(not) not my dissertation

Wednesday, May 07, 2003


so, i have MS, right? right.

and i have this brand new job where no one knows i have MS, right? right.

and i, for the first time in the two years i've had MS, have a weird feeling like i may not want to tell anyone there. which is super weird because i'll usually tell anybody. when i first got diagnosed, i even (oddly madly inexplicably) told the guy at Volkswagen Credit when he called to say where the hell was my April payment.

i've calmed down considerably and you usually get to know me a little bit before you know (unless someone else decides it is a good idea to tell you for me***). i'm not sure why i'm suddenly worried about it. perhaps i never cared before because i was always a temporary fixture in most of these work situations....temp, student, intern, resident. now, i'm at a place where they call me doctor and print business cards and want me to help them re-think their protocols and business strategies. (yikes!?!)

it's never really bad when i have to tell someone. it usually comes out naturally the first time i eat with someone because i've put myself on a really restricted gluten-free diet (no wheat, malt, barley, oats...yes folks, that means beer). if i'm not ready to spill yet and they ask, "are you allergic?", i say yes. but most of the time, i say, in my upbeat optimistic voice, "i have MS". they are usually shocked because i don't have any symptoms. they invariably ask, "how did you find out" or "what were your symptoms". I have a canned speech about what it is what it was what it feels like what it could be and i'm really okay and it's not that bad and although i take a shot every other day there's a lot of promising research out there. how's your sandwich?

a lot of people in medical professions, including my mother when she found out, know just enough about MS to make them dangerous and jump to horrible conclusions about my future. i was just as bad. i thought of the typical MS patient as a young woman all gaunt and quiet in a wheelchair. i'm certainly not that. i can still beat up most of you people. i just don't think i'm ready to deal with concerned pitying looks from the new coworkers. i wonder how long it will take...

***after i told my last boss as we were eating lunch one day early in my employment there, he apparently decided it was a good idea and appropriate to make an announcement about it at the next staff meeting at which i was not in attendance. without asking me. no shit.

posted by J at 6:28 PM


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