There Are So Many Talented People On The Internet, Guys.


Bangor Daily News Abby Norman by Patmai de Vera

I had this commission done for less than $25 which I think is ridiculous – it should have cost way more because that is the most spot-on representation of my dog I’ve ever seen. Anyway, it was done by Patmai, whose blog I’ve been following for a while now. She’s taking on a heavier load of commissions to help pay for her mother to have surgery.

That resonates deeply with me. Since 2010, when I got diagnosed with endometriosis, I’ve had a slew of surgeries and I’m still trying to pay for them. Even though I had insurance, I always ended up with some ghastly bill at the end of it. This is why I write about healthcare, but also why I left my cushy job in healthcare to just be a writer. Healthcare is depressing. 


I’ve written extensively about my experience with endometriosis — HuffPo for one — and I think it’s important for everyone to talk about it. Not just women. I’ve had more men respond to that article than I ever imagined. Husbands, fathers, boyfriends — all trying to understand what life is like for the woman in their life who has this disease. That’s why I write. That’s why I put vulnerable things about my life onto the internet where they can be seen (read: harshly judged) by thousands of people. Not because I want to be heard, but because I want other people to hear their own voice in what I’m saying and feel validated.

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

– Toni Morrison

Today is one of those days where I have many deadlines to meet but am unlikely to leave my bed because my pain is intense. Part of the reason I hustled so hard to be able to work from home is that days like today used to mean lost wages. Being able to work from bed when necessary has kept me afloat and, I suspect, allowed my body the time it needs to push through a flare. I’m sure I wasn’t doing myself any favors running around like a madwoman when what my body needed was stillness, a heating pad and Tiger Balm.

Having a chronic pain disorder is difficult at any age, but I suspect it’s especially complex for young people who are aware that they should be hustling harder right now than any other time in their life. I’m turning 24 in April and I was lamenting last night that I only have one more year to make someone’s 25 Under 25  list. I don’t even know why I want that distinction, but I do. I guess I feel like once I turn 25 anything I accomplish would be less impressive than if I achieved it < 25.

Days like today when I’m stuck in bed trying to crank out content, I feel like I’ll be lucky if I make it to 25, let alone accomplish anything in the process. I know, I know: these feelings of frustration will pass. Next week will be better. In any case, my dog needs me to try my damndest. She is not pleased with this weather. I took her out this morning and she looked extremely insulted. Now she’s laying on my laptop reminding me not to work too hard.

Hazelnoots Instagram


I’m really curious about how other people with chronic pain disorders balance work and flare-ups. You should totally comment here, email me or Tweet me @abbyexplains because I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Abby Norman

About Abby Norman

Abby Norman is a Maine writer and journalist. She reports and manages social media for Midcoast Maine’s VStv-88 and is working on a memoir to be released in Spring of 2017. She’s represented by Peter Tallack. She is a 2015 Stanford Medicine X ePatient Scholar, an advocate and speaker on endometriosis, foster care and autism. She is a member in good standing of The Society for Professional Journalists and the National Writer’s Union. She lives in Camden with her dog, Whimsy.