It’s MS awareness week. I’ll be wearing my orange. I will be making an effort to “Move It.” I will take the time to answer questions or help you look for answers to questions for which I have no answer.
It seems a lifetime ago that I was free of MS. But, at the same time, I feel very new to it. I was diagnosed officially on the day before Thanksgiving in November 2005. The intense search for answers began in February of that year, although, I had issues for three years prior to that. I am pretty typical in both the time it took to get a diagnosis (a total of three years), the sneaky progression, my age at the time of diagnosis (35) and my gender (female). I have also been very lucky in that, I have only had one relapse that put me down and I recovered from it quite well.
With that said, I would like to address one of the most distressing parts of MS. Ironically, it is not really a symptom or a cause of MS. But, it is a direct result of having a chronic disease and those with MS are just one of the millions who suffer with it. I am talking about healthcare, most specifically, insurance. I had great insurance while I was still in the workforce. My employer paid about 60% of the cost and I contributed the remainder from my salary. The process was pretty seemless and the insurance was both comprehensive and reliable. Funny, I didn’t need it much before the MS. Yes, I used it when I had the girls, but other than that, it was always just there. The, the MS showed up and insurance stepped right in. It paid for 3 MRI’s, a spinal tap, some crazy electrical thing to my muscles, numerous nuero visits, a second opinion and finally disease modifying drugs. That was before the relapse that knocked the wind out of my sails. That relapse caused me to reevaluate the stress in my life (stress can trigger a relapse…it’s thought). The job I worked at was high stress and I loved it, but it was not the best for my health or for my family who wanted me around and helpful, not helpless. So, I left my job. Yes, I did this of my own accord. I could have continued to work. I could have had to continue to work, but I didn’t. Once Cobra is up, I will be out on the open market looking for insurance. The one good thing is that I now cannot be denied in TN. Any insurance company writing in TN will have to allow me to purchase insurance. However, they may charge whatever they feel necessary. I now find myself in that odd place fo being the one who needs the very thing that is so hard to get when I used to be the one who had something, but barely needed it.
I am not sure what the answer is for healthcare/insurance reform in this country. I know I am not the only one in this type of situation. You can turn on the TV any day and hear a story just like mine. I’d love to hear what others think about this issue. It’s MS Awareness wekk….I will try not to wear my feelings on my sleeves and have an open dialogue with any who care to engage.