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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 Headlines

$96,000 Raised for Fallen Officers with Help of Dutch Bros.On Wednesday, October 29, Dutch Bros. Coffee owners in the Sacramento area banded together with the community to raise $96,697 to support the families of Sacramento Sheriff Deputy Danny Oliver and Placer County Sheriff's Detective Michael David Davis Jr.

Roseville Police Seek Suspect in Halloween Crime61-year-old Daniel Rosario is being sought by Roseville police in connection with an early-morning burglary, car theft and attempted assault on an officer

Roseville, Rocklin Among Top Choices for Young FamiliesRoseville and Rocklin are ranked among the top 10 places in Northern California for young families according to a NerdWallet report

Kings, Sacramento Community Break Ground on Arena Marking the culmination of a decade-long effort to build a new arena in Sacramento, today the community officially celebrated the groundbreaking of the new downtown Entertainment and Sports Center (ESC).

Roseville Hit and Run Reward OfferedRoseville Crime Stoppers is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest of a wrong-way driver who crashed into another car and then fled the scene

Free Alzheimer's Caregivers Workshop at UC DavisOnline registration begins Nov. 4 for the UC Davis Mini Medical School, a series of Saturday classes ideally geared for foresighted middle-agers and novice seniors

Roseville California Crime Brief (10.29.14) Crime brief update report for Roseville, California October 29, 2014.

Halloween Safety TipsCostumes, jack-'o-lanterns, haunted house and scary ghost stories mark this time of year as all kids of all ages enjoy the spirit of Halloween

Memorial for Slain Officer to be Held in RosevilleThe memorial service for Detective Michael Davis, who was killed in the line of duty will be held Tuesday, November 4, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. at Adventure Christian Church

2,400 Volunteers Turn Out in Rocklin for Annual EventMore than 2,400 volunteers packed 520,992 meals for malnourished children around the world at a three-day event at William Jessup University in Rocklin.

Sinking Gas Prices Won't Last The U.S. average price of gasoline ($3.03/gal) continues its slide to levels last seen in December 2010... and today, more than one-half of the nation's gas stations offer regular

Dutch Bros. to Raise Funds for Fallen Officers' Families Dutch Bros. Coffee owners in the Sacramento area are raising funds to support the families of Sacramento Sheriff Deputy Danny Oliver and Placer County Sheriff's Detective Michael David Davis Jr.


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