Since April, I’ve been writing this weekly column, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. Telling my story here on SMA News Today and sharing my thoughts on a wide range of topics has been liberating, rewarding and it has allowed me to connect with others in the SMA community. Now, I’m taking things to the next level with my role here.
I was always an active student in grade school and college, so the transition to post-college life hasn’t been easy. Going from a full class and work schedule to a significantly more relaxed pace at home has had its benefits, but it’s also made plenty of days feel kind of empty. I need more to do with my time than just a few articles a week and my creative writing projects on the side. I need to feel like I’m contributing something of value on a daily basis.
Now, however, the tide has finally turned. As of this week, I’m now a full-time employee of SMA News Today!
It started a couple of weeks ago, when my executive editor Mike and I were brainstorming ideas for how I could use my Amazon Echo Show device to create new content for the site. I suggested doing a podcast, in which I could interview people in the SMA community.
I have a lot of experience with podcasting, theater, journalism and speaking engagements, and he loved the idea. This led to more conversations about what I could do, and he came away thinking that I had a vast knowledge about the SMA community and also a set of valuable skills.
The next day, Mike emailed me and said that he and the other Executive Management of BioNews Services had been looking for a patient specialist who could take a more active role in creating and reviewing web content. He told me he loved my ideas, and proceeded to offer me a full-time position at SMA News Today.
The big issue for me wasn’t the time commitment or the work itself, but whether I could do it and still retain Medicaid. As I’ve said in previous columns, I need Medicaid to cover care as one of my primary insurance providers, as well as to cover the majority of my care-giving costs.
So my Mom and I did some research and spoke with a family friend who works for an insurance provider, and, as it turns out, I can still keep Medicaid and earn a decent salary. The laws with North Carolina Medicaid have changed so that if people have been on both SSI and Medicaid, they can work and just give up their monthly SSI checks. It’s a complicated system, and I don’t pretend to understand half of it. The bottom line is that I can keep my Medicaid and work, which is huge.
In my new position, I’ll continue my weekly column; review, create and edit web content for the news page; record weekly audio flash briefings, which can be accessed through Amazon Alexa devices; help with social media; and possibly do speaking engagements at conferences and other events, down the road. I’m also working on developing the SMA News Today podcast, which we’re planning on doing monthly, once it gets up and running.