I’m halfway through the step two of my project of creating instructions for the person who’s covering for me while I’m away when the nausea returns. This time I’m able to keep myself from actually barfing, but the yucky feeling remains. The day progresses much like this and by mid-afternoon, I feel like screaming. Productivity flounders and although the one major task that needed to be done is now complete, the stack of pending items still remains untouched.

Set off by the passive-aggressive comments and sticky notes from my petty and useless colleague, the frustration I now feel does nothing for the headache I am now cultivating. The nausea ebbs and flows, but ultimately, I’ve stagnated. Each minute that ticks by, I am more irritated with my situation.

I have yet to eat, no desire for food, in spite of very tempting options. My husband picks me up over my lunch break so we can a few last minutes before we leave for our trip. He is concerned that I’m not eating, but at this point I simply don’t want to tempt fate. Too much work has yet to be done to risk getting sick again. As I return to my desk, my stomach growls at the scent of my colleagues’ lunches. Tears well up again in frustration, and I scroll the words “Just Breathe” on the inside of my wrist as a reminder to remain calm.

I am the last one to leave the office that day. Although I stayed later than I intended, I was successful in tying up all the loose ends that I could before I left. By the time I close my office door, I’m starving and break my fast finally, choosing the worst possible option, Taco Bell. Never has fake plasticky cheese tasted so decadent in my life.