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  • hachi

    Hello, I am brand new to this, so please help if you can. I currently work at the mall, which means constant standing, and it's finally to the point where I need to look at other options. My current boss is understanding, but it would be better for both of us if I leave (sales on my part affect how the company views both of us). So my question is, what jobs have worked for you? Where you can walk in, with a cane, and not have to explain it to everyone? Again, thanks for your input and advice Josh

  • Kris_Employment_Mgr
    Hi Josh,

    I am sorry that you are having difficulty at your job, but I am glad that you are exploring your options and reaching out for help.

    Let's approach your question from a different direction, though.  You are not just a person with MS.  You are a person with a unique combination of training, skills, interests, abilities, and experiences.  In addition, MS can impact people in various ways.  One person might experience primarily cognitive symptoms while another might experience primarily mobility symptoms, for example, which can mean very different job options.  Realistically, there are some jobs that likely are going to be harder than others to maintain with MS.  But as for your specific situation, you will want to look at what jobs you are qualified to do first.  Then from that list of jobs, look at which ones will most likely be able to accommodate your symptoms. If standing is a problem, which jobs - that you are qualified to do - are more likely to be performed seated?   

    As for walking into a job with a cane: it is likely people will have questions about it. That is where it is important to know your rights so you can distinguish what you need to tell from what you want to tell from what you feel obligated to tell based on questions from others. Several of the earlier posts talk about your rights and responsibilities under laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Family and Medical Leave Act, and you can read more here:

    Some people choose to disclose their disability right away, particularly when it's visible, so they don't waste time trying to work for a company that won't support them.  Keep in mind, you are not obligated to do so unless you need accommodation for the hiring process, though.  There are pro's and con's to disclosure (see more information about that in the link above as well), and you'll want to think about that ahead of time so you can practice how you want to answer questions that may be uncomfortable or even possibly illegal.

    Finally, once you have looked at what jobs seem to be a good fit for your individual needs, and once you have learned about your rights and responsibilities in regard to discussing your MS, you can do research on specific companies to gleen information about whether they support a diverse workplace.  Do they have diversity statements on their company website?  Do you know whether people with disabilities work there?  Do they participate in any disability awareness activities?  Are you using your network to learn about what it is like to work there?  Your network can really come in handy here to give you information about whether a company has a positive attitude about diversity.

    I hope this will help you get started.  Best wishes to you Josh!


    Kris Graham
  • quiltermidge

    Kris, In January 2014 I was  diagnosised with Primary Progresive MS and I have just turnd 50years old. The neurologist I saw  was amazed that I was still working due to the amount of deficiets I have. I am a Working Emergency Room nurse manager, working 50% management days and 50% charge  staff nurse taking care of patients. I have balance issues where I just fall down and have had several injuries requiring hospitalizations, my family telling me that I needed to pay attention more. I have gait issues, and moderate to severe left sided upper and lower extremety weakness, with mild on the right. I developed  speech difficulty, word searching ,distractibility, and memory issues, in December. In January I started falling so much I could no longer hide it-fell six times in 4 days at work, I was seen falling and the lat fall I ended up falling at the nurse station and had to be seen in the ER. I was not allowed to come back until I was cleared by a Dr.  So on January 10th I recieved my diagnosis.  The fatigue had become overwhelming also. I have many demylinating lesions in my brain.

    I have been recieveing IV infusions, meds, rest, and numerous testing.  My doctor and I discussed if I would ever be going back to work.  He feels I will be able to work in some capacity but safety is a big issue as I never know when I will fall. I do not get dizzy, and I do know I am falling tillI have fallen and hit the floor so I do not catch myself-kinda fall like a tree would.  My cognative testing shows a "short memory shelf "- and alot of distractibility and concentration problems. I can remember 3 steps out 4 or 5 for instance.  I thought I was just not paying attention but I guess its the short shelf thing.  I am able to do simple math but transposed numbers on the test. I have always been great at trigonomtry and algebra and use specific formulas for the last 27 years to calculate medication doses but cannot figure out how to do it now. I had 2 recent medication errors that I felt awful about.  

    I am not sure i am safe to go back to work. I know my days as staff nurse are over, but i may be able to do the management part if adm. would allow it. My job description is both so they may not allow it. I worry about the stress of managing an ED, and the nature of the criticalness of patients,  and the stress level and in times of need helping out even though I shouldn't . my husband of course wants me to go back in the same role, asap. I have to drive 40 min to and from, plus most days end up being  9 -10 hours instead of eight. 

    I went to the link you supplied above and read some great information. I am not making to much headway in the symptom department with the treatments- my head feels clearer, I dont seem to be word searching as much, my handwriting is difficult, my thinking is a little better. My mobility problems not changed much use  cane for now and am in a recliner much of the time.  What accomodations would there be for me in order to continue working. I really do not think they will spilt my job to just management and that would be there right correct? I am so worried about what to do or ask for - the DR says he will make a decison on the 31 st of this month. How do I know if i qualify for a longer disability and I dont even know what that long term disability means? I work in PA and they say my FMLA is up 4/13/14 and thats all the longer they need to hold my job. I just need some guidance. I would appreciate any sites I could look at of advice. Thank you Marjorie Milliken

  • maria1
    hachi, Kris wrote a good answer for you. And I would like to add my two cents.

    Liking what you do is important. The last job i had I took a 75percent cut in salary to work close to home and I hated every day I went to work. So besides being poorer I was unhappy and that made things worse.

    If you enjoyed sales would you consider an online sales position? Lots of people work from home. Or do you prefer face to face work. Is sitting for hours going to be a problem?

    So, the physical environment best suited for you is a way to go. When I finish this note I shall go online and see what jobs for us less able are available to see what it all looks like. I have not worked since 97 so it is a new workforce environment.

    Whatever you choose, make sure it is a job that will always allow you to do you best so you will always maintain your work ethic and skill, giving you much satisfaction and self respect.maria

  • hachi
    Thanks for the info, I will keep it in mind (I thought I had already commented, oh well) Josh
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    You know your projects stand out of the herd. There is something special about them. It seems to me all of them are really brilliant!

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