Multiple Sclerosis Becomes Counselor's Asset
During most of the '70s, Kathe Skinner, now a 65-year-old licensed marriage family therapist in Colorado Springs, Colorado, couldn't figure out what was wrong with her body. It wasn't working right.
Her physical difficulties led to many hospital stays and caused friction between her and her husband. They eventually divorced. Part of their relational difficulties had come about due to her having bouts of depression. She even spent time in a psychiatric hospital after doctors thought her symptoms were all in her head.
Finally, she lucked upon a diagnosis. Skinner said, "One day, I was in a swimming pool and the water felt warm to my right leg and cool to my left. I thought that was weird and called my neurologist, who eventually (with that and other information) was able to make the diagnosis."
She had multiple sclerosis (MS), a central nervous system disease that disrupts the communication between her brain and other parts of her body. In general, MS can cause muscle weakness in the extremities, balance and coordination problems, and, sometimes, cognitive impairments.
Today, Skinner has had MS more than 40 years. She said, "My symptoms have gotten worse, of course. Right now, what is very, very bothersome to me is my balance is so off. I fall a great deal. I just can't wear shoes with heels."
She mentioned one counseling session with a brain injury client in which, due to her MS balance problems, she tripped in her office and fell headfirst into the client's lap. They both had a good laugh over it. She said her clients have been "extremely accepting" overall of her physical challenges.
In some ways, having MS has benefited her counseling work: "For example, I had a young male client who (on his first counseling visit) had a great deal of anxiety," she said. "I always disclose in writing to new clients that I have MS. When the client read about it, he said, 'Sorry, I can't work with someone who is broken.' I was stunned and very hurt. I told him to sleep on it and we could talk about it next session. He did come back and his anxiety left after a couple months. The last thing he said to me was he was glad we'd worked together. He said he realized (through my MS) that he wasn't the only one who was broken, which was profound."
LittleGiantFudge.com and Palmer Bus Service make this column possible.
Daniel J. Vance is a licensed professional counselor and national certified counselor from Vernon Center, Minn. His weekly newspaper column Disabilities has been published in more than 260 newspapers.
Daniel J. Vance may be reached at www.danieljvance.com
Placer County News Headlines6 Arrested in Marijuana and Cockfighting BustDuring the execution of the search warrant on 28th Street and Angus Way, Deputies discovered a large scale Marijuana grow of approximately 950 plants and 200 pounds of processed marijuana
Roseville Crime Report Digest Update (7.7.15)Roseville weekly crime report digest update for July 7, 2015.
Sports Complex in Roseville Seeks Operations DirectorPlacer County, CA - Placer Valley Sports Complex, Inc. has started a nationwide search to hire a Director of Sports Complex Operations
Placer County Camping Ban Begins August 6thThe Placer County Board of Supervisors took final action today to adopt an ordinance that will prohibit camping on most county-owned properties beginning Aug. 6.
Lake Francis: Family Friendly GetawayIf a little R&R is on your mind, look no further than the tiny, but enjoyable Lake Francis Resort tucked away in the quiet community of Dobbins, CA.
Rocklin Crime Report Digest Update (7-6-15)Rocklin, CA - Weekly crime report summary and digest update in Rocklin, CA.
Roseville Gas Prices: Find the Best DealsRoseville, CA - Finding the best deals on gas in Roseville is always one click away.
Free Spay and Neuter for all Placer County CatsRoseville, CA -With the arrival of hot summer weather, an increasing number of homeless kittens are arriving at area animal shelters
2016 Acura MDX retains luxury appeal2016 Acura MDX: Now in its seventh year of production by Honda's luxury division, the Acura MDX is one of many midsize luxury crossover sport utility vehicles
50 Days of the Grateful Dead: Estimated Prophet / Terrapin StationTonight in Chicago, the final show of Fare Thee Well, a celebration of 50 years of Grateful Dead's music takes place at Soldier Field
Smart Choice: Don't Drink and Drive Californians love to celebrate the Fourth of July with family, friends, food, and fireworks. All too often these celebrations and festivities turn tragic when someone decides
Quick Tips on Beating the HeatPlacer County public health officials are urging residents to take common-sense precautions so they and their families stay safe during this week's ongoing heat wave