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What I Have Learned About Myself From Managing MS

I have learned that I can manage my MS through resourcefulness and looking for support when I need it. There have been challenges but if I look for it, I see the ways that I always was taken care of.

MS is a small part of my life

MS is only a small part of my life these days. I was diagnosed in 2003 at the age of 47. After attacks in 2004 and 2007, I left work on disability. Since then, I have faith that I will be alright. There were several ways I saw God taking care of me along the way.

The practical ways were financial. In the fall of 2003, pre-existing conditions were still an issue when getting health insurance. If I had been diagnosed earlier, I would have been on my employers health insurance with its 50/50 drug cost copay. Instead, I got on my husband’s insurance when I still didn’t think I had MS. I had a negative spinal tap and was ready to attribute my sensory symptoms to something else.

Another financial gain was long-term disability insurance. I didn’t realize my employer had a policy on me, until I went from full to part time work and found out I could apply. I still remember the day in 2005. I was not sure how I was going to manage. We took my parents out to dinner for their 50th wedding anniversary. They were thrilled with the dinner and all I could think of was how I would manage to pay that credit card bill. Within a week, I got a retroactive disability payment and collected monthly payments until I turned 65 in 2021.

A higher power

It is not just after I was diagnosed that I saw God (or whatever you call your higher power) was there. I think my first MS attack was in 1991. I was under a lot of stress, driving an hour to work 4 days a week and working 10 hour days, while trying to manage as a wife and mother of two teens.

I started getting dizzy and having trouble seeing up close, only at work. So, one day, I just quit. Over the next few years I took several jobs until I landed the one I loved in 1996. That employer was the one that had the disability policy and allowed me to go part time in 2004 and was supportive when I left in 2007.

When I started writing this in answer to the question “What have I learned about myself,” I wasn’t sure what I would say. There is so much more to my story. I hope this little answer will inspire others to know you will be alright.

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