Living with M.S.

"Living with M.S. is sort of like training for a long race. The harder you try, and the longer you keep at it, the stronger you become.
Eventually, looking back, you may be amazed at the power you possessed, even when you had no idea it was within your reach." (Linda Ann Nickerson)


What if a spouse urges an MSer to file for disability?

Karly is in a pickle. Diagnosed 10 years ago with Relapse-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS), Karly still manages to juggle self-employment and a host of other commitments and interests.

The Missouri-based business-to-business promotional consultant runs three to five miles a day (at least five days a week). Now in her early 50s, Karly also runs a busy household, including parenting two ADD/ADhD teens. She also rides her young, spirited horse at least three times a week.

Karly self-injects daily with Teva’s Copaxone (glatiramer acetate), a multiple sclerosis medication.

She is fighting like crazy to stave off the MonSter.

And most days, Karly manages pretty well. Sure, she has nearly constant vertigo, intermittent vision problems, and frequent fatigue spells. Every week, she slugs through at least a couple of day-long migraine headaches, and several other nasty MS-related symptoms.

But Karly keeps on trying – with all she’s got.

Enter Karly’s husband. Approaching 65, Bill is eager to retire. He says he’d like to close his engineering business and focus on his golf game. But Bill is concerned about the family finances.

So Bill asks Karly to file for Social Security Disability. In fact, Bill has brought this up several times in the past few years.

Karly is scratching her aching head and trying not to cry – or scream.

In Karly’s case, it’s just plain premature.

Karly understands that many MSers legitimately qualify for disability benefits. They receive the payments, and they are entitled to it. That’s what disability is there for.

But she doesn’t. She’s not in that spot … at least, not yet.

“At least you can apply,” Bill says. “Maybe we’ll get it.”

Karly is hurt – seriously hurt.

The guy who vowed to be her life ally, instead of urging her to stand as strongly as possible against the dreaded MS MonSter, seems to want to make her wear a legal MS name tag and to profit from it.

Trying to be cooperative, despite her hurt feelings, Karly looks into the SS Disability application process. And she doesn’t come close to qualifying.

And the stress of this ongoing marital disagreement, coupled with Bill’s refusal to let it go, does not help Karly’s efforts to manage her daily life with MS.

Karly says she has no desire to attempt to defraud the federal government, beefing up an application to gain benefits for which she is not actually eligible. She doesn’t want to prevent others from gaining such benefits, if they really need them.

OK, Karly admits that she likely would have to call in sick at least once or twice a week, if she had an on-site, punch-the-clock sort of job. Some days the dizziness, fatigue, pain, tremors, vision issues, and other symptoms sideline her for real.

But, because she is self employed, she somehow manages, even if she occasionally has to reschedule a business appointment or two.

So Karly is in a pickle. And her head hurts even more.

What would you tell Karly to do? Her husband seems pretty persistent in demanding she apply for disability benefits for multiple sclerosis. But Karly is pretty sure she won’t qualify, and she is upset he is even asking, instead of encouraging her to keep fighting the MonSter.

What if a spouse urges an MSer to file for disability?
Created by this user,
including adapted public domain artwork

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