got hit by major illness

Dec 9, 2019 320 Comments

Hi everyone,
I got my degree in CS, got a decent job in the Bay area. Worked here 7 years and got pretty good feedback from my employer. And in 2016 got hit by a major illness. I kept trying to manage my job and my health problem but it was becoming increasingly difficult. I would sleep in my car because I was so tired all the time. I worked from home one day a week but still my performance dropped. Things have gotten so bad that these days I can be up on my feet no more than 2 hours a day. I have seen every doctor you can think of but its just a chronic health issue and they all recommend rest.

I will quit my job next month. My boss has cut me a lot of slack because up till recently I was one of the top performers in his team . And he knows I tried hard to still do my job after the illness onset but it has become almost impossible these days. He insists that I stay and he keeps saying we can work things out but I dont want to be here and taking money when I know I am giving back very little.

I am not a GC holder so I have to go back to my country. My gf is an american citizen but I dont want to get married for a GC and I dont mind going back home.

The worst part of this whole thing is to define your life in terms of your career and go to school for so many years and then have to give it ALL up. I dont even know what my future holds. I really feel like my existence has no meaning anymore without my career.

I just wanted to share my story. I know I am heading straight for f@#cksville and there is nothing that can be done.

ps dont feel too sorry for me. I have had a good run. We all have to give up sooner or later. The whole thing is very transient to begin with. Also, I have enough money to last me for a long time and my parents have money back home. Also my illness is not fatal.

Please appreciate your health and hope you all have a great holiday.

TC: Who Gives A F@#$ and soon to be zero.

*Update: I am overwhelmed by all the kind messages you guys have sent me! I was expecting only a few replies with "TC?" , but I got so many kind and heart warming messages! (one guy did "TC?" me lol)

Everyone so far has told me to go on FMLA and use my benefits instead of just leaving. I will definitely do that. I have worked hard and insurance is for this purpose exactly and I will get educated about my rights and benefits.

Also many people have asked what is my condition. I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN). They both suck in different ways and I dont know why I would get two rare diseases a few years apart. My CFS was initially very mild but over the years it has gotten so bad that simple tasks are now impossible. And not listening to my body and powering through work didnt help either.

Thank you for all your comments! I will not be able to reply to all but just wanted to say thank you!

Update: I removed some details in the post after it started showing up on the front page. This post involved some major decisions I need to make at work and if someone from my work finds out they can just terminate me before I get my FMLA and I will have no course of action! apologies for the edits.


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TOP 320 Comments
  • Microsoft GayCoder
    Take FMLA for 3mos.
    Dec 9, 2019 14
    • Wells Fargo / Eng ostrich1
      Your boss does not get a choice about you taking it if you work for a covered employer (more than 50 staff I think). Also consider seeing a functional medicine doc if you have not already. Traditional medicine labels things untreatable tree that aren't
      Dec 9, 2019
    • Tableau / Eng

      Tableau Eng

      Not sure what your problem is, but the fact that you sleep in a car means that you need a better sleep.
      Like 10 hours a day or more. See if it helps with not feel sleepy.
      The fact that you feel worse than it
      was before, may indicate that you did not treat your body physical needs properly. You will have FMLA to stop and re-think what need to be changed in your lifestyle. That is a good use of FMLA and not just packing things and saying goodbye to your life.
      Saying goodbye to your old life? Maybe, but that can be the beginning of something you don't know.

      Feeling like the life is over? Not at all. Your life is only saying that you need to make a change.

      You girlfriend and your boss are both thankful to you and want to help. The God is willing to help you with their hands and their care.
      How can they make good things for good people if you don't let them help you?

      You need to stop doing what you think is right and listen to yourself.

      You may decide that you want to change a job, a lifestyle, a girlfriend, a meaning of life. But that only means that you waited for too long procrastinating to do that.
      This is not the end of life. This is only the beginning of your true life full of sense. If you decide that.

      Such changes are never easy. They are always painful. And there is no roadmap, just the desire to understand why are you here.

      You will need courage to get though all that. God bless you. My prayer is with you
      Dec 9, 2019
  • Amazon / Eng OlAl28
    Dude, you need to exploit more opportunities. Take the paycheck and get married
    Dec 9, 2019 11
    • Aetna / Mktg VGUB45
      Oh no I am so sorry I was not implying your condition wasn’t real. I just meant in addition to being sick you may be depressed which could impact your next decision. Sorry for the misunderstanding, I in no way meant you were depressed and NOT sick; just that maybe you are depressed
      Dec 9, 2019
    • Sony yKuQ20
      No problem ! I am definitely depressed because of this situation and I’m on medication for it . No reason to be sorry you were absolutely right !
      Dec 9, 2019
  • Facebook tAGO84
    Sorry about your health OP. It seems strange to me that you want to leave because you feel bad about performance, but your boss wants you to stay. To me it seems silly to leave only because you feel like you're not contributing enough when your manager disagrees. It's possible you contribute more than you think.
    Dec 9, 2019 4
    • Sony yKuQ20
      The problem is that after a year or two of working with me and realizing I am a bit of a workaholic and I care more about the project than him, he left me alone completely. Now he thinks I'm exaggerating when I tell him how little the project has moved. I think he is in denial of my health condition or at least the severity of it. During my last progress report he told me with a surprise that " seems you dont have so much to show". And im thinking, is he deaf? it took so much out of me to even accomplish the little that I did accomplish. And I keep telling him im sick.
      I think I need to let myself go because my boss is a bit too clueless and in denial to do it. And I could stay until its become too apparent that I need to be let go of, but I dont want to take advantage of the trust that it has taken me so much effort to build.
      Dec 9, 2019
    • Look, your impact is greater and can be in a leadership role. Adjusting and building skills in other places and spreading the knowledge you have could be ways you can contribute. No-one will blame you for failing health when they let you go in the end (plus you get extra bonuses, etc).

      Stick it out, people want you around.
      Dec 9, 2019
  • Microsoft minimonk
    I went through similar issue and I want to share my story. It is long post but I hope it'll help. Summary: our body & mind are trying to tell us something very important and this is time to give complete attention to them rather than diverting in work activities. A day will come when we'll look back & cherish these tough days.

    After 20+ years in Microsoft, I felt so much tiredness like the OP. Many days when I went in the morning and browsing my emails & making todos, I felt like sleeping and did sleep on the desk. I had to drag myself to finish tasks. It got worse everyday. I was top performer in all the teams I had been and my team mates used to come for my guidance. I used to feel so guity at end of day's commute ruminating my ineffective day and taking more from company than giving.

    I spoke to my manager and he also was in denial. In retrospect, here were the reasons: 1) he never heard of this "problem" or "disease" and believed it is just short term issue, 2) his success depended on mine, so didn't want to lose top performer and 3) it is very hard to find replacement at such principal level. He gave me 3 months unpaid leave. It was helpful but after I joined again got into same problem.

    Finally gave my resignation and it felt like diving into a void. Stock prices was getting highs and looking at unvested stocks got me worried. I used to feel proud being topper in college & at work and I felt like I am a loser/fake now. I consulted with my doctor and the medicines she gave helped, but it was working on only surface symptoms and not the root.

    After quitting, I used to sleep many hours in day time for few weeks. Someone suggested vipassana meditation (it is 10 day Buddhist based), and it was turning point & I got so curious to look inside. I had done research for many years on external things and I decided to research on inside. I found experientially that inner world is much bigger and fascinating than the outer world. I used to sit/walk hours while paying attention to every thought, feelings & body sensations. Slowly reasons for my "problem" was revealed to me.

    Your root problems would be different & let me share mine anyway. I realized that my parents thought me to always give more to society than receive and I was giving my 100% such that in a certain day if I didn't feel exhausted working, I'd feel like I didn't give 100% and the lord won't be pleased. It may sound stupid, but it was true. The moral values that were imposed on me as child was so tough and wavering even a bit caused me fear of god. It made me so successful and my story is of rags to riches, but it had taken huge toll on my health. It gave me so called success but not joy.

    After my quitting, I gave my best to follow what my mind would desire. For example, I was feeling urge to color with crayons and I did it on children's books secretly (because it looks weird for a 40+ yr guy to do it). Glad that I did and after few days that urge went away on its own. Later one day I recalled in my dreams how as I child I was prevented from coloring activity I wanted to do, but was instead forced to focus on "productive" works like getting better grades. With more meditation I realized how much I was judging myself on even moments of "unproductive" activities. I also recalled how I was cruel to some of my employees as manager and pushed them beyond limits and judged them on my own scale. I had to work a lot on guilt that came from it. Then my childhood abuse memories poped up (physical abuse) and it took longer to work on.

    It was a rollercoaster ride and towards the end was my most blissful & exciting period. In meditations I was able to experience my identity in myself beyond body & mind and many questions I used to wonder about "was is purpose of life" etc became clear experientially.

    I believe we don't need a psychiatrist's help for this. Just sitting with our thoughts is enough, sometimes when it is too much, explaining it to my cat did the trick. It took about couple years for me and I am feeling lots of joy these days. I play a lot with my children. While my children as so happy with this, it is transformational for me because I was able to re-live part of suppressed childhood and that "unproductive" activity brings huge joy to me. The "tiredness" problem went away on its own and infact I feel a lot of energy left even at end of full day of activity, that I happily give a massage to my wife who is "tired" after work.

    I used to feel life as meaningless without being top in career, super problem-solver, contributing immensely to society etc. These days I feel life is meaningless without things like poetry, music, meditation or play with children/cat. I feel very grateful for my body to have forced me to change the direction of my life. If I hadn't listened to my body, I'd be doomed by now. Someone gave me the book "dying to be me" (a story of a lady who faced near death experience with cancer becoz of not listening to her body and later her discoveries), it encouraged my path further. I am doing a lot of volunteering these days, but with no compulsion. I did enjoy programming & technical work and I do intend to get back to working. I don't have timeline for it and will do when I feel the urge. I hope my story will help you to see life in perspective, not be lost in worries and encourage you to put your 100% to look inwards for answers.
    Dec 10, 2019 1
    • Broadcom Ltd. / Eng lassitude1
      Dec 10, 2019
  • Intel radio1
    This a lesson for all of you who are more concern about TC. Most of you forgot that Steve Jobs with all of his billions cannot saved him from his illness and from death. It doesn't matter your age. Please have perceptive in life and threat people with love and respect regardless of your position at work or the importance of the project. We are all vulnerable to incurable diseases.
    Dec 9, 2019 1
    • Careem godemarcus
      Threat them with love: i shoot you with a flower you beautiful mf.
      Dec 10, 2019
  • Medtronic oliverjade
    Can you disclose your conditions? I work in healthcare and can see if I can help in any way
    Dec 9, 2019 7
    • Sony yKuQ20
      Hey uber, yes you are correct. The trigeminal neuralgia is episodic but the CFS is constant and is the one that does the most damage.
      It is also a very vague diagnosis of exclusion, so of not much use.
      I have been seen at the sleep clinic at Stanford and have done three sleep tests in total. One of the tests diagnosed me with sleep apnea (but not the other two :|), I have the CPAP machine but I cant use it due to the trigeminal neuralgia! how messed up is that? (it triggers my facial pain). I spent 1000$ to buy my own machine our of insurance since the insurance wouldn't pay if you dont use it more than 4 hours every night. Also I tried a number of masks, none worked! I am still being seen by them and pursuing other options.
      Dec 9, 2019
    • Uber chkkig
      If you can’t use the CPAP, surgery may be an option. Have you already had a tonsillectomy in your life?

      Also what’s your body mass index?
      Dec 10, 2019
  • Pear Therapeutics preztrumpd
    Do yoga (the real thing, not the shit u see at gyms), meditation, fasting. It's time to work on ur spirituality
    Dec 9, 2019 2
    • Sony yKuQ20
      I will have plenty of time after I quit. I used to do yoga regularly when I was younger. I will start doing as much as my health permits.
      Dec 9, 2019
    • Airbnb MgBBh3433
      +1 absolutely. All of this can directly aid your recovery.

      For real yoga, based on personal experience, would highly recommend Inner Engineering/Isha Yoga.
      Dec 9, 2019
  • Sorry to hear you have to go thru this. I know you have mentioned you don't want any advice but please don't lose hope and keep an open mind. You never know how help will arrive.

    To share my experience, in 2008 I had a shoulder injury that limited my ability to work on computer. It was extremely painful and affected my work. I felt like my arm was ripped off. Working 2 hrs on computer was enough to aggravate the injury, so I'd have to rest for hours. I didn't want to take painkillers and orthopedic suggested doing surgery was too complicated. They sent me to physiotherapy but that didn't fix it either. Sleeping at night was painful as I could not move freely. I also met some well known doctors at Stanford. They gave me cortisol injection but that didn't fix it either.

    After suffering thru this for about 3 years, I came across a TED talk by Brad Willis (now called Bhava Ram. He changed his name). TED talk is called "the power of mantra". I read his book "warrior pose - how yoga literally saved my life". And decided I was going to go vegetarian, stop the occasional consumption of alcohol, no coffee, no breakfast, start prayanama (breathing exercises) and meditation. After starting this practice, in just 3 months my shoulder was healed. I got good enough that I could do yoga and exercises. It's been more than 7 years without pain and life has been normal. I started eating meat again after being vegetarian for 2 years but not more than once a week.
    Dec 9, 2019 2
    • Intel help!
      thank you for sharing your story.
      Dec 9, 2019
    • AMD GDKa06
      Thanks for sharing your story and the reference
      Dec 10, 2019
  • New kite77
    I’m not much for prayer but I’ll pray for you tonight. Sending so much good will your way.
    Dec 9, 2019 0
  • Microsoft amsou
    If possible, i would recommend to stay at the job and fight it out. In 2015 i got severe joint pains because of arthritis at the age of 26. I took proper medicines and with excercise it is manageable. In peak illness i couldn't lift a water bottle in a hand for months. But it got better over time. One just needs to persist and take the right steps.
    Dec 9, 2019 0