Demanding job--what to do?

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Demanding job--what to do?

Postby BBen » Sat Oct 31, 2009 9:01 pm

Hi everyone,

I'm in my mid-twenties and have recently been diagnosed with RRMS. I run a political campaign and I'm worried about what effect MS/meds will have on my position. Further, I'm worried what effects my position will have on my MS.

My job demands frequent 12-hour days and 6-day weeks and is a major source of stress in my life. I have yet to start on what I imagine will be Rebif (Copax is still in the running) and I'm even more concerned about how I'll deal with those side-effects. I haven't yet told my boss or coworkers of my diagnosis- still trying to figure out how.

I am next-to-certain my last episode was directly related to a very busy work weekend with lots of stress, lots of walking, and the summer heat. My feet began numbing the next day, and spread up my legs within a few days. As we enter into another campaign year, I'll have dozens of those weekends in my future.

As with many other folks on this great forum, my job is so important because it provides me with a paycheck and solid health coverage. But what if it is making me sick? And if I already have stress, and know it will get worse in the coming months, do I even dare get on a medication that is known to increase anxiety?

Anyone else out there dealt with this or have suggestions? Thanks. B
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Postby Bubba » Sat Oct 31, 2009 10:05 pm

Welcome BBen..... Like you, I have a highly stressful, physically demanding job (Law Enforcement). I to, depend on it for the money and health insurance. I can just imagine, most of us are in the same position. Only difference is, I am in my early forties. I don't know, but I would think the physical part of the job shouldnt aggrivate the MS, but rather, keep your body in shape; so to speak. Now I highly believe that stress is a huge factor. When I get stressed real bad at work, it seems to bring on symptoms. I am lucky, as the Rebif side effects are non-existant with me, I tolerate it well. As for letting my job know about my condition? I keep it to myself, VERY tough to do on some days, but I push through them somehow, effectively hiding it so far from my supervisors and the public.
In short, all you can do is try not to freak out, take one day at a time, and cross each bridge as it comes to you. You will know when the time is right and necessary to reveal your situation to others. There is no right or easy answers to this sh!t.... :?
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Postby BBen » Sun Nov 01, 2009 8:32 am

Thanks, Bubba. Helpful advice. I agree--stress is a huge factor. You've gotta have quite a bit of stress, too, given the fact that you're in law enforcement. I guess if you can work that job every day without relapses, I should be able to as well. I'll try to tough it out because of the reasons we talked about ($, insurance), but I am pretty worried it's going to make me sicker. One day at a time... I like that.
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Postby lyndacarol » Sun Nov 01, 2009 8:54 am

Welcome, BBen--I can tell already that you will be a great asset to ThisIsMS.

Here you will find a set of individuals with very individual ideas! My own surround a core belief that excess insulin is fundamental to MS.

But there are generally accepted ideas we all can share -- one of those is that stress complicates the MS condition. Although I am not a scientist, my own interpretation is that stress causes the body to produce more cortisol (a glucocorticoid),which triggers the pancreas to secrete more insulin.

Please join in and share your ideas here, too.
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Postby patientx » Sun Nov 01, 2009 12:02 pm

I can tell you that stress can bring on symptoms for me, usually manifesting itself as burning pain, mostly in my arm. As the stress goes away, this will usually subside. Twice since my diagnosis (about a year now), I was given a deadline at work that I didn't think I would make, and was told the date would not move. I just sucked it up and dealt with the symptoms best I could. I also took large doses of vitamin B, but I can't say for sure if this helped or not.

On the question of medicines, I can tell you that Copaxone doesn't really have any side effects that would affect your job. You might get some pain for a while after injecting, but this won't last long. Now, whether the medicine does anything or not is another question.
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Postby Bubba » Sun Nov 01, 2009 8:05 pm

"X" reminded me of something. I have NEVER taken vitamins in my life, heck, I ate good, real good, thought that was good enough. However, JL (TIMS Member) got me on a regiment of vitamins. I have been on them solid, everyday for about three months now. I cant tell you if they are doing any good, but I can tell you this..After about three weeks of being on them, I started feeling a whole lot better overall. Vitamin D is one of the ones I take probably more than I need of, I think its like 1200iu a day. Coinsidence? I dunno... I think its the vitamins. here is what I take:
vit D
Vit B complex
vit C
vit A
zinc
magnesium
potassium
1 asprin (supposed to help with energy)
(and one of them vit's has calcium in it)
It sounds like alot, but really, it's not. Especially given the outcome. I know it cant hurt anyway.
Now about the stress... Seems to me (I may be wrong) that you are in the initial "Shock and Awe" the "whats gonna happen and what do I do now" worry stage. To me that is more stress than most need to handle. Talk to your neuro, get him to give you a little "somethin-somethin" to help you out, like prozac. No, that doesnt mean your crazy, however you would be suprised at how it will help your mind out. I did it for about two months. I think I would be in a nut house had I not. Of course, I resisted it when he offered them to me. I was thinking, I can handle this, no problem. Well I tried them, and what a relief it turned out to be. It will help you settle your mind down, and get your thoughts straight so you can educate yourself. Personally, I cant get enough info crammed into my fat head about this crazy azz condition!
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Postby Bubba » Sun Nov 01, 2009 8:13 pm

BBen wrote: You've gotta have quite a bit of stress, too, given the fact that you're in law enforcement. I guess if you can work that job every day without relapses, I should be able to as well.


I also wanted to say, we all have stress in everything, mine isnt any worse, just a little different. I learned how to cope with it. As far as the relapses, not having any major ones, I dont think that it has anything to do with "pushing yourself", vit, crabs, ect... Relapses are gonna happen, I think no matter what you do. I can tell you that as far as dealing with stress, for me, things that used to piss me off and were a big deal, are no longer important or big deals. Just prioritize your stressors, and take it "one day at a time"...
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Postby jay123 » Mon Nov 02, 2009 6:07 am

Ben -
couple of things for your life with MS -
-Make sure you don't ever let your health ins lapse
-any loans you take pay for the disability ins, most don't ask too many questions about health
-always take as much long term disability as you can, typically group policies will accept you.

Now the next part is take a look at the CCSVI thread. Before you have a lot of MS damage you might seriously want to take a look at checking in to the procedure...

Good luck
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Postby BBen » Mon Nov 02, 2009 10:51 am

Thanks for the pointers guys. X, I'm with you on Copax--I've heard a lot of people say the side effects are low, but does that come with the catch that it's not as effective as the Interferons... that's the question.

Bubba, vits are the way to go. Nice list, thanks. I'll be sure to get on those. My neuro only recommended D, but I like your recommendations more. I've heard that fish oil helps a lot with mood and keeping things at least fairly normal upstairs. But maybe something a bit stronger would be good, especially when I get on Rebif (where I'm leaning now). It is kind of that crazy "what do I do now, what's the next 6 months gonna look like" phase. Life's complicated enough, then something like this gets thrown in your lap! For me, it's the reality of having to settle down, make sure I have a job with health ins--not something I would have chosen for myself at this point. But none of us would.

Anyway, thanks again for the advice. I realize that I'd be shooting myself in the foot if I quit my job, so I'll try my best to soldier through it, one day at a time.
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Postby Sawdoggie » Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:15 pm

Not everyone has trouble with the interferons. I started Betaseron in May and had very little in the way of side effects. I'm not even sure I had any of the flu like symptoms and so forth that I heard about. I did take an Alieve when I did the shot for a couple of weeks as advised but discontinued this and didn't notice anything different. I chose beta as my neurologist thought it would be the best fit for my profile and I liked the fact I didn't need to refrigerate it as I do travel a bit. I have my own company, business is marginal at best right now, and the thought of losing my health insurance is always in the back of my mind, especially considering I'll hit my yearly deductible by February next year on the meds alone. With two kids (one born a week before my diagnosis), the stress of owning a business, and let alone the stress of being diagnosed with MS it all seemed overwhelming last spring when all of this hit. So far, luckily, MS really hasn't changed anything in my life so far besides that I eat a lot healthier, work out more, and do a lot of internet research on topics that I didn't know existed a year ago. When I was diagnosed, I started to go through a variation of what some would call the five stages of grief. Work actually helps me as I get to focus on something else and the stress of it all is actually somewhat envigorating as it keeps things interesting. It is a shitty diagnosis in which everything that you envision for the future is suddenly up in the air. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. There are some things that we have to deal with, do everything we can to influence the outcome, and at the same time, and adjust as neccesary. It is kind of like a political campaign when you think about it!
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Postby Miss_Feisty » Sat Nov 21, 2009 12:40 am

I am next-to-certain my last episode was directly related to a very busy work weekend with lots of stress, lots of walking, and the summer heat. My feet began numbing the next day, and spread up my legs within a few days.


Yes I've walked in these shoes. Stress was an understatement and the reality of my body failing was not on my list. I put my mindset as "I don't have time or room for ms in my life". Well it's been a few years since my diagnosis. What I know now, is different than what I knew then.

You learn to live differently, you learn to adapt. If the fire is hot, don't put your hand in it so to speak. If your body will co-operate with you, you will learn to manage your symptoms to enable your current career.

Prior to diagnosis, I took my body for granted, now I treat it as a separate entity from my mind. My brain says I want to do something or accomplish something, my body sometimes has other plans. So, I am in constant negotiation with myself. You learn to make compromises so you still can have successes, it's like any good relationship. :)

This sounds crazy of course, but your quote above shows you need to learn how to care for your body....don't walk as far without small breaks, stay cool in the heat with water or different lighter clothing. If you are working long days, take a nap at lunch time or sit with your eyes closed for a few minutes. Some days all I need is a 10 min shut eye every few hours to feel more alert. That is part of the compromise, the nap for the extra hours in the day.

Now the stress part.....stress is only our response to things we FEEL we have no control over. We may not have control over everything, but we always have control of SOMETHING. The more control you feel you have over your situation, the better you will feel mentally. I also agree with trying an antidepressant for short term use....they can help to calm the nerves enough to get by. Sometimes this is needed to survive.

Make a list of everything you are going to do to take care of yourself first and foremost. It is my experience that it is wiser to share your diagnosis than to hide it with co-workers. Some days they will notice something that is off and I would rather be accused of having ms than something less reputable ;)

My last two cents.... get in touch with your sense of humor. Really learn to laugh more. Laughter helps stress and it's great for the soul.

I'm certain you will enjoy spending time here at TIMS, it's a good place with wonderful supportive people.

All the best to you.


:)
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Postby Alica » Sat Nov 21, 2009 6:58 am

Hi BBen.

I’m getting B-12 injections almost weekly since June of this year. It takes away most of my tingling, burning, twitching, “needles and pins” and “creepy crawling” sensation. My pain and numbness is less noticeable. Most of all I’m getting a huge boost of energy. I feel like a healthy person most of my day. My doc said that B-12 is cheap and almost not toxic at all.

It's worth a shot!

Hang in there and good luck.
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Postby jimmylegs » Sat Nov 21, 2009 1:54 pm

hi ben i only just noticed this thread (the forum search does not pick up 'JL' or i would have caught it sooner!) i have attached my signature which provides some great nutrition resources for those with ms.

stress makes you pee out minerals like calcium and magnesium so don't neglect those... when i was early in my learning curve i didn't get why klenner would suggest magnesium... i later learned to regret not paying attention and have a great respect for magnesium today :)

mag's also critical for keeping the right amount of potassium in your blood - and potassium, with sodium, is what transmits signals along nerves from your brain to your body.

and, just to comment on the vitamin D thing, make sure you get D3 not D2, and research suggests a daily MAINTENANCE intake is 4000IU per day. your target serum 25(OH)D3 level should be in the 150 nmol/L ball park. if you have any questions fire away :)

JL
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Postby jimmylegs » Mon Nov 23, 2009 5:14 pm

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Postby sileshoes » Sat Nov 28, 2009 3:36 pm

I ran my own business for seven years and four of them with ms.I understand your worry but it is unfounded in my experience.I was very healthy for the last three years and had not had an episode in that time once i got my head around the diagnosis and got on with things.I only got ill again once i stopped working recently.So it just proves that a lot of it is in peoples heads and once you are busy but looking after yourself you should be fine!
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