MS and Aging

Diagnosed in 1991, I have worked around and with my MS, been on and off of the various types of treatments, but the primary treatment was Solumedrol in the early years. In 2006 I was diagnosed with Adrenal Insufficiency (Addison's), the MS and steroid treatments had damaged my Adrenal glands, necessitating my daily use of glucosteroid to replace the missing adrenal hormones. Now, instead of one disease I am juggling two. So on a daily basis the question is: are these symptoms MS, Addison's, or aging? The MS is now secondary progressive, so relapsing medications do not work, the Addison's often impacts the severity of the symptoms or triggers them.

I was on SSDI in the 90's but went back to work under the ticket to work, but now with both conditions I now am fighting to get back on but I am fighting the bureaucracy and the perception that because I am 61 I should just wait for SSA. I should have quit working 5 years ago but I thought I could keep coping but finally had to admit that I was doing myself more harm than good and not giving quality service to my employers. Despite, the passage of ADA and the supposed requirement of accessibility it doesn't protect people with MS and the cognitive changes that disrupts a persons ability to think, organize, recall etc. One of the hardest issues I have had to deal with has been the gradual loss of my eidetic memory. The frustration of not remembering how to spell a word, or how to format a page, to remember how to complete a task that you have done countless times. Add this to balance, coordination issues with spasms doubles the problems of working. This is then compounded by an employer that censors everything, highlighting each mistake, correcting your speech when you say the wrong word, or "documenting" all your errors to the point of hostility. You then become so conscious of all your actions that you almost become paralyzed in your actions. Now, when you apply for a job you question yourself and your ability.

The older you get you are battling on several fronts, the disability and the aging. While discrimination is against the law, proving it isn't easy, facing disabliaphobia and agism as a dualism does psychological damage, undermining a persons self ability. Now add in the bureaucracy of getting SSDI originally or to get back on it makes it doubly hard. While I am eligible for old age pension of 700 a month it impoverishes a person to the point you have trouble existing. So, fighting yourself and the others adds to the issues of frustrations, aggravates both disabilities and further depletes you ability to self-care.

Points of issues are:

  • Lack of resources
  • High stress
  • Lack of available free help
  • Complicated federal systems
  • Issues of pitting age against disability

This is an on-going tale but many people maybe dealing with.

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