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 HeadlinesWater Savings Fall Short AgainRoseville, CA. - Customers in San Juan Water District's retail service area reduced their October water use by 26 percent, which is 10 percent less
Chapa-De Indian Health Website for PatientsAUBURN, CA - Chapa-De Indian Health is proud to announce the launch of its newly updated website will also allow patients to learn about the comprehensive healthcare services
Blindness EtiquetteRoseville, CA - If you are meeting a person who is blind or visually impaired for the first time, do you offer your hand for him to shake?
Toyota RAV4 remains reliable compact SUVRoseville, CA- There is obviously a lot to like regarding the RAV4, starting with a sticker price that ranges from $23,680 to $29,850.
Roseville, Rocklin May Get Jobs Boost from Sunset Area PlanRoseville, CA - Currently known as the Sunset Industrial area west of Highway 65 and surrounded by the cities of Roseville, Rocklin and Lincoln.
Loretta Claiborne: RevisitedRoseville, CA - Last week, I began telling you about Loretta Claiborne, an African American who was born poor, partially blind, and with an intellectual disability.
Placer County Water Agency Adopts 2016 BudgetAUBURN, Calif. - At its November 19 meeting, the Placer County Water Agency (PCWA) Board of Directors adopted the Agency's 2016 budget
Rocklin Crime Report Update: DUI Arrests JumpRocklin, CA - Rocklin police weekly crime report digest update summary for the period of November 9- 15, 2015.
Roseville and Rocklin Among Beneficiaries of Clean Energy ProjectsRoseville, CA - The Placer County Board of Supervisors received a program update on mPOWER which has funded more than $35 million in clean energy projects
Cali Bowl in Roseville November 27-29Roseville, CA- The 8th Annual California Bowl comes to Roseville on Nov. 27-29 at the Woodcreek High School football stadium
Roseville to Hold Green Gardening at Home SeriesRoseville, CA - Starting this January, the Roseville Utility Exploration Center, 1501 Pleasant Grove Blvd. at Mahany Park
Loretta Claiborne Ran to SuccessRoseville, CA - You may have seen the Disney made-for-TV movie The Loretta Claiborne Story, in which a partially blind, African-American woman with an intellectual disability