Just say no…

I am still able to work full time.  I feel blessed for many reasons.  First, I love my career as a speech-language pathologist.  Second, I’m lucky to have such good health insurance. Third, I can still physically work.  I admit it is getting harder, and I am beyond hurting at the end of the day, but it is still doable.  In addition to working part time, I also see private clients two nights a week (sometimes turning my day into 12 hours out of the house).  I volunteer for some organizations and activities for my schools.  There are weeks in which I leave at 7:00 am and don’t get home until 7:15 pm or later.  I work extra hours to pay for the dog’s medical needs and I volunteer because I have difficulty saying no to people when they ask me to help.  I guess it’s time I learn.

After going through some recent illnesses, I’ve basically drained all my physical resources.  I’m exhausted and having issues with my joints and breathing.  I’m getting treatments but my energy has dropped to nil.  After talking with my doctor, I realized I have to cut way back.  Reluctantly, I’m resigning from several organizations that I volunteer for and I’m cutting back on anything else that takes extra time and energy I do not have.  I feel terrible guilt, but I just can’t do it anymore.

I so wish I could stop working extra hours, but I see no way to manage Georgia’s needs without extra funds right now.  Maybe I’ll start playing the lottery in my new found free-time.

It’s going to be tough to not say yes anymore.

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Kelly holds masters degrees in both Special Education and Speech-Language Pathology. She works full-time as a speech-language pathologist in both a public school setting and as an adjunct faculty member at a university, in Philadelphia, PA. She specializes in both autism and augmentative/alternative communication and took her skills to Uganda, Africa to start a special needs program for disabled children living in an orphanage in 2011. Kelly began experiencing symptoms of autoimmune arthritis in 1984 (while in her teens) but wasn’t officially diagnosed with autoimmune arthritis until 2001. Her first diagnosis was Sjogren’s syndrome. Eventually her diagnosis was changed to sero-negative RA and now Polyarticular Spondlyoarthropathy. She also manages thyroid disease (resulting from Graves Disease), fibromyalgia, renin-deficient hypertension, and disseminated superficial actinic porokeratosis (DSAP) on a daily basis. Kelly connected with other autoimmune arthritis patients via social media in 2008. She began volunteering with the “Buckle Me UP! Movement”, which evolved into the International Autoimmune Arthritis Movement (IAAM) beginning in 2009. Then became a cofounder of IFAA in 2013. She has represented the ACR on Capitol Hill as an Advocate for Arthritis, was a finalist in Wego Health’s Health Activist Hero awards in 2014, and speaks at various healthcare conferences as a patient advocate in the Philadelphia area.

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