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Basic Stuff

  • Name: Ann
  • Country: United States
  • State: Missouri
  • City: St. Louis
  • Gender: Female
  • Age: 58
  • Education: Masters Degree
  • Primary Illness: Chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS)
  • Diagnosis:
    • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)
    • Fibromyalgia (FM)
    • Orthostatic Intolerance
  • Year Illness Began: 2017

Functioning Interrupted

Former Level of Functionality: 100
(No symptoms at rest; no symptoms with exercise; normal overall activity level; able to work full-time without difficulty.)
Current Level of Functionality: 40
(Moderate symptoms at rest. Moderate to severe symptoms with exercise or activity; overall activity level reduced to 50%-70% of expected. Not confined to house. Unable to perform strenuous duties; able to perform light duty or desk work 3-4 hours a day, but requires rest periods.)

Work Interrupted

  • Former Occupation: Chemo and Infusion Nurse
  • Job Responsibilities at Former Occupation:

    Administer chemotherapy, blood and other medications by vein.

  • Years of Work Lost: 6
  • Current Work Status: On disability

Income Interrupted

  • Yearly Income Before Becoming Ill:

    $33,000

  • Yearly Income From Disability:

    $14,000

  • Minimum Current Annual Income Loss:

    $26,239

  • Total Projected Economic Losses For Years Not Worked:

    $216,464

Other Interruptions

Certified Disabled: Yes

Work:
  • I left my job or retired early

Most Impactful Loss

I loved being an oncology nurse and a lot of my identity was wrapped up in it. When I became ill, I had just become President of the St. Louis Chapter of the Oncology Nursing Society. Even though I had already quit work, I gutted through my 2-year term. I was devastated to leave my profession.

My Story

I became sick with ME 4 months prior to a 5-day backcountry hike of the Chilkoot Trail in Alaska.
I had been hiking all year in preparation. It was that extreme physical push that reactivated the herpesviruses in me and caused my sudden and complete disability with ME on April 15, 2017.
At that time, I was working as an oncology nurse but never worked again after that day.
My family has been supportive and always believed me. But it has been especially hard for my husband to take on duties and to experience emotions that he never wanted. We have been through some tough times these past six years.
My primary care doctor acknowledged that there was something wrong with me but would never give me a diagnosis. I was very fortunate to become a patient at one of the few US centers for the treatment of ME. My new doctor encouraged me to get disability as I was completely disabled. After two years I was officially given Social Security disability benefits. I was so happy just to be counted.



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