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Holidays and Blessings

I was diagnosed with MS on December 23,1994, right before X-mas and Rheumatoid Arthritis right in time for Valentines Day, the following year. I woke up late one Sunday morning after playing poker at a friend’s all night.

I immediately knew that something was wrong, because my right foot would flop instead of taking a normal step. I also noticed considerable weakness in my right side. I dropped a plate. I thought maybe I was having a stroke, so I checked the mirror to see if my mouth had drooped. No droop. This was my first major exacerbation, and it led to the diagnosis. Didn’t have another one for five years, and every 4-5 years after. I was a in a professional position with the Federal Government and managed to perform successfully. Until 2009.

A bad flare and a bad back led me to make the decision to file for disability. I was dreading this because of all of the horror stories regarding the application process, and because I only had 3 more years to work for full retirement. I had fought for so long, surely I could hang in there for three more years.

Finally realized that I could no longer work and I applied in April, 2009 and received my first check November, 2012. Horror stories held true.

So, I am currently on disability, using a wheelchair (due to bad back) and in pain daily due to the RA.

Was pretty much depressed until I stared participating in the “26 Acts of Kindness” movement started on Twitter by Ann Curry as a reaction to the Newtown killings. I have since done small things for people who are far worse off than I am. From cancer patients to the homeless.

It has really opened my eyes, and helped me come to terms with being “disabled”. At least I have a roof over my head, a monthly check, and a loving supportive family. I’m counting my blessings!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Pam author
    6 years ago

    Hi Lisa, thanks for responding. I’m doing okay with both diseases. The RA is more challenging. Every morning, I’m normally stiff and have pain in one or more joints. After about 3-4 hours and vicodin and ibuprofen, I feel pretty good.
    I am currently on Rebif. The biggest roadblock is that I frequently get “injection block”. I just can’t make myself administer the injection. Its on my list of things (making more of those lately) to talk about with my neuro.
    BTW, I love your blog site, and visit 3-4 times a week.
    Its so helpful to know that there are people out there who “share your pain”.
    Also, I noticed from your profile that you are from Northern VA. I was living in MD and working in DC when I was first dx with MS, and I found the NMSS very helpful..much more than my neurologist. The web wasn’t like it is today, so I don’t know what I would have done without them.
    Thanks again for responding, and for your activisim!.

  • Lisa Emrich moderator
    6 years ago

    It is very nice to know we aren’t alone and do share that pain. Before my RA was dx, it was severely active and interfered with life more than MS. Fortunately, I’ve responded to treatment.
    The NMSS was very helpful with information when I was dx with MS. My neurologist and his MS nurse were even better. I was very lucky.
    Tickled pink that you like the blog. That gives me great encouragement to keep up the work. 🙂
    Be well,

  • Lisa Emrich moderator
    6 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your experience with the “26 Acts of Kindness” movement. Sounds like an inspirational process. BTW, I also live with both MS and RA. It can be challenging. How are you doing?

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