When to quit your job?
This is probably one of the most feared questions for people with chronic pain. In the United States economy, quitting a job might imply not only losing your source of income, but also your health insurance and retirement benefits.
In my case, I took that decision against my will and plans. For several years, I had been suffering from cervical radiculopathy, and dealing with it with physical therapy and pain medications, but rejecting any suggestions of surgery. Although my primary doctor insisted that I must give serious consideration to a decompression of the affected nerves, I preferred to change my doctor than to hear her advice. Until it was an urgent matter.
I remember, I was driving home from my work and my arms became so heavy and weak, that it was difficult for me to keep grabbing the wheel. That day, I decided to consult the neurosurgeon I had been recommended many moons ago. After ordering an MRI, the doctor recommended an ACDF (Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion) from C5 to C7. Not doing the recommended procedure might cause a paralysis of my left arm with no possibility of recovery, even doing the surgery at that moment. The expected recovery time was 3 months. Considering the option, 3 months out of work suddenly didn’t look so long to me. But when that time passed, I was still in pain, with limited mobility on my neck. That was a problem, because I felt unsure that I can safely drive (because of my neck stiffness) and to be able to avoid or prevent a car accident.
At the time, I was working as a Case Manager for a senior services non profit organization, and driving was part of the job. So, I found myself no longer able to fulfill the requirements of my job description. Without any plan or alternative, I had to quit my beloved job, that gave me so much satisfaction in life. I give thanks to God, for He provided for mine and my family needs, until my disabilities benefits were approved. I also thank my wife, family and church, for their continued support and prayers. Without them, I might not have endured this battle.
The real recovery time was about 9 months, and after recovery, new spinal problems developed in thoracic and lumbar areas. I am currently disabled, with multiple spinal problems and chronic pain. In reality, nobody can tell you when you should quit your job, but I just want to remind you that your health and life quality is most valuable than you might think. So, I'll say better sooner than later. #ChronicPain #quittingjob #healthandqualityoflife