Monday, November 11, 2013
Thursday, September 5, 2013
If you own a car, you most likely have car insurance and you pay for that insurance. If something happens to your car, you get some money from your insurance company depending on the type of insurance you purchased to cover the damage or loss.
The same is true for homeowners or renters insurance. If you pay the premiums (money out of your pocket) and suffer some type of loss, your insurance company will pay you some amount of money depending on your coverage.
The same is true for disability insurance. If you pay out-of-pocket for short-term or long-term disability insurance through your company or an insurance company like Hartford or AFLAC, and for some reason become unable to work, your insurance company will pay you some amount of money for lost wages depending on your coverage. The amount of the payout is usually a small percentage of what you got in your paycheck.
If you work for a company and get a pay stub, you've probably noticed that money is taken out of your paycheck for taxes and "FICA." If you become unable to work, you may be eligible for Social Security disability (a national disability insurance policy established in the 1930s), which will pay you about 33% of your salary (rough estimate).
People who are drawing disability payments are not receiving free handouts. They are receiving insurance benefits for which they've paid premiums. The amount of money they receive is a much smaller percentage of the salary they used to receive when working. Insurance companies don't want to pay out if they can avoid it, so the process for drawing benefits is rigorous and can take a lot of time.
People can qualify for disability payments even if their medical condition is invisible to you and they appear to be healthy when you see them. There are many disabling invisible illnesses, but that's another story.
Please keep an open mind if you catch yourself believing the common misconception that all people on disability are freeloaders. We're not.
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Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Friday, August 30, 2013
Sunday, August 25, 2013
I want to share this great post about fatigue in Multiple Sclerosis. MS fatigue is impossible to explain, and it's the most common reason for disability in people with MS. We need people to understand us, yet we can't explain it or understand it ourselves.
The article is called
by Allison Potts, posted on BBC News. Check it out at:
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Wednesday, August 21, 2013
"Do I really need that?" I wondered as I pondered how uncomfortable I would feel. After all, I don't look like I need a wheelchair (I "look so good"). I can walk alright (for short distances), and people would think I was lazy or faking it (where have you heard that before?!), and I had a cane (the purple one) so I'd be okay, right? Besides, I wanted to prove to myself how independent I can be (stupid ego speaking).
|My Airport Wheelchair|
"The decision to go with the flow can take courage because you are surrendering the notion that you need to do everything by yourself." - Enjoying the Ride, Daily Om
This was neither humiliating nor embarrassing. It was not a sign of weakness, but rather of sign of resourcefulness and good judgement in being receptive to help. I’m so glad I took this energy-conservation advice. Thanks to all of you who badgered me, and sorry for not believing you. Lesson learned: It takes courage to ask for help, but it is a sign of strength.
Feel free to say, "I told you so."
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Saturday, August 17, 2013
I'm trying to be more physically active, so writing at my PC is taking a lower priority. Sometimes I just want to ignore MS (find my MS-free zone) or at least minimize the amount of attention I pay to it, so now I write only when something inspires me. Thank you for continuing to read my blog, anyway!
Healthline is a good aggregate website for multiple sclerosis information. Be sure to check it out at http://www.healthline.com/health/multiple-sclerosis
A Short in the Cord
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
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PS - In case you missed it, here are links to my Heroic Journey:
Part 1 - The Call
Part 2 - After the Call Is Answered
Part 3 - What to Take on a Heroic Journey
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
You can come along for the ride, but I won’t let you drive.
Reprint from 2003
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Sunday, May 26, 2013
Next: Part 3: What to Take on a Heroic Journey
Saturday, May 25, 2013
"All travel is inner travel... our trip is very much a journey of self discovery and personal transformation." Joseph Dispenza, from "The Way of the Traveler."
At that moment, the sermon that I had just preached sunk in. I let go of my fear of travel, released the attachment to my fatigue and disability as controller of my destiny, and said “I can do this.” The next day I gave her a deposit to hold my room.
The day after that, I woke up happy.
"We go out to find and recover that which has been lost, or that has been missing in our lives." - Joseph Dispenza
Next: Part 2: After the Call is Answered
Saturday, March 23, 2013
I've struggled with MS for over 27 years, one-half of my life, and have seen breakthroughs in treatment options. I am benefiting from one of the recently-approved MS disease modifying therapies, and hope to be able to actually walk in the walk this year.
But there is still more to do. These therapies are not cures, and don't repair existing damage to our brains or spinal cords.
To make a tax-deductible contribution via credit card, go to MY WALK PAGE and select "Donate to Joan." Let me know if you prefer to donate by check, and I'll send you a self-addressed stamped envelope.
Any donation of any amount will be greatly appreciated. Even small donations make a difference.
Thank you and Wobble on!
Friday, March 15, 2013
Katie Brind’Amour, MS, is a Certified Health Education Specialist. She is a freelance health and wellness writer for sites such as Healthline.com and WomensHealthcareTopics.com. In her spare time, she’s chipping away at a PhD in Health Services Management and exploring the food and cultural scene of Columbus, Ohio.
Use YouTube advice to get a handle on bladder control problems. These Pelvic Control Tips
offer viewers five strategies for keeping it in. By doing exercises daily, you can both prevent some bladder problems and improve symptoms you may already have.
Written by Katie Brind'Amour
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
We've partnered with Ruby Tuesdays restaurants in the Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania tri-state area for a big fundraiser this year on March 12, 2012.
Print out this coupon: COUPON
Then take it to your favorite Ruby Tuesdays for lunch or dinner, and 20% of your bill will be donated to our team. This is a part of MS Awareness week in March.
Six Ruby Tuesdays locations in Delaware:
- 928 Bear Corbitt Road (off Rt. 40), Bear, DE
- 474 West Main Street, Middletown, DE
- 4737 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE (Concord Mall)
- 4732 Limestone Rd., WIlmington, DE (Pike Creek)
- 719 Christiana Mall #607-A, Newark, DE
- 19340 Lighthouse Plaza Blvd., Rehoboth Beach, DE
As we say, "Wheeler's Wobbler but we don't fall down, thanks to your support!"
Friday, January 11, 2013
Friday, December 14, 2012
Fatigue is a symptom so difficult to explain (but Laurie does a good job), and a problem that I've had for so long that I no longer remember what it was like to be without it. My new normal, I guess.
Read her post at this link:
Sunday, December 9, 2012
MS and Me – A Retrospective
I wake up one morning after a refreshing night’s sleep, fumble to find my glasses, stand up and walk to the bathroom for a morning shower. After dressing I joke with my sweetheart at breakfast and drive to work. I walk from the car to my desk, greeting people on the way in. I tease some guys because the Steelers had won their last football game and they are Baltimore Ravens fans. I check voice messages and e-mails, and then meet with my manager and the financial people, pouring over some challenges in the budget. I write a weekly report and draft subcontract agreements. I review new procedures for status reviews. An hour later, I am slouching in my chair. I can’t concentrate on my work and have trouble speaking and thinking clearly. When I try to walk to the printer, my leg is tingly and weak and I am unsteady so hold on to the walls to get back to my desk. I feel like heavy weights are pressing down on every part of my body and it is difficult to move or see or walk or comprehend anything that people say to me. I grab my fold-up cane that I leave in my drawer for times like this and leave work early while I can still drive. I manage to open a can of Vienna sausages to eat and, in a state of extreme exhaustion, lay down on the couch for the rest of the day and night. I’ll try life again tomorrow. Maybe it will be better.
Oh don’t worry, it’s okay. I’m used to it.
The First Attack – 1986
The year was 1986 and the US was still in the Cold War with the Warsaw Pact nations so the Russians were the bad guys. I was married and living with my husband and our dog in a duplex in Severn, Maryland, a small home with no basement but a wonderful back yard. The space shuttle Challenger had exploded in January, the worst nuclear disaster had occurred in Chernobyl, Russia, in April. Halley’s Comet was in the sky, and Reagan and Bush (Senior) were in the White House. Corey Aquino had won election in the Philippines. Top movies were Top Gun, Crocodile Dundee, Star Trek 4, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. 1700 people died in Cameroon from toxic gas that bubbled up from a quiet volcanic lake. A postal employee gunned down 14 employees and himself, thus starting the term “going postal” for someone about to lose control in a big way.
I had been out of the Air Force for five years and was working for RCA in Hanover, Maryland, and my desk was in the basement of a Department of Defense agency in Ft. Meade. My desk was a steel gray monstrosity jammed up against two other desks all in one row. We were so crammed in the small office that some employees had to get up out of their seats to open their drawer. I started with RCA as a computer operator working shift work on one of the first computer systems that used networked ‘mini’ computers. Mini computers, which were the size of coat closets, were new, and the idea of networking nine together to process data was a unique concept. I had moved from computer operator to configuration manager where I was responsible to ensure that the computer code was baselined, changes tracked and documented, and tested before being put on a live mission system.
One day, I felt just a little light headed. I didn’t think much about it, but it lasted for a few days. Because I worked in a Government building I was allowed to go to their medical center. I took a break one day at the urging of co-workers and ventured to the first floor med center and waited my turn to see a doctor.
Two doctors walked into my room and as they talked to each other I suddenly flashed back to Germany where I was stationed as a Czech linguist with the Air Force. I didn’t have a television so listened to Armed Forces Radio Network for entertainment. Once a week, we heard old radio shows like Mystery Theater (with “The Shadow”) and comedy shows including Burns and Allen and the "Bob and Ray-dio Show" featuring two guys who were pretty clueless and silly and very funny.
After listening to these two doctors banter for a few minutes, I was convinced that “Bob and Ray” were seeing me. With only asking me what was wrong, one looked up my nose and said, “Oh that’s your problem.” Then they started bantering again. They gave me antihistamines and sent me off scratching my head, wondering about the quality of medical treatment for the nation’s defense department employees who were keeping the US safe from those pesky Communists.
The antihistamines did not make me feel better, and the lightheadedness turned into full dizziness. Much of the next few months are fuzzy because I became so dizzy and sick, but I remember being on the phone with Mom and crying about not being able to eat. I was alone because my husband, Tom was working for the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab collecting and analyzing telemetry from missile firings, and was working in Florida. Next thing I knew, Mom and Dad had driven from home in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, to stay with me. I remember Mom fixing me a sandwich with tomato, and it tasted so sweet!
I later went to a (real) doctor who referred me to a neurologist. By this time, I was in really bad shape and unable to work. I called the neurologist’s office for an appointment and the receptionist said that I couldn’t see the doctor for two months. I don’t know what I said but she replied, “Oh you sound really bad. I’ll try to get you in sooner.” I have vague memories of a CAT scan, where they injected me with some contrasting material that made me shake uncontrollably. Fortunately, Mom was there with me. No conclusive findings from the CAT scan led to an EEG. The results of the EEG were abnormal, showing that my central nervous system had gone berserk. The doctor said that either I had a virus that was attacking my CNS, or my CNS was fighting a virus. End result was a Dramamine patch that I put behind one ear.
Mom and Dad eventually went back home to Greensburg – Dad had to work and my youngest sister was still in high school. But I still could not work and ended up on disability for two months. I could not see well and I couldn’t sit up or stand. But I could lie outside on a chaise lounge and watch the birds. My neighbor would periodically check on me and bring me birdseed. I would then hang on to the fence and struggle to fill the bird feeder, then crawl back to my lawn chair and watch more birds.
Although memories from that time are jumbled, missing, or confused, I do remember Dad building a trellis. I had a tiny planter and wanted a little trellis for roses but Dad took two days to design and build a huge trellis with a shelf that spanned the entire length of the patio. It was beautiful and withstood a number of hurricanes!
I also remember lying on the couch watching TV and, because of the Chernobyl incident and the Cold War and the 41st anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the nation was paranoid about the Russians nuking us. There were lots of horrific nuclear holocaust movies and shows and documentaries. Watching those shows all day and not being able to stand up or go to work and spending a lot of time alone caused me to become severely depressed. I remember my husband Tom’s reaction: “Well then, just buy a gun and kill yourself now.” He had no idea how close I was to doing just that.
It was a few more months before I was able to function normally. But I did have some side effects that stayed with me for many months. I developed a tremor. Whenever I looked down at my feet I would experience a shock that ran from my neck to my feet. I had lost memories. These eventually subsided. Mostly.
One year later, Annette Funicello will start to experience MS symptoms. I won’t be paying attention, though, because I have no reason to. Or so I thought.
THIS STORY CONTINUES HERE
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Saturday, July 7, 2012
Welcome new baby!
Baby # 2 asking, "Is it safe to come out?"
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Missy Franklin Makes USA Olympic Swim Team!
Missy Franklin, MSAA's Swim for MS Ambassador,
is now an official member of the 2012 USA Olympic Swim Team and
will be competing in seven events - the most ever for a US female
swimmer - in the London 2012 Olympic Games!
During the USA Olympic Team Trials in Omaha, Nebraska this past week,
Missy competed in four events, including:
Missy's time of 2:06.12 in the 200m backstroke was the fastest time
in the world this year!
Over the next four weeks Missy will be practicing with the US Olympic
Swim Team in preparation for the Games of the XXX Olympiad from
London, which begin on July 27 with the Opening Ceremony and
conclude with the Closing Ceremony on Sunday, August 12.
MSAA will be posting all of the dates and times of Missy's races when
they become available.
MSAA, we are encouraging volunteers to
host a Swim for MS Pool Party
leading up to or during the Olympics.
Be sure to take pictures or videos and post them to MSAA's Facebook,
Twitter, or YouTube pages!
The Swim for MS Pool Party is an offshoot of MSAA's popular
Swim for MS program.
The Pool Party is a one-day event volunteers host in their
own backyard or community pool.
To begin to plan their
Swim for MS Pool Party,
volunteers first select a date,
then select an activity - such as
cannonballs, swimming laps, or
even a game of Marco Polo -
and collect pledges from
friends and family for the
Sign up today by visiting msaapoolparty.org.
Once again, go Missy Franklin!
Pick a Date,
Join the Party,
100 Days to Make A Difference!
Call or go online to learn more and register your own
Swim for MS Pool Party:
The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America exists to enrich the
quality of life for everyone affected by multiple sclerosis.
Copyright 2012 - Multiple Sclerosis Association of America
National Headquarters · 706 Haddonfield Road · Cherry Hill, NJ 08002