Saturday, May 28, 2011



Serenity, I mean. I began the year striving for it. I had some success for awhile, but I haven't done so well lately.

Work is hellish these days. Change is a daily event. No one (management most of all) knows what they are doing. There have been many unnecessary promotions ( and a very few necessary ones), leading to hordes of confused, overpaid supervisory staff. Our upper level administration is making changes merely for the sake of making changes, with no thought for outcomes. Thing is, I've been there so long and I've been through so many changes that it's making me cranky. A lot of the other veterans are feeling it, too.

There are two problems with government jobs: bad supervisors and golden handcuffs. There is a consistent tendency to promote people with good job skills and good work ethics who have no business being supervisors. Then the golden handcuffs kick in (medical benefits, pension) to keep unhappy workers there in spite of the bad boss.

To be honest, though, it's not just the changes at work that are getting to me. Several years ago I was diagnosed with a pituitary tumor. The tumor secretes a hormone that affects my dopamine levels and can also affect estrogen levels. I have to take a medication that is a dopamine agonist to balance out the hormone levels and, hopefully, shrink the tumor. I've been taking it for 5 years now. It greatly reduces the levels of the unwanted hormone, and it has kept the tumor from growing. The tumor has not reduced in size.

It's not absolutely clear whether it's the ongoing effects of the tumor or the side effects of the medication (probably both), but a lot of people with my particular type of tumor have a lot of headaches, get anxious (sometimes including palpitations), and become irritable. And a lot of our doctors brush it off. That's because the tumor, when treated, is very manageable. When not treated, it can become very serious. There are only a few medications available to treat it, and the one I take has the fewest side effects. Stopping the medication is not an option and would not make me feel better. This tiny tumor (only 6mm) can cause great mayhem.

I don't mind telling people that I have a pituitary tumor, but I don't discuss the emotional impact it has. The only way that I know that the tumor is part of the problem is from online forums for people with the same issues. That's not exactly a scientific way to pin things down, it's just helpful to me personally. I don't like to blame my irritability on the tumor. Or on pending menopause. Or on the traumas of the past (we all have them). In the end, I have to acknowledge that I can't change any of those things, and I have to continue to try to find a path to serenity in spite of them. Like I said, it's not working out so well right now. But I'm not going to give up, it's a worthy pursuit.