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Fatigue and employment

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    Fatigue and employment

    Hi everyone!

    I am fairly new to being open about my MS as well as the diagnosis itself. I am hoping some of you have some advice for me along the lines of employment I'm able to do, if not, kind words and encouragement are always great.

    A little background on myself and my diagnosis: I am only 26 years old and was diagnosed with RRMS about two years ago when I was going to school for Biology, I was able to get my Associates degree but I don't see continuing my education as an option as the fatigue is crushing. When I was diagnosed I almost lost the job I had at a call center from calling out sick too often, I had to quit. Several months later I got a new job working for a bank but it was 40 hours a week I thought I could handle and the stress gave me severe panic attacks and depression that worsened my MS symptoms. My neuro recommended I find work elsewhere as this was too much stress.

    I then got a job part time in retail. This is when my fatigue became the most prevalent. I noticed I started having brain fog and couldn't keep up my pace with my peers and would make stupid mistakes over and over when I was exhausted. I struggled with multi tasking and my memory often. I got written up and warned multiple times. I left this job in fear of being fired as well. I would also like to note that with all three situations with my previous employers I did disclose my diagnosis and these employers did try to accommodate. It was the nature of the jobs themselves that didn't work out

    Overall since my diagnosis I have learned I am not able to work primarily on my feet as I lose feeling in my left leg and it worsens the fatigue. I am only able to work part time and I'm no longer able to handle much stress in a job. I haven't been able to keep a job since I was diagnosed and I feel like my MS keeps me from doing basically any job. I'm not able to handle stress like I used to and I have severe anxiety and panic attacks now.

    Since the retail job I am barely able to stay awake an entire day even while being unemployed. The fatigue is so intense that I am not comfortable driving myself when it arises. I also am not comfortable driving on medications I need for muscle spasms and vertigo. I would like a job from home that I am able to do at my own pace so I am able to lay down when I need to. I'm curious if you all have recommendations or suggestions. I am also curious how other people with this severe fatigue are able to keep meaningful employment, let alone get themselves to work!

    I am working with my state Vocational Rehab counselor and have also applied for disability. The VR services put a lot of the work on me and I am out of ideas as to what would accommodate me perfectly. I am hoping that disability works out and I am approved but I am afraid of the outcome. I've heard its tough for some people with MS to get. I want to keep working at least part time, as it's a financial necessity for me now especially with student loans and medical bills.

    I appreciate any advice from you guys

    #2
    Welcome!

    Sorry you are experiencing overwhelming fatigue. Many here have. Have you talked to your neuro about it?

    Aside from MS fatigue, medications can have it as a side effect. Depression can also cause it. It is a puzzle to figure out.

    There are some meds that are used to treat MS fatigue:. Amantadine, provigil, nuvigil, Adderall to name a few. I was on provigil for years. It did help. I finally reached a point where it helped clear my head a little bit, but did nothing physically. So I stopped.

    One of the things that actually helps per studies is exercise. It's hard to do when fatigued, but I know for me, it holds true.

    Have you had any neuropsychology testing? It can give a baseline for cognitive issues, but can also be used to identify areas of weakness, and by working with them, can help develop strategies to compensate.


    Lots of luck with the disability claim.
    Kathy
    DX 01/06, currently on Tysabri

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by pennstater View Post
      Welcome!

      Sorry you are experiencing overwhelming fatigue. Many here have. Have you talked to your neuro about it?

      Aside from MS fatigue, medications can have it as a side effect. Depression can also cause it. It is a puzzle to figure out.

      There are some meds that are used to treat MS fatigue:. Amantadine, provigil, nuvigil, Adderall to name a few. I was on provigil for years. It did help. I finally reached a point where it helped clear my head a little bit, but did nothing physically. So I stopped.

      One of the things that actually helps per studies is exercise. It's hard to do when fatigued, but I know for me, it holds true.

      Have you had any neuropsychology testing? It can give a baseline for cognitive issues, but can also be used to identify areas of weakness, and by working with them, can help develop strategies to compensate.


      Lots of luck with the disability claim.
      Kathy,

      Yes, I have spoke with my neuro about the fatigue. My fatigue feels like physical and mental exhaustion, my body just feels like it's shutting down entirely. She basically told me it is a common in people with MS and we could try a medication. However, my insurance wont cover those prescriptions so I'd need to pay out of pocket. I also am not entirely comfortable tacking on more medications to all of what I'm taking currently.

      I've been on the 44 mcg of Rebif three times a week for two years and still have some of the flu like symptom side effects. Then medication for that nausea, and some pretty heavy stuff for the vertigo and muscle spasms. I was also prescribed a medication for the panic attacks and anxiety. Maybe it's something I'll learn to get over but for now I'd rather limit how much medication I take. For now, if I'm able to nap when the fatigue hits it's working great for me. The only issue is finding a job that allows me to rest when I need to.

      You are so correct! It is a puzzle to figure out! All of MS is a puzzle, but it's definitely made life interesting. I will look into the neuropsychology testing and ask my doctor about it. I know I don't process things the way I used to anymore so thank you very much for that advice!

      -Jessica

      Comment


        #4
        Is there a small business near you that needs an office worker? Maybe a church or small school? They might have a part-time position in a less stressful environment.

        Comment


          #5
          Can you explore a different med? I take ubiquinol, PQQ and alpha lipoic acid which are supposed to help with the cog fog and energy. I know that starting exercise to combat fatigue is so very hard- took me a long time to find the energy just to start- but it does make a difference. Can you find a motivating goal - an MS walk or ride to train for? A pet that needs walking? If you can financially afford to do so, I would focus on getting the fatigue under control and then do the job search. Gentle exercise such as tai chi, yoga or qigong can help significantly. Basic meditation and affirmations rewire the brain for the good.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by jmoyer5214 View Post

            I've been on the 44 mcg of Rebif three times a week for two years and still have some of the flu like symptom side effects. Then medication for that nausea, and some pretty heavy stuff for the vertigo and muscle spasms.
            Jessica, the thing that popped out when I read this was the anti-nausea meds. I know when I was pregnant and used Zofran for my morning sickness, it knocked me out. I simply could not function, no matter how much I wanted to or tried--it's like you described, that I felt like my body was just shutting down. I would look closely at the side effects of that medication that you are on. Maybe it's time to talk to your Dr about a different DMD, one without the flu-like symptoms so you wouldn't have to take the anti-nausea meds?

            I definitely agree with the others who have mentioned office jobs. While it may be more mentally demanding, it's not physically challenging.

            But again, I would def look into adjusting your meds before just accepting this as "it's just MS." And if your neuro isn't interested in looking into that with you, then it's maybe time for a new neuro as well!

            Good luck and please keep us posted on how you are doing!

            Comment

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