“You don’t look disabled,” my doctor innocently pointed out after she signed my disability form for a travel discount I qualify for as an MS patient. “I don’t blame you. I’d take advantage of the discount, too.” I know I am not alone in the guilt that I feel when someone says, “you don’t look sick,” when discussing the financial benefits I receive for having multiple sclerosis.
MS took me out of my career at the top of my earning power and cut my income in half for five years. Then, I was forced off medical disability and into retirement at 49 years old, cutting my income to one-fourth of my former earnings – this is to say nothing of the additional costs incurred to manage a chronic illness.
MS is a neurological disease, and I don’t have to tell you that just because I look good today doesn’t mean anything. Tomorrow is uncertain. Yes, I look healthy now. I’m out Jeeping, filming my YouTube show, and going, going, going. The beauty of my situation is that I can take a payday when I need to, and no one notices because I’m just not around that day.
A side note: My doctor is a fantastic lady. I know she didn’t mean anything by her comment. She stated what she sees, and that’s what others see, too.
The decisions I make today will determine how I live tomorrow.
Think about it. If I overspend, I must conserve until the next payday or for months to pay off debt. If I overdo it, I may experience MS paydays – meaning I poked my MS dragon, and symptoms have returned. If I slack off, the work must be done. If I cause conflict, I live with the stress that befalls me and mine.
Understanding my limitations, I made decisions for my September Alaska trip to ensure the best possible outcome. I decided to spend more on my tickets to avoid long layovers, early flights, and arriving too late. I wanted to ensure I begin my trip on the right foot. I’m willing to risk a few down days to save money on the return trip, though. Balance. That’s what I strive for in my decision-making.
January 26, 2023 – MS News Today Podcast, interview with Jenn Powell
February 4, 2023 – Author Winter Festival – 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. author book signing, Park County Library, Cody, Wyoming
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