hey guys, this is a really taboo subject but there’s no other way to put it, I am 22yrF. I suffer from TMAU (fish odor syndrome) and chronic halitosis. It is mostly the halitosis that is bothering me. I am a very clean person so please don’t try and give me advice on chewing gum or seeing a dentist. I go to the dentist twice a year and they always compliment me on how well I take care of my teeth. I’ve been to multiple doctors and no one had a clue what was wrong with me (labs came back normal, very healthy individual) until I did my own research and told them to test me for TMAU. It was really bad around puberty when the symptoms first started to show. I got bullied by kids and went through a very dark time for years. I thought it would get better after high school and decided to pursue a nursing degree (stupid optimism).
Fast forward, I just graduated and got a night shift job and it’s ok. It would be a lot easier without this condition but I am tired of the reactions I get on a daily basis. I feel like I cannot be the best nurse I can to patients and coworkers. This job requires being close with people and exchanging convo, like any job ofc. But I am self-conscious and painfully aware that I do indeed smell. and that leads me to be standoffish and isolating. People no longer make my life a living hell but it is exhausting to put up with. Every now and then I do get a snide comment from someone or a patient’s family. I try not to let it get to me because I understand smells can really offend people and I don’t expect everyone to be aware/empathetic. How could they know rare conditions like this exist? I’ve thought about telling people when we meet about it, but since it is so taboo, it’s hard for me to find a way to bring it up and not make things awkward. I find that people get uncomfy when talking about things like this.
I already gave up peds nursing (which is where my heart is) because of having to deal with parents’ reactions. I hate to let this condition dictate so much of my life. I am a very strong person, and I practice mindfulness, looking on the brighter side, trying not to let people’s reactions to my odor ruin my day. But I am human, and there’s only sm I can take.
I am wondering if I should just go back to school and pursue what I should have pursued in the beginning: comp sci. and get a work from home job. I consider myself very tech savvy and love learning. very studious and graduated a year early. I have dabbled in a little HTML from youtube videos and I liked the experience. how easy would it be to get a WFH job? are they still common after the pandemic? The reason I don’t want to pursue something like Health IT in nursing is because I feel there is more room for career growth in a more rigorous field like comp sci. I am searching for something a little more challenging and rewarding because nursing hasn’t been that for me unfortunately.
i’m thinking of waiting 6months to a year and see how I adjust, since it is a new job for me, being a new grad. i originally planned on going back to school and becoming a CRNA or NP (I would finish school around 27yrs old after three yrs in the ICU setting. and if I go back for comp sci, I would finish around that time as well, so I still have time–I don’t want to wait so long into my career and then try to change you know?) but I just don’t see that happening as I will have to work even closer with people in possibly smaller environments. the money will be good but I think no amount of money will make me happy. I don’t want to be miserable. and I hate to think of leaving so soon after all I’ve worked so hard for, letting my family and people at work down but I don’t find any satisfaction or fulfillment from this job. Partly because of this condition and partly because of the state of healthcare right now. I just want meaning and purpose. I feel invisible and alone. any advice would be greatly appreciated.