On Monday, April 10th, I will have my disability hearing in front of the Administrative Law Judge. I am extremely nervous already and hope that I do okay. This has been a very difficult process for me. I have always loved working, but my body just will not allow it anymore. I completed my application for disability benefits in December of 2004, so it has been a long struggle waiting.
Of course, I was denied the first time, as most people are. Although there was significant proof to substantiate my disabilities, my age, work history, skills level, and educational background all worked against me. Go figure! Being a motivated, hard working, determined person who tried to work through all odds was a bad thing I guess!
After the birth of my son 4 1/2 years ago, my health quickly declined and at the time, I was working a full-time job in administration for a third party logistics company. After my maternity leave was up, I went back to work but could only go back at 30 hours a week since I was not doing well. I had been selling Mary Kay for quite some time so that I could eventually quit my job and be a stay at home mom.
When I went back to work, I began missing a lot of days due to the severe fatigue and I began having terrible migraines that were just unreal. I would have to leave work, have the babysitter keep my son, and come straight home and lie down. My head would hurt so bad that I could not stand to have my eyes open. It was terrible. My husband had to take me to the emergency room a couple of times during this time due to the severity of the headaches. Even the shots in the butt from the E.R. doctor of narcotics did not help the pain. I could not function.
Due to all of this, I ended up getting suspended from my job due to my absences. By the summer, I had decided to put in my notice and quit my job. My husband and I figured that if I would try to work my Mary Kay business, then I could work my own schedule, if I didn’t feel good I wouldn’t have to work, etc. Over the next year, I built my business and pushed myself extremely hard so that I could make enough money to help make ends meet financially. Within the next year, I had earned my career car with Mary Kay and became a Sales Director. Two months after debuting as an Independent Sales Director, I had a major flare of CFIDS that put me in bed for months. For months I was only able to function maybe 2 – 3 hours out of an entire day if I was lucky. During this time I was also diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis which left me unable to stand, walk for any distance, and I was urinating every 15 minutes. The pain was unbearable.
Of course, we were taught in Mary Kay that “the speed of the leader is the speed of the gang”. Since I was not able to work, most of my unit was not working either. I began missing the required production that my unit and I needed to maintain and I was not able to hold weekly sales meetings. Mary Kay, Inc. worked with me for almost 1 1/2 years and never took my position away. They told me that as long as I kept in touch with them monthly and showed that I was at least trying to do something, I would be okay. But my health never recovered and the months where I would push myself to get the production in, the next month I would wind up back in bed again. It was a never ending circle.
By December of 2004, I called Mary Kay and resigned my position. I was losing a lot of money and just could not hold on anymore. It was not fair to my unit and it wasn’t fair to my family either to continue the financial burden of expenses outweighing profit. In February of 2005, I got a call from Mary Kay, Inc. stating that due to lack of production, I had 5 days to either have my car picked up by Mary Kay or I could purchase it – only 5 days notice! I was distraught. Of course, we had to go in more debt and purchase the car because we needed to have two vehicles.
I was no longer able to hold selling appointments and I was slowly losing some of my customer base because I had been unable to keep my customers updated on new looks and products. By November of 2005, I knew that it was time to just let my business go.
It is hard to give up something that you have worked so hard to build. I had to come to terms with the fact that I am not “normal” and I cannot do the things that “normal” people can do. As hard as it is for me to write that, it is the truth. I have to do though for my family what is best and continuing to try and push myself with only ending up worse off, is not good for any of us; emotionally or financially. To me, with only having 2 – 3 hours maximum daily to be able to function, I chose to spend that time with my son. For a toddler, it is a lot for him to deal with having both parents ill and it was important for him to know that I was, and always am, here for him first and foremost.
I will update again after my hearing to let you know how it goes!