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Jobs with MS - is a physically challenging job possible early on?

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    Jobs with MS - is a physically challenging job possible early on?

    Here's the thing. I was diagnosed with CIS about a month ago, and after a brain scan it's very likely that it's MS rather than a passing virus (which was the only other possibility - neuro did just do a test for NMO since this attack has been very severe, according to him, but it's not likely either). It's too early to do a spinal tap, but my neuro is starting me on meds now.

    My symptoms have not fully gone away, though they have improved massively after 3 rounds of high dose steroids. We're unsure if they'll completely recover, or if some degree of symptoms will be permanent.

    Before this attack started 6 weeks ago, I was planning on applying to get back into school next winter and hopefully start again the following fall. Currently, I work as a housekeeper (very physically intensive), but when I get back to school, I was going to go for vet tech.

    Is a job like this even possible with MS? Is it only possible early on? If the spinal tap does confirm MS in a few months, should I think about a different career path? I don't really see many people talking about physically laborous jobs - vet tech would be less laborous than what I do now, but still physically demanding.

    What do you guys do for work, how long have you had MS, and is it still possible to do your job without a lot of accommodations? Anyone in the medical field find it doable?

    #2
    Hi Ambicat and welcome!

    Everyone's course of MS is different and the outcome can be variable, but my advice to you is to not hold back on your dream! I was dx many years ago and there were so few drugs (and not as effective) available then. Now there is a whole host of newer ones with noticeably better efficacy rates. What DMT (drug modifying treatment) does your neuro have you on?

    I didn't have a physically demanding job but I worked with young children every day. It was challenging in different ways. Hopefully, someone with a more physically demanding job will weigh in here and share their experiences.

    Like I mentioned, go for it! You most likely will have many good years ahead! You might be disappointed if you didn't try

    Take care and good luck!
    1st sx '89 Dx '99 w/RRMS - SP since 2010
    Administrator Message Boards/Moderator

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      #3
      I recently met two people at my infusion center that do physical work. One is a police officer, one a carpenter.

      It is really hard to predict what type of career a person can have, primarily because we can't predict disease activity.

      But there are so many options available today, medicines that reduce relapses and delay progression, as well as symptom meds. I also think if you are in a professional you love, it adds so much value to your life, added positivity.
      Kathy
      DX 01/06, currently on Tysabri

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Seasha View Post
        Hi Ambicat and welcome!

        Everyone's course of MS is different and the outcome can be variable, but my advice to you is to not hold back on your dream! I was dx many years ago and there were so few drugs (and not as effective) available then. Now there is a whole host of newer ones with noticeably better efficacy rates. What DMT (drug modifying treatment) does your neuro have you on?

        Like I mentioned, go for it! You most likely will have many good years ahead! You might be disappointed if you didn't try
        My neuro has really wanted to get me on tecfidera, but insurance is refusing to cover it, so he's putting me on Copaxone (the only med they DO cover) while he appeals the Tec. He's also sending me to a specialized clinic for MS whenever they can get me in.

        I suppose if the work gets to be too much, I would still have career options with a vet tech degree for less physically active animal-related jobs. My biggest worry right now is whether or not the symptoms I'm having will fully resolve - he said it can take 3 months for an attack to dissipate sometimes, so it's too soon to tell. I definitely wouldn't be able to handle it if the balance issues and leg tremor never go away.

        I know I would regret not working with animals in some capacity, though.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by AmbiCat View Post
          He's also sending me to a specialized clinic for MS whenever they can get me in.
          This is good to hear and sounds like your neuro is taking a proactive approach.

          I suppose if the work gets to be too much, I would still have career options with a vet tech degree for less physically active animal-related jobs. My biggest worry right now is whether or not the symptoms I'm having will fully resolve - he said it can take 3 months for an attack to dissipate sometimes, so it's too soon to tell. I definitely wouldn't be able to handle it if the balance issues and leg tremor never go away.
          This is so true in that it can takes weeks/months for symptoms to resolve or lessen. December is 6 months away and hopefully, you will gain full recovery. Full or near full recovery happens to many of us.

          Glad to hear you have a back up plan in place with career options!
          I wish you wellness and a speedy recovery!
          1st sx '89 Dx '99 w/RRMS - SP since 2010
          Administrator Message Boards/Moderator

          Comment


            #6
            I repair fireplaces, less physical than housekeeping more physical than vet tech. I have had MS for 12 years now. So yeah it is possible.

            Of course everyone will have different progression so who knows.

            I will say that I used to do call center sales with basically no physical activity and my progression has improved since getting out in the field and doing stuff. I was a basket case and actually got so bad I applied for disability. After getting rejected and finding a new neurologist I am back at work doing something that a few years ago I would have never guessed a person with MS could handle.

            Don't let MS limit you go for what you want.
            Rise up this mornin, Smiled with the risin sun, Three little birds Pitch by my doorstep Singin sweet songs Of melodies pure and true, Sayin, (this is my message to you-ou-ou

            Comment


              #7
              I was DX'ed in 2001 or 2002 I always get that mixed up but that means 17 or 18 years ago. My initial attack left the entire left side of my body paralyzed. It took months to get back on my feet and years before I stabilized fully. I'll never be where I was before but I'm good. Since then,I've worked offshore and traveled across the country and internationally to do mechanical work in a marine and industrial setting. I work a full time job 70 miles away from the house, do all my own yard chores and am in the middle of a DIY home remodel project. I currently train Jiu Jitsu 2 nights a week (got 3 nights in this week, yes!) hit the gym consistently and run quite often (not as much as I'd like to but I got other things going on). Married, 2 pre-teen children.

              I say all that just to let you know that things are possible, even with MS. I've had one small flare and several lesions since onset but I don't let that stop me. Keep it going as long as you can and don't talk yourself out of anything because of what may happen. Give it all you got because you might not be able to one day.....carpe diem....

              I consider myself blessed. I know there are plenty of people that were delt this crappy hand, many worse than mine, I am one of many. To be honest to moves me. I do a lot of what I do because I can and there are people who can't, so I will. This won't stop me, not today. Tomorrow may be different, but today is mine.

              Eat good fuel, take care of yourself, rest when you need to and get after it when you can.
              The future depends on what you do today.- Gandhi

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                #8
                Hi ambicat,

                I had an appointment at a new doc - podiatrist for some issues with feet. We talked about MS some. He told me he knew of 3 docs with it, one a surgeon. All three diagnosed 15 plus years, all still working lots of hours.

                When I heard that, I thought of you and your career change question. Office docs may not be physically challenging, but surgery sure seems it.

                Hope you are feeling better.
                Kathy
                DX 01/06, currently on Tysabri

                Comment


                  #9
                  Hi ambicat,
                  I was diagnosed with Primary Progressive MS in late 2009. MS has torn my life apart. I was working as an Audio Visual equipment install tech in corporate offices and meeting rooms, universities, etc. I was working about 50 to 60 hours per week in 2008 and 2009. Even though I completed all of the projects, satisfactorily, according to my direct supervisor. I wasn't ever offered any chance of advancement or specialized training. Then, in 2009, I began to feel fatigue and other symptoms. it took about 1 year to get my MS diagnosis. Enough of my gripes.
                  I agree with those who suggest that you go on as long as you can push on. Just do so safely !
                  There is something that you wrote about having a lumbar puncture / spinal tap.
                  I'm not a neurologist but I don't think a spinal tap is needed to confirm a diagnosis of MS. There are clear procedures to make a diagnosis. If you aren't being treated by an MS specialist, you should find one. Good luck

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Be aware that the more effective MS drugs lead to immune compromise and working with animals could expose you to risk. So its not the physical labor that would worry me so much as the possibility of infection. Please do fight for a more effective MS drug as your therapy. The MS world is moving towards induction therapy instead of step therapy and ins. companies are slow to clue in. Induction therapy means hit it hard from the get-go. I would NOT opt for copaxone instead of a more efficacious drug with the goal of lowering my infection risk. I would go for the most efficacious drug possible to avoid loss of brain/ability. Time is brain. Check out Barts of London blog with professor Gavin.

                    This dx can also cause cognitive deficits so keep that in mind as well.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Wow, thanks for all the replies, guys! Been a while since I checked this thread.

                      It's nice to hear that some of you have very physically demanding jobs with this - makes me a little less scared of my future.

                      As for catching things from animals, it's much less risky than catching things from people. There aren't many things we can catch from them, and the worst (rabies), I have a ridiculously high titer to still, because I had a bad habit of picking up stray kittens when I was younger. The amount of booster shots I had (I had 13 shots my first time, and more on subsequent attempts!) meant that I'm pretty much protected for a very long time.

                      Thanks so much for the insight, guys!

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