This can be a touchy subject, but a very important one for me. I have reshaped my life many times for various reasons. In all cases it required the words, “I can”. To learn what I could do, to learn to promote what I could do, on jobs, in every day life. I entered adulthood with a background of a seventh grade education, inner city projects, and a street life. Those circumstances will tell you that your not smart, and there is a whole lot of, “You can’t”. I learned the opposite. The way I learned though is a paradox. I learned that “I can’t, but He can.” I learned to use a Higher Power and I got my GED which I didn’t need to study for and I passed, raised two children, not perfectly, but they turned out well, so not badly either, completed 64 college credits, most of them with an A, most important, I learned how to be a part of the community at large and how to contribute to it. Then I got sick. I didn’t have a sick history at all. I was 42 when I got whammed with this.
I had no choice but to file for disability. I answered the questions with all “I can do” this and “I can do” that. I was counseled that I will not get disability that way. You need to answer those questions with what you can’t do. I had worked so hard to learn to think in terms of what I could do, but for this I had to speak the opposite. It hit me in the gut. I was alone with two young children depending on me, I had no choice, I couldn’t hold a job as sick as I was. But this hurt my soul more than anything. I was put on temporary disability for three years, good thing too. After the operation on my neck. I got Social Security’s “Ticket to work” which helps you prepare to leave disability. I went to college, I got my, “Can do” attitude back. You want to talk about gratitude, the opportunity to go to college, on loans and later scholarships, was a far off place not possible for me at one time. And here I was, college and killin’ it!
Then I got slammed with a major MS attack that went a year undiagnosed in the cognitive section of my brain. Suffice it say, I had to drop out and I had to speak the “I can’t” language again. I was put on permanent disability. I moved back to Canada where I suffered several more attacks and another operation on my neck. I needed to apply for disability here, “I can’t” language ever deeper grooved in me. I still received social security, but it is almost half less what I get here for disability. What they do is deduct my US disability and I get the difference. I am working to change my language to the, “I can” language in preparation for a life off disability. I’ll be honest, is it possible? I don’t know. The plan is to at the end of a year on Wahls Protocol assuming my health will continue to get better, I will enter into, on the US side, “Ticket to work” and here, they have a similar program. These programs give you a safety net, so that you can try working full time and if it ends in disaster, you’ll still be on disability. And if you successfully wean off of disability and say one year and nine months later you get hit with a MS attack that puts you out of work, the hoops are not as high (they say) to be reestablished on disability.
Does that say that I should’ve never been on disability, that it was a mistake. Of course not, it saved my life. I had no choice. But, with it does come the necessity to think the, “I can’t” language, which hurts the soul. I’m relearning, “I can.” Because the Wahls Protocol is showing me that there is hope for me. That these diagnoses are not incurable, they can be managed well enough for me to even have a full life. That its not too late. God help me on my journey. Because…….