I​t can be a daunting venture to get one’s disability diagnosis. Many common health issues alone won’t make you eligible, but if you have enough common issues mixed with some more serious ones, you could qualify. For instance, having high blood pressure, diabetes, and arthritis alone don’t qualify for disability because they are considered “part of life”, “controllable”, and “non-life threatening”, however, if you add in something like an autoimmune diagnosis or cancer you have a better chance of qualifying.

I​ was diagnosed with diabetes type 2 in 2000, by The Joslin Center in Syracuse, NY. Sometime in 2001-2002, I sustained a back injury, that put me in a wheelchair, and discovered that I had degenerative disc disease in my lower back. After years of rehabilitation and being denied for disability, I went back to working on and off at menial jobs. I was raising my then 8-year-old daughter, trying to work, and going to school online. In 2008, I gave birth to my second daughter and gave up my studies to try to find adequate employment. In 2013 I started classes for my home health certification. After getting certified, I worked as a home health aide for a local assisted living for 6 years. I gave birth to my son in 2014. I worked as a private home health aide for 3 years and through an agency for 5 years. In 2021, I was diagnosed with arthritis and pulled out of work and this is where my current disability venture began.

M​y orthopedic doctor noticed some abnormalities in my bloodwork and suggested I be checked for Lyme disease. He referred me to a local rheumatologist who ordered further testing. This testing ruled out Lyme disease, but did show that I have polyclonal gammopathy, which means my body makes too many antibodies and is attacking itself. The rheumatologist stated that I may want to get tested for cancer because her limited tests showed that I did not have an autoimmune disease. I went to a local cancer center and was tested for cancer and they said that I did not have cancer and to get further testing for autoimmune diseases as the polyclonal gammopathy was an early sign of one. The doctor at the cancer center thought it may be the beginning of Lupus. So now I have an appointment for further testing next month.

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