As a mother of two teenagers and a receptionist for a large dental office in Vancouver, Leona was no stranger to stress. At 46 years old she felt like she finally had a handle on life’s stress, despite it never slowing down. No matter what, she could handle anything that was thrown her way. That was until the headaches started.
Initially, she didn’t think anything of it. They weren’t severe and they were infrequent enough that they didn’t worry her. But while she was coping with them, her company made some major structural changes that put more responsibility on her shoulders. She could handle it, she thought. She always did.
Then the headaches started to get worse. They were more frequent and harder to shake, and in the midst of it all, she started to suffer blurred vision and substantial anxiety. Eventually, it got so bad that she had a hard time seeing the screen of her computer at work. She made an appointment with her doctor who made quick work of her diagnosis - she had hypertension and was at risk of a heart attack. It seemed her sedentary lifestyle was a contributing factor on top of a less than ideal diet and the high levels of stress in her daily life.
As with any other challenge, Leona knew she could handle this head-on; it was time to make some changes and get her health back on track. The problem was that while her blurred vision made work difficult, the headaches made it impossible and the anxiety made it unbearable. She needed to take time off work in order to improve her health but she couldn’t afford the loss of income. She went off on Short-term disability which was paid by her employer, and then applied for her Long-term disability benefits. Her insurance company felt she should be able to continue working even though her employer and her doctors all felt that she could not perform her job.
After appealing twice, Leona was referred to Share Lawyers by her doctor’s office. We were able to help her cut through all the legal jargon to determine how we could assist her with her claim. The main problem was that Leona had not seen any specialists, most of her appointments were booked several months into the future. We requested records from her doctors and obtained supportive medical evidence to get her the benefits. Leona learned she would require surgery to repair a heart valve problem that the specialist had diagnosed. Share Lawyers was successful in getting Leona the benefits going back to when she was denied and into the future.
After almost four years off work, Leona was able to work with her doctor on her diet and changes to her medication and to work with a therapist to develop tools to manage her stress levels. She was thankful to Share Lawyers and she was ready to return to work on a gradual transition.
Hypertension affects 1 in 4 Canadians and is considered one of the leading global risk factors of death. It’s earned its name as the silent killer because it’s entirely possible to not present any symptoms which can increase the risk of a heart attack. Most often, people simply don’t know what to look for, so it goes undiagnosed. To be safe, have your blood pressure checked regularly. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the symptoms of hypertension, see your physician immediately.
*All names and identifying details have been changed to protect the confidentiality of all involved.