To tell or not to tell in corporate America.

Eight- the number of cities, hotel rooms with broken doors and ambulance trips alone...diagnosis "we think it is your heart but all tests come back negative." Then the defining episode while at a national sales conference and being stared at by a thousand people as a break is called and I'm on a stretcher. With blood pressure at 230/160 they again got it down and said to "follow up with my doctor." Only this time when the blood pressure came down I was dizzy, exhausted and words were melting down the page when I tried to read. After explaining to a "fill in doctor" that I had been on and off blood pressure meds since I was 15 and explaining my new symptoms she immediately sent me for an MRI...and alas the MS diagnosis.

I could not hide this from the company I worked for. My health history, for my own safety, could never again be my own- it is too dangerous for my company, my customers and my co-workers not to know. The result is a company very supportive and when I left to work elsewhere I advised them I had this disease but regardless, I would do the job as good, if not better, than the "regular health" people doing the same job.

The result is I manage the largest book of revenue in my company and the largest accounts. My customers know and I have patterns for the hotels and airline routes I travel. If I am supposed to have a meeting but I can't make it out of the hotel, I call them and do it by phone and stay in the hotel. My company and my customers know I give 110% to them and they in return look out for me. I know companies and cultures are different, but I for one will not work for a company not willing to work with me. This is why I do not hide my disease. People see me with a cane and ask, "did you get hurt?" I say "no, I have MS and my life is as good as I make of it." And sometimes it really is nice to be on "the cart" in the airport and not running in high heels like I did years ago...much easier on the bunions!

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy. We never sell or share your email address.

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.

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.