you are

You are an amazing person regardless of multiple sclerosis… yes, YOU!

I had an extremely difficult time watching my career come to an end. It was the last thing I ever thought would happen, so when it did I took it hard. I did all I could to hide my cognitive problems from others. I fumbled my way through each day knowing that life was changing yet refusing to acknowledge those changes.

As a computer programmer, I could meet any challenge thrown at me and beat it. I developed some amazing systems and was proud of my accomplishments. When multiple sclerosis came along and began disrupting those abilities, I didn’t like it one bit. I would try programming but just couldn’t get my brain to function.

I struggled with everyday things too like trying to remember if I had washed my hair while in the shower, so I would wash it again just in case or forgetting I had something in the oven even with a timer set. Who could burn a casserole with a wonderful smell filling the house and a timer going off? Me!!! So, to get confused looking at code, the very code I, at one time, could decipher in my sleep…that was devastating.

The day I made my decision to resign, I cried. Not just one tear either, a flood and an ocean of tears. I covered it up well, but my heart was broken. Having to walk away from my job made me feel like a failure.

It’s been close to four years now and I still miss my job. I find myself trying to do in depth programing from time to time, but I can’t seem to do it without a cheat sheet for even the simplest of tasks. I’m still smart, I’m still me…I’m still an amazing person.

I do my best to try and stay focused on the big picture. My career wasn’t who I was. It was only a small part of my life. I am so much more than the things I can do… and so are you. For some reason, we put our identity in things that don’t really determine who we are. You aren’t a chef, a fireman, a store clerk, or a nurse. You are an amazing, wonderful, strong, inspiring person who has a lot to give even in your weakest moments.

I know it’s scary, the unknown. “How will I? How can I? What about? What next?” I know, it’s terrifying to take a step forward when you can’t even see the road in front of you. But regardless of how you feel, I can tell you with confidence that you aren’t a failure, stupid or broken. You are a somebody…and being a somebody is the best thing anybody could ever be.

Oh, and another thing… you aren’t multiple sclerosis either. Don’t ever forget that! You are so much more!

MS Gets on My NervesMS WarriorMS Superhero


6 replies
  1. Janet Stanzel
    Janet Stanzel says:

    Life isn’t always easy and occasionally things like MS force us to make decisions we aren’t willing to accept like leaving a job that we enjoy.
    I haven’t worked in 6 years and was only 45 at the time. Too young for retirement so I chose the disability insurance route. It’s been a bit of a battle with insurance but MS will NEVER take away my spunk or fighter attitude!

  2. Rodger Ashton-Smith
    Rodger Ashton-Smith says:

    Thanks Penelope leaving work can be hard even after 19 years, but in a way I am pleased that I didn’t stay and damaged me or others.

  3. bunny
    bunny says:

    thanks ladies for sharing 😊.
    my scenario a little different but falls under context. was out of work for over 5 years. re-entered part time again. well the job was high volume, fast paced, time sensitive and real time– yikes!! but i kicked butt!! LOL
    i did it, did it well but it played havoc on me mentally physically and emotionally. had to resign after about 5 months. bummed BUT…now in my job search, my experience has helped me gauge where i’d like to be and what tasks i’d be comfortable doing and sustainable. tough pill to swallow when you can do the job, just not at the pace or truly as efficiently as you used it.
    i have turned it into a positive-i know i will feel better physically, emotionally and mentally “downsizing” tasks required in my next job. kind of looking forward to not having that level of responsibilities and pressure anymore.

  4. L Hayes
    L Hayes says:

    I can relate to this completely: having had symptoms as a teenager that were treated in isolation, it took five years to diagnose MS. By then my medical history had lost me the opportunity to serve in the Police Force – my dream job. I was then sidestepping and finding other ways of getting into fighting crime. I worked for a Solicitor and then finally got into the Police Force as a civilian – I had to be happy with this. I then landed the post of Crime Analyst where I could fight crime from behind the scenes – forensics, modus operandi, criminals and associates – great!! My MS kicked up a gear too and following a really bad relapse, the Force Doctor registered me unfit to continue in this role. I was devastated. I cried and cried. I changed roles a couple more times, but the excitement and adrenalin rush had gone. I started to get more stressed and my MS fed on that. I turned from a person who would never let MS control me to a person being controlled by professionals and colleagues who didn’t understand MS. I made the decision to retire after 15 years in the Force simply because I wanted some quality of life back, some time to do other things on my bucket list, before my health took a turn for the worst.
    Life can be cruel. After finishing work my health took a downward course to me being wheelchair bound today. I’ve lost friends. I have to watch the pennies, but I’m still here. I’m still me and I’m trying to remain as positive as possible. It’s almost 30 years since my diagnosis and 6 years since I retired. I miss my job every single day, but life still goes on. I’ve just had to ‘side step’ again and I still refuse to let my MS get the better of me.

  5. CatTor
    CatTor says:

    Making the decision to leave the job I loved was the hardest decision I had to make. I struggled with it for a long time and I cried off and on for a year….because I felt it was taken or robbed from me. When I finally cane to the conclusion that I could have another life, a different focus, I just had to let go and move on! And I had to let it be on my terms, not let MS control my next steps!


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