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 HeadlinesNew Nursing Village Ribbon Cutting in RocklinRocklin, CA- Sierra College welcomed their long-running Nursing Program back to the Rocklin campus with a recent Ribbon Cutting ceremony.
Placer County Woman Dies: West Nile Virus ConfirmedPlacer County health officials are able to confirm that an Ophir woman, who passed away earlier this month, did indeed have West Nile Virus (WNV).
3 Teens Arrested in Burglary and Vandalism of Country ClubA Placer County Sheriff's detective apprehended three juveniles Thursday in connection with recent burglaries and acts of vandalism at the Auburn Valley Country Club.
Roseville Author Releases New Book NationwideROSEVILLE, Calif. - The new book "Resonance," a stimulating new book by Roseville author Emily Elaine is now available nationwide.
Genderally Speaking LGBTQ Exhibition in RocklinRocklin, CA--The Ridley Gallery presents "Genderally Speaking", photography by Ron Williams in conjunction with Sierra College Pride Days (November 4-6).
Rocklin History Series Presents Julia Morgan's GoldThe Rocklin History Series continues on November 16, 2014 with a live presentation by Julia Morgan Historian Karen McNeill Ph.D. at 2 pm at the beautiful Old Saint Mary's Chapel
Free Identity Theft Prevention Class in AuburnThe Placer County Sheriff's Office is offering a free identity theft prevention class on Monday, October 27, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Auburn Justice Center.
Loomis Students to Learn About Pediatric Iron Lung for World Polio DayIn recognition of World Polio Day, Rotary Club of Sunset Loomis will bring a pediatric iron lung to Loomis Grammar School and Loomis Basin Charter School
Esteemed Roseville Historian DiesLeonard "Duke" Davis, considered by many the foremost authority on the history of Roseville, passed away on Friday, October 10.
Michaels Store in Auburn to Open November 16thMichaels, North America's largest arts and crafts specialty retailer, announces the grand opening of its new Auburn store, featuring an inspiring new design, located at 2785 Bell Rd
Janina VanVooren at Patrons Club November 3rd Rocklin, CA - The Patrons Club, a volunteer arm of the Sierra College Foundation, invites the public and those interested in becoming members of the organization to attend
Roseville Men's Tennis Team Edged Out in National ChampionshipsThe men's tennis team from Roseville, Calif., representing the USTA Northern California Section, finished second at the USTA League Adult 18 & Over 2.5 National Championships