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Multiple Sclerosis Disabled Claudy The Artist Inspires With Artful Service

Claudy the Artist is inspiring in more ways than he is disabled. As a regular commenter on stories posted here at Ability-Mission.org, Claude always has something helpful and encouraging to contribute.

Nevertheless, Claude says, "You never overcome your disability! If you do overcome your disability, you are not disabled!"

Claude Arfaras and Cross My Heart
Claudy the Artist and Cross My Heart
Visit Claudy's PicsArt Gallery

Dealing With Limitations

He learned to deal with his limitations and challenges. That started with admitting to himself that he was disabled. He tried for a long time to ignore it and act like nothing was wrong.

The last thing someone wants is to be disabled. So he went through denial before he finally accepted his disability.

Claude's disabilities include:

  • demyelinating disease unspecified (multiple sclerosis)
  • a birth defective spine that in his forties collapsed the lower vertebrae on top of each other (spina bifida)
  • severe arthritis of spine, neck and knees
  • a bunch of the "standard" ailments like COPD, diabetes, heart disease, and so on

Expert Diagnoses Wrong

Claude says that when you're poor and disabled, all the government agencies will send you to their doctor for evaluation. In his case, the diagnoses and expert analyses were consistently wrong!

He had been diagnosed with spina bifida at age 19. He had medical and hospital reports back to that time. A birth defect does not change. Yet he had government doctor reports that he did not have a birth defect.

Early on in applying for disability, he was sent for a MRI of his brain and a government disability doctor was to look to see if he had multiple sclerosis. The report came back negative!

Four years later, a competent doctor through his insurance diagnosed multiple sclerosis but was unable to determine the type because he wasn't sure when it started. Claude knew it was in the last four years because of the previous report of none found.

His doctor requested the films from four years earlier. He showed Claude on the previous films that he indeed had multiple sclerosis! It was so obvious that to this day he wonders if the mis-reading of the films was due to incompetence or intent.

Says Claude, "The government doctors in my situation were scraping the bottom of the barrel. I could go on about their incompetence or ignoring the obvious! It's a disgrace."

Remedy? Remain Oblivious!

For Claude, just not thinking about medical problems seems to make life easier. He says that if he starts thinking about all that is wrong and what that means for now and the future it is real easy to get upset.

His advice to others? "If you're waiting on disability, just hang in there and get second and third opinions. It is your right to second and third opinions."

He says a doctor once told him to go to the ER and keep going every day until you are treated.

Claude says he feels much better when he can do things for others. It sometimes may be just a simple bit of information. He believes that what one gives one gets.

In the end, Claudy the artist says, "I would much rather discuss art." You can join the discussion at Claudy's PicsArt Gallery