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!

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