How Writing Helped Me Maneuver Detours and Work With My Limitations

Ann Reynoso avatar

by Ann Reynoso |

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being a caregiver | Pulmonary Fibrosis News | Main graphic for column titled

I had an epiphany last week: It’s hard to find a job!

My first thought was that it must be my age. My experience doesn’t matter because I don’t fit into the work culture. (I’d never heard of “work culture” until I saw it on LinkedIn.)

My second thought was that it’s my rare illness, lymphocytic interstitial pneumonia. Does my disability not fit in, either?

I always thought that being a college professor would help me land on my feet, but things aren’t going well for me. I have come up against brick walls.

I understand that we all want to get back to normal after this pandemic, but my “normal” has changed.

I’ve had to recognize some of my limitations. The only problem is that, in this job market, I seem to be the only one recognizing these limitations.

Now it’s time to think of a different game plan. I will have to work with my limitations and find a new adventure.

Using my sociological degree (I want to put it to good use!), I must decide how to maneuver through our society and find my path. Following is my thought process:

  1. My age may be a deterrent for some, but I can use it to my benefit in certain ways, such as writing!
  2. OK, so I have a rare illness that imposes limitations. Well, there are always remote jobs that I can do, such as, well, writing!

(Photo by Ann Reynoso)

Where do I begin?

First, I’ll let you in on a little secret.

I learned how to use Instagram not too long ago. It’s the easiest thing I have done in terms of social media. When I received my diagnosis, I decided to join a community of people who understood the fight I had ahead of me. I wanted to hear others’ stories about going through life with a rare illness. They became a wonderful source of therapy.

While on Instagram, I decided to follow organizations that pertained to my illness because I believe that there is always something to learn. I came across a website called Pulmonary Fibrosis News, whose parent company is BioNews. This caught my attention because there were people like me writing about their life experiences with rare illness. I thought, this is exactly what I’ve been looking for. I was grateful for others that could understand my limitations.

I continued to read the patients’ columns and could identify with all they were going through. It felt nice to know that I wasn’t the only small dot on the map. I thought it would be wonderful to write down my every pain, struggle, joy, and accomplishment as a pulmonary fibrosis patient.

(Photo by Ann Reynoso)

I had a real breakthrough when I saw a job listing for a pulmonary fibrosis patient to join their team as a columnist. I applied and interviewed with some of the kindest people I’ve ever met, Brittany Foster and Matthew Lafleur, who each write their own columns.

We only spoke a few words before I knew that I had to be a part of this team. My interview felt comfortable and safe. I did not feel embarrassed, nor did I feel I had to explain my illness. (I was using oxygen during my interview.) They both saw me as a “real” person and not a person with an illness. It was as if they thought, “That person doesn’t have an illness, that person has a future.”

I am a freelance writer now, and in my column, I write about everyday life as it happens. Life doesn’t always work out the way you’d planned, so you adjust. I no longer feel that I have limitations — just detours. Yet, I feel as if I have arrived at my destination.

I believe I am as capable as anyone else of pursuing my goals. My writing frees me. It comforts me. I have no limitations when I am writing. I have a new adventure, and I am grateful for the opportunity that Pulmonary Fibrosis News has offered me.

I think my next adventure will be convincing my family that the best Christmas present is office supplies!

***

Note: Pulmonary Fibrosis 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 Pulmonary Fibrosis News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary fibrosis.

Comments

Randall Thornton avatar

Randall Thornton

Hi. just read your interesting article and thought..mmmmmm. I have worked hard during my working time from the time I was 6 years old till now and I am in my70's. I hate not working. Working gives you a purpose to live and make money. I cannot do the hard stuff anymore since I am on oxygen 24/7. But I could work from home on the computer. Nothing complicated as I self taught myself to use the computer and just the basics. Any suggestions? Oh, I'm a terrible speller. I have corrected this at least a dozen time since starting it. Have a great day.

Reply
Ann Reynoso avatar

Ann Reynoso

Hello Randall! Thank you for reading my column. It is always wonderful to have comments. I too, am not very good with the computer, except to type up my columns. There are many remote/work-at-home jobs you could look into. It also depends on your experiences with previous employment.
You can go to www.aarp.org and see what type of remote jobs are advised. AARP keeps up with the type of remote jobs that are available to those who have may have retired but still want to work. You can also go on to https://www.indeed.com/q-Senior-Citizen-Work-At-Home-jobs.html to see what they
may have available. I am on oxygen as well, and working from home has been a great help to me. Good luck with your new adventures :)

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Echo Young avatar

Echo Young

So happy to join you on your new “adventure”. Keep writing and … smiling. Love you, Sylvia! ❤️

Reply
Ann Reynoso avatar

Ann Reynoso

Thank you Echo, for your never ending support.

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