That D**n Pay Stub

I put it in the back of my drawer...thinking that would lessen the sting of seeing it and being reminded of all I’ve lost...2 min


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In one of my kitchen drawers sits the voided pay stub that was my very first paycheck when I went back to work after 20+ years of being a stay at home mom. I used to have it in my wallet so I would see it often; it was a huge source of pride and represented an incredible new path I was forging for myself and my kids. Just before diagnosis I had taken the kids and me on a vacation and I was starting to shop for a new vehicle. That pay stub represented independence and newfound confidence. It represented the realization that others believed in me, too (my brother for one, who took a leap of faith in asking me to work for him).

The pay stub now sits in one of my kitchen drawers. I took it out of my wallet a couple years ago and almost threw it away but couldn’t, so I put it in the very back of my silverware drawer, thinking that would lessen the sting of seeing it and being reminded of all I’ve lost. However, each time I find myself looking for the actual “lost” kitchen serving spoon/ice cream scoop/other random kitchen gadgets, my hand finds a piece of paper that reminds me again of the thief named Dermatomyositis and Antisynthetase Syndrome that came into my life in 2016.

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I could just throw it away. I could put it into a bin or the back of a bottom drawer full of items I know I don’t need and don’t use. I could burn it! I could shred it. I could tear it up into lots of little pieces–okay, no my hands wouldn’t cooperate enough with me to do that one– but still it’s an idea of what I *could* do with that damn paystub.

The truth is, I don’t want to get rid of it. This isn’t me clinging to negativity, though I could understand some seeing it that way, and at times, yes, the reminder of what was lost is definitely negative and there is no way around that; there’s no spinning it. I’ve worked so hard over the past 3 years since diagnosis to always find the positive somehow/someway, and I’ll keep doing that! At the same time I’m slowly, albeit very very slowly, learning that it is okay to accept the negative realities of having a serious, debilitating, chronic illness. It is my reality now and entwined into every fiber (quite literally! lol see I still have my sense of humor) of my being. I’m working on seeing that piece of paper now not only as what I’ve lost, but also as a reminder that I can still have those feelings of confidence and strength; I just have to find new ways to reinforce that about myself in spite of my disabilities.

 


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Linda Rabinowitz

I'm a mom of 4 kids, diagnosed with Antisynthetase Syndrome/Dermatomyositis in 2016. My kids are all adults now (or so the law says lol!!), but my youngest who is 18 has autism and, while he continues to make incredible strides in independence, there is still a lot he needs compared to most 18yos. I was a stay at home mom for over 20 years until getting divorced. I returned to work in very early 2015, then had to stop in July 2016 as my job was very physically demanding and, being that my wrists would collapse when trying to hold even one shoebox (I worked at New Balance), it was time to stop. Now I'm just trying to find my way in this new world of chronic illness I've been thrown into.

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