10 comments on “Wise Words From Stuart Smalley

  1. We still have the cassette tape but I haven’t listened to it in ages! 😉 I’m going to listen to it in my car (yes, my car is old enough to still have a tape deck in it and it’s awesome with that retro-90s feel) on the way to my doctor’s appointment tomorrow.
    Doggone it, GP won’t keep us down! 🙂

      • After my whirlwind of a day yesterday, I was happy to hear Stewart’s words through my car stereo!
        And, I put the tape in my purse for safe keeping from the elements! 😉

        I wanted to get your opinion on something, if you don’t mind (or anyone else who will be reading/posting)?

        It sounds like that you work full-time, but I was curious if you have ever tried to file for disability? Or, I was curious if anyone has had luck with getting on disability? I have had idiopathic GP since 2004 (sometimes I think I started having the symptoms back in 2001-2003, but they were not often enough to really be of any concern), but it wasn’t until 2011 that I had a proper diagnosis. My issue is that I have not worked since the recession started (although I did not leave my job due to illness but for other personal and family issues). I have not seen doctors on a regular basis for GP since 2011 and I am not currently taking any medication for my GP. However, I had my annual physical yesterday with a new PCP and she is checking some different things in my blood work that I never had tested before (per “Living Well with Gastroparesis” book guidelines, thank you, Crystal)!
        Anyway, I was one of our local public library branches after my doctor’s appointment I got into a conversation with this man (very sad story) about getting on disability with his terminal adrenal glands cancer… he already had had one kidney and a tumor removed, but the cancer has now spread to his liver and one of his legs. He has been on disability for the past 2 years and he said all he did was go to our local Social Security Administration building and get into the “queue” one day to speak to someone live to help him apply that day for his eligibility toward disability benefits. He only waited 4-6 weeks before he received a letter in the mail that he was approved for benefits! He was telling me since idiopathic GP is a “chronic illness,” (I educated him what that was) that it wouldn’t hurt to try and see if they would give me benefits. It is not a matter of how long I have not been working, he said, but determining if I’m “able” to work or not.
        My concern is that since I have not had a major medical paper trail (and I’ve moved around to different states and was incorrectly diagnosed so many times, plus I’m not on any medications, AND starting again with a new doctor just yesterday), would I just be wasting my time to go and try to even file? I also found out that my last doctor’s office completely had my medical records incorrect for years (so now I’m not even sure if they have most of the times I was tested for dyspepsia, like having two HIDA scans telling me that first I have a problem with my gallbladder, the next one telling me that it was normal! Thank goodness I didn’t have it removed like they wanted me to when I lived in Georgia at the time)! I have thought about SSD on in the past couple of years, since I really thought I didn’t have a chance, but this man tried to convince me that my thinking is not necessarily true.
        However, I read things online that people who have diabetic gastroparesis have appealed for years with the aid of lawyers to get disability to no avail! I almost feel guilty/ashamed to go when so many other people with idiopathic GP are holding jobs in some kind of capacity, plus this man doesn’t even know how long he has to live…
        I was wondering what you or anyone else thinks and if you/they could shed any advice or experiences they’ve had and/or if they think that I should/should not proceed? Thank you again so much for this blog!

        Jen

      • Hmmm…this is a tricky one Jen!

        Yes, I do work full-time currently. Although I will say that it becomes increasingly more difficult to manage. I am also EXTREMELY blessed to have an understanding employer that really has taken the time to learn about Gastroparesis.
        I am also on intermittent FMLA, which means that if I have a flair I am permitted to call off of work and cannot lose my job for it. It also means that I do not get paid if I call off work.
        My employer has also given me the capabilities to work from home. This way if I am not feeling well in the morning, but start to feel better in the afternoon I can login and work some hours so that I do not lose a full day’s worth of pay.
        I have heard of other GPers applying for disability and I do believe that a few of them are on disability. Unfortunately, I do not have experience with that process. Although I would say not to feel bad about not being able to work. My GP BFF recently had to leave the workforce due to GP and she is one of the hardest working people that I know.
        I will ask around and see what I can find out for you!

        ~Millie

      • Hello Millie,
        I left the same question on the Yahoo! Gastroparesis Group and I had a couple of ladies write me back as well… it sounds like to me that you have to have had more of a paper trail than I have (plus a very caring, informative, and considerate doctor in the long term), which of both I don’t have at this time. I think I will just wait (like I have these years) and hope that my condition doesn’t get worse. I’m luckily on my boyfriend’s insurance because somehow out of luck he works for a company that allows domestic partnership benefits. If he ever leaves, however, I will either have to find work full time for insurance (or if I’m lucky before then to get a part-time job with partial benefits) or get an independent plan (as long as my health holds up), and I’m not sure how the Health Care Act is going to play out in years to come…
        I never thought of the FMLA since most people I know use it mostly when they’ve taken maternity leave (both mother and father back and forth) or the person had to take extended time off to care for a family member. If I ever go back to work again, I will keep that in mind (it would be nice to get paid again and not just be doing volunteer stuff forever)! ;-P
        That’s great that you can also work from home if you need to. My boyfriend’s job is the same way. For the most part it’s pretty flexible, however, I feel that it’s the only thing that is keeping us living in Virginia sometimes!
        I also wanted to say that my test results from my lab work came back normal, except I’m slightly Vitamin D deficient (probably more so due to GP’s malabsorption rates), so all I need is a OTC supplement. However, I have never had a Vitamin D test before so now I’m wondering/worried how long I’ve been this way… at least hopefully they caught that in time!
        Thanks again for your information! Hope I’m not giving you too much of mine! ;-P
        If we don’t talk sooner, Happy Easter to you and everyone!

      • You’re not giving too much information!
        We all have to compare notes, because it seems to be the only way to get information!
        I’m glad that some folks in the Yahoo! group are able to help.
        Happy Easter!

        ~Millie

      • Thanks, I just don’t want to sound too much like I’m complaining when I know that there are so many people out there worse off than me/us! 😉

  2. I got a job a little under a year ago and about 4 months ago my GP got so bad I could barely work. My boss has been really hard on me and even cut my hours drastically, I need my job, I’m on my own and don’t have anyone I can rely on or move in with if I lost it. But even when I can actually make it to the job, I can barely function mentally to do well at it. How do you manage to go to work, and how did you get your boss on board with learning about GP. I tried explaining it to my boss but he seems to think if I just eat better I can make it go away, or that its not as bad as I’m letting on. And all my coworkers think I’m just lazy or that I’m calling out of work because I was out drinking or something. I’m at a loss as to what I’m supposed to do at this point.

    • Hugs to you Kat!
      I hope that something has been resolved by the time that you wrote this.
      I consider myself to be extremely lucky. My boss at my prior job had a kidney transplant in his 20s so he understood what health can do to you.
      My current boss fortunately knew me before I was sick and could tell that something wasn’t right.
      It can be an uphill battle to keep explaining the mysterious illness. I’ve had luck with saying it is similar to Chrone’s Disease (which it isn’t) but it sometimes helps convey the point.

      ~Millie

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