Posted on Jul 19, 2019
SPC Cavalry Scout
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I'm just looking for others that are in a similar situation and how they manage everything at home and work.
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Lt Col Jim Coe
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Yes, my wife was diagnosed with MS in 1974 while we were stationed at Langley AFB. (Before MRIs were invented.) Fortunately, we were stationed at Scott AFB in the late 1970s and she was accepted into a study program at Barnes-Jewish hospital and Washington University School of Medicine. TRICARE cooperated with the research and we paid very little expense for the experimental treatment. Treatment included removal of an abnormal thymus gland and treatment with post-operative drugs. She did amazingly well. The rapid advance of the MS was dramatically slowed. Within a year she was "normal." We continued in the USAF with assignments to Alaska, Florida, and back to Scott AFB. I retired in 1991. She completed her BSN in 1999 at Barnes School of Nursing. The Doctor who had led the research always stopped her in the hall when he happened to see her at Barnes, gave her a hug, and told her she was his miracle patient. She was the only one in the research study with such great improvement. Dr. Trotter passed away a few years ago.

It was sometimes difficult to balance military and personal life. Fortunately, she was able to care for herself throughout my military career and did a great job of raising our three children. She didn't become physically disabled until I had been retired from the AF for over 10 years. Again a blessing.
If your spouse's MS progresses rapidly, with fewer and shorter remissions, then you will need home assistance to keep your military career going. The assistance may be minor at first, such as somebody to come in and clean the house weekly. We used the Base Child Care Center quite a bit until the kids were old enough to care for themselves if Mom had a bad day--or week--while I was at work. Living on the military installation is a big plus. Your commute to work is short, emergency return hove takes little time, and the military medical facility may be close. As the disease progresses, you may need in-home health care during the time you are not at home. This can be expensive. I'm not sure if TRICARE will cover any of this cost. Look into it. (I retired from my very good civil service job in 2013 to take care of my wife full-time.) Relatives may be able to help if you need to go TDY or be deployed. Plan ahead!

Also, find the best neurologist you can within reasonable distance of where you live. I see you may be in Hawaii. The military medical facility there may have a neurologist. Hopefully, he or she can care for your spouse, but might also refer you to somebody "downtown." Check with the Universities' medical schools to see if they run an MS clinic or are doing MS research. Make sure your neurologist orders MRIs of the head and spine to keep track of any damage MS is doing. Also link up with the local MS Society chapter. They may provide education for you both, sources of assistance, and references to clinics and specialists. There have been many advances in treatment of MS, so the therapies my wife underwent probably aren't used any more. And, there may be a cure within your lifetime as we learn more and more about autoimmune diseases. Pray.

Always let you supervisors and commander know your spouse has a debilitating disease. Know enough to explain MS and how it effects you spouse. They will be a lot more understanding if they have advance notice that a personal emergency can happen. Do your part by having plans in place to provide care for your spouse and children if necessary while you are TDY or deployed. Learn how to work through the Red Cross if you are deployed and must make an emergency return home due to your wife's health. Also, know how the compassionate reassignment system works, so you can use it in the future if needed.

Consider changing to an MOS that offers opportunities for "desk jobs." Many of these types of jobs are in combat service and combat service support areas. Having a job where you are "home for dinner every night" is a big plus with a partially disabled spouse. I did that for 7 years and it was a big help in raising the kids.

Finally, hang in there. Be prepared to become a full-time caregiver at some point in your life. My prayers go with you both.
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Thank you for the advice sir! I have been sure to inform my PL/PSG as well as my CO/1SG whenever I have had to change troops/platoons. For the most part, all have been extremely accommodating. My wife has had numbness in her legs and they have given out on her on a few different occasions. They allow me to take her to any appointments she has and are aware that I may have to leave work to care for her with short notice.

My main concern is if/when I am assigned somewhere that the leadership isn't as understanding or accommodating. I've called tricare to inquire about a home nurse and they said that is only for the SM.

I've brought up stem cell therapy to my wife a few times, but that is very expensive and has some significant risks. I've also met with the ACS loan/grant specialist about the cost of the procedure; unfortunately, it would be a long shot to get anything from them for the cost of the stem cell therapy.
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SFC Senior Culinary Manager Minnesota  Rsp
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I wish you the best
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Capt Daniel Goodman
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https://www.nationalmssociety.org/Resources-Support/Find-Support/Join-a-Local-Support-Group

This looks esp good, though, of course, that search I'd sent also had numerous others, as well, obv....
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