Working and MS

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Capa
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 9/13/2008 7:11 AM (GMT -6)   
I want to start by thanking everyone for participating in this forum. This is my first post but I have gotten a lot of great information out of lurking for the past few weeks.
 
 
I have been plagued with dizziness, fatigue, weakness, numb/tingling pain in my hands and feet, and muscle aches for the past 5 months.  So far my bloodwork is normal and an initial MRI of my brain came back clean but my Doctor still thinks that I have MS. They are sending me to a specialist in RI shortly to be re-evaluated.
 

I have been unable to work due mainly to the dizziness and the weakness and was wondering if most people with MS are able to work?   I do hope to get a diagnosis one way or another at some point but for now I'm just trying to hang in there. I fear about my financial future as I cannot work without pay for too much longer without finding myself in debt. Any work-from-home or money-making tips are welcome!
 
 
 
Thanks so much to everyone! :-)

Willowmom
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 88
   Posted 9/13/2008 10:33 PM (GMT -6)   

Welcome-  I think we probably all 'lurk' around a bit before we post the first time.  And for me there are times where the hands won't type so well, so I mostly read and get a lot of information and comfort from that.  From what i have learned from the National MS Society, most people with MS can still work.  Sometimes they might need a different job or reasonable accomodations.  My first exacerbation was so bad I could not work for 5 months, but I had been in graduate school at the time and so had not been reliant on a paycheck.  I sneaked out a few more student loans.  Then I was so nervous about working that i took a seasonal job at JC Penneys just to see how it went. Next a part-time with flexible hours for a non-profit.  The flexibility was great.  I have not had any major exacerbations, just little or previous things that come and go.  I work 36 hours a week (requested instead of 40) and asked for accomodations for different lighting, computer equipment and a personal cooling unit.  Going through a human resources and having a doctor letter to back up your reasonable accomodations is important.  I am also able to schedule 'field' work in the mornings before it's hot and office work in the afternoons.  A good employer will work to keep a good employee.  But....I suppose that is all not possible when you are waiting on a diagnosis of what is going on.  Maybe someone else has suggestions for right now.  Willow


Gretchen1
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 3529
   Posted 9/13/2008 10:51 PM (GMT -6)   

I read somewhere that 54 percent of people with MS work.  I have no idea what that means.  If it means MSers of all ages, that seems pretty good.  I work full time.  I am going through the ADA reasonable accomodations thing right now as well.  I love my job so I am trying to work for as long as I can. 

My presenting symptom was vertigo.  It got so bad I couldn't walk.  I am much better although it has never completely left me.  I have gotten used to it and I work with it and live with it.

Good luck, I hope you are feeling better soon.


Gretchen       co-moderator MS board       diagnosed with MS July 2006


Capa
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 9/14/2008 9:48 AM (GMT -6)   
If you have any advice on living with the vertigo then I'd be grateful. The main thing for me is learning my limitations. Unfortunately I learned the hard way as I tend to be a bit stubborn as I don't want to let it stop me from doing anything but no regrets or complaints! :)

I find shopping the most difficult; something about going up and down the aisles. Sometimes I think that people look at me thinking that I am drunk. Thankfully my husband and I can take this and joke a bit about it instead of taking it to heart. He has been a fabulous source of support!


I'd also be interested in the types of jobs good for people with MS. What affects my working most is the dizziness, fatigue, and cognitive difficulties. Some days I am great and others I feel useless. It's a bit unpredictable for me at this point.


Thank you again!

mystery reader
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 257
   Posted 9/14/2008 10:21 AM (GMT -6)   

Hi Capa! 

I understand your concern about working.  Sometimes it can be overwhelming, but working can also help to take your mind off of ms at times.  I was dx in March of 2007, and missed aobut 4 weeks of classes during my flare and initial treatment.  I am a college professor.  I recently went back to school about 3 weeks ago after the summer break.  I have been really tired, but I am learning how to cope with that.  For me, it means going to bed early and catching up on household "stuff" over the weekends.  I also plan on working for as long as possible.

I know that some people will take a course in medical transcribing and do that from home. Do you have computer skills?  You might also do a google search to see what kinds of jobs are available in your community that you can do from home.
 
Good luck!
Barb/mystery reader
Diagnosed April 2007
Started betaseron --  May 2007 -- experienced allergic reactions after 2 weeks
Started copaxone -- June 2007 -- stopped after 4 1/2 months;experienced  severe 5 IPIR's
Started tysabri -- December 2007
Stopped tysabri -- April 2008 (developed antibodies/severe reactions)


Gretchen1
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 3529
   Posted 9/14/2008 12:04 PM (GMT -6)   

Hey Capa,

I have not found any meds that help with vertigo.  I have found that turning and moving carefully helps.  I use a cane when I want to walk anywhere and look up.  If I am walking without my cane, I have to look at the ground about 12 feet in front of me.  I have lots of little tricks that help me.  I try to touch something not moving while standing.  I will have my lower leg against a wall, cabinet or sturdy table/chair.  I use handrails always.  I lightly drag fingers along a wall, that sort of thing.  I have a lot of trouble when walking in a crowd of people.  I must have my cane or someone's elbow.  That someone needs to move carefully and I have to hold onto them not the other way around. 

Good luck, I hope you find something there that helps.


Gretchen       co-moderator MS board       diagnosed with MS July 2006


Capa
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 9/14/2008 7:34 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks again for the advice and the tips. I would love to work and am not intimidated but at this stage there are days when I simply need to lie down and cannot see straight enough to walk far. The cognitive problems at that point are severe.

When I'm not feeling sick/overtired then I fare quite well and those are the times when I am itching to get out and work. Working from home is a great idea. I have computer skills and have looked a bit but it's difficult to weed out the real opportunities from the scams. Hopefully something will fall into place in the near future.

I try to stay positive as best I can. I appreciate everyone's support.
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