Mother • Manager for an in-home health agency
What's your relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis story?
“Well, my first MS symptoms came as I was recovering from the flu. I noticed numbness on my face and my tongue was numb. Concerned, I saw my doctor who referred me to a neurologist. An MRI and spinal tap confirmed everyone's suspicion of relapsing MS.”
- Q. What was one of your roughest times?
- A. “I was about to change medications once again when I discovered I was pregnant. For 9 months I was off medication and did really well. Two days after my daughter was born, I had a relapse that kept me from being able to get out of bed. At the time when she relied on me the most, I was utterly helpless. I had a new reason to make sure MS did not run my life.”
- Q. How do you make a statement against relapsing MS?
- A. “I have a tattoo on my shoulder I got shortly after diagnosis. It says, 'courage and determination.' I got it there to remind me to work to overcome the challenges of relapsing MS. Having a positive attitude and not allowing self-doubt is one of my big strengths.”
- Q. What do you tell other people with relapsing MS?
- A. “You should strive to be in control of what happens to you, and you can't give up.”
- Q. How has living with relapsing MS changed your view?
- A. “My mother is my role model. She has taught me a lot about being a survivor. Now that I have relapsing MS and am a mom too, I know why she showed me such a fine example of courage. I want my daughter to see the example I set and learn how to face her challenges, whatever they may be.”
- Q. What interested you to learn more about GILENYA®?
- A. “When I was diagnosed, I started on one injectable treatment after another. I was truly struggling, though. I had a variety of reasons to keep looking for something else. I had a lot of family experience with MS, and I just knew that if you keep searching, you can find your way to a treatment that's best for you.”
- Q. What do you get out of being a GILENYA Guide?
- A. “I want to show other people what living with relapsing MS can look like. I want to encourage them to keep fighting just like I do—even after a relapse. I'm also aware that when I help others to find a better way to deal with their MS, it makes me feel stronger and more valuable. So you could say I'm giving help, but I'm also getting some in return.”