PennState it seems more than 1 or 2 members have dropped our forum. That's the only reason I think there aren't more replys. As for my type A personality, I joined the Air Force, married, had a beautiful daughter, divorced, worked in a Federal prison hospital, finally I got my BS in medical technology at 36 from Missouri State, moved to AZ and became a health services administrator for 600 inmates, moved to Las Vegas & quit prison, became an epidemiologist, founded a non-profit to fight antibiotic resistance (it's still running), moved to Atlanta worked at CDC for 6 years before disability. I was always
taking on as much as I possibly could.
At CDC I used to travel the country, but when I became sick I had to work in a lab ordering supplies, then they set me up working at home, but finally I became so sick I could barely walk with my walker and just had to quit. Here's a BIG tip: make copies of all your medical records from ALL your doctors. Keep it up to date because when you finally must quit you will be too sick to get them. You will need them for both types of disability. I get Social Security and Federal disability.
It took me 2 years to get diagnosed. I continued working a couple of years while trying different meds and feeling like crap. Anyway, I had a stack of medical records 8 inches high and my Federal (work) disability was approved in one month.
As for volunteering, I suggest you don't until you get your diseases under control. Any time I am obligated to do something I still have anxiety issues. (Depression was my first lupus symptom) I mean it's great that you want to , but it's taking precious energy.
Everyone should read The Spoon Theory at www.butyoudontlooksick.com
Lastly my bones hurt too. I've gained almost 100 pounds thanks to prednisone and comfort food and I'm scheduled to get a gastric by-pass Nov 11. I can hardly wait for the surgery. More importantly, I've never missed working. It's work just maintaining my health. I'm sorry this is so long. There was just something about you that sent my fingers flying on this keyboard. Love, Butterflake