work remotely. I was so relieved that I almost cried.
I worked remotely for seven months. Unfortunately, I found out my job was set to be eliminated at the end of this year. This put me into panic mode again, since I assumed that finding a job would be nearly impossible.
I am happy where I live, and I absolutely never want to move again, especially during a pandemic. What would I do? Where could I possibly work? I researched different remote jobs, and I scoured the internet for any opportunities, whether in my field or not.
I searched for months but couldn’t find anything. Then one fortuitous night as I was in full search mode, I came upon a new listing for a newspaper designer. I spotted the magic word that got me giddy: remote. I applied immediately and got the job.
I can’t imagine where I would be if I had chosen a different career. Thankfully, there are jobs and careers out there for folks like me, and more are becoming remote all the time. I am so glad I found mine.
Note: ANCA Vasculitis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of ANCA Vasculitis News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to ANCA vasculitis.
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