Early Retirement Multiple Sclerosis and Moving Forward

This is my personal story of what it is like to tackle critical stages of life while dealing with a disease like Multiple Sclerosis. Early retirement, MS, and moving forward can become a case of the good, the bad and the ugly. Still I am convinced that the positives outweigh the negatives and a reward is waiting for every challenge faced.

My Husband's Retirement

Finally after working hard for thirty plus years, my dear husband was able to take an early retirement. What an answer to a prayer these past few months have been for both of us. Our ages have had accompanying physical challenges. Diabetes is my husband's primary health issue. Multiple Sclerosis is my challenge. The last five years of employment had not been easy years to work full time. The worst of all turned out to be the last two years of his career as an electrician. We cried figurative tears of joy when he finally met all the qualifications needed to retire.

Freedom to be Sick

As I write this it occurs to me how strange it reads. However, one of the positives we instantly experienced was the freedom to just be sick. I don't think sickness is viewed as a freedom by most people, but I do know that anyone who has ever had to work while sick understands how freeing it is when the stress of reporting to work -sick- is gone.

In our case, we spent the same amount of time worrying about each other as we spent worrying about our individual illnesses. I worried when I knew my husband was trying to work full time when his body was begging for a break. He worried about my daily existence and how I would make it through the day without him when I was having one of my typical "MS" days.

I found myself missing him more and more during the tough days. Having someone willing to do the cooking and other necessary things takes pressure off a chronically ill person. Having the company of my best friend on a constant basis was very reassuring and did much to lift my spirits. Needless to say I am presently very happy that my days are no longer chopped up in blocks where he is home but then has to return to work.

Moving Forward can be most Relaxing and Rewarding.
Moving Forward can be most Relaxing and Rewarding. | Source

Moving Forward

We are presently in the process of moving forward both figuratively and literally. Preparing for a change of location and moving to another state is no easy achievement. We have never wanted to settle down before, but that restlessness changed once we both hit our "fifties". So for the first time in our thirty plus years of marriage we are looking for a place to call our own.

What should be a fun and exciting time has been met with resistance from my constant companion and faithful sidekick, MS. Although we have picked the healthiest time of year for me, eighteen years of MS has still taken a toll on my ability to participate in the moving process. More than once, I have recalled the good old days when I could pack up our belongings almost single-handily then move and then unpack those same belongings in record speed. This go-round my husband has done the vast majority of the packing as I hang out on the sidelines pitching in very little in incredibly small increments. Another example of the good, the bad and the downright ugliness of this stage of our lives.

Determined to give all that I have has enabled me to find valuable ways to contribute without totally exhausting myself.

  • I write online and receive wages for my work. Not much but enough to enable me to pay a couple of important but small bills.
  • I use Internet sources wherever possible. Since I do not have the ability to run and check out houses and locations, I have learned to use online housing and real estate sites to their fullest potential. I write at another site which has been a great help in teaching me the ins and outs of the real estate market.
  • We have agreed to schedule the most important tasks that needs my participation and play everything else by ear. Instead of pushing myself to get things done, I wait for my body to tell me I am having a good day and then allow myself to conquer something on my to-do list.
  • Accepting the help of my family and friends will prove invaluable in the coming days. I have already received offers to help us pack and move our items and I have unashamedly accepted them all. I would do the same for my friends if circumstances were reversed so the gift of their time and physical energy is one I am very happy to accept.

In the Days to Come

We are not ignorant of the fact that we are taking on two stressful conditions at the same time. Waiting to find out about financing a home is INSANE! Retirement takes on a totally different meaning and outlook for us individually and as a married couple. While the retirement is a positive, the moving is a mixed blessing. Excitement and irritation seem to go side-by-side.

Still, it is teaching me patience which is a lesson I constantly need to learn. So that's a plus. I have accepted the fact that I won't be of much physical help and am slowly but surely realizing that my best is good enough under my present health challenges.

Retirement, MS and moving forward is quite the mix, but I have found it comes with a variety of blessings and rewards, so it is worth all the effort. It has not been as scary or exhausting as I feared. I discovered I am "still kicking" although not as high as in previous days and that is okay.

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Comments 15 comments

Nan Mynatt profile image

Nan Mynatt 4 years ago from Illinois

Be blessed, such a wonderful hub, through all of your sorrow and pain. I marked you up.


Sunnie Day 4 years ago

Jen,

I know I am alittle late in reading your hubs but will try to catch up today. Wishing you many blessings and healing now and in the future. Thank you for sharing.

Sunnie


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 5 years ago from Delaware Author

I just wanted to thank you all for your encouraging comments. Our "plans" have not gone as hoped and moving to Delaware has taken much more time and energy then we would have liked. Having a plan A, plan B, and even a plan C has certainly come in handy! Although I will write about our adventure at a later time, I wanted to say how nice it was to reread these comments based on our present situation. Thanks again folks! We are grateful that our spiritual health and well-being is at the top of our priority list, and our faith has certainly helped us to endure the trials and surprises of these last couple of months.


kunalshah profile image

kunalshah 5 years ago

I am 28 and recently diagnosed having MS. Your articles are a source of inspiration to me. And yes the positivism is fantabulous!!!


dreamseeker61 5 years ago from Oklahoma

I can relate to everything you say. I also have MS along with diabetes, thyroid disease and all the health issues that arise from these diseases. I worked until I just could'nt anymore, about 5 years ago. I am 50 years old now. I always was very active. I worked hard, I raised 2 kids. I used to scuba dive, go camping, fishing, hiked and had lots of hobbies. Everything just went downhill from the time I reached 35. I got diabetes when I was 35 then a few years later a thyroid disease and now I have MS. On the days I dont hurt bad I fight going to bed and sleeping because I never know what its gonna be like the next day or even if I can get up. Im so tired of being sick. Sometimes I just wanna quit and give up.


kimh039 profile image

kimh039 5 years ago

voted up and awesome jen. your story is inspiring. retiring alone is a stressful enough transition time, without the addition of MS or diabetes! On the other hand, you are both so fortunate to have each other as trusting, life-long partners in this transiton. I like your point about being free to be sick. At first it doesn't seem healthy to be free to be sick because that freedom would "enable" sickness. Yet, it's like taking time to grieve rather than sucking it up and moving on. You're moving on with your MS, not moving on and acting like MS isn't with you. Very healing thoughts. Thank you.


GarnetBird profile image

GarnetBird 5 years ago from Northern California

I really can relate to this--my lifelong friend of 40 years has MS and has to bring in a doctor's slip for every fatique-ridden day she can't work. it's terribly stressful--her Mom has to take her to the ER where she is seen and given a slip, "Too exhausted from MS to come in today. Needs bed rest, etc.."the effort of being hauled into a crowded ER is so draining, it really feels like a punishment for having MS in the first place.

Keep on writing!! It's a wonderful way to reach others who have been touched by this tragic disease.


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 5 years ago from Delaware Author

KoffeeKlatch and drbj we happily accept your well wishes and thank you both in return for your positive comments. I have no plans to stop writing although sometimes I do slow down and take time off when I am too sick to write coherently. :)


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

You are a remarkable lady, Jen, and this is a remarkable and hopeful hub you have written. I wish you and your hubby all the best and better days ahead. Don't stop writing - you do an excellent job!


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 5 years ago from Delaware Author

Yes I agree sometimes it is good to be busy with other things, so if I have a question in the days ahead I will be sure to ask you. Thanks for offering your help. We have picked out a place in Delaware, not far away.


Connie Smith profile image

Connie Smith 5 years ago from Tampa Bay, Florida

I am never too busy to help a friend. Sometimes, it is good to get my mind off of other things, so ask me anytime. While I am happy to make you feel good, you really are amazing and don't need me to tell you that. I hope that everyone who gets that dreaded MS diagnosis, or really, any other long term problem, finds you. What an inspiration you are.

btw, where are you moving?


KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 5 years ago from Sunny Florida

You have a wonderfully positive outlook on life. With an attitude like that you can do anything. Positive mental attitude can help you move mountains. Good luck to you and your husband.


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 5 years ago from Delaware Author

Paradise and Connie you have both made me feel so good with your comments! Thank you both very much. :)

Connie I didn't want to ask for your help given what you are currently going through. So I looked for answers to my many questions from other resources. Just want you to know you were and will remain my first choice for help, but I wouldn't want to be so self involved that I overlook what you are going through.

It means the world to me that you have offered!


Connie Smith profile image

Connie Smith 5 years ago from Tampa Bay, Florida

"Still I am convinced that the positives outweigh the negatives and a reward is waiting for every challenge faced."

Wow, you really are amazing. I have to agree with Paradise. Your positive attitude is awe-inspiring and your determination and success in reacing your goals, in spite of, not because of, your health limitations does serve as a role model for me also. I enjoyed this update on what is going on with you. I've missed that.

btw, even though I am not actively seeking work at this time, I am a licensed professional real estate agent and very knowledgeable about some things and not afraid to tap my resources for the rest. If I can help you in some way, please don't hesitate to ask. I have been hard at work on a real estate website that is strong in content (long way to go....). Now that we have a nurse for Lexi, I have a little more time to work on some things.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York

I am constantly even more awed by your positive attitude and courage, every time I visit one of your hubs. You are a living model for me, Jen, a real hero in my eyes, and I'm rooting for you every day.

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